Out Front on Main, Cumberland County Playhouse Top Winners' List in BWW Tennessee Theatre Awards


Out Front on Main, Inc., Murfreesboro's cutting-Edge Theater company, and Cumberland County Playhouse, Crossville's venerable theater that has been delighting audiences since the 1960s, were among the top winners in the BroadwayWorld.com Tennessee Theatre Awards, announced Sunday night.

Out Front on Main was singled out as the best community theatre company, with Cumberland County Playhouse once again claiming the crown as outstanding professional company.

With Franklin's Boiler Room Theatre filled to capacity, members of Tennessee's theater community gathered Sunday night, January 6, for Midwinter's First Night-the annual salute to the very best in live theater in the Volunteer State that featured the presentation of the BroadwayWorld.com Nashville Theatre Awards and the Tennessee Theatre Awards, along with the announcement of First Night's Top Ten of 2012, critic Jeffrey Ellis' annual lists of the performances and productions he deemed to be the very best on Tennessee stages.

Midwinter's First Night, which was hosted by Ellis and actress Angela Gimlin, featured performances by The Divas, four women known throughout the theater community for their tremendous talents both onstage and off-, including Mallory Gleason, Amanda Lamb, Memory Strong and Jennifer Whitcomb-Oliva. Accompanied by longtime First Night musical director Jane Kelley, the Divas were also joined onstage by Jaclyn Lisenby Brown (who accompanied Lamb on the guitar, including one original song written by Brown) and Jill Sissel, who joined Whitcomb-Oliva onstage for a crowd-pleasing performance of "Pure Imagination."

Amelia Young, introduced as a "diva-in-training" and a member of the 2013 Class of First Night Most Promising Actors, sang "Wonderland" from the Frank Wildhorn musical during the show.

Presenters of the evening's awards were Cody Rutledge, Kate Byrd, Jessica Storvik, LaToya Gardner, Leila Nelson, Weslie Webster, Lauren Marshall Murphy, Ron Murphy and Joshua Stephen Lowery.

Rutledge, Byrd, Storvik, Lowery and Young are joined in the first group of Most Promising Actors announced in 2013 by Emily Marie Hughes and Paige Brouilette. The remainder of the 2013 Class of Most Promising Actors will be introduced in July when the First Night Honorees are revealed.

Winners of the BroadwayWorld.com Tennessee Theatre Awards for 2012 are:

Best Actor in a Musical
Britt Hancock - The Music Man - CCP

Best Actor in a Play
George W Manus Jr. - Boys in the Band - Out Front on Main

Best Actress in a Musical
Kendell Anne Thompson - Spring Awakening - Roxy Regional Theatre

Best Actress in a Play
Molly Breen - Dinner With Friends - Out Front on Main

Best Choreographer
Jennifer Welch - Oklahoma! - Cookeville Children's Theatre

Best Community Theater Company
Out Front on Main Inc.

Best Costume Design
Dawn Phipps - Oklahoma! - Cookeville Children's Theatre

Best Director of a musical
Jennifer Welch - Oklahoma! - Cookeville Children's Theatre

Best Director of a play
George W. Manus - The Last Days of Judas Iscariot - Out Front on Main

Best Ensemble Performance in a musical
Oklahoma! - Cookeville Children's Theatre's Company

Best Ensemble Performance in a play
The Last Days of Judas Iscariot - Out Front on Main

Best Featured Actor in a Musical
Michael Adcock - Camelot

Best Featured Actor in a Play
Michael Adcock - Last Days of Judas Iscariot

Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Katelyn Leddy - Oklahoma! (Cookeville Children's Theatre)

Best Featured Actress in a Play
Lila Tuck - Last Days of Judas Iscariot

Best Lighting Design
Ryan Vogel - Boys in the Band

Best Musical
Oklahoma! - Cookeville Children's Theatre

Best Musical Direction
Judy Laulo - (Oklahoma!) Cookeville Children's Theatre

Best Play
The Last Days of Judas Iscariot - Out Front on Main

Best Professional Theater Company
Cumberland County Playhouse

Best Set Design
George W. Manus, Jr. - Five Women Wearing the Same Dress

Best Sound Design
George W. Manus, Jr. - Dinner With Friends

Best Younger Actor (under age 25)
Austin Price

Best Younger Actress (under age 25)
Peyton Chevalier

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Jeffrey Ellis Jeffrey Ellis is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who's been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 25 years. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association's Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theatre in the Volunteer State and was the founding editor/publisher of Stages, the Tennessee Onstage Monthly. He is a past fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and is the founder/executive producer of The First Night Honors, held during Labor Day Weekend, which honor oustanding theater artists in Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors. Midwinter's First Night, held the first Sunday in January after New Year's Day, honors outstanding productions and performances throughout the state. Further, Ellis directed the Nashville premiere of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Company, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show, with Ellis honored by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror.

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