Congratulations to the winners of the 2013-2014 volunteer awards. They were all very much deserved.
Haskell Fitz-Simons Distinguished Performer Award
Charles V. York, Jr Distinguished Service Award
Glenn Amos Miller Technical Service Award
Ed Bodell Rookie Of The Year Award
Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Award
Judy M. Dove
Haskell Fitz-Simons Distinguished Performer Award: Jesse Gephart
Presented by Kathleen Rudolph.
This year marks the second time we present the Haskell Fitz-Simons Distinguished Performer Award. We have missed Haskell’s leadership, love and laugh during this past season, but in this recipient we see those traits continued.
16 years ago a tall, lanky 14 year old showed up at the Teens On Stage auditions. Little did we know that we would have the great honor and privilege to be an ongoing part of his amazing artistic journey. From the villain in Clumsy Custard to his sweet portrayal of Nat in The Witch of Blackbird Pond, to his remarkable performances in theatres across the Triangle, his work is always entertaining and engaging.
Maggie Rasnick told me, and I quote “I have been on both sides of the creative process with him and I am deeply grateful for every opportunity to work with such a gifted artist. I know we will continue to see great things from him.”
I have worked with this young man as a fellow cast member, as a teacher and most recently as a director. Even though he has many professional credits to his name, he was such a team player in our small orange ensemble.
Regardless of where his journey may take him, we hope he will always follow the road that leads back to us, to home.
The 2014 Haskell Fitz-Simons Distinguished Performer Award goes to Jesse Gephart.
Charles V. York, Jr Distinguished Service Award: Adrienne Dyson
Presented by Judi Wilkinson and Catherine Lambe, previous York Award winners
I would think since Catherine and I are presenting this York Award for Distinguished Service, everyone will know who is going to receive it, but we would like to tell you a few things about the recipient and why she deserves this honor.
She started at RLT in the 70s when her older sister Paulette appeared in various plays such as Butterflies are Free in the 75-76 season. As a side note, paulette is married to former artistic director Ron Campbell. After a break, she returned to RLT to work on All My Sons in 1990. She became one of Haskell’s favorite Assistants to the Director and Assistant Stage Manager. She was the volunteer representative to the board in 1994-1995 season.
When her son Joel was born, she wanted to spend more time with him and was the RLT part-time marketing director – 1997-1998. She was the main stage concession coordinator for some years, but resigned that position to concentrate on being the usher coordinator, a position she held for 12 years.
In the late 1990s, the volunteer appeciation committee was formed and she was a founding member of that committee. As such, she worked on the ice cream socials, the Canteys, and the Holiday Galas until this committee was disbanded in 2012. A new committee was formed, the volunteer recognition and appreciation committee, and she is a member of that committee. She won the Miller Technical Service Award in 1993.
For the last two years, she has been the AD, ASM or worked deck crew for every show in the Sutton and City Stage Series. She is a regular amphitheatre concession worker and she will be the deck crew coordinator for next year.
Adrienne, we know that you would have preferred to receive this award from Haskell. We hope that receiving it from the two of us will equal one Haskell.
The Charles V. York, Jr Distinguished Service Award goes to Adrienne Dyson.
Glenn Amos Miller Technical Service Award: Scott Wray
Presented by Charles Phaneuf.
As far as we know, only one other person in the history of RLT has won this award twice. But, when you’ve stage managed five plays in two seasons, including both of the musicals in the current season, you’ve clearly broken the mold and redefined service to RLT. The person who we’re recognizing this year in some ways feels like the fifth Beatle, if the Beatles were the full-time staff. He’s often around the office during the day, checks in with everyone, and is the first to know about things because he’s so approachable, calm and classy, so everyone feels inclined to share. I personally appreciate the time that we get to spend together, comparing the relative merits of Patti LuPone and Sutton Foster, or having various other theater debates. It’s with great pleasure that we recognize Scott Wray with this year’s Miller Award.
Ed Bodell Rookie Of The Year Award: Jeremy Diamond
Presented by Linda O’Day Young.
It is an honor to be presenting this award which carries the name of a man I knew well and loved dearly. The award was initiated in 2006 following Ed’s death the year before. Even though he was battling an illness and had keep Death away for many years, he did so much here, including stage managing, running crews, sound engineering, scenery construction, box office, and painting. He did all of this here and then volunteered for several other community organizations. He was truly inspirational.
Ed Bodell was LOVE. Theatre is LOVE. So the recipient of the Ed Bodell Rookie Award is not only receiving recognition for their work, they are receiving all the LOVE, Ed and all of our volunteers bring to this theatre.
The recipient of this award is a young man who first came to RLT as a student in 2011 summer camps. Soon the lure of Technical Theatre called to him and he was a member of Teens Backstage in 2012. Since then he has been an active tech volunteer. He has been involved in just about every show this past season. He has been a light board operator, member of the running crew and ASM. He has helped build our sets and hang and focus our lights.
This past year he served as an intern to Scenic and Lighting designer, Thomas Mauney. As such, he was here almost everyday. He was also the assistant light designer on Caroline or Change. I have seen him being dropped off very early on Saturday mornings, eyes half closed, to come and help Thomas with upcoming shows. Tech at RLT is the one thing that could get this teen out of bed on a Saturday.There is rarely a time during one of the Youth shows, that I haven’t run into him working on one project or another.
We are so happy to have him as a part of our Theatre Family.
The recipient of this year’s Ed Bodell Rookie Of The Year Award is Jeremy Diamond.
Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Award: Barbara Biggs
Presented by Vicki Olson.
Sometimes we have a volunteer who insists that he or she not be thanked when she leaves or recognized with an award yet she is a constant presence in the costume shop. She is long overdue for thanks but we’ve been afraid to give her an award lest she vanish into the night. This publicly shy but definitely not shy volunteer comes in twice a week and is considered one of our “regular” volunteers. We look forward to her appearance because she is so entertaining and she brings us gifts. Well, we have decided to risk presenting an award to this volunteer but to do it anonymously. Our next Wolfie will go to “Anonymous”. She’s not present tonight but Barbara Biggs will soon know about the award.
Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Award: Tucker Bullock
Presented by Cathy Gurley.
The 2014 Canteys marks my first year with RLT- what a year it has been. I recall in my interview process learning about the theatre and feeling genuinely bewildered. How can an operation this large function with such a small paid staff relaying on a corps of volunteers? How does that work? Well, I see know that it is not simply due to the quantity of hours and sheer dedication from these volunteers, but in fact it is the quality of the work done by them.
Tucker Bullock provides perfect example of how this plays out in real time. Since taking over the coordination of our House Managers for Adult shows, our house manager corps has expanded and we have added a number of amphitheater productions to our season and changed ticket scanning technology not once, but twice. Despite all of that, our house managers have expressed feeling informed, supported and most importantly prepared for their responsibilities. This is all due to Tucker’s foresight, follow up and general preparedness. We are so very pleased to give this Wolfie to Tucker Bullock.
Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Award: Judy M. Dove
Presented by Linda O’Day Young
How do you catch a cloud And pin it down?
How do you keep a wave upon the sand?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?
These are questions I asked myself as I attempted to put in a few words, what this next recipient of the Al D. Wolfheimer Volunteer Award means to Kathleen and me.
No matter what she is doing she arrives at the theatre filled with energy, covered in smiles and bursting with creative ideas for the Youth Program. She has been a part of the RLT family for many years and has volunteered in so many ways that my trying to enumerate them would be just as fruitful as holding onto a wave. She is also a much loved member of our faculty teaching classes during the school year and in summer camps, spreading her love of theatre to many students. She has also introduced students to the magical world of puppetry.
She also lent this talent to our Teens On Stage production of East of the Sun and West of the Moon when she mentored students to create colorful Butterflies and birds and giant whales swimming across the set.
In Feb, 2011 we asked her was to direct Storytellers to Go, a teen performance class which culminated in taking a show to area libraries. That Spring, I was contacted by Nancy Pennington from the Museum of History, who wanted to give her summer camp a tour of our historic building. She couldn’t pay and asked what she could do for us. I said, “Give me your auditorium so our Storytellers To Go class can perform.” That’s when our collaboration with the Museum began and that’s when this recipient began giving RLT a most marvelous gift.
We all agreed that the Storytellers play should reflect on North Carolina History but where do we find the script? This recipient has written three wonderful plays for our teens to perform at all six Regional Libraries and the Museum of History: A Rollicking Tale of Blackbeard, Pirate of the Carolina Coast in 2012, Jacktales: Appalachian Adventures in 2013, and this year’s The Golden Doorstop, a story about how NC first gold mine was discovered by a 12 year old boy. And Nancy and she are working on next year’s script.
This Al D. Wolfheimer Volunteer Award goes to Judy M. Dove. Now, Judy I believe you met your one true love Kent at RLT. Is that true? And you were married on June 28, 1986? Well I think Kent should join us on stage as the man who did manage to catch and hold this moonbeam in his hand.
Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Award: Todd Housknecht
Presented by Todd Aberts.
The winner of this next Wolfie Award is one of the people who I find indispensable. He is extremely giving of his time not only here at RLT but at numerous other theatres and schools in the Triangle, building and designing scenery and working sound. His knowledge makes so many of our musicals sound as professional as we try to be. He is a willing teacher and shares his technical knowledge freely to anyone who wants to learn. He is willing to pop by whenever we have an issue with our sound and is one of the first people I call, Todd Houseknecht. I seem to always get the absentee Wolfie Award winners but don’t think I will bother Todd on his cruise we will pass this along to him upon his return.
Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Award: Tana Shehan
Presented by Vicki Olson.
Our next volunteer service award is going to yet another one of our costume shop “regulars”. She is often given projects that require attention to detail for she is very meticulous about everything she does. She claims she can clear the costume shop faster than anyone but that’s only because she comes in late in the afternoon when other volunteers are leaving and Jenny and I are going to dinner. But we have no problem leaving her with a task and knowing that she’ll do it well. We’d like to give an Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Service Award to Tana Shehan.
Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Award: Barney Weaver
Presented by Linda O’Day Young.
The next recipient of the Al. D. Wolfheimer Volunteer Award is generous, warm, loving, positive and a joy to have in the casts of our Youth shows.He remembers well what it was like to be a child and often shares how different that childhood might have been if he had had a place like RLT. He truly knows on a personal level the value of the Youth Education Program and his gleaming positive expression always reflects that. He knows our worth.
He brings all of that positive energy to every rehearsal and makes sure that all of the young people in the cast appreciate theatre, appreciate each other, appreciate themselves, appreciate every volunteer and everyone on the production team. He teaches the young cast members by example to value their time here as they work on the show and to relish the time they devote to bringing their characters to life.
Whether he is an Italian cook in Merry Christmas, Strega Nona, a Magic Mirror in Snow White or the vicious Fire eater in Pinocchio, he is commits fully to the role. He commits fully to the role of mentor to the young actors. He commits fully to being a true friend of the RLT Education Program.
Even after back surgery, he pulled himself together so that he could participate in the DIVAS fundraising program, kindly mentioning the Education Program in his fund raising efforts. He is our cheerleader. He is The Youth Theatre and Education Program’s DREAM WEAVER.
The Al D. Wolfheimer Volunteer Award goes to Barney Weaver.
Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Award: Jean Wilkinson
Presented by Vicki Olson.
Tonight we would like to give special thanks to a few costume shop volunteers. One of our volunteers has been volunteering in the costume shop for many years. I believe she came to the theatre as a volunteer in the early 90’s and has been one of our “regulars” on Tuesdays and Thursdays ever since that time. It takes real dedication and determination to keep up the pace as long as she has been volunteering. She’s been a true and loyal friend to the costume shop and we’d like to honor her tonight with an Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Service Award. Let’s give a round of applause for Raleigh Little Theatre’s most senior active volunteer, Jean Wilkinson.
Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Award: Kiersten Williams
Presented by Kathleen Rudolph.
This Wolfie goes to someone very special to the youth program. We first met her a few years ago when her daughter started taking classes here at RLT. She was always filled with such energy and enthusiasm. That vitality was contagious, so Linda and I asked her to join our Youth Parent Committee. Not only did she say yes, but she has been volunteering madly ever since.
This fabulous woman has ushered, provided in-between-show meals, hung show posters, brought food and amazing ideas to meetings… all with a huge smile. And when we recently decided we needed to start a Facebook page for the Youth Program, she was there with many suggestions on how to design it.
We cannot imagine RLT without her. She knows how much theatre means to a child and is eager to spread the word about RLT. This Wolfie goes to Kiersten Williams.