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Tottie's dream lives on at Geyer award show

Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer - Geyer Performing Arts Center board President Brad Geyer (left) and Education Director Kat Post arrived at the seventh annual Tottie Awards in a limousine.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer</em></div>Geyer Performing Arts Center board President Brad Geyer (left) and Education Director Kat Post arrived at the seventh annual Tottie Awards in a limousine.
Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer - Tottie Kiefer’s granddaughter Marah Kiefer, graced the Geyer stage for the first time this past year in 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.' Pictured above are Marah Kiefer (left) and her aunt (Tottie Kiefer’s daughter) Lynn Andras.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer</em></div>Tottie Kiefer’s granddaughter Marah Kiefer, graced the Geyer stage for the first time this past year in 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.' Pictured above are Marah Kiefer (left) and her aunt (Tottie Kiefer’s daughter) Lynn Andras.
Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer - Ron Bronson who has been part of shows at the theater for decades took time to enjoy the Tottie Awards.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer</em></div>Ron Bronson who has been part of shows at the theater for decades took time to enjoy the Tottie Awards.
Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer - Dottie Davis, the mistress of ceremonies for the seventh annual Tottie Awards, joked with the crowd.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer</em></div>Dottie Davis, the mistress of ceremonies for the seventh annual Tottie Awards, joked with the crowd.
Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer - Martha Oliver and Brennan Malia won a Tottie for best comedic duo for their work in 'The Wedding Singer.'
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer</em></div>Martha Oliver and Brennan Malia won a Tottie for best comedic duo for their work in 'The Wedding Singer.'
Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer - Jon Rohlf, director of The Wedding Singer, accepted the Tottie for best choreography.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer</em></div>Jon Rohlf, director of The Wedding Singer, accepted the Tottie for best choreography.
Rachel Bainger | For The Independent-Observer - Ron Hudson Jr. took home the Tottie for best performance by a leading actor in a musical for his portrayal of Don Quixote in 'Man of LaMancha.'
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rachel Bainger | For The Independent-Observer</em></div>Ron Hudson Jr. took home the Tottie for best performance by a leading actor in a musical for his portrayal of Don Quixote in 'Man of LaMancha.'
Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer - Kara Rohlf took home the Tottie for best performance by a leading actress in a musical for her portrayal of Dorothy in 'The Wizard of Oz.'
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer</em></div>Kara Rohlf took home the Tottie for best performance by a leading actress in a musical for her portrayal of Dorothy in 'The Wizard of Oz.'
Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer - Brad Geyer took home the Tottie for best performance by a leading actor in a play for his performance as “Paul” in Drinking Habits.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer</em></div>Brad Geyer took home the Tottie for best performance by a leading actor in a play for his performance as “Paul” in Drinking Habits.
Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer - Martha Oliver took home the Tottie for best performance by a leading actress in a play for her performance as Mrs. Ethel Savage in 'The Curious Savage.'
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer</em></div>Martha Oliver took home the Tottie for best performance by a leading actress in a play for her performance as Mrs. Ethel Savage in 'The Curious Savage.'
Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer - John Cunnard (right) took home the Golden Doorknob award, that was presented by last year’s recipient Rich Davis (left).
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer</em></div>John Cunnard (right) took home the Golden Doorknob award, that was presented by last year’s recipient Rich Davis (left).
Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer - Dottie Davis (left) presents Michael Rohlf with the Tottie for Best Director for his work with 'Man of LaMancha.'
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Rachel Basinger | For The Independent-Observer</em></div>Dottie Davis (left) presents Michael Rohlf with the Tottie for Best Director for his work with 'Man of LaMancha.'
Submitted - Kristen Tunney has left her post as theater manager at the Geyer Performing Arts Center in Scottdale to concentrate on her dream of having a career with a professional theater company.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Submitted</em></div>Kristen Tunney has left her post as theater manager at the Geyer Performing Arts Center in Scottdale to concentrate on her dream of having a career with a professional theater company.

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Rachel Basinger
Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
 

Tottie Kiefer, a philanthropist and an individual who loved and saw the benefits of the theater, would've been proud Jan. 18 to see the Geyer Performing Arts Center in Scottdale teeming with actors and other individuals who shared that same love.

But no greater pride could she have ever had than to know that her dream was being carried on — not only by a bunch of individuals who love the theater, but also by her granddaughter Marah Kiefer, who performed on the GPAC stage for the first time in 2013.

At the Tottie Awards, Marah said she first made the decision to participate in the musical “The Wizard of Oz” after Albert Gallatin High School's musical director announced they were in need of short people to be munchkins in the production at the GPAC.

Not only did she participate in “The Wizard of Oz,” she loved the stage so much that she also took part in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

“I have a vision problem, but when I'm on the stage, it goes away,” Marah Kiefer said. “My grandmother died when I was 2 years old, so I never really got to know her, but when I'm on stage it feels like she's guiding me through.”

Tottie Kiefer's daughter and Marah Kiefer's aunt, Lynn Andras, said her mother would be so proud of Marah as well as how successful the theater has become.

“These children are our future, and tonight — this is what she (Tottie Kiefer) would've wanted for this place and this theater,” Andras said. “She wanted this to be a place the whole community could enjoy.”

And enjoy it they did on Saturday night as one award after another was given out in recognition of all the hard work put into performances over the past year.

Besides winning the awards for best musical and best director (Michael Rohlf), “Man of La Mancha” also won a Tottie for best scenic and lighting design, the best performance by a featured actor (Mark Fox) and best performance by a leading actor (Ron Hudson Jr.)

“Drinking Habits” was the top vote getter to take home the Tottie Award for Best Play.

“The Wizard of Oz” and “The Wedding Singer” also made a good showing with both shows tying for best music.

“The Wedding Singer” also won for best choreography, best comedic troupe (Martha Oliver and Brennan Malia), best performance by a featured actress in a musical (Lexie Rohlf).

“The Wizard of Oz” was represented well with Totties for best costume design, best antagonist (Breanna Otto for the Wicked Witch) and best performance by a leading actress in a musical (Kara Rohlf as Dorothy).

Considering the plays that graced the stage this past year, Paul Appleby took home the Tottie for best performance by a featured actor in a play for his portrayal as Mr. Richards in “The Boardinghouse,” and Mandy Onder took home the Tottie for best performance by a featured actress in a play for her portrayal as Sister Mary Catherine in “Drinking Habits.”

The best performance by a leading actor in a play was Brad Geyer for his work as Paul in “Drinking Habits.” and the best performance by a leading actress in a play was Martha Oliver for her work as Mrs. Ethel Savage in “The Curious Savage.”

The Golden Doorknob Award, which is the GPAC's version of a lifetime achievement award for those individuals who have contributed in several different ways to keep the doors of the theater open, was awarded to John Cunnard.

Rich Davis, last year's recipient of the Golden Doorknob Award, said Cunnard has certainly helped to open doors and keep doors open at the theater since he's been active in all aspects since the doors reopened 25 years ago as Scottdale Showtime Theater.

“He works tirelessly with the 50/50s, as an usher, an audience member, an actor and a director,” Davis said.

“You may or may not see him when you're here because he does a lot of work backstage, working on the set and working in the fly,” he added.

Cunnard was completely shocked by the award.

“It is such an honor,” he said. “I was honored just to present an award with Tottie Kiefer's daughter (Lynn Andras), so I don't even know what to say to this.”

Rachel Basinger is a contributing writer.

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