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Civic Theater honors this year’s best with the 54th Anthony awards

By Jim Fester

Fort Wayne Reader

2006-06-20


As the entire nation breathlessly watched the Tony Awards on the evening of June 11 (okay, maybe “entire nation” is overstating the case, but I’m sure plenty of people outside New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut care a whole bunch. I don’t know any of them, but…), a Fort Wayne theatrical institution was holding its own awards ceremony for the best stage performances of the past theater season.

The Civic Theater has been honoring performers and crew with the Anthony Awards since 1954. The awards are voted on by people who have purchased a membership from the Civic Theater. “Throughout the year, with every production, all our members are sent an Anthony ballot,” explains Carolyn Hasty of the Civic Theater. “They vote on those people from that particular show who they felt shined in different categories.”

The first recipients of the Anthony Award back in 1954 were Evelyn Erekson and Cam Applegate for their roles in Elizabeth the Queen. Since then, many categories have been added recognizing those whose talents have shone on the stage in major and supporting roles in both plays and musicals. Categories range from actors awards such as Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role (Play or Musical) for both male and female leads, and technical/crew awards such as Master Technician. The Anthony Award Statuette was created by local sculptor Hector Garcia.

Additional award categories include lifetime achievement, technical excellence and staff support volunteer. This year, Larry Wardlaw won the George H. Koegel Lifetime Achievement Award. Named after George Koegel, who has been involved with the Civic for around 70 years (Koegel was also the first recipient of the award ten years ago), the award honors Wardlaw for his years of dedication as a volunteer, actor, director, donor, board member, board president and master of ceremonies for the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre. “My friends have been kidding me, because in all respect to this award and what it means — and I was very surprised, very humbled, and very flattered…” Wardlaw says, apologizing if he sounds flippant. “But George, bless his heart, is 92, and I think the last recipient of this award was one of our long-standing stage managers… I don’t want to tell her age, but they’ve all been of that vintage. That’s why I was so surprised and humbled by the award. So I’ve been billing it as one of the youngest people to win a lifetime achievement award.”

Wardlaw has been involved with community and local theater for over 30 years. “I think the recognition really represents a lot of my board-sponsorship, fund-raising, community involvement, making sure the theater is staying in the black… the ‘business hat’ side is really where my contribution I think has been the longest standing with the theater,” he says.

Wardlaw says one of his best experiences at the Civic Theater was directing their production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum a few years ago. “It was chock-full of all these wonderful community actors, like Brad Beauchamp and Tracy Collins… just very talented people. It was a great experience directing that show.”


Fort Wayne Civic Theatre’s 2005-2006 Anthony Award Recipients

Anthony Awards for Outstanding Dance Performance
Outstanding Female Dancer – Brennan Stillman for Beauty & The Beast and Meet Me In St. Louis
Outstanding Male Dancer: Michael Bartkiewicz for Big River

Anthony Awards for Outstanding Juvenile Performance
Outstanding Juvenile Performance: Riley McComb in Meet Me In St. Louis

Anthony Awards for Outstanding Performance in an Ensemble Role
Outstanding Ensemble Female Performance in a Play: Emily Terrell in Over The Tavern
Outstanding Ensemble Male Performance in a Play: Cole O’Beirne in Over The Tavern
Outstanding Ensemble Female Performance in a Musical: Christina Root in Meet Me In St. Louis
Outstanding Ensemble Male Performance in a Musical: Mike Brouwer in Beauty And The Beast

Anthony Awards for Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role
Outstanding Supporting Male Performance in a Play - Tom Young in Over The Tavern
Outstanding Supporting Female Performance in a Play: T.J. McCombs in Over The Tavern
Outstanding Supporting Female Performance in a Musical: Jill Kelly in Meet Me In St. Louis
Outstanding Supporting Male Performance in a Musical: Jeff Moore in Beauty And The Beast

Anthony Awards for Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role
Outstanding Leading Female Performance in a Play - Nancy Kartholl in Over The Tavern
Outstanding Leading Male Performance in a Play - David Ramsey in Over The Tavern
Outstanding Leading Female Performance in a Musical - Elizabeth Ankenbruck in Beauty And The Beast
Outstanding Leading Male Performance in a Musical - Jamie Woodson in Big River

Anthony Award for Excellence in Technical Theatre: Scott Hartman

Staff Support Recognition Award: Sandy Young

The George H. Koegel Lifetime Achievement Award: Larry A. Wardlaw

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