Theater group honors its own

Friday, January 28, 2011
A line of Abbott Awards sat ready to be given out to winners for the River City Players 2007 season Saturday, January 12, 2008, at Port Cape. (KIT DOYLE)

The Abbott Awards are issued each year by the River City Players community theater group. The awards recognize those who have done excellent work in the group's productions. Nominees are made by a play's director with winners chosen by River City Players board members in a private vote. The award is named after Ann Abbott, the creator of the community's first theater group.

"Let's Murder Marsha" won for Best Show in 2010. Holly Raines and Joe Reed did not return phone calls for the story. Raines won Best Co-Director for "The Crazy Time" and Reed won best Actor in a Supporting Role for playing the biker boyfriend Dirk in "The Crazy Time" and also received The President's Award.

Debbie Barnhouse, Best Director for "The Crazy Time"

How long have you been with the River City Players? Thirteen years off and on.

What has your experience been like? Very enjoyable.

What does winning an Abbott Award mean to you? It means to me that my peers have accepted my abilities and recognize what I was capable of doing for River City Players. I am always so proud to be a nominee but to receive this award is very meaningful to me.

Sara Corbin, Best Actress in a Lead Role, "Let's Murder Marsha"

How long have you been with the River City Players? I honestly can't remember! Four or five years I think.

What has your experience been like? Fantastic. This was something I never had the chance to do in school or anywhere else but always wanted to try. And I've made so many friends through River City Players and gained a lot of confidence as well.

What does winning an Abbott Award mean to you? It's always an honor. To me it's like having someone say, "We just wanted you to know we were paying attention, and we thought you did a really good job." That might be oversimplifying it, but that in itself is such a satisfying thing.

Andrea Shovan, Best Actor in a Lead Role, "The Crazy Time"

How long have you been with the River City Players? In the 1980s RCP was called The Broadway Players. I was in "Babes in Toyland." At that time I was in the sixth grade. "The Crazy Time" was officially my first River City Players show.

What does winning an Abbott Award mean to you? Wow! It was an honor to be nominated especially in the best actor category. The group I was nominated with were all phenomenal actors, I must say I was shocked as well as very proud.

Roseanna Whitlow, Unsung Hero

How long have you been with the River City Players? Around 10 years.

What has been your favorite production? The next play is always my favorite. There is such an energy that comes with preparing a new production. However, I am writing a comedy script that is a favorite project. I hope [it] will be in an upcoming season -- watch for "Strawberry Ridge."

What does winning an Abbott Award mean to you? Ann and I were friends in college in the 1970s. She had a passion for theater and worked hard to share that with the community. I am very honored to be a part of her legacy.

Molly Woeltje, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, "The Crazy Time"

How did you get involved with the River City Players? Debbie Barnhouse, who is the current president of River City Players, was my fourth-grade teacher and is a dear friend of my mom and our family. I did a few acting things for her as a kid and she encouraged me to check it out. I went to see "Getting Sara Married" and was hooked and decided to give auditioning a shot.

How long have you been with the River City Players? This was my first season.

What does winning an Abbott Award mean to you? It's just awesome to be recognized, especially in my first ever production. It's hard to gauge how you really did when you are the one performing so it's nice to see what you have done be seen as quality in the eyes of others.

Randy Barnhouse, Unsung Hero

How did you get involved with the River City Players? I saw their production of "Steel Magnolias" in 1999, became interested after my wife was in one of their plays shortly after. I was recruited to play Carl, the bus driver in "Bus Stop." I was hooked at that point.

What does winning an Abbott Award mean to you? That you can be rewarded for being a ham! Seriously, I did not have the pleasure of knowing Ann [Abbott], but she is highly spoken of, and it is an honor to have the award associated with her name.

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