Carol Channing Award Presented In Little Rock

Carol Channing Award presented in Little Rock; The Little Rock theatre community came together at the Argenta Community Theatre in North Little Rock for its annual Dark Night. Dark Night is an evening to celebrate and honor live theatre in Central Arkansas. The Nellie Award is named after Nellie Forbush from Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific and is given to a group or individuals for its involvement with and support of live theatre in Central Arkansas.

This year the honoree's were: John Cooke (technical designer, member of IATSE Local 204 and owner of Stageworks), Duane Jackson (local actor and Artistic Director of The Weekend Theater), and Daphne Shoppach (Artistic Director for the Young Players Division of The Royal Players in Benton, Arkansas.)

The community paid tribute to two theatre powerhouses who passed away this year: local actress, Fran Austin and former Arkansas Repertory Theatre Artistic Director, Cliff Fannin Baker.

In addition to the Nellie Awards, the first Carol Channing Award honoring passion for education in the arts was awarded to Argenta Community Theatre. Argenta Community Theatre has a partnership with the University of Arkansas- Pulaski Technical College that gives students the ability to receive college credit for working and learning set design, stage management, and audio and technical work.

In a letter from Ms. Channing, she writes:

To all my friends in the Central Arkansas Theatre Community,

From the moment I stepped out on stage of the Ziegfeld Theater in 1949 for the first time as Lorelei Lee in Gentleman Prefer Blondes, Little Rock has always held a special place in my heart.

I want to thank all of you for the great honor of being declared the namesake of an award that acknowledges individuals with an exceptional passion for arts. As most of you know, I have been very vocal about the importance of the arts in society, especially among the young. It is like fertilizer on the brain. It benefits each and every man, woman and child, and in turn benefits their communities.

I want to thank Vincent Insalaco, Jay Clark, the Dark Night Committee, and all of the theaters represented there tonight. Congratulations on giving the craft of theatre to the people and may it bless you all in return, as it has for me.

May the vibrant light shining from the Little Rock theatre community effect the rest of our country, so desperately in need of the arts. Keep up the great work and know I celebrate your successes with you.

Carol Channing

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