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MTA Gets Its Act Together 

New awards recognize best in area theater

All the major theater companies in Mecklenburg County -- and in all adjacent counties -- are members of the Metrolina Theatre Association. Ditto most of the smaller companies in the area. Have been since before the Loaf was a ball of dough.

Yet until now, the MTA has remained a rather low-profile organization. Not an unexpected result when your main activities center around holding meetings, hosting guest speakers, coordinating schedules, collecting dues and serving as the bulletin board for the theater community.

That's about to change -- dramatically -- as MTA presents its first-ever Metrolina Theatre Awards at Spirit Square on September 19. Since last September, MTA has mobilized more than 40 theater notables to fan out across the Metrolina region to judge productions by the organization's 50-plus member companies and schools. Throughout the 2003-04 season, nominators were organized into six panels. These award divisions include Musical, Drama, Comedy, Regional, Special Events, and College productions.

The payoff for all this solidarity and dedication is the chance to showcase Charlotte's wealth of theatrical talent at McGlohon Theatre in an event MTA describes as "a star-studded black tie gala." Festivities start at 7pm, preceded by red-carpet arrivals beginning at 5:30pm with a pre-show cocktail party in Spirit Square. Theatergoers who pay the $25 ticket price can relish the hoopla, the cocktails, and an after-show "cast party" at the Palomino Restaurant.

Nominees for the whopping 61 awards are being announced today, so we had to pull some strings -- and tug some sleeves -- to get the info into this week's Loaf.

You'll find the full list of nominees at our website. Here are the nominees in 16 major categories.

Best Actor, Musical

Mark G. Dalio, West Side Story (Tony)

Dennis Delamar, Bat Boy: The Musical (Dr. Thomas Parker)

Patrick Ratchford, Evita (Che Guevara)

Mark Sutton, Bridge to Terabithia (Jesse Aarons)

Bob Walker, Bat Boy: The Musical (Bat Boy)

Best Actress, Musical

Kelly Chapin Schmidt, West Side Story (Maria)

Kelly Cusimano, Chicago (Velma Kelly)

Leslie Shires, Chicago (Roxie Hart)

Emily Skinner, Pump Boys and Dinettes (Prudie Cupp)

Lynne Wintersteller, Pump Boys and Dinettes (Rhetta Cupp)

Cat Zeggert, Evita (Eva Peron)

Best Director, Musical

Linda Booth, Honk, Jr.

Ron Chisholm, She Loves Me

Billy Ensley, Evita

Billy Ensley, Bat Boy: The Musical

Stan Peal, Mad, Mad Madrigal

Alan Poindexter, Bridge to Terabithia

Best Musical

Bat Boy: The Musical - Actor's Theatre of Charlotte

Bridge to Terabithia - Children's Theatre of Charlotte

Chicago - CPCC Summer Theatre

Mad, Mad Madrigal - Epic Arts Repertory Theatre

Pump Boys and Dinettes - Charlotte Repertory Theatre

West Side Story - CPCC Summer Theatre

Best Actor, Drama

Patrick Hurley, bash (Young Man)

Aaron Moore, Lonely Planet (Jody)

Christopher Salazar, Oedipus Rex (Oedipus)

Peter Smeal, Lonely Planet (Carl)

Hank West, Quills (Marquis de Sade)

Best Actress, Drama

Laura Depta, Cyrano de Bergerac (Cyrano)

Stephanie DiPaolo, Twilight of the Golds (Suzanne Stein)

Iesha Hoffman, Boy Gets Girl (Theresa)

Catherine Smith, Copenhagen (Margerethe Bohr)

Barbi VanSchaick, Oedipus Rex (Jocasta)

Best Director, Drama

Nicia Carla, Lonely Planet

Joanna Gerdy, Wiley & The Hairy Man

Stan Peal & Laura Depta, Cyrano de Bergerac

Alan Poindexter, Oedipus Rex

James Yost, 1963

Best Drama

bash - BareBones Theatre Group

Cyrano de Bergerac - Epic Arts Repertory Theatre

Lobby Hero - Actor's Theatre of Charlotte

Lonely Planet - BareBones Theatre Group

Oedipus Rex - Children's Theatre

Wiley & The Hairy Man - Children's Theatre

Best Actor, Comedy

Marshall Case, Play about the Baby (Man)

Brian Daye, The Colored Museum (Miss Roj)

Carl McIntyre, Blithe Spirit (Charles)

Aaron Moore, The Underpants (Theo Maske)

Mark Scarboro, Santaland Diaries (Crumpet)

Michael Simmons, Laughing Wild (Man)

Best Actress, Comedy

Leslie Beckham, Laughing Wild (Woman)

Gretha Boston, Jar the Floor (Lola)

Paige Johnston, Blithe Spirit (Elvira)

Meghan Lowther, Sylvia (Sylvia)

Cat Zeggert, Wonder of the World (Cass)

Best Director, Comedy

Dee Abdullah, The Colored Museum

Lon Bumgarner, Blithe Spirit

Chad Calvert, The Underpants

Chip Decker, Wonder of the World

Ted Sod, Jar the Floor

James Yost, Play About the Baby

Best Comedy

Betty's Summer Vacation - Actor's Theatre of Charlotte

Jar the Floor - Charlotte Repertory Theatre

Play About the Baby - BareBones Theatre

Sylvia - Off-Tryon Theatre Company

The Underpants - BareBones Theatre

Wonder of the World - Actor's Theatre of Charlotte

Best Regional Production

Bye Bye Birdie - Davidson Community Players

Jekyll and Hyde - Piedmont Players

Jesus Christ Superstar - The Green Room

The Mousetrap - Davidson Community Players

Best College/University Production

Frankenstein - Davidson College

Island - Catawba College

Pippin - Catawba College

Theatre Person of the Year

Billy Ensley, Tom Gabbard, John Hartness, Cindy Rice, Allison West and Rick Suyao

Theatre Company of the Year

Actor's Theatre of Charlotte

Barebones Theatre Group

Epic Arts Repertory Theatre

Go to http://metrolinatheatre.org/awards/nominations20040901.html for a complete list of nominations.

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