St. Marys Community Players’ “Cabaret” takes home 5 WODL awards

By Dan Rankin

Sunday at the Western Ontario Drama League’s 2016 festival awards meeting in Woodstock, it was announced that the St. Marys Community Players 2015 production of Cabaret had received 12 nominations, winning five awards, including Outstanding Ensemble, Best Costumes and Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Major Role.

Cabaret ran at the St. Marys Town Hal Theatre from Oct. 22 to Nov. 1 last year.

Other shows and performance troupes in the “Out of Festival” category included “Alice in Wonderland” by Cambridge Community Players, “My Fair Lady” by Thistle Theatre, “Mom’s the Word” by Theatre Woodstock and “Peter Pan: a Pantomime,” by Kincardine Theatre Guild.

The adjudicator responsible for seeing and judging each performance was Sandy MacDonald, SMCP president Fern Pridham said. Pridham and SMCP producer Maggie Whitcroft both attended the meeting in Woodstock to witness the award announcements. They spent their drive back to St. Marys calling up the many members of the Cabaret cast and crew who were recognized with nominations and awards.

“They kept giving us nominations for this and that and we had some wins,” Pridham recalled. “By about the sixth nomination I was feeling quite emotional because I was so pleased we were being recognized, and then it just kept going. It was overwhelming.”

The full list of nominations Cabaret received includes: Melissa Metler for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Major Role, Landon Hoare for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Major Role (won), Terry Todd for Outstanding Direction, Outstanding Ensemble Production (won), Best Visual Production, Maddox Keller for Best Performance by a Juvenile, Dan Costello and Ann Jackson, both nominated for Best Cameo (Jackson won), Tania Harvey for “Best Visual Co-ordinated Costumes of a Non-Rental nature” (won), Jay Harrison for Set Design, Gary Austin for Lighting Design and Stage Management. The play’s “Kit Kat Girls” also received an Adjudicator’s award. Special mention was made by MacDonald for the roles of Chloe Weir and Andrew Hodges and, though the WODL has no awards in the categories of Music Direction and Choreography, he also made special mention of Cabaret’s Karen Rempel and Rory Scofield, Pridham said.

It should also be noted that St. Marys Community Players regular Brian Moore received the “Outstanding Achievement in Multiple Roles” award for portraying multiple characters in Theatre Woodstock’s production of “Mrs. Parliament’s Night Out.”

“Everyone is very proud of everyone else,” Pridham said. “Every aspect of Cabaret pretty much got mentioned. It’s not like anything we’ve had before.”

Hoare, who won his first Outstanding Actor in a Major Role Award, portrayed the character of the Emcee, which he said he considered a “bucket list” role.

“There have been lots of great people like Joel Grey, Allan Cumming and Bruce Dow who have played it famously,” he said. “I decided I had to take that and put my own spin onto it as well. The adjudicator said that he liked the freshness on the spin that I took for the role. I put everything I could into it, for sure.”

Hoare said he hadn’t even been aware that he was nominated until he got Pridham’s call telling him he’d won. “I was very, very pleased about it,” he said.

He confirmed that he and a group of others involved with the production will be making the trip to Woodstock March 19 for the awards gala.

Though all the nominations and awards are unprecedented for an SMCP show, Pridham said they “knew it was good.”

“We knew the adjudication went well,” she said. “He had very little to say other than just praising the show.”

The next event from the St. Marys Community Players will be two nights of improv comedy for “I Wanna Laugh 3Peat” on the evenings of Friday, March 4 and Saturday, March 5. Tickets are $10 and available at StMarysCommunityPlayers.ca or at the door.

Rehearsals are now underway for their next dramatic production, the Oscar Wilde comedy “The Importance of Being Earnest,” which will run from April 21-May 1. Tickets and meal packages are available now online and from The Flower Shop & More (519-284-2013).