TCT impresses conference judges

3/8/2004 11:38:18 PM
Daily Journal
BY M. SCOTT MORRIS

TUPELO – Tupelo Community Theatre is now the “award-winning Tupelo Community Theatre.” It says so right on the voice mail.

This past week, TCT competed against theaters from nine states at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The cast and crew of TCT’s “Bel Canto” won first place in technical excellence and claimed runner-up honors in the best overall production category.

“On top of that, one of our actresses, Jennifer Collins, won an award for distinguished acting,” said Tom Booth, the play’s director. “Obviously, we’re thrilled.”

If the contest had been held a year later, TCT would have won the right to compete on the national level. The American Association of Community Theatre holds its festival every other year, and the Southeastern Theatre Conference sends two competitors because it’s the largest regional association, Booth said.

“The good news is, we were good enough to go to the national competition if they were having one this year. It’s very encouraging to us,” Booth said. “When we went to the regional competition in 2001 with The Beauty Queen of Leenane,’ we didn’t win anything, but we learned a lot.”

Kudos

“Bel Canto” is an adult-themed play about a mother (Collins) and her two daughters (Lisa Ganaway and Allana Austin) who confront the past while hiding in the basement of their New Jersey home during a hurricane.

“We got a lot of nice compliments from the adjudicators about the New Jersey accents, which was great,” Booth said.

The crew members include Christina Womack (assistant director), David Collins (lights), Christopher Womack (sound) and Lynn Nelson (stage crew).

Booth said there’s a chance TCT will tour the production if it gets any requests. And he’ll continue to answer the phone with “the award-winning Tupelo Community Theatre” until “people get tired of hearing it.”

Appeared originally in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 3/9/2004 8:00:00 AM, section A , page 1

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