Mitty Awards - 2014
Yes, it’s that time again. Time for the 4th annual Most Impressive Theatre Awards – the Mittys! For those of you who aren’t familiar with this prestigious set of awards – since 2011 I have been giving them out annually here on ASOTA. Each year, I select the most impressive accomplishments in theatre which I have seen (and reviewed) over the course of the calendar year. You can view last years awards here:

This year I have added an expansive new category of shows – those done at professional theatres (which I define, for these purposes, as Equity houses). I have been lucky this year to frequent Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre and Actors Theatre of Indiana and so I thought that it would be an interesting upgrade for the awards to include my favorites as done by these great local theatres.

In total, I reviewed 26 shows this past year. In that total, I include all shows since the last Mitty announcements were made – so there are actually two shows which occurred in late December that are in the mix here.

For my simplicity’s sake, I am dividing the awards into two blog entries. I’ll start with the Most Impressive Theatre Awards in the Community Theatre Division.

So let’s begin!

In the category – Most Impressive Set Design – Community Theatre Division: Danny Russel’s impressive two story interior set design for God’s Favorite at Main Street Productions in Westfield was an ambitious undertaking. The playwright (Neil Simon) puts a lot importance on the need for this show’s set to deteriorate substantially from act to act and Russel’s designed in deconstructive quality was impressive. Master carpenter John Sampson’s stagecraft is also to be applauded.

In the category – Most Impressive Costume Design – Community Theatre Division: To me, costuming is always impressive – partly because I depend so much on others when I am putting together a show. For this award, the show with the most impressive costumes was one that I believe also had the MOST costumes – Theatre on the Square’s Calendar Girls. The program for this show noted that the costumes were done by the cast – which was not only impressive but quite smart. Regardless, the cast of 6 ladies and 3 men, seemed to have an endless assortment of “looks” during the course of the play, which not only was colorful, but also did a convincing job of marking the passage of time.

Dalyn Stewart plays young Dylan Thomas in "A Children's Christmas in Wales" at CTC

Dalyn Stewart plays young Dylan Thomas in “A Children’s Christmas in Wales” at CTC

In the category – Most Impressive Newcomer – Community Theatre Division: This award is typically given to a young person and so it is again this year. From a terrific Christmas holiday show that I recently attended, Dalyn Stewart takes the part of a youthful Dylan in Carmel Theatre Company’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales. If you saw the Westfield 7th grader’s performance, I am certain you agree with me. He looked very comfortable onstage, as well as evocative, with just right reactions, and quite a well thought out performance for such a young actor.

In the category – Most Impressive Actor in a Smaller Role – Community Theatre Division: From Carmel Community Players, Joe Aiello is matchless in Lost in Yonkers, “recreating the role of mobster bagman Uncle Louie, which he did a number of years ago at The Belfry, Aiello brings just enough “shtick” to the part, never going over the edge into a cartoonish quality. His rapid-fire delivery is unmatched as he teases and tests his nephews or accommodates his limited sister Bella.” (Quoted from my review of the show)

Carla Crandall in "Bell, Book and Candle" at The Belfry

Carla Crandall in “Bell, Book and Candle” at The Belfry

In the category – Most Impressive Actress in a Smaller Role – Community Theatre Division: Another winner for The Belfry – in Bell, Book and Candle, Carla Crandall’s work as Aunt Queenie is “perfectly formed – playful, impetuous and lively.” I fully enjoyed her time onstage. Ms. Crandall simply threw herself into the part and had great fun doing it, it appeared.

In the category – Most Impressive Performance in a Larger Role – Community Theatre Division: I have combined the actor and actress awards this year to pay tribute to one performer who I thought was above the fray in her impressiveness; in CCP’s Lost in Yonkers, I feel that Jean Childers Arnold’s portrayal of Bella was the performance of the year. She was spot-on with every detail and emotion. The heart-breaking quality of the role came through her sparkling rendition of the mental discounted aunt. It was a tremendous job!

In the category – Most Impressive Direction – Community Theatre Division: I pondered this selection for quite some time before deciding on a choice. I am a picky judge of directing styles and results. I believe I find flaws that no one else may notice, and I realize that is just from my experiences as a director. This careful thought brought me to the realization that Carlo Nepomuceno, in directing his Ordinary Days for CCP, overcame many challenges and his good and careful work resulted in a thoroughly enjoyable piece of theatre. I hope you got to see it.

In the category – Most Impressive Production – Community Theatre Division: Without a doubt, I have to say that I was most impressed by CCP’s production of Ordinary Days. With an amazingly talented cast, the aforementioned direction by Carlo Nepomuceno, the wonderful new feeling of the music – those of us who saw this show were treated to a rather rare evening of story, songs, and simply wonderful performances. We laughed, we cried, we marveled at the impressive local talent on display.

Special categories allow for awards areas I would not normally give awards in. This year I have one special category:

In the category – Most Impressive Ensemble Cast – Community Theatre Division: The foursome who handled the energetic and wide-ranging roles for Carmel Community Players’ Ordinary Days certainly deserve notice for their impressive work together. The two sets of two actors, Onis Dean and Virginia Vasquez Vought, along with Stacia Hulen and D. Scott Robinson told the two meshing stories with great musical and acting skills.

Ordinary Days cast members (clockwise from top) D. Scott Robinson (Warren), Virginia Vasquez Vought (Claire), Stacia Hulen (Deb), and Onis Dean (Jason)

Ordinary Days cast members (clockwise from top) D. Scott Robinson (Warren), Virginia Vasquez Vought (Claire), Stacia Hulen (Deb), and Onis Dean (Jason)

Well, that’s it for another year. Congratulations to all the winners! I encourage my readers to continue to go out and see the wonderful shows and performances in community theatres all around the Greater Indianapolis area! They have a lot to offer for a very reasonable ticket price.

If you have not yet seen the awards in the Professional Division, you can find them here:

Enjoy your holiday season!