Outstanding Performer – Josh Lightner
The Outstanding Performer Award goes to an adult participant for an outstanding performance in a main stage production. This year’s winner really grew into an adult, right before our very eyes. Starting the season off as the memorable, young cymbal player in the marching band at the end of The Music Man, and growing into a full-grown man starting the day with a hangover, this year’s winner really had to expand the depths of his acting repertoire. With high energy and great comedic timing, he made us fall in love with the bumbling Bertie Wooster over and over again. He made bold character choices, using facial expressions, stuttering, and even hitting soprano level notes to his advantage. His love and dedication to physical comedy really stood out during Jeeves Intervenes, playing perfectly into all that is Bertie. And if nothing else, he’s a great dude. This year’s Outstanding performer award goes to Josh Lightner.
Hammy Award – Daniel Dye
The Hammy Award is presented to the biggest “ham” of the year. This year’s winner really showed us just how elastic character acting can be. Ranging in roles from blustery and pompous, to stiff and “pillar-like”, to almost childlike and fun-loving, he kept audiences laughing all year long. Sometimes all it takes is a sigh, a facial expression, or maybe even some Fortnite dancing, but the end result will always result in laughter. When he’s not on stage, you can find him serving up the laughs as part of Team CSJ at the Porkapalooza, dancing and singing while serving up homemade “magic chips”, or working hard at Culver’s and raising funds to make Peter Pan fly. Audiences remember his performances months after, even approaching him in public and telling him to “stop acting out of character and get his tie back on” but all we can say is “TO THE SHIP!” This year’s Hammy Award goes to Daniel Dye.
Rookie of the Year – Savannah Durocher
The Rookie of the Year Award is presented for outstanding contributions by a first year CSJ performer or crew member. This year’s winner has been a beam of sunshine from the first moment she walked in the door for Jeeves Intervenes. Initially reluctant to audition, she only needed to get her toes wet before she was ready to dive in head first. She always has an infectious smile on her face, and is always radiating positive energy. With a smile and energy like that, the stage couldn’t contain her efforts. She helped out in a large way with the Culver’s nights and has been an advocate for CSJ within the local community, where she works. She’s given support to each and every one of us, in every way she possibly could, and has really helped increase CSJ’s visibility in a great way. This year’s Rookie of the Year Award goes to Savannah Durocher.
Youth Award – Mason Valdivia
The Youth Award is presented for outstanding performances by a youth participant in a main stage production. When this year’s winner first stepped into rehearsal for The Music Man, nobody could believe that it was his first production. He was always prepared and excited for every rehearsal, and maintained a professional work ethic both on and off stage. He was one of those kids you never had to worry about backstage. He was always where he needed to be, when he needed to be there, and on his best behavior. He captured the hearts of audiences with his smooth voice and perfected lisp as Winthrop Paroo in The Music Man, and continued to steal hearts as the innocent Michael in Peter Pan. His talent is top-notch, and he really pours his heart out onto the stage with every performance. This year’s Youth Award goes to Mason Valdivia.
Techie Award – Hanna Tritten & Ed Yoakam
Tech people are like baseball umpires. If all goes well, the paying customers never notice that they are there. But if they make a mistake, it can be painfully obvious. This year we are presenting two Techie Awards:
The first goes to someone who is a stabilizing force backstage as well as on stage. She is calm, confident and reliable and makes sure things go as planned: Hanna Tritten.
The second Techie Award goes to someone who is often way behind the scenes. He gets called on for some of the most unusual assignments and always comes through with flying colors. Need a robot or a forest or a crocodile built? He’s your man, Techie Award winner Ed Yoakam.
President’s Award – CSJ Pit Orchestra
We are so lucky to have many of the same Jackson community members frequently play for our orchestra pit from show to show. Often overlooked (ya know, because the pit typically sits below the stage…. ), each member diligently learns their part to help add that “live music” quality. Their instruments are a part of them, and together, they help immerse the audience into another world. This year’s President’s Award goes to the CSJ Pit Orchestra.
Orchestra members in the 2018-19 Season include…
Dale Hendershot III
Mary Jo Skojec
Ted Wood Award – Mike “Buddha” Coy
The Ted Wood Award is presented to an individual who has worked tirelessly to keep community theater alive in Jackson, Michigan. “Community theater in the Jackson area might never have endured without the dedicated efforts of Ted Wood, and he showed no partiality to any one players’ group. He was a tireless worker. His happy, friendly manner gave patrons a warm feeling of welcome.”
This year’s winner truly embodies what it means to be “working tirelessly to keep community theater alive in Jackson.” Teaching workshops, assisting with every set build and strike at Jackson College, running tech for various events, and just being a general fountain of knowledge doesn’t even begin to touch on all of the amazing things this individual does for Center Stage, and theater in Jackson. Jackson College has been lucky enough to have employed him for the past 18 years. Many of us were lucky enough to learn all we know about theater from him and he continues to share his plethora of knowledge with the masses, young and old. Recently he has begun to reach out to our local schools, helping to reignite the love of theater at a young age. He’s been the savior more times than we can count, and we can’t say thank you enough, no matter how much we try with wine. Many of us know him by his nickname, Buddha, given for all the wisdom and knowledge he possesses (at least that’s our story). This year’s Ted Wood Award Winner is Michael Coy.
Shining Star Awards
The Pirates of Peter Pan – There could not have been a more perfect group of guys to be perfectly cast as the Pirates in Peter Pan. Each pirate had their own personality, yet they worked together as an amazing ensemble that left audiences rolling with laughter and wondering what they might do next.
The Music Man Quartet – (Jacob Jabkiewicz, Preston Judd, Matt McDonald, Anthony Reinker) One of the biggest obstacles that comes with doing The Music Man is finding a decent quartet with time to fill the role. These 4 men met and exceeded expectations, giving audience members goosebumps every time they sang.
Danielle Allore-Taylor – Danielle is such a joy to be around, both on and off stage. At the beginning of the season she was so nervous, she could barely get out of the car to audition. But look at her now! Two musicals, and she left audiences in awe of her singing during “What’s New, Broadway?”, the dinner cabaret.
Andy Anderson – Andy is always one of CSJ’s biggest supporters, even when he’s not in a show. He’s always in attendance, helps at Culver’s Nights, attends board meetings, and even was part of CSJ’s entry team for this year’s Porkapalooza. Always our greatest cheerleader!
Cyndi Baldermann – Cyndi is by far the best props person anyone could ever work with. She always knows how to get needed items, and how to make them look good.
Nate Baldermann – Nate has stepped way out of his comfort zone as treasurer for CSJ. He’s done a great job of keeping cool, calm, and collected during some tenuous situations.
Sarah Baldwin – Sarah has the unenviable task of teaching our youth not just to sing, but to sing out proudly. As music director for Rockin’ Robin Hood, she really excelled at bringing the cast together and showing them that music is fun. She can always be counted on to give it her all and get the best out of our youth.
Tricia Barrett – Helping backstage and performing on stage, Tricia continues to make CSJ a great group to be a part of.
Bethany Bickel – Bethany made her debut with CSJ this year, performing at “What’s New, Broadway?”, the dinner Cabaret. She was extremely reliable and a great performer.
Brodie Brockie – Brodie really got everyone “hooked” with his performance. He could think on his feet and stayed 150% in character, even when things may have slightly tripped up. He was completely committed to the character. He brought out the best, and worst, of Captain Hook.
Kevin & Sandy Brooks – These two were wonderful to work with during The Music Man. Sandy’s artistic eye and Kevin’s talents in building were a real asset this season. Not to mention Sandy’s amazing graphic design work for this year’s Porkapalooza. Both carry excellent, positive attitudes and are always willing to help.
Sandy Brooks – Whether be it River City or posh digs in Mayfair, Sandy really shined. She was sweet and Mrs. Paroo and made a complete 180 for the cranky Aunt Agatha. It’s been great to watch her grow over this year.
Bob & Pam Bullock – Bob & Pam directed Wagon Wheels a Rollin’, the youth theater play this past fall. Their caring nature comes through with every play they direct and shows in every lesson the kids learn, whether it be in stagecraft or in life.
Kacy Cameron – Kacy is an absolute joy to be around. She made a smaller role anything but small, and was a pleasure to see on stage.
J Carpenter – J’s knowledge and willingness to jump in and help during The Music Man was greatly appreciated. She has the epitome of the “can-do” attitude, jumping in wherever she could to help out.
Kassi Christensen – Kassi likes to help whenever she can and does a wonderful job.
Anna Commet – Anna’s portrayal of Tiger Lily was “ugh-a-wonderful”. She really brings an amazing talent to CSJ.
Kelly Crippen – If there was an award for administrative assistance, it would go to Kelly. She is always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty. She even took on her first time in a producer role with the Dinner Cabaret, and did an excellent job.
Lisa Cryderman – Lisa went above and beyond, not only directing The Music Man, but also stepping in as director for Cabaret taking over as chairman of the marketing committee. She put together two great casts, and really made The Music Man come to life.
Kylie Densmore – Kylie always came to rehearsal with an incredible work ethic and radiates the type of energy you just want to be around.
Lorelai Dye – Lorelai broke into the CSJ scene in a large way this season. She helped build two different sets, and loves to help with rehearsals, especially the dancing. We can’t wait to see her make her on-stage debut in the future.
Dean Dyer – Dean truly has a heart for community theater. He was involved with both musicals in ways that most would never even know about. His knowledge has been more than helpful, and his positive attitude and willingness to help in any way he can is greatly appreciated. Thank you, Dean!
Chuck Edwards – Chuck seems to always be the go-to techie. He’s reliable, professional, and treats everyone with kindness and respect.
Jake Ellis – Jake may be a quiet guy, but his actions in the many areas of tech speak volumes. Jake was flight director for Peter Pan, and made safety his #1 priority. Jake is an unsung hero, often found behind the scenes.
Susanna Ellis – Susanna does so much behind the scenes, from answering phone calls, serving on the production committee, helping with tech on numerous shows, and with fundraising events. She was a wonderful set designer for The Music Man, and had everything ready when it was needed. She kept a positive attitude the entire time and was a joy to work with.
Anne Fleming – Anne wasn’t sure she wanted the comedic role of Mrs. Eulalie Shinn, but she really found her funny bone. The range of character from snobby mayor’s wife to “Grecian Urn” was portrayed brilliantly and her comedic timing and expressions were spot on.
Serena Fleming – Serena really rose to the occasion by taking on the role of Amaryllis, learning a piano solo and playing it live every night. She really showed her dedication by choosing to learn the piece so that a sound cue didn’t have to be used.
Amanda Frerichs – Amanda is a joy to work with. She is professional and kind, daily. Her character offstage is just as amazing as the characters she portrays on stage. She went above and beyond to make Marian Paroo her own.
Jesse Gerrild – Jesse is always willing to lend a helping hand and goes above and beyond with every show he works on.
Katherine Gerring – Katherine really comes alive on stage. She brings a great energy to every role she plays. She gave a very convincing role as Gracie Shinn in The Music Man.
Nicholas Gerring – Nicholas brings talent both on and off stage as he continues to grow and help out in CSJ however he can.
Thomas Gerring – Thomas is always willing to help with many tasks that most people would avoid. Whether painting sets, hauling furniture, running the spot light, or playing a pirate on stage, Thomas is reliable, dependable, and always has a good attitude.
David Gilman – David really stepped it up this season, taking on the role of Technical Director, not once, but twice. He made 1929 come to life with the set of Jeeves Intervenes, making sure every detail of the set was perfect for the audiences viewing. During Peter Pan, he worked with hard to make sure the set would compliment and be safe for the flying actors.
Wyatt Green – Peter Pan was Wyatt’s first performance ever, and with every rehearsal and performance he continued to grow. His great personality was on full display, and he was very impressive.
Ryan Harrold – Ryan’s love of theater shows from the day he walks into auditions until the very end of strike. His performances are always very memorable.
Mandee Howard – With accomplishments that include stage managing for Jeeves Intervenes, lending a helping hand for The Music Man, and planning the Youth Singing Competition not just once but twice! Even when unnoticed, Mandee is CSJ’s superhero. She saved the day multiple times for Peter Pan, burning the midnight oil to help finish the set in time for opening and even running lights for multiple performances. If CSJ had its own dictionary, “see Mandee” would be the definition for the word “reliable.”
Nathan Johnson – Nathan is a consistent and positive presence among the CSJ community. Whether on stage or back stage, Nathan can be counted upon to help out however he can.
Sally Johnson – Sally once again compiled the programs for both Youth theater shows. She provides high quality work and a quick turn around when under the gun, and is our biggest supporter in the entire state of Wyoming.
Lynne Judd – Lynn is always helpful when it comes to costumes, was particularly helpful during The Music Man.
Amanda Kloack-Gregurich – Amanda has worked with CSJ for many years and does whatever she can to help, including teaching herself, on the fly, to use the lighting system during Jeeves Intervenes. She overcame some big difficulties and helped make things run very smoothly.
Greg Kovas – Greg’s professionalism helped the cast of Jeeves Intervenes safely look chaotic. His dedication to fight choreography and willingness to adapt to the cast made the stage fights some of the highlights of the show.
Don LaFollette – Don has a charisma about him that makes being on stage with him so much fun. As much fun as it is to watch Don on stage, he really stepped it up with his first year on the Board and as a member of multiple committees.
Kalen LaFollette – Kalen brings so much energy to every rehearsal and performance. You would have never known it was his first show with the way he threw himself into every show.
Wendy Lake – When Wendy took over the Sponsorship Committee, nobody could have imagined the amazing things she was about to make happen. She has put in countless hours promoting CSJ within the local community, using her networking skills and connections to establish rapport and strengthen relationships with business owners, media outlets and entertainment resources. Wendy and the sponsorship committee are responsible for the brain child that became CSJ’s Annual Porkapalooza event. This year’s event was more successful that anyone could plan for. Wendy has really worked hard to put our community theater back into the community.
John Lamb – When John stepped on stage as Eustace in Jeeves Intervenes, there was an obvious shift in energy. He was so committed to the character, and rehearsals really benefited from having him around. He did an excellent job at playing both cocky and spineless, which is no easy feat.
Kimberly Lock – Kimberly demonstrated a professional ability and was a great comic relief as one of the pick-a-little ladies in The Music Man. She brought a lot of talent to CSJ along with a positive attitude.
Sara Long – Sara really took a leap in the air when she approached the board with the idea of doing Peter Pan, and more, flying people. She worked tirelessly and overcame many obstacles, but the end results were magical. As director, she made the show fun and memorable for the cast, and touched the hearts of those old and young. Some were taken back to a childhood memory, others were inspired and wanted to grow up and fly. Just as Sara had when she was young and saw Peter Pan for the first time.
Veronica Long – Veronica took on a whole new character this year by stepping off the stage and debuting in a much different role. As director for Jeeves Intervenes, her love for theatre really shined. She went above and beyond to make sure that the cast and crew worked together to create an experience that left audiences talking long after the show closed. She was well organized and knew exactly what she needed from the technical aspects of the show and was able to support her cast to help ease any nerves and doubts.
Melissa McElhone – Melissa’s patience and dedication to the youngsters involved with youth theater is astounding! Her ability to connect with the youth is a super talent that many don’t possess.
Katie Meyers – Katie does so much for CSJ. Things like keeping the web page up to date, running the ticketing system, sending out press releases, and many, many, MANY other various tasks that help keep CSJ organized and on track.
Ethan Miller – Ethan was very convincing as Tommy Djilas in The Music Man.
Joshua Monsoon – Josh’s energy and talent really shone bright during every musical number in The Music Man, giving audience members goosebumps with just his voice. Even when he was extremely ill, the show must go on, and his performances as Harold Hill were awe inspiring. Castmates love how humble he his, and that whole-heartedly wants not just his own, but EVERYONE’s performances to be great!
Jeremy Moore – Jeremy was very valuable during The Music Man, both on and off stage. Off stage, he was instrumental and highly dependable in making all of the scene changes happen as smoothly as possible. On stage, he stood as still as a statue, for a combined total of over 30 minutes, every night. His commitment to the joke was well appreciated by audiences, and occasionally was given a personal round of applause.
Stephen Murphy – Stephen is one of those orchestra members that always goes above and beyond the call of duty. He truly enjoys every rehearsal with either the cast or orchestra, and gives his all at every performance. He always goes out of his way to make sure the cast and crew know they are loved by him, and to make sure the orchestra knows they are appreciated. Thanks for all the pizza, Stephen!
Holly Myers – Holly took over on props for The Music Man after rehearsals had started. She always had a pleasant attitude. She’s a great “stage-mom”, too, always willing to assist wherever needed.
Edward Nichols – Edward is an incredibly enthusiastic cast member. His energy inspired others around him to keep pushing during many rehearsals and performances.
Stephanie Pierce – Stephanie took a step back into the theater world by stage managing The Music Man and helping in any way that she possibly could, despite various complications. She was a huge help to all three main stage productions, and her dedication and commitment have not gone unnoticed.
Anthony Reinker – Normally known for his on stage work, Anthony really deserves a lot of credit for stepping up when set building help was needed.
Mike & Heather Riccardi – Mike & Heather were the creative volunteers that built the absolutely beautiful bridge used in the iconic scene in The Music Man. This gorgeous set piece went on to star in Rockin’ Robin Hood, and is currently awaiting its next big role.
Amelia Rohlfs – Amelia brought a lot of smiles and energy to the animal ensemble in Peter Pan.
Jillian Rohlfs – Jillian did a great job as a part of the animal ensemble in Peter Pan.
Lucas Rohlfs – Lucas was outstanding as John in Peter Pan. He always works hard to bring the best performance possible and always brings a smile to everyone’s faces.
Sam Safford – Sam stepped in as orchestra conductor of The Music Man at a very critical time. He went above and beyond anything anyone could have asked for. A joy to work with!
Aimie Smith – Aimie is always eager to learn new things, and this season saw no shortage of that. Aimie worked on both Youth Theater shows in various capacities, choreographed The Music Man, and assisted with costumes for Peter Pan. She has a great rapport with the children in the youth shows, and they look forward to working with “Miss Aimie” every show.
Mike Sutton – Any role that Mike touches is gold. He was the perfect Sir Rupert. He was crotchety onstage and caring backstage. He’s always a joy to work with and so appreciative of the opportunity to be involved in the productions.
Darren Taylor – Darren has been a great sport and support all season long. From being attacked by flying bookshelves in The Music Man to being attacked by flying people in Peter Pan, Darren has always remained smiling and continued to keep audiences laughing the entire time. Darren is a director’s dream. He’s kind, prepared, fun, and an all around nice guy.
Darrin Tritten – Darrin is another behind the scenes hero of CSJ. Darrin has been dedicated to helping construct sets, execute rigging and other important backstage elements for most main stage shows. His knowledge and dedication are greatly appreciated and CSJ is better for having him.
Sherrey Tritten – Sherrey is always willing to lend a hand and help out with box office or ushering. Her cheerful attitude of service, and the fact that she volunteered on her birthday, make her well worth the recognition.
Derek Turson – Derek comes to every rehearsal memorized and ready to go. His physical comedy and timing are spot on. His hard work ethic and wonderful acting makes him a joy to work with, and to watch.
Damien & Rebecca Valdivia – Damien and Rebecca were always willing to help during various shows, and have become very reliable volunteers.
Christalena Van Aken – Christalena took on a challenging show and did a great job of costuming it.
Sid Varland – Sid really came to life as Peter Pan. Hardworking, determined, respectful, Sid always had a positive attitude, was always respectful to the techs, and was even willing to stay as long as he needed to make sure all his little fans were greeted. He truly is a shining star!
Linda Weber – Ever since joining CSJ during Drowsy Chaperone, Linda has worked tirelessly at promoting and supporting CSJ. Going above and beyond as props master for Rockin’ Robin Hood and helping to promote fundraising events like the Porkapalooza. Her bright smile and shining personality are a huge asset to CSJ.
Cana Wensley – Cana is always willing to lend a helping hand whenever she can, and is an absolute joy to be around.
Jaxon Whitmore – Jaxon always brings a level of energy with every show he’s in. He’s fun to be around and always does his best.
Lilly Whitemore – Lilly brought her spunky, fun-loving character both on and off stage. Mrs. Pickles, the little black cat in Peter Pan, will remain in our hearts forever.
Ellen Yoakam – Ellen always makes the characters come to life by making them look fantastic. Her continued efforts to costume everybody that walks on stage is something to be recognized daily. She has also really helped get CSJ into the community by coordinating the Downtown Cruise Nights. And if that’s not enough. It’s Ellen. ‘Nuff said. She devotes so much time and energy to being the premier costumer of the Jackson theater scene, and we often wonder if she can even sleep while there’s a show needing costumes.