By Jacquelyn Zeman – Managing/News Editor
Grand Rapids Community College’s theater department brought home a record breaking six Grand Awards at the 18th annual event, hosted at Civic Theatre on Oct. 12.
GRCC was up for a total of 13 nominations for students, faculty members and shows from their most current theater season. A committee in the Grand Rapids theater community selects the nominees and winners of the Grand Awards each year.
GRCC musical theater performance major, Robbie Ellis, won for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a College Production for his role of Charles Makin in “The Hatpin.”
Former GRCC theater student, Madeline Jones, won for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a College Production for her role of Clara Makin in “The Hatpin.”
“It was the first time I was ever nominated…in fact this was the first Grand Awards I have ever been to,” Jones said. “’The Hatpin’ changed my life. All of the people involved in that show were just the most talented group of people separately. When you put them all together, it was just overwhelming amounts of talent.”
Former GRCC student Meeka Postman won for Lead Actress in a College Musical for her Role Amber Murray in “The Hatpin.”
“None of my dreams would have been realized if it would have not been for the support, encouragement, and love I have received from this community of artists,” Postman said. “I was more than prepared for the program at Western Michigan University.”
Postman was also one of the recipients of the combined theater scholarship.
Rob Karel won for Outstanding Director of a College Production for his direction of “The Hatpin.”
“I got to work on the most amazing piece of theater…the piece deserves to be seen,” Karel said. “I need to thank GRCC for taking that risk, and then giving it to me, which was an incredible blessing.”
“The Hatpin” won for Outstanding College Production.
“We had an orchestra that was completely filled of students, which is unheard of in this town,” Karel said. “We did not even have enough people show up at auditions to cast this show, so to end up here right now is just incredible.”
In addition to the shows given awards through GRCC, a few staff members won Grand Awards as well.
GRCC Theater Manager, Michelle Urbane, won a Grand Award for Outstanding Director of a Play for her direction of “Venus in Fur” through Actors’ Theater.
Tom Kaechele, GRCC’s Theater Program Director, won for his direction of “Spamalot” at Circle Theatre.
It was announced at the beginning of the program that GRCC donated $2,000 to the Grand Awards, so ticket sales could go directly to raising money for the combined theater scholarships.
“Collaboration is so important to us,” Urbane said, referring to the partnership between the music and theater department at GRCC, that helped put on “The Hatpin.”
“We are so proud of our students,” she said. “We just hope that…students stay involved in the theater program, and just to appreciate the craft and the collaboration. We are just thrilled.”