ACT honors volunteers

Farm Forum

At its 24th annual volunteer party last month, Aberdeen Community Theatre recognized the efforts of many individuals and businesses that helped bring on another season of live theater.

With more than 120 volunteers on the Capitol Theatre stage, ACT artistic/managing director James L. Walker gave “ACTie” awards — some serious, some hilarious, some a mixture of both — celebrating ACT’s 2012 season.

The irreverent awards referred to specific mishaps or problems that occurred during rehearsals or performances of the five main stage shows.

The “Mmm-mmm Good” award went to Jacob Womack as B-Flat, Trent Deyo as Mansel, and Susie Ewinger as Marcela for their chug-a-lugging of assorted beverages and the subsequent spontaneous belching in “Second Samuel.” Walker stated during the awards, “Trent and Susie were always right on cue. Jacob, however, sometimes had trouble getting the belch out when scripted, but it always came out at a less-important moment later in the play.”

Other light-hearted awards of the evening included: “Padding Your Part,” which was awarded to Steve Balsarini for “Monty Python’s Spamalot”; the “Abused Actor,” awarded to Seth Honerman, who was actually stabbed during a performance of “Monty Python’s Spamalot;” and “Schizophrenic Star,” which went to David Womack, for playing more than 10 characters in three ACT shows.

ACT also recognized the extremes. The youngest performer in a main stage show was Italey Scheitel, age 6. She was in the daughter’s chorus for “The Pirates of Penzance Jr.” The oldest (most mature) volunteer was Warren Redmond, who played Doc in “Second Samuel.”

This year, 35 volunteers who helped for the first time received “Debut Season” ACTie awards. They helped all over the theater — onstage, backstage, in the orchestra pit and in the house.

ACT also recognized 26 families as proof that community theater “really is a family affair.”

Also, serious awards were given.

The “Glutton for Punishment” awards were given to those involved in several season productions in major capacities, performing duties in different areas. The volunteers “always willing to lend an extra hand when needed” were Marilyn Burckhard, Nicole Christiansen, Emily Davis, Marilyn Davis, Lori Harmel, Honerman, Diana Larson, Diane Leitheiser, Ben Villa and Brenda Weishaar.

The 2012 “Golden Thread” awards for costuming shows went to Marilyn Davis and Nella Thompson. Davis costumed “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” “Leaving Iowa,” “The Pirates of Penzance Jr.,” “Second Samuel” and Young Peoples Theatre’s “Shakespeare on the Green.” Thompson co-costumed “Monty Python’s Spamalot.”

Costume crew members who worked on more than one show during the season received the “Golden Needle” award. They were Burckhard, Marilyn Davis, Emily Davis, Ewinger, Grace Fischer, Larson, Leitheiser, Kyle Stugelmayer, Thompson, Carol Vetter and Margaret Wild.

The “Betty Anderson Stitch-in-Time” award is given to a stalwart costuming volunteer. The award celebrates the spirit of the honoree but is not necessarily given every year. This year’s recipient was Ewinger, who had to make two specialized black knight costumes for “Monty Python’s Spamalot” — one for the actor and one for the set.

Volunteers receiving 2012 “Season Specialist” awards for their willingness to take on the same job for each of the main stage shows in the season were Juli Schultz of the Capitol Theatre box office; Kathleen’s staff: Kathy Stuck, Eleanor Nall, Linda Wilson, Christine Martel, Bonnie Meilke and Judy Thompson, who worked in the advance box office; and Marilyn Davis, costuming.

Three area organizations were given recognition for helping ACT usher the main stage shows: Aberdeen Federal Credit Union, Dacotah Bank and Northern State University Masquers.

The 2012 “Techie of the Year” award went to Villa, for stage managing, assistant directing and being on the set crew for “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” running sound for “Leaving Iowa,” and for being a projectionist for the South Dakota Film Festival.

Walker named Harmel Volunteer of the Year. He said, “She did a little of everything: ushered; worked the Capitol Cinema box office; helped with Pumpkin Patch, a YPT fundraiser; was the main person behind all publicity for ‘Monty Python’s Spamalot’ and Storybook Land Theatre; was house manager and box office for ‘Sirens of the 60’s,’ ‘Monty Python’s Spamalot,’ ‘Leaving Iowa’ and YPT’s ‘Shakespeare on the Green’; and was onstage as Omaha Nebraska Madison in ‘Second Samuel.’ ”

Walker named Quality Quick Print/Midstates Printing as Business of the Year. In giving the award, Walker said, “they have been a great supporter of ACT from the very beginning. They have been a solid annual corporate sponsor for more than a decade and have contributed to every leg of ACT Capitol Improvement Campaign. They also are willing to help in some way on almost every show of the season.”

Those interested in volunteering for the upcoming season or buying a membership should call 605-225-2228 or email