Theater Honors Its Own at the Annual Ostrander Awards 

click to enlarge A stellar Ostranders: Dennis Whitehead Darling won two awards for best direction. - JON W. SPARKS
  • Jon W. Sparks
  • A stellar Ostranders: Dennis Whitehead Darling won two awards for best direction.
It was a brilliant evening at the Ostranders for busy director Dennis Whitehead Darling. The annual theater award event sponsored by Memphis magazine and ArtsMemphis was held at the Orpheum Sunday honoring people and productions around the city, and he earned two nods for best direction, one for The Parchman Hour: Songs and Stories of the ‘61 Freedom Riders at Hattiloo Theatre and the other for Intimate Apparel at the University of Memphis.

The former was in the community and professional category and the latter in the collegiate division. Transcending categories is what Whitehead Darling does — he was the first Opera Memphis McCleave Fellow in Directing, named a year ago, and will be directing at Opera Birmingham next year. And for good measure, he directed Jelly's Last Jam now showing at Hattiloo.

The Parchman Hour racked up five Ossies for Hattiloo, for Best Production of a Drama, Sound Design for a Drama, Choreography/Fight Choreography for a Drama, Ensemble in a Drama, as well as for Whitehead Darling's direction.

click to enlarge The University of Memphis' Intimate Apparel won 12 Ostrander - Awards.
  • The University of Memphis' Intimate Apparel won 12 Ostrander Awards.
In the College category, Intimate Apparel took 12 of the awards. U of M's Be More Chill won 6.

The community/professional side was dominated by Theatre Memphis with awards for Hairspray, 1776, Little Women, and Newsies.

The Ostranders ceremonies often include special awards, the most distinguished of which is the Eugart Yerian Lifetime Achievement honor that went to stage veteran Christina Wellford Scott. Other distinctions included the Larry Riley Rising Star Award to Karl Robinson, the Gypsy Award to Brittany Church, and the Behind the Scenes Award given posthumously to Michael Lupfer.

As in the past, financial support for the awards event was provided by Michael McLaren and Judge Diane Vescovo.

If you're keeping score of multiple winners in the community/professional division, Theatre Memphis walked away with 10 awards, Playhouse on the Square 6, Next Theatre at TM 5, Hattiloo Theatre 5, New Moon Theatre 5, and Circuit Playhouse 3.

click to enlarge New Moon's Lizzie: The Musical won three Ostranders. - NEW MOON
  • New Moon
  • New Moon's Lizzie: The Musical won three Ostranders.
Hattiloo's The Parchman Hour earned 5 and TM's Hairspray 4. Winning 3 each were POTS' The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, New Moon's Lizzie: The Musical, TM's Little Women, Newsies, and 1776. TM's Clean House and POTS' Tuck Everlasting got two apiece.

In the college division, U of M ran away with 19, 12 of which were for Intimate Apparel and 6 for Be More Chill.
click to enlarge Timothy Marsh and Erica Peninger in the Theatre Memphis production of Hairspray, which won four Ossies, including one for Peninger as Best Leading Actress in a Musical. - THEATRE MEMPHIS
  • Theatre Memphis
  • Timothy Marsh and Erica Peninger in the Theatre Memphis production of Hairspray, which won four Ossies, including one for Peninger as Best Leading Actress in a Musical.

Here is the complete list of winners:

COMMUNITY AND PROFESSIONAL

Best Set Design of a Drama: Bryce Cutler, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, POTS
Best Set Design of a Musical: Jack Yates, Hairspray, TM
Best Costume Design for a Drama: Heather Steward, Little Women, Next Stage, TM
Best Costume Design for a Musical: Amie Eoff, 1776, TM
Best Hair/Wig/Makeup for a Drama: Lindsay Schmeling, The Legend of Georgia McBride, CP
Best Hair/Wig/Makeup for a Musical: Barbara Sanders, 1776, TM
Best Props Design for a Drama: Jack Yates, The Clean House, Next Stage, TM
Best Props Design for a Musical: Brandyn Nordlof, Tuck Everlasting, POTS
Best Lighting Design for a Drama: Justin Gibson, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, POTS
Best Lighting Design for a Musical: Justin Gibson, Tuck Everlasting, POTS
Best Sound Design for a Drama: Ashley Davis, The Parchman Hour: Songs and Stories of the ‘61 Freedom Riders, Hattiloo
Best Sound Design for a Musical: Gene Elliott, Lizzie: The Musical, New Moon
Best Music Direction: Jeff Brewer, Newsies, TM
Best Choreography/Fight Choreography for a Drama: Naivell Steib, The Parchman Hour: Songs and Stories of the ‘61 Freedom Riders, Hattiloo
Best Choreography for a Musical: Jordan Nichols & Travis Bradley, Newsies, TM
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama: Aliza Moran, The Clean House, Next Stage, TM
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical: Annie Freres, Lizzie: The Musical, New Moon
Best Leading Actress in a Drama: Kim Sanders, Sweat, CP
Best Leading Actress in a Musical: Erica Peninger, Hairspray, TM
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama: Oliver Jacob Pierce, Twelfth Night, New Moon
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical: Luke Conner, Newsies, TM
Best Leading Actor in a Drama: Ryan Duda, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, POTS
Best Leading Actor in a Musical (2 winners): John Maness, 1776, TM and Michael Gravois, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, POTS
Best Featured Performer in a Drama: Jason Gerhard, Junk, CP
Best Featured Performer in a Musical: Daniel Kopera, Jesus Christ Superstar, Harrell
Best Ensemble in a Drama: The Parchman Hour: Songs and Stories of the ‘61 Freedom Riders, Hattiloo
Best Ensemble in a Musical: Lizzie: The Musical, New Moon
Best Direction of a Drama: Dennis Whitehead Darling, The Parchman Hour: Songs and Stories of the ‘61 Freedom Riders, Hattiloo
Best Direction of a Musical: Jordan Nichols & Travis Bradley, Hairspray, TM
Best Production of a Drama: The Parchman Hour: Songs and Stories of the ‘61 Freedom Riders, Hattiloo
Best Production of a Musical: Hairspray, TM
Playhouse on the Square's Tuck Everlasting won two Ostrander Awards. - CARLA MCDONALD
  • Carla McDonald
  • Playhouse on the Square's Tuck Everlasting won two Ostrander Awards.

COLLEGE

Best Set Design: Kenton Jones, Intimate Apparel, U of M
Best Costume Design: Jen Gillette, Intimate Apparel, U of M
Best Hair/Wig/Makeup: Jen Gilette, Intimate Apparel, U of M
Best Props Design: Karen Arredondo, Intimate Apparel, U of M
Best Lighting Design: Zoey Smith, Intimate Apparel, U of M
Best Sound Design: Anthony Pellecchia, Intimate Apparel, U of M
Best Music Direction: Jacob Allen, Be More Chill, U of M
Best Choreography: Jill Guyton Nee, Be More Chill, U of M
Special Award: Intimacy Choreography: Roberta Inscho-Cox, Intimate Apparel, U of M
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama: Ariona Campbell, Crumbs from the Table of Joy, Southwest Tennessee Community College
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical: Lea Mae Aldridge, Be More Chill, U of M
Best Leading Actress in a Drama: Simmery Branch, Intimate Apparel, U of M
Best Leading Actress in a Musical: Aly Milan, Be More Chill, U of M
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama: Toby Davis, Intimate Apparel, U of M
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical – College: Landon Ricker, Be More Chill, U of M
Best Leading Actor in a Drama: Christian Hinton, Shaming JANE DOE, U of M
Best Leading Actor in a Musical: Toby Davis, Be More Chill, U of M
Best Featured Performer: Jasmine Roberts, Intimate Apparel, U of M
Best Ensemble: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (2018 version), Rhodes College
Best Direction: Dennis Whitehead Darling, Intimate Apparel, U of M
Best Overall Production: Intimate Apparel, U of M

OTHER AWARDS

Best Original Script: Little Women, Next Stage, TM
Best Production of an Original Script: Little Women, Next Stage, TM
Larry Riley Rising Star: Karl Robinson
Gypsy: Brittany Church
Behind the Scenes: Mike Lupfer (posthumously)
Eugart Yerian Lifetime Achievement: Christina Wellford Scott

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