Congratulations to the winners of the 2015-2016 volunteer awards. They were all very much deserved.

Haskell Fitz-Simons Distinguished Performer Award
Alison Lawrence

Charles V. York, Jr Distinguished Service Award
Mike McGee

Glenn Amos Miller Technical Service Award
Jeremy Diamond

Ed Bodell Rookie Of The Year Award
Jen Leiner

Special award for services as RLT Webmaster
David Watts

Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Award
Corliss Bradley
Georgia Donaldson
Ann-Marie Gerney
Tamara Hopson
Kathy Lagana
Don Miller
Gloria Rich
Sylvia Scholl
Jim Shaughnessy
The Snee Family
Hannah Wolfert

Haskell Fitz-Simons Distinguished Performer Award: Alison Lawrence

Presented by Patrick Torres.

This year’s Haskell Fitz-Simmons Distinguished Performance Award honors a volunteer performer whose work transcends the stage and inspires participation in others. This year’s recipient is Alison Lawrence.

Alison has volunteered in a variety of capacities at RLT for the past 30 years. She has performed in numerous productions and has often helped Vicki with hair and make-up for many shows. She was part of the initial group of dedicated volunteers who came together to dream of a way they could help sustain the theatre through their talent – the meeting where Divas was born. In the first year, Divas raised $24,000 for the theatre. This year, it raised $56,000! Alison has been a part of every Divas show both as a volunteer and a director. But it is her dedication to the Divas – volunteers themselves – that makes her so deserving of this award.

She cares deeply about each of them and inspires them to work tirelessly for RLT. She is always here to lend a hand, to teach a student, to perform on stage, and to help us tell our story the best way we can. Alison, we are thrilled to offer you this award as a way to say thank you for sharing your heart, your hands, and your passion with us.

Charles V. York, Jr Distinguished Service Award: Mike McGee

Presented by Charles Phaneuf

There are many people who put in a lot of time here, but few that have gone as deep in more than one area of the Theatre that I have noticed. Not only has this individual devoted an exceptional amount of time to the Theatre, he has taken on tasks that are often thankless and behind the scenes, despite the fact that we all know who he is and appreciate his efforts.

When I arrived at RLT four and a half years ago, I learned that he had been stage managing Cinderella, which is typically our largest production, since 2009. I also realized that he served on the board of directors, was active in our marketing and outreach efforts, one of our most generous donors, had children involved at RLT and a partner who made a mean strike dinner, and liked literally every post that we made on Facebook.

Over the next several years of working together, he became vice president of the board and eventually president. His term as board president began during the 2014-15 season, and I think he thought that he’d miss the bulk of the work on our major gifts initiative. In fact, he and our board vice president ended up doing yeoman’s work, going on countless calls to ask who wanted to make an investment in the Theatre’s future.

At one point a few months ago, he mentioned that he was actually putting in more hours at RLT then he was at his day job, which was not a surprise to anyone. Perhaps more than anything, I appreciate that he has been a consistently positive advocate for the theater, staff, and everyone in the RLT family, always standing up for us when reviews might not be great or lending a hand when someone has a challenge in their personal life.

I am grateful to have worked closely with the recipient of our York Award, and ask you to please join me in recognizing Mike McGee with this year’s honor.

Glenn Amos Miller Technical Service Award: Jeremy Diamond

Presented by Todd Aberts.

The Miller Award this year goes to a volunteer who is just starting his path into his technical theatre career and will be sadly leaving us soon to continue it at college, we often pick on him and have high expectations of him because he has proven he is up to it. Jeremy Diamond has in a short time found his way into many different areas around the theatre. He has helped with lighting hangs, scenery builds, as deck crew and chief, light board and followspot operator, assistant stage manager. He has also been the lighting designer for Divas, Canteys and Charlotte’s Web. However the biggest skill and testament to him has to be that Vicki trusts him to wash costumes and he learned how to do laundry. Jeremy has become part of the RLT family and we wish him well and will miss him.

Ed Bodell Rookie Of The Year Award: Jen Leiner

Presented by Duncan Jenner.

The winner of this year’s Ed Bodell Rookie of the Year, goes to a newcomer in the scene shop who brings a remarkable level of eager, and enthusiastic energy to every show she works on. After hitting the ground running, she is always excited to come join in the collaboration, and creation of a show. If my memory is correct we have only had to kick her out for working too late twice (per show). I have enjoyed brainstorming with her, as well as watching her pick up a new technique only to turn around and be teaching it to others almost immediately. I am thrilled to present this year’s Ed Bodell Rookie of the Year award to Jen Leiner.

Special award for services as RLT Webmaster: David Watts

Presented by Patrick Torres.

Our first special award this evening goes to a dedicated volunteer who spends hours working with us every week – our webmaster, David Watts. As Charles mentioned earlier, we are beginning the process of redesigning our website, so we wanted to take this special moment to honor David who created the current version of the website back in 2007 and has been the webmaster ever since. David fields requests for updates to the site daily, and he has personally save me from making many mistakes in audition and casting announcements! So we made this t-shirt that says “The World’s Greatest Webmaster” for David to say thank you for the huge impact he has on our theatre. Thank you, David.

Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Award: Corliss Bradley

Presented by Duncan Jenner.

There are times when I look at a finished set, and wonder how we ever would have pulled it off without certain people’s talents. The next Wolfie recipient is one such artist, whose skills with a paint brush turn our drab floors and walls into works of art. It’s always hard to scrap a set, and her painting makes it nearly impossible. This Wolfie goes to Corliss Bradley.

Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Award: Georgia Donaldson

Presented by Lee O’Connell.

This next award goes to someone who supports RLT with seemingly unceasing energy and determination. She is a dedicated member of RLT’s Board of Directors and will assume the role of Vice President on July 1. She chaired the Divas! committee the past two years, successfully leading the second-highest grossing Divas! in the event’s 10 year history in April. She procured nearly half of the event’s sponsors and sold more raffle tickets than any other individual (hopefully, her friends are still talking to her). In her spare time, she also serves on the Campaign Steering Committee for the Major Gifts Initiative to raise money for improvements in the Gaddy & the Amphitheatre. It is my great honor to recognize Georgia Donaldson for this Al Wolfheimer Award. As Georgia is finally on a well-deserved vacation, I will make sure receives her award on her return.

Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Award: Ann-Marie Gerney

Presented by Kathleen Rudolph.

This Wolfie Award goes to someone I am extremely honored to know. I first met her when her son started taking classes about 9 years ago in Apex. She was (and still is) a very supportive mom, driving her son to classes, workshops, auditions and rehearsals – no easy task having 3 other children. She cooks, gardens, paints, sews – all the things I have no idea how to do! I asked her one year to help me with some costumes for a show I was doing in Apex. That was 6 years ago and she still offers her help to me willingly each year, with a smile. This fabulous woman shows up to work calls every time her son is in a show here at RLT. She provides between show meals whenever I ask her. I don’t know when she sleeps. This Wolfie goes to Ann-Marie Gerney.

Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Award: Tamara Hopson
Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Award: Gloria Rich

Presented by Kathleen Rudolph.

We have two Wolfie Awards to present but we can’t present one without presenting the other because frankly it is hard to think about one of these two people without thinking about the other. They are an amazing help to RLT, especially the youth program, and have been for many years. One of these fine women had a child in our program who is a 23 year old college graduate. Yet she hasn’t forgotten us and still finds time to come help us whenever we may need her. The other has had 3 children in our program, the oldest 2 now college age.

They have both served on our Youth Parent Committee. They have run our Cinderella boutique since I can remember. They always offer to provide a between show meal – even when they know no one in the cast! And one of them makes the best soup in the world – and she brings her own china and silverware to serve it in! We cannot do our jobs without them. They always have a smile and a kind word. They are family to us. These Wolfies go to Tamara Hopson and Gloria Rich.

Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Award: Kathy Lagana

Presented by Charles Phaneuf.

It’s one thing to be in a play or work on a play that starts at 3am, and a wholly other thing to show up and stay awake for that production. But when we participated in the recent Shakespeare marathon, it wasn’t a surprise to see this board member and active volunteer there to support us, because she’s a person who often shows up in expected moments or helps in ways that no one thought to.

When I asked for a volunteer this year to go to the Wake County budget public hearing, she came along. When the state budget came out this year, she read it from cover to cover and sent me information on things that were relevant to RLT. She house manages, does strike dinners, and constantly invites new people to come to the Theatre and see if they might like to volunteer.

In my career, which has included several nonprofits, I have never met a board member who is so thorough in reading everything that we share and asking thoughtful, incisive questions. And to top it all off, she is exceptionally kind, fun, a great dancer, and often shows up to volunteer wearing the coolest hats. It’s my pleasure to present this Wolfie to Kathy Lagana.

Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Award: Don Miller

Presented by Duncan Jenner.

I’m excited to present this next Wolfie to one of the most dedicated volunteers I have the pleasure of working with in the scene shop. Here practically every week, and coming in on odd days when he’s unable to make it to regular build calls. Whether it’s working out how to build a complicated piece, or drinking coffee while coming up with new ways to improve the scene shop (the new drawing bench in there was his brain child), he is an unparalleled member of the Thursday Crew. I present this Wolfie to Don Miller.

Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Award: Sylvia Scholl

Presented by Vicki Olson.

Dependable, generous, kind. These words aptly describe this Wolfie recipient. She volunteers her time to the Volunteer Recognition and Appreciation committee most often referred to as VRAC. She is frequently seen as a dresser backstage. And she is Larisa’s “go to” person when ushers are needed. In fact, she’s ushering tonight! We would like to show our appreciation by giving our first Wolfie to Sylvia Scholl.

Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Award: Jim Shaughnessy

Presented by Larisa Putnam.

Being the new kid, anywhere, can be overwhelming. If it weren’t for the gracious staff and the helpful and nurturing volunteers, I feel certain I would have been utterly lost. Just like anything with a little age on it, this building and everything in it requires tender loving care, and that is where our next Wolfie recipient fits in. Recently Jenny said to me, “Jim made this work, and it makes me so happy.” During my first week on the job when all technology was going haywire I was instructed to “Call Jim, Call Jim!” Well, here I am calling on Jim, Jim Shaughnessy, our next Wolfie recipient. He is always just a phone call away, and that brings us all comfort. Jim makes our computers work, and it makes us so happy! Thank you, Jim Shaughnessy for loving RLT and sharing your gifts of time and knowledge with us!

Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Award: The Snee Family

Presented by Larisa Putnam.

It has been said that “The family that plays together, stays together” and that adage perfectly sums up our next Wolfie recipients. As someone new to RLT usher coordination, I have so many people to get to know. I attend as many functions and performances as I can, as do these next recipients. Not only does this family usher for multiple shows during multiple runs, they each give additional time to the theatre providing between show meals, or serving as a Teacher’s Assistant, as well as participation on the Youth Parent Committee. I have taken note over the past seven months how many couples, families and friend groups spend time together at RLT which enhances our sense of community. I am so grateful that we are the beneficiaries of such kindness and generosity. For your kindness and generosity, we would like to award our next Wolfie to the Snee Family: Julie, Andrew, and David.

Al Wolfheimer Volunteer Award: Hannah Wolfert

Presented by Jenny Mitchell.

Our next recipient is equally deserving of a Wolfie. She, too, has been a frequent dresser backstage and has often stayed to offer her help with costume strikes when a show closes. She also volunteers as a stitcher now and coerced her mother to accompany her to work calls. We have really enjoyed working with her as she is eager to learn new skills and will do what it takes to get things right. The next Wolfie goes to Hannah Wolfert.