KMC theaters: Three times a winner

Christine June
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern

Three was the lucky number for KMC theaters at Saturday’s 2006 Tournament of Plays award ceremony at the Patrick Henry Village Pavilion in Heidelberg.

The U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern KMC Onstage won three Installation Management Activity-Europe Tournament of Play awards, known as Toppers.

The 435th Services Squadron Razz-Ma-Tazz Family Theater also won three Toppers for “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

Comparable to the Tony awards, this annual competition recognizes live-theater productions from military theaters throughout Europe.

This year, a team of professional actors and directors judged 23 plays during a six-week period to designate technical and performance award nominees for musical, comedy and drama categories.

Nominees, as well as winners, are announced at the awards show, which makes getting nominated almost as good as winning, said Laurie Ellington, KMC Onstage entertainment director.

Mrs. Ellington received a special Topper for Leadership and Program Development in recognition of her more than eight years building a live-theater program in the KMC. She founded Razz-Ma-Tazz Theater in 1998, putting on more than 10 plays in about five years.

Living up to her motto “If you build it, they will come,” she revived the garrison’s live-theater program three years ago by overseeing the creation of a dedicated theater, 11 productions, several touring companies and more than 10 children and adult workshops.

“This program (KMC Onstage) is truly Laurie’s child,” said Sarah Bright, the garrison assistant entertainment director. “It wouldn’t exist without her and wouldn’t have been as successful under another director.”

The KMC Onstage garnered 16 nominations in the musical category and two Toppers for its production of “Grease.” Ms. Bright won for Best Choreography, and Sgt. Joel Abelson, who portrayed “Danny Zuko,” won for Best Military Performance in a Musical.

Razz-Ma-Tazz Family Theater earned 21 nominations in the comedy category, taking home Toppers for Best Makeup for a Play to Paula Fairbrother, Best Stage Properties and Dressing for a Comedy to Ms. Fairbrother and David Jones, and Best Actor in a Minor Role in a Comedy to Seth Root, who portrayed “Dopey” in his debut performance.

“We had the incredible fortune of having all of the seven dwarfs nominated in the Best Minor Role category,” said Ms. Fairbrother. “This is amazing since they competed against adult actors in nine other comedies.”

Last year, KMC Onstage won 11 Toppers for “Godspell,” and Razz-Ma-Tazz Family Theater won three for “Cinderella.”