Feature: 2019-2020 MARCOM MASQUE AWARD WINNERS at Kentwood Players

with photos from all the winning productions

By: Aug. 17, 2020
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Kentwood Players, the community theater group based at the Westchester Playhouse, was founded in February 1950 by Jan and Arky Marcom, for whom the group's Marcom Masque Awards are named. The first such awards were presented for the 1957-1958 season with Cat on a Hot Tin Roof winning the award for Best Play. The annual awards are announced after the end of each six-production season at a dinner ceremony with musical entertainment, followed by an After Party with dancing.

Feature: 2019-2020 MARCOM MASQUE AWARD WINNERS at Kentwood Players

But this year, the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of all live theatre around the world, which caused the cancellation of the Kentwood Players 2019-2020 season's final play, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, which had to be shut down the night before its scheduled opening in mid-March. The set, props and costumes remain in place and the cast continues to rehearse on Zoom with the show's director Susan Stangl. Plans are in place to open the play as the first fully staged production in the to-be-determined next season.

Feature: 2019-2020 MARCOM MASQUE AWARD WINNERS at Kentwood Players

Photo: The cast and crew of PIPPIN, winner of 14 Marcom Masque Awards including Best Production of a Musical.

Marcom Masque Awards are determined by all Kentwood Players members who vote by secret ballot in several artistic categories after seeing each of the season's productions. Season Subscribers vote by secret ballot on each show's production quality as a whole after seeing it, with a Subscriber Favorite award given during the ceremony. At the close of each production, cast and production team members give written feedback on each show's Stage Manager and Producer for those awards. All votes and feedback are tallied by a committee of Kentwood Players members not nominated in any category, with distinctive award trophies presented to each winner.

Feature: 2019-2020 MARCOM MASQUE AWARD WINNERS at Kentwood Players

Photo: The cast and crew of THE GIVER, winner of 8 Marcom Masque Awards including Best Production of a Play.

Kentwood Players presented their annual Marcom Masque Awards during this year's ceremony held on Zoom on Saturday, August 15, 2020, honoring the shortened 2019-2020 season of five productions: Pippin, Blithe Spirit, Dial M for Murder, Little Women, and The Giver. The event was chaired by Kathy Dershimer, Vice President of Membership, with opening and closing remarks and award winner announcements made by President Jenny Boone after Board members Susan Weisbarth, Alison Boole, Michele Selin, Tom Brophey, Harold Dershimer, Kathy Dershimer, and Catherine Rahm each read the nominees in several categories. The evening, which included the Awards presentation and After Party, was hosted by Jon Sparks and Samantha Barrios, with the evening's musical entertainment spoofing all five productions written and directed by Catherine Rahm.

Feature: 2019-2020 MARCOM MASQUE AWARD WINNERS at Kentwood Players

Photo: The cast and crew of BLITHE SPIRIT, winner of 4 Marcom Masque Awards including Subscriber Favorite production.

This year, the musical numbers were staged in front of the Westchester Playhouse following social distancing guidelines, pre-recorded by West Maatita and edited by Sam Gianfala, for re-broadcast during the online ceremony. Featured musical entertainers included Samantha Barrios, Alison Boole, Marty Feldman, Sam Gianfala, Fiona Okida, Roy Okida, Lyndsay Palmer, Kim Peterson, Catherine Rahm, Jon Sparks, and Elizabeth Summerer. Also presented was a short comedy sketch titled Dial Z for Zoom presented by Dial M for Murder cast members Phillip Bartolf, Courtney Shaffer, Justin Heller, and Jeremy Palmer, written and directed by Stanley Brown with video editing by Sam Gianfala.

Feature: 2019-2020 MARCOM MASQUE AWARD WINNERS at Kentwood Players

Photo: The cast of DIAL M FOR MURDER, winner of a Marcom Masque Award for Phillip Bartolf (standing far left) as Inspector Hubbard

The After Party was hosted by the always fashionable Mama Lou Soul (Jon Sparks) and Ima Hotmess (Samantha Barrios) at the Governor's Ball, with Melodie Rivers at the Vanity Fair party and Sam Gianfala at the Elton John party. From those three locations, complete with appropriate backdrops, award winners from the evening were interviewed via Zoom to be given the chance to share their excitement at winning a Marcom Masque Award this year. All interviews were held following social distancing guidelines in place with none of the interviewers or winners ever in the same room.

It was a wonderful evening of entertainment, filled with the community theater spirit which has fueled Kentwood Players during its 70 years of presenting quality live theatre in Westchester.

Here are the winners of the Kentwood Players 2019-2020 Marcom Masque Awards:

Production of a Play - The Giver

Production of a Musical - Pippin

Subscriber Favorite - Blithe Spirit

Director - Play - Harold Dershimer for The Giver

Director - Musical - Alison Boole for Pippin

Musical Director - Catherine Rahm for Pippin

Choreographer - Alison Boole for Pippin

Producer - Jeremy Palmer and Lyndsay Palmer for Pippin

Stage Manager - Kirk Larson for Pippin

Lead Actor - Musical - Kyle Ray as Pippin in Pippin

Lead Actress - Musical - Samantha Barrios as Leading Player in Pippin

Lead Actor - Play - Elliott Plunkett as Jonas in The Giver

Lead Actress - Play - Megan Blakeley as Ruth Condomine in Blithe Spirit

Supporting Actor - Musical - Jon Sparks as Charlemagne in Pippin

Supporting Actress - Musical - Joanna Churgin as Berthe in Pippin

Supporting Actor - Play - Phillip Bartolf as Inspector Hubbard in Dial M for Murder

Supporting Actress - Play - Joanna Churgin as Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit

Featured Actor - Musical - Shawn Elliott Plunkett as Theo in Pippin

Featured Actress - Musical - Fiona Okida as Ensemble in Pippin

Featured Actor - Play - Elliott Plunkett as Asher in The Giver

Featured Actress - Play - Kelsey Weinstein as Edith in Blithe Spirit

Original Graphic Design - West Maatita for Pippin

Costume Design - Jon Sparks and Elizabeth Summerer for Pippin

Sound Design - Bruce Starrett for The Giver

Lighting Design - Bruce Starrett for The Giver

Set Design - Harold Dershimer and Bruce Starrett for The Giver

Set Decoration Design - Harold Dershimer and Kathy Dershimer for The Giver

Congratulations to all the winners! All production photos taken by Gloria Plunkett.

Feature: 2019-2020 MARCOM MASQUE AWARD WINNERS at Kentwood Players

Please visit the website www.kentwoodplayers.org for more information about Kentwood Players including their upcoming Virtual Theater Series of new original play readings online beginning in September, with submissions being accepted at plays@kentwoodplayers.org. You can also find Kentwood Players information on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube. Membership meetings are now held on the third Wednesday of each month at 7:30pm on Zoom.