Hickory – On Saturday, August 5th, before a crowd of over 200 people, the Hickory Community Theatre presented its annual Kay Awards to honor volunteers from the 2016-2017 Season. A total of 11 awards were presented, nine for various acting categories and two for significant volunteer achievement.

The Outstanding Ensemble award was presented to the cast of Peter and the Starcatcher, a show that also garnered individual acting honors for two members of the cast. Steve Austin and Nathan Crabtree tied for the Outstanding Actor in a Character Role award for playing Smee and  Mrs. Bumbrake/Teacher, respectively. Jennifer Canterbury was honored with the Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role award for the role of Molly.

Canterbury was additionally honored with the Outstanding Supporting Actress award for her portrayal of Mimi in Rent. Also from Rent, Clay Hennessee, who played Angel, received Outstanding Supporting Actor.

Two actors from Hamlet were honored with awards. Joshua Howard Yoder was honored as Outstanding Leading Actor award for his performance as Hamlet and Jill Roberts received the Outstanding newcomer actress award for playing two roles, Marcellus and the Player Queen.

Connie Bools was recognized as Outstanding Actress in a Character Role for playing Jann in Junk. The Outstanding Newcomer Award went to Josh Gibson for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, in which he played Edmond.

There are two awards for significant contributions by volunteers. The Technical Volunteer Award, for work behind the scenes in productions, was presented to Andrew Zebroski, who performs a variety of backstage work including lighting design and set construction. The Volunteer of the Year Award went to Carolyn Ousler, who besides performing in productions and helping backstage, worked over 150 hours as an intern for the administrative office staff.

The Guild at HCT created an exciting atmosphere for the evening, organized around the theme of “Three Cheers for Volunteers,” with pom-pons, megaphones and a cheerleader pyramid made out of Tootsie Roll Pops. Members of the Guild also provided an incredible buffet of hors d’oeuvres and desserts, as well as running the other concession duties so that the Theatre staff could also enjoy the evening.

Also announced was the upcoming season at the Theatre. On the mainstage in the Jeffers Theatre, the productions are the musical Sister Act in September, the southern comedy The Foreigner in October, the musical Elf Jr. in December, the farcical comedy Lend Me a Tenor, the fantasy adventure The Hobbit and the musical Ragtime. The shows in the Firemen’s Kitchen are the comedies Sylvia and Kitchen Witches and the gritty drama True West. Season passes are now on sale, click hickorytheatre.org or call 828-327-3855.

The Hickory Community Theatre is a Funded Affiliate of the United Arts Council of Catawba County. The 2016-2017 Season was sponsored by Paramount Automotive and A Cleaner World. The 2017 Kay Awards were sponsored by Steve Walker and CBSA Architects.

Photo: Recipients of the 2017 Kay Awards included (back Row) Matthew Thomas-Reid, Steve Austin, Nathan Crabtree; (middle row) James Grose, William E. Morgan, Andrew Zebroski, Clay Hennessee, Jennifer Canterbury, Gavin Dagenhardt; (front row) Joshua Howard Yoder, Carolyn Oursler, Benjamin Thomas-Reid, Coleson Berlin, Jill Roberts and Josh Gibson. Not pictured are Connie Bools, Dan Greenfield, Nick Grozier and Corey Johnson. Photo is by Ken Burns.