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Coach House Theatre holds Royal Coach Awards

8/21/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Photos: Verna Friend
WEST AKRON — Coach House Theatre, a community theater operated almost entirely by volunteers since 1928, held its annual Royal Coach Awards June 14. The awards honor top achievements of the past season.

The event was held in the Akron Woman’s City Club ballroom, which was decorated to evoke show business glamour, complete with a red carpet. The theme, “Dining with the Stars,” was carried throughout the meal, with star shapes in every course, from croutons to cookies, according to organizers. Mary Jo Stasell, the theater’s ambassador to the arts, acted as Miss Royal Coach, delivering each statuette to the presenters as they opened the golden envelopes to announce the winners.

The honorees, in the order presented, were:

  • Best Costume Design: Jonathan Fletcher for “The School for Wives”;
  • Best Scenic Design: Terry Burgler for “Spider’s Web”;
  • Best Lighting Design: Mark Stoffer for “The Glass Menagerie”;
  • Best Supporting Actor: Joe Pine for “The School for Wives”;
  • Best Actress: Dede Klein for “The Glass Menagerie”;
  • Best Actor (tie): Richard Figge for “On Golden Pond” and Joe Pine for “The Glass Menagerie”; and
  • Best Production: “The Glass Menagerie,” directed by Nancy Cates.

Shown above, from left, are Stoffer, Terry Burgler, Cates, Klein, Figge, Tess Burgler and Pine.

Dining with the Stars Committee members included Verna Friend, chairman, and Dona Bowman and Linda Gauer.

The nonprofit Coach House, one of the oldest continuously running “Little Theatres” (part of the Little Theatre Movement) in the United States, is celebrating its 86th anniversary. The Coach House Theatre started in November 1928 as the Little Theatre Players, the first of its kind in Akron, according to theater officials. The theater building received the City of Akron’s Historic Landmark Designation in April 2012.

Five plays are presented from September to June each year, followed by the Royal Coach Awards to honor the best from the past season. In 2012, “The Elder Theater Series” began, with four free rehearsed readings that showcase the wisdom and talents of theater’s “silver stars.” Then, in 2014, the Black Box Series, a “minimum set, maximum theater” experience, debuted.

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