News Column

Gilbert Theater plans its own awards show

June 21, 2013

YellowBrix

June 21--Pryer Awards

Where: Gilbert Theater, 116 Green St.

When: Monday from 6 to 9 p.m.

Tickets: $30

Information: 678-7186 or gilberttheater.com

Many of the actors and backstage talent who appeared in Gilbert Theater shows this season will be at the first-ever Pryer Awards on Monday.

So will the man the awards are named for.

"I think it's a great honor," said Lynn Pryer, founding artistic director of the theater. "I'm very excited about it. Any time we can focus on the performing arts as this does, that's a good thing."

The awards, which honor the most popular actors, actresses, costume designers and other talent in the theater's 2012-13 season, are 6 to 9 p.m. at the theater at 116 Green St.

The evening will consist of more than just handing out awards, however. A full slate of entertainment is planned, along with food, an open bar and silent auction.

"It's our own little Tonys," said Gilbert Artistic Director Robyne Parrish.

The theater, which kicks off its 20th season in September, was looking for an annual fundraiser, Parrish said. Someone suggested holding an awards ceremony and calling it the Pryer Awards.

Pryer founded the theater in the basement of his Haymount home. He retired as artistic director last year.

Parrish said the theater wanted to honor the people who made the season possible. Awards also will be presented for scenic design, lighting design and best show.

The winners were voted on by audiences at the Gilbert's shows this season. The shows included "The Fantasticks," "A Christmas Carol," "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds" and "Groucho Marx: A Life in Revue."

In the result of a tie, Parrish said, a Pryer Awards committee will make the final selections.

"The better-attended shows obviously have more votes," Parrish said. "But there's still one nominee from every show."

Some of the theater's most popular performers will perform at the awards ceremony, Parrish said. They include Pryer, Joyce Lipe, Tracey Hinton, Gail Morfesis, Matt Lamb and Dale Kalinowski.

The actors will perform songs from "The Fantasticks" and the 2013-14 season-opener, "Rent."

Pryer said he thinks it's a good idea to recognize the theater's talent, especially the behind-the-scenes folks whom most audience members wouldn't recognize.

Pryer said the theater used to present awards when he staged plays in his home, but it was more of a good-natured joke ceremony. This time, it's serious.

"Calling attention to these crafts is extremely important," Pryer said.

Parrish said winners will be presented with glass plaques.

"At first we said, let's do a bobble-head of Lynn, but that would have been really expensive," she said.

Staff writer Rodger Mullen can be reached at mullenr@fayobserver.com or 486-3561.

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(c)2013 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.)

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