Several GRCC students, alumni, staff, and faculty are recognized by the Grand Awards celebrating local college and community theaters!
Grand Rapids Community College’s production of The Hatpin received five Grand Awards this past weekend, but college faculty, staff, students and alumni also were well-represented among the other winners.
The Hatpin, a collaboration between GRCC’s theater and music departments that ran in May, was named Best College Production, and Rob Karel won for its direction. Student Meeka Postman was named Best Lead Actress in a College Production, and students Robbie Ellis and Madeline Jones received Best Supporting Actor and Actress, respectively. GRCC students Connor Manion and Nubia Gomez also received nominations for their work in The Hatpin.
With The Hatpin, A Sleeping Country and Jump/Cut, GRCC had three of the four nominees for Best College Production. GRCC students Jones, Henry Marcusse and Robert McFletcher received Grand nominations for their work in these productions.
“It’s always nice to be nominated, and you always smile when you get a win,” said Tom Kaechele, director of GRCC’s theater program. “But what we really love is being a part of the celebration of theater in West Michigan.”
He said the recognition for The Hatpin was especially rewarding as it was GRCC’s first collaboration with the music department.
“Rob Karel, a former directing student, came to us with The Hatpin, and it took about a year and a half for the logistics to work out so we could put it on,” Kaechele said. “It was an incredible effort, and we were fortunate to work with our accredited music department, especially department head Kevin Dobreff. Every time we came to a hurdle, Kevin helped knock it down, and he was also instrumental in coaxing former vocal director Duane Davis out of retirement to help us.”
Kaechele himself was honored at the 2014 Grand Awards, winning Best Director of a Musical for the Circle Theatre production of Spamalot. He was one of the many nominees and winners in non-college categories with GRCC ties:
- Alumna Mary Lohman won Outstanding Choreography for the Civic Theater production of The Sound of Music. Alumna Kyle Dutkiewicz was also nominated in this category.
- Alumna and GRCC staff member Michelle Urbane was named Outstanding Director of a Play for the Actors’ Theatre production of Venus in Fur. Kaechele was nominated in this category twice — for the Actors’ Theatre production of God of Carnage and Circle Theater’s Don’t Dress for Dinner.
- Adjunct Christian Poquette received Outstanding Scenic Design for Actors’ Theatre’s Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson. He was also nominated in this category for Venus in Fur.
- Alumni Sammy A. Publes and Darius “T.Q.” Colquitt were nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play for God of Carnage and the Jewish Theater production of The Whipping Man, respectively.
- Alumnus Dylan Harris was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play for Circle Theater’s One Man Two Guvnors and for Outstanding Supporting Actor in the Actors’ Theater production of Love! Valour! Compassion!
- Faculty member Nancy Wagner was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play for the Jewish Theater production of Driving Miss Daisy.
- Kaechele and staff member Catherine Marlett Dreher were nominated for Outstanding Lighting Design for Venus in Fur and Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, respectively.
West Michigan will be able to see many of the current and past Grand Award winners in Open Door, a musical production celebrating GRCC’s 100-year history. A collaboration between the theater and music departments, the script was written by Walt Lockwood, a retired GRCC English professor, and James Schafer, GRCC’s coordinator of video broadcasting and distribution.
Performances are 8 p.m. Nov. 7 and 8 at GRCC’s Spectrum Theater, 160 Fountain St. NE. Ticket prices are $25 for the public, $20 for seniors, and $15 for students with a valid student ID. A complimentary dessert reception will be held in the theater lobby following each performance. Call (616) 234-3946 to purchase tickets.