ON CUE June 2022 ACT Newsletter

ACT_logoLinda Roll, editor

It is so good to be back live once again! It has been a very long time since we have been together.

On June 17-28, the theatre excerpts were once again held at Miami University’s Hamilton Campus in Parrish Auditorium. Everyone was excited to once again have the OCTA regional/ACT fest.  Special recognition goes to Amanda Emmons Shumate, ACT’s 1st VP, for her excellent job in making sure that everything was in place. Gary Rogers who was once again the stage manager and creator of the Memorial video and also the Rouse/Pitocco/Grooms award video. Eric Bardes handled technical aspects of the excerpts. Joy Sharp once again handled pre-registration as she has for the past 20 years. And especially to all of the member groups for tackling the various jobs needed to make this event work. We are the ONLY region in Ohio where every group does its part. We are very blessed to have this community of theatres.


For those of you who wonder about this festival, OCTA is the reason we have the excerpts. The number of excerpts determines the number of entries each region will send to the state OCTAfest over Labor Day Weekend. Each region receives 1 theatre for every 4 theatres who participate. This year, our region had 8 entries, so therefore, 2 were selected to attend the state festival and 1 alternate was also selected.

OCTA sends tjree adjudicators, who watch the excerpts, give feedback immediately after the presentation and then meet to decide who/what gets awards and to pick the shows that will excerpt. The adjudicators this year were Jerry Zimmerman, Pat Potter and Kathy Hyland. Each group will also receive written feedback from these people so they can see what each had to say about the presentation. These awards are then presented at the banquet on Saturday night. Also in attendance from OCTA were Jesse Bernnal, President, Joe Barton, OCTAfest chair, Jane Mancini and Aara Wise volunteer Administrative Assistant. Thanks also to our regional OCTA board members, Peggy Kenney, Clarissa Sloan, Dan Maloney, Wayne Kirsch, Ray Lebowski and to our OCTA regional representatives Kevin Noll, Denise Schnieders, John Masterson  and Amy Sullivan. Your dedication to the Southwest Region is greatly appreciated.

Below is the list of OCTA awards for the shows that excerpted over the weekend.
[Click here for the list of OCTA Awards and links to each group’s Orchid Awards. -Rob]

Congratulations to all the winners and to the theatres who were selected to attend OCTA fest in September.


At the banquet on Saturday night, the winners of Orchid awards were announced. There were a total of 998 nominations in the various categories and 503 Orchid awards. To see the whole list of shows and the breakdown of the various nominations in each category, please visit the ACT website at www.actcincinnati.org.

Below is the breakdown of the awards

Group | # of Shows | # of Nominations | # of Orchids

  • Acting UP | 1 | 26 | 16
  • Beechmont Players | 3 | 61 | 25
  • CenterStage | 3 | 49 | 20
  • Cincinnati Music Theatre | 2 | 73 | 41
  • Fairfield Footlighters | 4 | 71 | 32
  • Footlighters | 3| 84 | 48
  • Gaslight Theatre Players | 1 | 13 | 3
  • INNOVAtheatre | 5 | 94 | 41
  • Inspiring Arts | 1 | 35 | 19
  • Loveland Stage Co | 3 | 77 | 40
  • Mariemont Players | 5 | 97 | 57
  • Mason Community Players | 2 | 38 | 17
  • Merit Theatre | 1 | 20|  14
  • Queen City Productions | 1 | 12 | 4
  • Sunset Players | 1 | 9 | 7
  • The Drama Workshop | 5 | 102 | 68
  • Tri County Players | 3 | 44 | 14
  • Village Players of Ft Thomas | 4 | 83 | 37

Besides Orchid awards, there were several other awards given Saturday night.
A split the pot raffle was conducted throughout the weekend. The total raised was $1,440 and congratulations goes to Lisa Hunt who was the recipient of $720.

In order to recognize those people from various theatres who go lend their talents to the group. These awards are called the Rising Star awards. This year, the following were recognized:

  • Jake Hart – Mariemont
  • Sophie Grant – TDW
  • James Major – Acting Up
  • Molly Sexton – CMT
  • Stephanie Mackris – Loveland
  • Katie Werner – Mason
  • Parker Culp – CenterStage

Dan Maloney, ACT president, presented the Presidential award. This year, two people received this award, Mary Stone who as Publicity chair worked on updating the website and Joy Sharp who handled pre-registration. Congratulations to both of them.

As mentioned above, the Spirit of Community Theatre awards were presented to Elaine Volker from The Drama Workshop and Amanda Emmons Shumate from Footlighters. This award is given by OCTA on recommendation of their theatre for contributions to not only their theatre, but also to the entire theatre community.

The most revered awards were also presented Saturday night. The Art Rouse is given to a person who has shown exceptional commitment and dedication to community theatre. The Mario Pitocco award is given to a person who has shown continuous service in creative technical theater. The Roger Grooms award is given to a person who has demonstrated dedication to raising the artistic quality through active teaching and/or through sustained excellence in directing, acting, choreography, musical or vocal direction. Each theatre has the opportunity to nominate someone who they think exemplifies those qualities. From those nominees, a committee made up of the past year’s winners as well as a members selected from a revolving list of all theatres in ACT make the final selection of who will receive the honor.

The 2022 recipients are Bunny Arszman, Elaine Michael and Danny Davies, respectively.


There are seven scholarships given to deserving college students who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree in the performing arts. These students audition for the scholarships and are selected by a 5 member panel of adjudicators based on long standing criteria. The scholarship winners are:

  • The Dee Wacksman Memorial Scholarship-Lizzie K Sundstorm- Xavier University-2,500
  • ACT Cincinnati Scholarship-Claire M Northcut-Wright State University-1,000
  • The Dorothy and Frank Weber Memorial Scholarship-Evan N. Kupersmith-UC-CCM-1,000
  • Robert and Helen Booth Family Memorial Scholarship-Julia N. Brosas-Wright State University-1,000
  • Carol Mills Memorial Scholarship-Taylor Greny-Wright State University-800
  • The Susann Q. Royalty Performing Arts Scholarship-Chloe O. Esmeier-Northern Kentucky University-500
  • The Freshman Performing Arts Scholarship-Wyatt H. Toloczko-UC-CCM-350

Congratulations to all of the recipients.


Unfortunately, in the years that our theatres were dark, our theatre community experienced the death of some very talented people. They will be greatly missed.

2019-2020
Jonathan Boerner, John Marwede, Steve Suddendorf, Muriel Foster, Jack Williams, Russ D. McGee

2020-2021
Sandra Kraft, Darnell “Daray Lorez” Hunter, David Spitzfaden, John Haskamp, Irma Lewis

2021-2022
Jim Hall, Aaron Losey (Tyrese Rainz), Daniel Brewer, Don Haas, Mick McLean, Ed Spencer, Jerry Viox, Judith Howe Sarakatsannis, Carol Kirby, Bob Elkins, Connie Hatfield, Bonnie Schanz


Now, on to the ACT board. Due to the pandemic, the board voted to have the current officers remain in their positions for another year. That meant that those people who were already in their final year on the board(each is elected to a 3 year term) served 4 years.

Thank you all for going above and beyond the call.

The 2021-2022 ACT board

  • Dan Maloney-President
  • Amanda Emmons Shumate-1st Vice President
  • Fred Hunt-2nd Vice President
  • Kate Coyne-Chailland-Recording Secretary
  • Amelia Burke-Treasurer
  • Dennis Murphy-Awards
  • Melissa M. Smith-Scholarships
  • Laureen Catlin-Long Range Judging
  • Joy Sharp-Convention Pre-Registration Chair
  • Linda Roll-Librarian, Historian, Newsletter Editor
  • Mary Stone-Publicity
  • John Wesseling-Membership
  • At the May meeting, the membership elected the 2022-2023 board
  • Fred Hunt-President
  • Cathy Lutts-1st Vice President
  • Mark Culp-2nd Vice President
  • Kate Coyne-Chailland-Recording Secretary
  • Amy Waldfogel-Awards
  • Melissa M. Smith-Scholarships
  • TBD-Long Range Judging
  • TBD-Convention Pre-Registration Chair
  • Linda Roll-Librarian, Historian, Newsletter Editor
  • Mary Stone-Publicity
  • John Wesseling-Membership

The 2023 OCTAfest will be held in Cincinnati with Peggy Kenney and Robert Weidle as Co-Conference chairs. They are looking for volunteers to be on the planning committee.

Also, at the OCTAfest this September, the theme is a Circus theme and each region will be responsible for setting up 3 Midway games. Peggy Kenney is asking for prize donations for winners of our 3 games, such as a bottle of wine, a gift card, etc. SO she is reaching out to the theatre groups and individuals to supply these prizes.


If you have not gone to the ACT website and looked at the changes that have been made, go take a look. It has been a while since any significant changes were made to the website. What you will see is due to the work that is being done by Mary Stone. She has put in many hours and lots of work making the improvements you see on the site. Thank you Mary for all of your work. It is greatly appreciated.

One last thing, over the years, some ACT history was unfortunately destroyed. IF you or your group have any photos that you would be willing to scan and send, it would be greatly appreciated. These will be added to the website and stored in the history notes.

Also, ACT will soon be celebrating 70 years of existence in a few years, so please start sending any new items about your group, or if you are a new group to ACT, send  your information on how you were formed.  Send to llroll69@hotmail.com.


Thank you if you have made it to the end of this newsletter. Let’s all hope that we never have to go through what we have in the past few years, but know that if we do, we will survive.


Any errors, mistakes or omissions are not intentional.

Thanks to all of you for being a part of Greater Cincinnati theatre.

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