Local theatre celebrated its own at the Four Star Theater Awards held at the High Street Arts Center in Moorpark on January 10. The gala event was hosted by the Four Star Theater Alliance, made up of Camarillo Skyway Playhouse, Conejo Players Theatre, Elite Theatre Company, High Street Arts Center, Ojai Art Center Theater (Ojai ACT) and Santa Paula Theater Center. The event was billed, with tongue firmly in cheek, as “A Night of Four Thousand Stars.” The packed house, made up of enthusiastic supporters and participants in local theater, didn’t quibble about numbers.
Hosted by Jolyn Johnson and Eric Umali of the Camarillo Skyway Playhouse, the event was more celebration than competition, thanks to performances from recent productions. Conejo Players Theatre offered “The Story of Lucy and Jesse” from Follies, sung by Dana Kolb. Peggy Steketee performed a monologue from Santa Paula Theater Center’s production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Ojai ACT presented “You’re Impossible” from Dr. Dolittle, performed by Phil Nemy and Marisa Miculian. Patrick Beckstead and Abel Alderete kicked up their heels in “Cold Feets” from Camarillo Skyway Playhouse’s The Drowsy Chaperone. A scene from Elite Theatre Company’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee featured Samantha Eve, Erin Fagundes and Carzie Carter. The showstopper was Brandon McCray and chorus performing “Fake Your Way to the Top” from High Street Arts Center’s production of Dreamgirls.
Ojai ACT performers Phil Nemy and Marisa Miculian
entertain with a scene from Dr. Dolittle.
Photo by: Rena Collette
When the spotlight turned from performances and video montages to handing out awards, no theater was left behind. In the spirit of the Alliance’s sense of camaraderie, each theater was honored in every category. Dreamgirls was chosen as High Street Arts Center’s Outstanding Overall Production. Raymond Mastrovito and Peggy Steketee were honored for their performances in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Santa Paula Theater Center. Outstanding Featured Performances at Ojai ACT went to Cecil Sutton for Dancing at Lughnasa and Jessica Stone for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Arrick Adams won Outstanding Direction at Elite Theatre Company for The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Outstanding Featured Performance at Conejo Players Theatre went to Dale Alpert in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and to Kathleen Silverman in Follies. Eric Umali was awarded Outstanding Direction at Camarillo Skyway Playhouse for Moonlight and Magnolias.
At the risk of sounding hokey, the biggest winners are the people of Ventura County, who live in an area that boasts some great theatre at reasonable prices. That’s due in no small part to the Four Star Theater Alliance. Award presenters Johnson and Umali joked about having to travel back in time just to be able to see the more than 30 shows put on each year by Alliance members. That adds up to more than 1,000 seats on any given weekend for comedies, dramas and musicals. Not quite 4,000, but close enough.