“Lend Me a Tenor” was the big winner at the annual Theatre Palisades awards show, which was held via Zoom on November 15.
The show won for graphic design (Joanne Reich), set design (Sherman Wayne), lighting design (Sherman Wayne and Frans Klinkenberg), costume design (June Lissandrello), supporting actors (Randy Oppenheimer and Martha Hunter), featured actor (Maria O’Connor), lead actor (Gregg Abbot) and directing (Sherman Wayne).
“It was a great show and a great cast,” Wayne said. “I’ve always said a director’s job is finding the right cast — and I had a great cast. Thank you to Theatre Palisades for allowing me to do what I love to do, which is working in the theater.”
For the past four years, TP has allowed subscribers to vote for their favorite production, so it was not a great surprise to see “Lend Me a Tenor” win that award, too.
Circling the News wrote in a review: “After the initial setup, this Theatre Palisades production of ‘Lend Me a Tenor,’ written by Ken Ludwig, produces non-stop laughs and is absolutely delightful.
“If you continue reading, you’ll find that this review has nothing but positives. People may be curious about seeing the play, then. But the real reason this run will sell out is word of mouth.
“‘This is the best one they’ve done,’ one theater goer said when leaving the Pierson Playhouse after the opening night on May 31.
“And it is. Sherman Wayne is superb in directing farces and comedies, and he scores a home run with this one.”
Keeping in that vein, it was no surprise that Martha Hunter took home the producing award for the same show.
“If you produce a lot of plays, you may just win an award,” she said to the more than 60 people who tuned in to watch the awards program.
Hunter encouraged residents to get involved with our local community theater (located between Haverford and Temescal Canyon Road). “Text me, call me and I’ll help you produce a play.”
The two outliers this year Jenna Nicole Sullivan, who won for Lead Actress in the play “Ruthless,” and Marc Antonio Pritchett, who gathered top honors for sound design in “Mousetrap.”
Nona Hale, a long-time volunteer and recently resigned president of Theatre Palisades, received the evening’s highest non-performance award, the Lelah T. Pearson Award. The 125-seat theater was named Pierson Playhouse, in honor of Lelah and J. Townley Pierson, who not only generously donated the property but also contributed extensively to the Building Fund.
“This is awarded to an individual who has exhibited overall outstanding participation,” said president Phil Bartloff. “Nona exemplifies every single attribute.”
Doug Green and Alex Wright-Banks gave a touching tribute to four long-time TP volunteers, who passed this last year. Arnold and Sigrid Hofer were honored for their decades spent in the lobby, taking tickets, serving drinks and doing whatever it took to keep the theatre going. Green called them “Arnold-Sigrid team” behind the scenes.
The third honoree was MJ (Marie-Jose) Lory, who had produced many shows and worked mostly in the lighting booth her final years.
Sherry Coon, director, producer, actress and member of the board, died in August. Green sang, “I don’t want to walk without you baby. . . .I don’t want to walk without the sunshine. . .Baby, please come back or you’ll break my heart for me.” (“I Don’t Want to Walk Without You” was written by Jule Styne and Frank Loesser and published in 1941.)
Eli Nagle, Clayton Collins and Diane Goldberg received “Off Board” Awards.
Hunter, who also acted as the show’s emcee, said that “Eli and Clayton help Andy [Frew] in the lighting booth on every show. Eli, a senior at Palisades High School, also helps Sherman quite a bit with set building. Clayton is in the eighth grade at Calvary Christian.
Hunter continued, “Diane Goldberg is a longtime member who heads up the Garden Committee and spends endless hours planting and weeding all of the plants around the theater.”
While community theaters examine ways to reopen, look for the annual Theatre Palisades Actors’ Troupe Christmas radio play, which will be performed virtually on Wednesday, December 16.
Additionally, more information about a special Theatre Palisades performance of Holly Sidell’s show “Deconstructing Holly” on Sunday, December 6, will be available soon. Visit: https://deconstructingholly.eventbrite.com.