Add another award to the Manatee Players’ impressive trophy case.
The community theater company’s production of “Sunday in the Park with George,” which ended its two-week Bradenton run Oct. 10, won Saturday at the Florida Theatre Conference Festival.
The Players staged an abridged version of the first act of Stephen Sondheim’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical at the Youkey Theater at the Lakeland Center.
Managing Artistic Director Rick Kerby said that in addition to the Manatee Players winning the award for best overall production, Marc Lalosh won the special technical theater award, David Walker won the award for best costume design, Steve Dawson won the special acting award, and Diane Dawson won best actress.
“We have such an incredibly talented cast; they shone and stood out. I am incredibly proud of them. I am very excited we get to represent the entire state of Florida at the Southeastern Theatre Conference,” Kerby said. That competition will be held in Atlanta in March.
In 2004, the Manatee Players won Best Production for “Metamorphoses” at the Florida Theatre Conference Festival. The victory lead to the Best Production honor at the 2005 American Association of Community Theatres, the highest honor in the country bestowed upon companies such as the Manatee Players.
The Manatee Players previously planned to skip the festival this year to save money. It could cost the organization as much as $20,000 if the troupe reaches the national finals.
Kerby hopes a national win could raise awareness and funds for the Manatee Players Performing Arts Center in downtown Bradenton, which remains about $3.5 million short of opening and operating.
Manatee Players won some money from the Florida and Southeastern theatre conferences to help defray the cost of competing in Atlanta. In addition, Manatee Players plans some special performances as fundraisers, Kerby said.
Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 745-7057 and follow him on twitter @accentbradenton.