Saturday marked the 2nd Annual Maria Awards, a ceremony that recognizes student actors, tech, and the various productions the Newman Theatre Department has presented throughout the 2016-2017 academic year.
The Maria’s, a play on the Oscars (Academy Awards), is named for Adorer of the Blood of Christ foundress, St. Maria De Mattias. The event was hosted by executive members of the Newman Theatre Club (NTC) and was located in Rehearsal Hall in the De Mattias Fine Arts Center.
“The Maria’s were a great way to finish off the year,” said Treasurer of NTC Lauren Spencer. “It was a wonderful opportunity for the Newman Theatre Club to show its appreciation for all the hard work everyone involved with theatre this year put in.”
In addition to the awards ceremony, President of NTC Jacob Hobbie invited a few guest speakers to take the stage. Kim Vines, executive director of Music Theatre for Young People spoke about her experiences and upcoming shows, which includes a production of "High School Musical."
The awards process kicked off with a roast of the show “Triumph of Love” from a few of the cast members who were involved.
“Being a part of that production ("Triumph of Love") was a lot of stress and a brand new kind of show that I was not used to,” Hobbie said. “It was fun to see the cast come together over something that I found to be stressful for all of us. Plus, I think it really cemented NTC’s rebel nature. We are a young club from a young department at Newman, and I think we deserve our chance to try to be a little different and shake things up.”
Director of Theatre Mark Mannette also spoke about his original play “Premature Burial” which debuted its world premiere in the fall. Mannette also spoke about the process of bringing the story to life on stage and the director he chose to take on the task, Jon Meyer.
Vice President of NTC Trevor Farney gave a speech in between awards about his experience playing the role of Father Kapaun in the production “The Miracle of Father Kapaun.” The performance marked the second world premiere at Newman this year. The play was adapted by Anne Welsbacher from the award-winning Wichita Eagle series by Roy Wenzl and was directed by Misty Maynard.
Freshmen Lucas Farney and Meghan McGehee performed a scene from “As You Like It,” the most recent production of the Newman Theatre Department, and were followed up with a brief Sloppy Joe Improv performance by four of the improv group's team members.
Hobbie hosted the executive elections for NTC for the upcoming academic year and wrapped up the Maria’s with some final reflections.
“After seeing the talent and work from the freshmen this year, I really can’t wait to see what happens next year to the club,” Hobbie said. “The future looks bright with our new leadership.”
For students who are considering getting involved with theatre at Newman, Mannette has a few words of advice.
“It will challenge you, but also allow you to have fun and create shared experiences with other students that you will remember for the rest of your life,” he said. “We have wonderful students here at Newman who care about each other and have each others’ backs. That makes my job rewarding as I can help facilitate their personal growth.”
Winners of the 2016-2017 Maria Awards:
- Best On-stage Couple Award — Trevor Farney and Amy Emerson
- “Line!!” Award — Carlos Sanchez
- “Wait What?” Award — Trevor Farney
- “Heads Will Roll” Award — Lauren Spencer and Carlos Sanchez
- Best Costume Design — Christy Railsback for “As You Like It”
- Best Sound Design — Kirsten Sanders for “Premature Burial”
- Best Set Design — Jamison Rhoads for “Premature Burial”
- Kindest Tech Award — Kirsten Sanders
- Kindest Actor Award — Amy Emerson
- Best Tech (Female) — Kirsten Sanders
- Best Tech (Male) — Ieuan Thomas
- Best Actress — Meghan McGehee
- Best Actor — Carlos Sanchez
- Overall Favorite Production — “As You Like It”
- Best “Unofficial” Actor Award — Mark Mannette