By Karl Weisel (USAG Wiesbaden)May 8, 2012
WIESBADEN, Germany - The lights … the glamour … the stunning performances.
That's what members of the U.S. Forces Europe communities were treated to April 21 in Heidelberg's Village Pavilion during the 2012 Tournament of Plays Awards Show.
After an evening that showcased the best on Broadway and local military community stages, Wiesbaden's Amelia Earhart Playhouse and Baumholder's Hilltop Theater were recognized with a total of 19 of the coveted Topper statuettes honoring outstanding work both on and off stage.
"We knew we did our best and had two great shows," said Kimberly Carr, Amelia Earhart Playhouse director. "But you never know what the other theaters are going to do."
Carr, who was named the Best Director of a Comedy for "I Hate Hamlet," said it was "very cool" to win -- "a dream come true."
"It was a goal of mine for eight years now," Carr said, explaining that she had been nominated for a similar accolade in 2004 while serving as director in Aviano, Italy.
"It was an amazing night for everyone involved," she added, praising the outstanding contributions by volunteers. "They are the most important part of the theater. The talent they bring is amazing. Everyone puts in a ton of hours and their work is greatly appreciated. … My appreciation overflows. I can't thank everyone enough for keeping the theater alive and growing."
In addition to the Best Director of a Comedy Topper, the Wiesbaden theater also garnered a host of other technical and performance awards for its productions of "I Hate Hamlet" and "Songs For a New World."
Carr's husband, Sgt. 1st Class Dan Carr, took home trophies for Best Set Design for a Comedy and Best Technical Director of a Comedy. Daniel Cooper earned a Topper for Best Instrumentalist, Nancy Beasley won Best Keyboard Accompanist, Capt. Todd Bembry won Best Military Performer in a Play, the Amelia Earhart Playhouse earned Best Ensemble for a Musical, Dr. Vivla Ray Hill won Best Actress in a Featured Role in a Comedy, Brian Buckley was awarded Best Support Actor in a Comedy and the theater's production of "I Hate Hamlet" was named Best Comedy.
Baumholder's Hilltop Theater earned nine Toppers for its productions of "Greater Tuna" and "Seussical the Musical." Winners included "Greater Tuna" for Best Hair and Wig Design for a Play, Cheryl Navo for Best Costume Design for a Musical, Elizabeth Morin for Best House Management, "Seussical" for Best Stage Properties and Dressing for a Musical, Mary Craft for Best Scene Painting for a Musical, Pfc. Ryan Clark for Best Set Design for a Musical, Tom Navo for Best Actor in a Comedy, Sgt. Johnny Magnum for Best Actor in a Musical and Eric Danzeiser, the Hilltop's director, for Best Director of a Musical for "Seussical."
"We were hoping we would do well," said Rebekah Ankrom-Baker, Hilltop Theater's music director. "We had a great set."
Ankrom-Baker lauded the outstanding performances by Navo and Magnum and the award-winning backstage efforts by Baumholder's theater volunteers. "My theater would never run without volunteers," she said, adding that people of all ages contribute to the theater's success -- the youngest being a 3-year-old in "Seussical" and the oldest an actor in "his early 70s" in "The Music Man."
She also praised the annual Tournament of Plays, hosted by the Installation Management Command-Europe.
"I think it's a great program. It's great to see all of these performers who love music and theater coming together," Ankrom-Baker said. "I hope it continues in the future."
Baumholder's Hilltop Theater features its production of "Alice in Wonderland" May 10-13 and 17-20. "It's an all children's show -- all 66 of them," the music director said, adding, "Our community has so many Families, it's nice to see them involved."
The Hilltop is also holding auditions for its upcoming production of "Boardwalk Murder Mystery" May 14-15 at 7 p.m.
"Come out and volunteer. Be brave and audition or volunteer to work behind the scenes," Ankrom-Baker said. "We always welcome people."
Wiesbaden's Amelia Earhart Playhouse is rehearsing for its upcoming production of the "tender-hearted comedy" -- "The Boys Next Door."
"It will open the first weekend in June and run for three weekends -- Friday, Saturday and Sunday," said Carr, explaining that performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and at noon on Sundays.
For more information about upcoming productions or to get involved call the Hilltop Theater at mil 485-7244 or the Amelia Earhart Playhouse at mil 336-2473.
To view AFN-Europe's coverage of the Tournament of Plays Awards Show visit their Youtube channel at www.youtube.com/afneurope.