At the Tahlequah Community Playhouse 25th Anniversary Celebration, held August 21 at the new Holiday Inn Express in Tahlequah, ERWIN awards for the 1998/99 season were named.
Jonathan Brown, outgoing president, was the master of ceremonies.
For the first time in TCP history there was a tie for Best Production. Named co-Best Productions were The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, directed by Peggy Kaney, and It Runs in the Family, directed by John Dameron.
Shane-Brumley Ward was named Best Actor for his portrayal of the title character in The Vampyre. Sandra Becker received one of the three awards she would eventually take home as Best Actress for Fools.
Best Supporting Actor was Stephen Ball for Fools, and Best Supporting Actress was Sandra Becker for The Vampyre.
The Best Male and Female Newcomers were Todd Salazar and Shawnda Robson, both for their roles in Fools.
Earl Schmitt and Maria Anderson were named Best Male and Female Cameo winners for their performances in It Runs in the Family.
The Best Set Design award went to Craig Clifford for The Vampyre. The Best Costumes Award went to Sandra Becker for The Vampyre, and a Special Recognition award for tireless backstage contributions for the The Vampyre went to Jonathan Brown.
In addition, presentations were made in honor of TCP’s 25 year history for “Exemplary Achievement.” Some of the categories were most plays directed (John Dameron, 25 of the 101 presented); most appearances (John Dameron, 40; Maria Anderson and Paul Grover, each at 35), most ERWIN awards (Craig Clifford, 12); most Best Actor and Actress Awards (Stephen Ball and Sandra Becker, both at 4); most awards for Best Set Design (Rick Davis, 3); still active charter members (Maria Anderson, John Dameron, Edie Greubel and Jeanette McQuitty). Diane Morgan was recognized for holding the office of Treasurer for 13 years and the most long-time, loyal fans, without having appeared in a production, were Don and Joyce Varner.
Some other items noted during the evening are that TCP has presented plays in 14 different locations, the most unusual being the Cherokee County Courthouse; Neil Simon and Agatha Christie are the most produced TCP playwrights; four local authors have had plays presented by TCP (Ivy Lys Dameron, John Dameron, Janey Hendrix and Maurine Smith for a total of eight plays or one-acts); there have been a total of 30 different directors, 23 men and 7 women (12 individuals have directed a play only once); 433 different individuals have appeared on the TCP stage and of those, 222 have appeared only once. The longest time span between appearances was by Jonathan Brown who appeared on the TCP stage as a senior in high school in 1984 in Our Hearts Were Young and Gay, and reappeared 12 years later in Man of La Mancha. Linda West was the runner-up with her appearance in Play On! and then returning 11 years later in Charlotte’s Web. Over the years, 92 individuals have won ERWIN awards. Of those, 32 never appeared in another play after winning their award. According to modern records only, the production receiving the highest average attendance was Sherlock Holmes and the Lost Rose. Attendance records before 1986 were not available.
Additional entertainment for the evening was provided by Sarah Brick Archer and Michael Phillips doing a bit of
fractured Shakespeare, and a “TCP Version” of That’s Entertainment sung by Stephen Ball and Craig Clifford.
Those in attendance received a commemorative book entitled “TCP: The First 25 Years,” detailing casts, directors, dates and locations, award winners and pictures from various productions throughout the years. A few copies of the book are still available for $25 from the Box Office, or $25 + $5 shipping and handling by mail. Please use the e-mail address listed for more information.
The evening was capped off with an audience participation, accapella version of “There’s No Business Like Show Business” followed by the presentation (and devouring) of a Silver Anniversary birthday cake.