Wiesbaden hosts Toppers awards

Jacob Corbin/USAG Wiesbaden Public Affairs
Capt. Herman Lockhart (left) and Kendall Seifert, both with U.S. Army Garrison Italy’s Vicenza Soldiers’ Theater, perform “In a Little While” from “Once Upon a Mattress” at the 2018 Tournament of Plays, or Toppers, ceremony April 28 at Clay Kaserne. Lockhart was nominated for the Topper for Best Military Performance in a Musical, and Seifert was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical.

Each year the Tournament of Plays, or Toppers, recognizes the best military community theater programs in Europe, and this year’s was no different.

For this competition, judges attended 17 show productions at 10 community theaters across Installation Management Command-Europe and U.S. Air Forces in Europe, giving 50 awards at the gala event held April 28 at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden’s Clay Kaserne.

Michael Formica, director of IMCOM-Europe, began the event by acknowledging the people who make military community theater happen each year during performances staged from Belgium to Italy.

“I must recognize those who keep the theater program alive inside of IMCOM-Europe—our volunteers,” Formica said in a video message to attendees. “Thank you for providing such incredible entertainment. Your talent, dedication and hard work enrich us all.”

According to award winner Sgt. 1st Class Tonya Prince, from U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz, serving others was one of the primary reasons she decided to take part in KMC Onstage’s production of “Sister Act.”

“To me, (military community theater) is a way for military personnel to give back to the community,” Prince said. “Our Families support us so much; this is a way to give back.”
Dane Winters, IMCOM-Europe entertainment director, agreed with Prince when he spoke during the event, adding that theater can help create a community and second Family for those far from home and serving overseas.

“Thank you to all the Soldiers, civilians and Family members that make up Army Entertainment in Europe,” he said. “You all make a difference in our lives.”
Prince won the Topper for Best Female Debut in a Musical for her role as Deloris van Cartier in the musical based on the 1992 film. It wasn’t just her debut with KMC Onstage, but her first role in any production ever, and she was excited to take a Topper home.

“It was an amazing feeling to win,” she said. “I honestly think more military personnel should get into (military community theater).”
This year’s Toppers continued the longstanding tradition of having various celebrity presenters announce awards by video. This year’s video presenters included Ben Stiller, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Kristin Chenoweth and others.

One of the returning presenters was Tony Award winner David Hyde Pierce, known for his role as Dr. Niles Crane in the television show “Frasier.”

“I’ve been asked this year to present the award for Best Youth Performance in a play, which is a great coincidence because I used to be a youth—I gave it up,” Pierce joked.

However, he also echoed a common and important theme from the various stars of stage and screen, a thanks to the Soldiers, Families and civilians serving and working overseas.
“I wanted to take this opportunity … to thank the Army for enabling your creativity, for encouraging your imagination,” Pierce said. “The freedom to express ourselves, the freedom to create, the freedom to be ourselves, all of those freedoms we must never take for granted. We also must never take for granted the people who everyday defend those freedoms for us, the people who stand up for us—that’s you.”

During the event, U.S. Army Europe Entertainment presented a ceremonial check for $8,826,911.70 to represent the 3,812 volunteers and their contribution of 365,655 hours to military community theater in Europe.

“This generous donation of time delivers an important gift to our community members,” Formica noted in his earlier address. “Whether you participated on a backstage crew, as a designer, technician, usher, performer, director or musician—you truly made a difference.”


And the winners are…

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN FOR A PLAY
Julie-Rose E. Tedrick. “The Crucible.” Aviano Community Theater

BEST SET DESIGN FOR A PLAY
Cheryl Navo and Eric Danzeiser. “Inherit the Wind.” Kaiserslautern’s KMC Onstage

BEST SOUND DESIGN FOR A PLAY
“Peter and the Starcatcher.” Wiesbaden’s Amelia Earhart Playhouse

BEST COSTUME DESIGN FOR A PLAY
Margi Ritscher. “Lend Me A Tenor.” Ansbach’s Terrace Playhouse

BEST STAGE PROPERTIES AND DRESSING FOR A PLAY
Jan Helsen, Dan Lamorte and Ashley Watson. “The Guardsman.” The SHAPE Performing Arts Center

BEST STAGE MANAGER FOR A PLAY
Larissa Kramer. “Inherit the Wind.” Kaiserslautern’s KMC Onstage

BEST DIRECTOR OF A PLAY
Cheryl Navo. “Inherit the Wind.” Kaiserslautern’s KMC Onstage

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN FOR A MUSICAL
Cindy Krewson. “Sister Act.” Kaiserslautern’s KMC Onstage

BEST SET DESIGN FOR A MUSICAL
Richard Roberts. “Berlin to Broadway.” The Stuttgart Theatre Center

BEST COSTUME DESIGN FOR A MUSICAL
Ashley Hilbert. “The Addams Family.” The Grafenwöhr Performing Arts Center

BEST STAGE PROPERTIES AND DRESSING FOR A MUSICAL
CC Kmon. “Mary Poppins, Jr.” Aviano Community Theater

BEST STAGE MANAGER FOR A MUSICAL
Christie Cornell. “Once Upon a Mattress.” Vicenza’s Soldiers’ Theater

BEST TECHNICAL DIRECTOR FOR A MUSICAL
“Beauty and the Beast, Jr.” Ansbach Terrace Playhouse

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Richard Roberts. “Berlin to Broadway.” The Stuttgart Theatre Center

BEST ORCHESTRA OR MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT
“Berlin to Broadway.” The Stuttgart Theatre Center

BEST MUSICAL DIRECTOR
Suann Strickland. “Alice in Wonderland.” Ramstein’s Razz Ma Tazz Community Theater

BEST DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL
Richard Roberts. “Berlin to Broadway.” Stuttgart Theatre Center

BEST MAKEUP
Ashley Hilbert. “The Addams Family.” The Grafenwöhr Performing Arts Center

BEST HAIR AND WIG DESIGN
“Lend Me A Tenor.” Ansbach’s The Terrace Playhouse

BEST ENSEMBLE FOR A PLAY
“Eleemosynary.” Ramstein’s Razz Ma Tazz Community Theater

BEST MILITARY ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Lt. Col. Brandon Kaye Thomas (Katharina). “The Taming of the Shrew.” Stuttgart Theatre Center

BEST MILITARY ACTOR IN A PLAY
Spc. Mason Brown (Hal). “Proof.” Grafenwöhr Performing Arts Center

BEST YOUTH PERFORMANCE IN A PLAY
Samantha Talley (Echo). “Eleemosynary.” Ramstein’s Razz Ma Tazz Community Theater

BEST ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY
Michelle Wallace (The Usherette). “The Guardsman.” The SHAPE Performing Arts Center

BEST ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY
Dale Coldwells (Meeker). “Inherit the Wind.” Kaiserslautern’s KMC Onstage

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Trude Moellmann (Maria). “Lend Me A Tenor.” The Terrace Playhouse

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A PLAY.
Steve Thornbrugh (Robert). “Proof.” The Grafenwöhr Performing Arts Center

BEST ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Tess Steddum (Rachel Brown). “Inherit the Wind.” Kaiserslautern’s KMC Onstage

BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY
Tom Navo (Henry Drummond). “Inherit the Wind.” Kaiserslautern’s KMC Onstage

BEST ENSEMBLE FOR A MUSICAL
“Berlin to Broadway.” The Stuttgart Theatre Center

BEST MILITARY PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL
Lt. Col. Robert Taylor (Ensemble). “Berlin to Broadway.” The Stuttgart Theatre Center

BEST FEMALE YOUTH PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL
Samantha Dickey (Mary Poppins). “Mary Poppins, Jr.” Aviano Community Theater

BEST MALE YOUTH PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL
David Owen (Pugsley). “The Addams Family.” The Grafenwöhr Performing Arts Center

BEST ACTRESS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Tammy Simmons (Grandma). “The Addams Family.” The Grafenwöhr Performing Arts Center

BEST ACTOR IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Kaleb Birch (Robertson Ay). “Mary Poppins, Jr.” Aviano Community Theater

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Jacqui Haggerty (Mother Superior). “Sister Act.” Kaiserslautern’s KMC Onstage

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Jeremy Cates (The Minstrel). “Once Upon a Mattress.” The Soldiers’ Theater

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Robin Sampson (Princess Winnifred). “Once Upon a Mattress.” Vicenza’s Soldiers’ Theater

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Adam Koehler (Ensemble). “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.” The Amelia Earhart Playhouse

BEST DEBUT IN A PLAY
Gavin Gage (Chuck). “She Kills Monsters.” Brunssum’s Alliance Players

BEST MALE DEBUT IN A MUSICAL
Sgt. 1st Class Direck Whorley (Prince Dauntless). “Once Upon a Mattress.” Vicenza’s Soldiers’ Theater

BEST FEMALE DEBUT IN A MUSICAL
Sgt. 1st Class Tonya Prince (Deloris). “Sister Act.” Kaiserslautern’s KMC Onstage

SPECIAL JUDGES’ CHOICE AWARD
Maj. Chris Hodl. Wing design. “Eleemosynary.” Ramstein’s Razz Ma Tazz Community Theater

SPECIAL JUDGES’ CHOICE AWARD
Total Design Concept AND Execution. “Alice in Wonderland.” Ramstein’s Razz Ma Tazz Community Theater

BEST PLAY
“Inherit the Wind.” Kaiserslautern’s KMC Onstage

BEST MUSICAL
“Berlin to Broadway.” The Stuttgart Theatre Center

BEST FAMILY SHOW
“Alice in Wonderland.” Ramstein’s Razz Ma Tazz Community Theater

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