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Geyer kicks off 25th anniversary celebration with Tottie Awards

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The nominees are:

Best Costume Design

• Ernest Watson for “The Secret Garden”

• Carol Kelley & Tina Stewart for “7 Brides for 7 Brothers”

• Sam & Jaye Crawford for “The Producers”

• Tricia Rohlf, Martha Oliver & the cast for “Legally Blonde”

Best Scenic and Lighting Design

• Ernest Watson, Rob Ross & Laurie Watson for “The Secret Garden”

• Rich Davis & Star Beat Productions for “7 Brides for 7 Brothers”

• Ernest & Laurie Watson for “The Producers”

• Kristen Tunney & Michael Rohlf for “Legally Blonde”

Best Choreography

• Michele Zamperini for “Seussical the Musical”

• Meredith Semon for “7 Brides for 7 Brothers”

• John Wagner for “The Producers”

• John Wagner for “Legally Blonde”

Best Music

• “The Secret Garden,” music director Jim Overly

• “7 Brides for 7 Brothers,” music director Michael Busija

• “The Producers,” music director Kevin Milliken

• “Legally Blonde,” music director Brad Henry

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play

• Adam Kenney as Pierre Pourri in “While The Lights Were Out”

• William S. White as Gregor Yousekevitch in “Fools”

• Ron Bronson as Slovitch the Butcher in “Fools”

• Rich Davis as Dr. Zubritsky in “Fools”

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play

• Marilyn Forbes as Lenya Zubritsky in “Fools”

• Kat Post as Unidentified Blonde in “While the Lights Were Out”

• Joan McCann as Lady Monica Wickenham in “While the Lights Were Out”

• Leslie Dolde as Bibi Cavendish in “While the Lights Were Out”

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play

• Brad Geyer as Benjamin Braddock in “While the Lights Were Out”

• Ben Pimental as Chris in “Halloween Screams”

• Adam Kenney as Leon Tolchinsky in “Fools”

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play

• Laurie Watson as Alma Threadle in “While the Lights Were Out”

• Chelsea Forbes as Sophia Zubritsky in “Fools”

• Samantha Nicholson as Meg in “Halloween Screams”

Best Play

• “While the Lights Were Out,” director Ernest Watson

• “Fools,” director John Wisilosky

• “Halloween Screams,” director Ernest Watson

Comedic Troupe

• Richard R. Davis & Marilyn Forbes as The Zubritskys in “Fools”

• Mike Hamilla, Marina Stefano & Sarah Hamman as The Cat in the Hat & Thing 1 & Thing 2 in “Seussical the Musical”

• Mike Hamilla, Greg Kerestan, Trent Bauer, Andrew Veltri, Matt Wiltrout, Chris McNaney & Jordan Hosfelt as The Pontipee Brothers in “7 Brides for 7 Brothers”

• Nick Onesko, David Fox, Jeremy Lowery, Ben Pimental, John Wagner, Sophia Jones as Roger & Team in “The Producers”

Best Antagonist

• William S. White as Gregor Yousekevitch in “Fools”

• Nicholas Onesko as The Sour Kangaroo in “Seussical the Musical”

• Alex Scabis as Franz Liebkind in “The Producers”

• Benjamin Pimental as Count Dracula in “Dracula: The Musical”

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical

• Ben Pimental as Dickon in “The Secret Garden”

• David Fox as Roger Dubris in “The Producers”

• Nicholas Onesko as Carmen Ghia in “The Producers”

• Paul Appleby as Renfield in “Dracula: The Musical”

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical

• Katy Pretz as Rose Lennox in “The Secret Garden”

• Whitney Weimer as Ulla in “The Producers”

• Whitney Weimer as Paulette in “Legally Blonde”

• Marina Stefano as Brooke Wyndham in “Legally Blonde”

Best Performance by a Leading Actor (in a Musical)

• Dan Pretz as Horton the Elephant in “Seussical the Musical”

• Mike Hamilla as Adam Pontipee in “7 Brides for 7 Brothers”

• Kelly Tunney as Emmett in “Legally Blonde”

• Roger Rhodes as Max Bialystock in “The Producers”

Best Performance by a Leading Actress (in a Musical)

• Grace Rusnica as Mary Lennox in “The Secret Garden”

• Angie Molinaro as Lily in “The Secret Garden”

• Emily Urbaniak as Millie Bradon in “7 Brides for 7 Brothers”

• Lexie Rohlf as Elle in “Legally Blonde”

Best Director

• Martha Oliver for “The Secret Garden”

• Tracy Kelley for “7 Brides for 7 Brothers”

• Bill Dreucci for “The Producers”

• Tricia & Michael Rohlf for “Legally Blonde”

Best Musical

• “The Secret Garden,” director Martha Oliver

• “7 Brides for 7 Brothers,” director Tracy Kelley

• “The Producers,” director Bill Dreucci

• “Legally Blonde,” directors Tricia & Michael Rohlf

By Rachel Basinger
Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, 10:28 a.m.

Five years ago, as a way to kick off the 20th anniversary of the Geyer Performing Arts Center, board members for the theater came up with the idea to hold an awards event fashioned after the Tony Awards.

Thus, the Tottie Awards were born.

This year, the Tottie Awards will be held 7 p.m. Saturday to kick off the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the theater.

Those who participate in the theater's productions look forward to the night when everyone can come together, visit those they might not have seen in awhile, dress up in their finery and applaud the hard work and talent.

For the most part, the event has been well received. There have been aspects, like last year's new youth category, that were not so well received, though.

Brad Geyer, president of the theater's board of directors, said the board had good intentions, but it just didn't work out. That category is now gone.

This year, all actors and actresses, regardless of age, were considered based on performance, including 10-year-old Grace Rusnica of Hempfield Township.

Rusnica received her first nomination for best performance by a leading actress in a musical for her role as Mary Lennox in “The Secret Garden.”

Rusnica has been acting for about two or three years and was most recently seen in the lead role of “Annie” at the Palace Theater in Greensburg.

Her mother, Lynn Rusnica, told her she had been nominated.

“I knew it was a possibility, but I wasn't sure that I would be nominated since that was my first leading role,” Grace Rusnica said. “I know that there are many talented actresses I am going up against, but I'm more excited than nervous.”

She plans to write a speech , “just in case.”

On the flip side, Scottdale area resident Martha Oliver has been involved with acting at the theater since 1988. She said that sometimes she wishes the Totties weren't a competition.

“I think it's wonderful to recognize the work at the theater, but I wish it was more of a celebration of shows we have had throughout the year,” Oliver said. “To me, that would be a much more satisfying event. But I understand why they are doing it.

“It's a wonderful evening for everyone to come together,” she added.

Geyer said board members from Actors and Artists of Fayette County and Geyer Performing Arts Center chose this year's nominees.

“I think it was a great way to do it this year,” Geyer said. “The more people involved in the process, the better the representation.”

Geyer added that while some people don't like the competition side of the awards events, others look forward to it.

“I think it makes us all just a little better,” he said. “Some people set out on their journey with a show, with the thoughts of a Tottie, and they work harder to reach that goal. I think it's a night to honor our actors. It's not as much about the awards as it is about saying thank you to each other.”

Also as part of the evening, the theater's beginnings and some people who were part of the theater in 1988 will be honored.

Everyone is welcome to attend. There is no charge.

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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