A presentation of Community Actors Studio Theater, the Randy Awards are Anniston’s version of the Tony Awards. Annually they recognize the best in the theatrical season’s performances and backstage work.
Kim Davenport, who served as the event chair of the Randy Awards, said the accolades may not come as readily from the audience, but the Randy Awards ceremony is an important outlet to thank the volunteers for their hard work during the season.
“We’re celebrating that we had a successful season as well as the work that we put in,” Davenport said. “It’s just a time of fun and excitement for everyone involved.”
The awards ceremony was also created to honor the memory and legacy of Anniston playwright Randy Hall. Hall was one of the original founders of CAST and its predecessor, Anniston Community Theater. An art critic for The Anniston Star, Hall’s commitment to performing arts was revered in the Anniston community.
“The Randy Awards pay tribute to a local playwright who brought some attention to our area because of his work,” said Kimberley Dobbs, artistic director at CAST.
As the evening’s show progressed at Classic on Noble, one by one presenters awarded actors and actresses for their performances, while smaller awards such as paintbrushes and screwdrivers were also given to those responsible for the sets.
This year’s award winners included: Debby Mathews for best female cameo; Jake Mathews for best male cameo; Chris Colvard for featured actor; Lolly Payne for featured actress; Tim and Donna Barton received the President’s Award; Jon Garlick for best lead actor; Jennie Wall for best lead actress; Cody Harrell and Steve Simmons for best lead actor in a musical; Jacquie Tessen received the Director’s Award; Heather Garlick and Angie Robinson for best lead actress in a musical.
The IBC Award, given for technical expertise behind the scenes, went to Steve Campbell.
The Edel Y. Ayers Award, which recognizes individual effort far beyond ordinary volunteer duties, was presented to Lucile Bodenheimer. The award is named for an early organizer of community theater in Anniston more than 80 years ago.
The voting for the Randy Awards this year was a little different, giving members of the community and supporters of art a voice in the decision of who would take home the prizes.
“In the past, it’s been a panel of three judges, but this year we sent a ballot to all season ticket holders,” Davenport said. “There was much more audience participation in who won tonight.”
While there were no live performances Thursday night, in contrast with previous Randy Awards ceremonies, the audience was treated to some comedic relief provided throughout the show by hosts Lolly Payne and Scott Whitney.
Volunteers were also recognized for their nightly contributions to a successful season.
CAST board president Debby Mathews said the volunteers come from all walks of life. Some are doctors, lawyers, nurses, and students by day and performers by night.
“They don’t get paid and they do this for fun,” Mathews said. “They give their time so freely, but it’s more than just time. The actors love what they’re doing.”