Ojai ACT honored by Four Star Awards 2016 By John Hankins Ventura County’s Four Star Theater Alliance graced Ojai ACT’s 2016 season with a lucky 13 awards for “Outstanding” accomplishments for actors, directors, music and technical work. ﷯The awards were doled out rather equally for three productions: “Skylight,” “Black Comedy,” and “Annie Get Your Gun” with four awards each, while the wild card “Judges’ Choice” went to John Hankins as the “Town Crier of Ojai ACT” for fourteen years of writing publicity and related creations. Five representatives from Four Star theaters other than Ojai ACT judged the season’s potpourri of entertainment, giving the process less of a local bias. In turn, Ojai had reps judging the other five theaters. Those judges decided that “Skylight” was the most outstanding “Overall Production” and so that award goes to producers Ruby Pronovost, Shed Behar, and Ezra Eells. “There were a number of significant challenges,” Director Steve Grumette said, including a fully-functional kitchen in which a dinner is prepared in real time, along with the “major challenge of finding actors capable of sustaining the wide range of intense emotions demanded by the play,” one of whom, Buddy Wilds, won the award for lead performance. Grumette also won as Outstanding Director. “Black Comedy” was also a challenging play, said Director Richard Camp, “because it opens in complete darkness and after the lights come on the actors are called upon to pretend that they are in the dark, although the audience can see them.” Two of his actors -- Antonio Royuela and Nancy Jane Smeets -- “created memorable, funny characters” and won in the Featured Performance categories (male and female). The comedy’s other two awards were for “Claire Cleary's beautifully designed lighting scheme which illuminated Kenny Dahle's eye-popping burst of color in a set that paid homage to the swingin' 60's of London,” Camp said. Not last nor least was the crowd-pleasing “Annie Get Your Gun” whose star -- Holly Sewell as Annie Oakley -- hit the actor’s bullseye as lead performer and will also be Ojai ACT’s choice to entertain with a song from the musical at the Four Star Theater Alliance’s gala awards ceremony February 26. The important award for Musical Direction went to Tracey Williams Sutton in concert with her son Kieran Culliton for “Annie Get Your Gun.” The musical also won for Choreography (Anna Kotula) and Costume Design (Tiffany Smith, Carmen Smith, and Haley René Weed). ﷯﷯﷯ * * * The Four Star Theater Alliance consisting of the six community theaters throughout Ventura County gives out annual awards defined as “Outstanding” in a number of categories, rather than “Best” which is used by the Tony Awards. The distinction is subtle but important, and each of the categories below is labeled as “Outstanding.” Ojai ACT’s awards for its 2016 season are: Lead Performance (Male): Buddy Wilds as Tom Sergeant in “Skylight.” Lead Performance (Female): Holly Sewell as Annie Oakley in “Annie Get Your Gun.” Featured Performance (Male): Antonio Royuela as Harold Gorringe in “Black Comedy.” Featured Performance (Female): Nancy Jane Smeets as Miss Furnival in “Black Comedy.” Set Design: Kenny Dahle for “Black Comedy.” Sound Design: Steve Grumette for “Skylight.” Lighting Design: Claire Cleary for “Black Comedy.” Costume Design: Tiffany Smith, Carmen Smith, and Haley René Weed for “Annie Get Your Gun.” Music Direction: Tracey Williams Sutton and Kieran Culliton for “Annie Get Your Gun.” Choreography: Anna Kotula for “Annie Get Your Gun.” Direction: Steve Grumette for “Skylight”. Overall Production: Ruby Pronovost, Shed, Behar, and Ezra Eells (producers) for “Skylight.” Judge’s Choice Award: John Hankins for Town Crier of Ojai ACT, for fourteen years providing publicity for all of Ojai ACT’s productions and related creations.