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Photos: The 2013 First Night Honors Red (actually Orange) Carpet Arrivals


Dressed to the nines-despite forecasts of thunderstorms and a tornado watch that hung over the region-theater people from throughout Tennessee gathered at Belmont University's Bill and Carole Troutt Theatre on Sunday night for the 2013 First Night Honors. Hosted by Holly Shepherd and Joel Diggs, the gala evening honored eight leading lights of Tennessee theater as they were recognized as members of the First Night Class of 2013 Honorees.

Founded by Jeffrey Ellis, who is a contributing editor to, in 1989, The First Night Awards were presented from 1989-1997, when they were discontinued. In 2009, Ellis revived the tradition as The First Night Honors and in 2010, the first eight Honorees were named: Shannon Wood, Paul Gatrell, Scot Copeland, Mac Pirkle, Kathleen O'Brien, Sean and Bob O'Connell and Barry Scott. Members of the 2011 Class of First Night Honorees were Pam Atha, Layne Sasser, Dan Brewer, Gary Hoff, Helen Shute-Pettaway and Danny Proctor.

The eight people honored in 2012 included: Maggi Bowden and the late Sue Stinemetz, Maryanna and Chris Clarke, Jackie Welch, Paul Vasterling, Mary Jane Harvill and Chambers Stevens. A cast of more than 100 performers paid tribute to them in a gala concert on Sunday night, witnessed by a capacity crowd at the Troutt Theatre.

A red carpet event, hosted by Jennifer Richmond and Trey Palmer-joined by Angela Gimlin, Hugh Britt and Cary Street-preceded the concert that also marked Ellis' birthday celebration. Photographer Johnny Benton, of Nashville's Studio Benton Photography, caught the vibrant and gorgeous attendees as they made their way on the red carpet (which was actually orange in recognition of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Middle Tennessee), which was moved inside the lobby of the Troutt Theatre after driving rain earlier in the afternoon.

photos by Johnny Benton

Trish Crist, Jim Manning, Robyn Berg, Cary Street

Cary Street and Jonathan Pinkerton

Hugh Britt, Jeremy Maxwell, Cary Street

Hugh Britt, Amanda Lamb, Jennifer Richmond

Hugh Britt, Maggie Pitt, Macon Kimbrough, Jennifer Richmond

Neely O'Brien Green and Corrie Miller

Hugh Britt, Bakari King, Angela Gimlin, Jennifer Richmond

Wesley Paine, Greg Greene, Wes Driver, Caroline Davis

Hugh Britt, Ed Amatrudo, Luckie Westlund, Angela Gimlin

Jackie Welch, Mark Schlicher and daughter

Hugh Britt, Elizabeth Walsh, Angela Gimlin

Hugh Britt, Kirby Hade, Melissa Hade, Jennifer Richmond

Hugh Britt, Chris Clarke, Maryanna Clarke, Jennifer Richmond

Lynda Cameron Bayer, David Bayer

Honoree Mary Jane Harvill and her husband

Betsy Sullenger, Chambers Stevens

Angela Gimlin, Delaney Amatrudo, Gina D'Arco, Blair Allison, Jennifer Richmond, Cary Street

Angela Gimlin, Delaney Amatrudo, Gina D'Arco, Blair Allison, Jennifer Richmond, Cary Street

Hugh Britt and Memory Strong

Joe Stinemetz, Jennifer Debs Tankersley, Hugh Britt, Sara Stinemetz, Cary Street

Joe Stinemetz, Jennifer Debs Tankersley, Hugh Britt, Sara Stinemetz, Angela Gimlin, Jennifer Richmond and Cary Street

Hugh Britt, Laura Crockarell, Josh Waldrep, Jennifer Richmond

Angela Gimlin, Hugh Britt, Cat Arnold, Darin Richardson, Taylor Tracey, Kevin Mead, Cary Street

Darin Richardson, Taylor Tracey, Kevin Mead

Hugh Britt, Rosemary Fossee, Jennifer Richmond

Angela Gimlin, Delaney Amatrudo, Gina D'Arco, Blair Allison, Jennifer Richmond, Cary Street

Maggi Bowden, Lynn Bowden, Jennifer Richmond, Cary Street

Trey Palmer, Maggi Bowden

Trey Palmer, Jennifer Bennett

Trey Palmer, RandAl Cooper, Jennifer Richmond

Whitney Vaughn, Leslie Marberry

Jeff Ward, Angela Gimlin, Phyllis Courtney, Hugh Britt

Trey Palmer, Caroline Sandrell, Karissa Wheeler, Cary Street

Cary Street, Julia Nettles

Trey Palmer, Britt Byrd, Layne Sasser, Corrie Miller, Jennifer Richmond

Jennifer Richmond, Corrie Miller, Britt Byrd, Trey Palmer

Regan Featherstone, Bailey Hanks, Ryan Bowie, Jeffrey Ellis, Lital Abrahams, Rob Rodems

Layne Sasser, Jeffrey Ellis

Trey Palmer, Ryan Garrett, Spencer Dean, Jennifer Richmond

Trey Palmer, Blandina Vergara-Cruz

Trey Palmer, Caleb Reynolds, Jennifer Richmond

Blandina Vergara-Cruz

Whitney Vaughn and her mom

Trey Palmer, Will Butler, Stephen Michael Jones, Matt Hunter, Jennifer Richmond

Trey Palmer, Emily Hughes, Jennifer Richmond

Trey Palmer, Cary Street, Angela Gimlin, Jennifer Richmond, Hugh Britt

Jeffrey Ellis, Christian Albright-Redden

Hugh Britt, Cary Street, Jeffrey Ellis, Angela Gimlin

Trey Palmer, Jeffrey Ellis, Jennifer Richmond

Trey Palmer, Jennifer Richmond

Trey Palmer, Jennifer Richmond

Jennifer Richmond

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