RCT announces RusTony winners at awards show  

Theatre-lovers filled the Dixie Center for the Arts for the 31st Annual RusTony Awards Celebration Aug. 24. Each year Ruston Community Theatre (RCT) holds this event to celebrate its production season.   

A crowd of over 250 people walked the red carpet to enter the theatre. The lobby was filled with balloons and a display of props and programs from the season shows. As the curtain opened, the audience was welcomed by the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland voiced by Grisham Locke and puppeteered by a team of young performers. Joe Brown and Stephen Vessel served as the Masters of Ceremony while RCT President Mark Graham presented trophies to cheers and applause from the lively attendants.  

Live entertainment was provided by featured actors and actresses from the four musical productions from the season: Shrek Jr, Elf the Musical, Cinderella and Smoke in the Mountain. Highlights from the other season shows were presented in a series of video and photo montages produced and edited by Britton, Jenn, Siri and Dove Kilpatrick. 

This year’s RusTony Award winners are as follows:  

Technical Awards:  

  • Best Creative Lighting for a Play and Musical – Kevin Beasley
  • Best Creative Lighting for a Play and Musical – Brent and Conner Gay
  • Best Costume Design for a Play and Musical – Karen Pittman
  • Best Set Design for a Play – Tami Alexander, Anna and Johnathan Baines.
  • Best Set Design for a Musical – Mark Graham
  • Best Choreography – Chloё Alexander and Megan Wilkins
  • Best Stage Manager for a Play – Robbie Cunningham
  • Best Stage Manager for a Musical – Monika Locke
  • Best Director for a Play – Mary Watkins
  • Best Director for a Musical – Dee Alexander
  • Best Play – The Play That Goes Wrong
  • Best Musical – Cinderella

Play Awards:  

  • Best Leading Performer in a Play – Benjamin Gross as ‘Robert Grove (Thomas Collymoore)’ in THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG;
  • Best Supporting Performer in a Play – Anky Kiremire as ‘Dennis Hyde (Perkins)’ in THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG Musical Awards:
  • Best Performer in a Leading Musical Role – Jacob Guillot as ‘Buddy’ in ELF, THE MUSICAL
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Musical Role – Joe Brown as ‘Walter Hobbs’ in ELF, THE MUSICAL
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Musical Role – Emily Stogner as ‘Madame’ in CINDERELLA
  • Best Performer in a Minor Musical Role – Nathan Richardson as ‘Manager’ in ELF, THE MUSICAL
  • Best Cameo in a Musical – Robbie Cunningham as ‘The Giant’ in CINDERELLA
  • Best Young Performer in a Musical (18 and Under) – Charlotte Hanchey as ‘Fox Puppet’ in CINDERELLA
  • Asthon Thomas as ‘Marie’ in “There is Music in you” from Cinderella
  • Best Ensemble – “Nobody Cares About Santa” from ELF, THE MUSICAL

Junior Awards:  

  • Spotlight Award – Grisham Locke as ‘The Cheshire Cat’ in ALICE IN WONDERLAND, and Cole Morganthall as ‘Donkey’ in SHREK THE MUSICAL, JR.
  • Most Emotive Performance – Esther Allen as ‘Small Queen of Hearts’ in ALICE IN WONDERLAND
  • Most Creative Performance – Caed Baines as ‘The Mock Turtle’ in ALICE IN WONDERLAND, and Landon Walker as ‘Pinocchio’ in SHREK THE MUSICAL, JR.
  • Newcomer Award – Esther Allen as ‘Small Queen of Hearts’ in ALICE IN WONDERLAND
  • Best Ensemble – Flower Girls from ALICE IN WONDERLAND

Special Awards:  

  • Outstanding Performance – Katie Roberts as “June” in SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN
  • Artistic Contribution – Johnathan and Anna Baines
  • Helen M. Thomson Community Award – Johnathan Baines
  • Kevin Cuccia Comedic Award – Joseph Stogner

This year’s RusTony nominations were made by a pre-selected anonymous committee. Only performers who received nominations from the majority of this committee were added to the final ballot which was voted on by RCT membership to determine the award winners for the evening. This was also the first year in which youth shows were included in the awards, with unique categories created in part by the members of the RCT Youth Council.  

Stage Managers for the event were Westley Terry, Monika Locke and Robbie Cunningham. Sound control was provided by Brent Gay, lighting was designed by Monika Locke and run by Sawyer Cunningham.  

The RusTony planning committee was chaired by MaryBelle Tuten, with members Diana Grirgsby, Stephen Vessel, Monika Locke, Grisham Locke, Ayden Brown, Lizzy Beasley, Eli Farris and Mia Graham who designed and produced the programs for the evening.