August 1999 Green Room Gossip
by Jennifer Poiry
Courtesy of Whatzup
To submit gossip, email jenlcb @ greenroomonline . org

Arena Dinner Theatre held its annual awards presentation July 25. "Meet Me in St. Louis" earned Rebecca Lightfoot a Best Actress in a Musical award and Jennifer Rapp a trophy for Best Supporting Actress. But the big winner was "La Cage aux Folles" (on which the film "The Birdcage" was based), which earned awards for Best Direction of a Musical (Christopher Murphy), Best Actor and Actress in a Minor Role (Malcolm Walker and Gayle Goodrich), Best Supporting Actor in a Musical (David Mitsch), and Best Leading Actor (Michael Todd Harris). Harris offered his heartfelt thanks to the Arena Board of Directors for having the courage to produce this musical in the conservative city of Fort Wayne. Other awards went to Ron Carr & Toni Taylor (Minor Role in a Play), Brian Shetterly & T.J. McCombs (Supporting Role in a Play), Susan Kahn & Brian Schilb (Leading Role in a Play), and Max Hobbs (Direction of a Play).
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Alan North of Bower North Productions has started a new website at www.talentwizard.com. The site will be a venue for aspiring talent to advertise themselves to talent buyers locally. Talent Wizard's field representatives are Ken Low and Gary Lanier.

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The Fort Wayne Civic Theatre's loss is the Edyvean Repertory Theatre's gain. Phillip Colglazier leaves his six-year position as Development and Education Director at Civic for the position of Managing Director at Edyvean, in Indianapolis. Phillip was chosen after a 3-month nationwide search to oversee the business aspect of the theatre, but Artistic Director Rose Kleiman looks forward to his creative input as well. His new job begins September 10. Phillip recently won kudos for his dancing, singing, and acting in Civic's "State Fair," which he also co-choreographed. It was his first time choreographing himself in a major dancing role, an experience he found both exciting and highly rewarding. We hope his new job at Edyvean will be even more rewarding.

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After a score of ensemble roles, Ric Geist has finally gotten his big opportunity -- the role of the Pirate King in First Presbyterian Theater's "The Pirates of Penzance." A music director at Bellmont High School in Decatur, Ric is a longtime Gilbert and Sullivan enthusiast who hopes to direct his students in "Pirates" in the near future. He considers the Pirate King his "dream role." One of the pluses to this character is that he won't have to hide his ponytail. Ric has been growing his hair since Civic's "Fiddler on the Roof" in 1996.

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Following their recent success with their first play "And the Next President Is…?" local playwrights Monte and Rae Ann Fortney are working on their second, "So You're In the Hospital…?" According to Tad Atkinson, star of their first play, they sold somewhere between 625 and 725 tickets to their "campaign comedy" at Taylor University, and Taylor has already booked their follow-up for next April. The couple was inspired to write the first play by Monty's political family, and his own medical service background proved the foundation of "So You're in the Hospital…?" Several core cast members from the first play have expressed interest in being a part of the "Hospital" company, and the Fortneys have been getting advice from such notable locals as Harvey Cocks.

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Jan Venderly is very excited to have just received her Masters degree in secondary education. The multi-talented singer/actress ("Jesus Christ Superstar," "The Diaries of Adam and Eve," First Presbyterian) also holds a Masters degree in English, and teaches journalism at New Haven High School.
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Bob Ahlersmyer ("Tartuffe," First Presbyterian) told his girlfriend Eileen Claypool ("She Loves Me," Arena) he'd won the chance to throw the first pitch at a recent Wizards baseball game in a raffle. But what he didn't tell her was that it was a set-up to publicly propose to her from the pitcher's mound. She accepted, and the couple plan to be married sometime next year. Until then, Bob is off to I.U. to study communications.

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