GPT Honors Members at 65th Anniversary Banquet

July 2013 – In a time-honored tradition honoring performers, volunteers and technical staff, Grosse Pointe Theatre hosted its 65th Anniversary Clarence Award Dinner Dance amidst the classic elegance of Dearborn’s The Henry Hotel on June 15, 2013.

Co-Emcees Jerry Nehr and Eddie Tujaka with Social Chair Jennifer Clark.

Co-Emcees Jerry Nehr and Eddie Tujaka with Social Chair Jennifer Clark.

According to 2012-13 GPT Social Chairman Jenni Clark, the 65th Anniversary Clarence Award Banquet began like so many before it with formal dresses and tuxes, a pre-dinner reception and the award ceremony presented amidst The Henry Hotel’s signature crystal chandelier and the Clarence Statues. Yet this evening featured special tributes and unique moments as well.

“As part of our 65th Anniversary Celebration, it became important for the Award Banquet to pay tribute to GPT’s history and to honor the growth of our theatre during these many years,” stated Clark. “With this in mind, the evening included the premiere of a celebratory 65th Anniversary Video, featuring founder Russel Wenecken along with photographs, thoughts and messages from members old and new, special recognition to several members, including Charter Member Phyllis Reeve and an In Remembrance Tribute to honor members who passed away this season.

GPT is known for a blend of comedy and drama. Like the Oscars and Tony’s, the award segment of the evening began with an original video crafted by members Kevin Fitzhenry and Jenni Clark and filmed by member Alan Canning. The video featured the Purdon Studio Theatre’s character of Doubt’s Father Flynn (Jerry Nehr) aided by the Grosse Pointe Police’s own Sr. Lt. Eddie Tujaka — along with a host of memorable characters from the 2012-13 Season — in his effort to find the Path to Clarence. Luckily these two hosts found their way to the stage and hosted the gala evening with clever banter and humor … snacks, hair gel, shotgun and Taser too.

“The 2013 Clarence Awards took time to honor all five mainstage productions as well as Talking Headstones (recently renamed Legends of the Lake), Youth on Stage and the Purdon Studio Theatre,” added Clark. “Special video clips and messages from these other facets of Grosse Pointe Theatre were include during the evening as we reflected on our growth over 65 Years.”

The Awards Ceremony ended and members took to the Dance Floor to round out the night. As Thomas Wolfe wrote in “Look Homeward Angel,” we are a part of all that we have touched and all that has touched us.” And the 65th Anniversary Clarence Awards celebrated Grosse Pointe Theatre … Our members. Our shows. Our technical talent and performers. Our accomplishments. Our history. The special bonds we create together. And because of the friendship formed here … our tomorrows …

CLARENCE WINNERS

Hubbard Worker of the Year: Mary Lou Britton & Eddie Tujaka

7 Under 17 Award – Jeremy Harr
Wonder Woman Award – Linda Calisi
Golden Hammer – Michael Clyne
Lifetime Member –  Jack Petz
Charter Member – Phyllis Reeve

Props – Dianne Pegg (Heiress)
Sound – Eric Vreeland (H)
Non-featured Female: Emily Thomson (H)
Makeup – Jackie Pfaff (H)
Non-featured Male – Sal Rubino (Drowsy Chaperone)
Lighting – Eric & Lisa Leszczynski (Oklahoma)
Featured Female – Allison McClelland (DC)
Costumes – Ruth Ellen Mayhall (H)
Set Dressing – Kathy Conlon (H)
Featured Male – Eddie Tujaka (DC)
Supporting Female – Terri Turpin-Amato (H)
Set Design – Alan LaTour (H)
Choreography – Don Bischoff/Laurie Bilkie-Snyder (O)
Support Male – Ron Otulakowski (H)
Musical Director – Stan Harr (O)
Vocal Director – Stan Harr (O)
Tech Director – Denny McGuiness (H)
Producer – Olivia Wickline (H)
Lead Female – Rachel Settlage (H)
Lead Male – Tim Reinman (DC)
Stage Manager – Arlene Schoenherr (O)
Director – TIE, Don Bischoff (O) & Michelle Karl (H)
Favorite Show – The Heiress

Winners in attendance at this year's banquet, top row, L-r: Terri Turpin-Amato, Ron Otulakowski, Rachel Settlage, Tim Reinman, Jackie Pfaff, Marylou Britton and Eddie Tujaka. Bottom row, L-r: Ruth Ellen Mayhall, Allison McClelland, Denny McGuinness, Michelle Karl, Olivia Wickline, Sal Rubino, Arlene Schoenherr and Lisa & Eric Leszczynski.

Winners in attendance at this year’s banquet, top row, L-r: Terri Turpin-Amato, Ron Otulakowski, Rachel Settlage, Tim Reinman, Jackie Pfaff, Marylou Britton and Eddie Tujaka. Bottom row, L-r: Ruth Ellen Mayhall, Allison McClelland, Denny McGuinness, Michelle Karl, Olivia Wickline, Sal Rubino, Arlene Schoenherr and Lisa & Eric Leszczynski.

Grosse Pointe Theatre’s 66th Season will begin this September with the production of Gypsy, performed at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial. For ticket or additional season information, call 313.881.4004.