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Kelsey Awards Show Is Smash Hit of Its Own

8/22/12


West Windsor, N.J. - In its very own version of the Tony Awards, actors, production companies and Kelsey Theatre fans rocked the house on August 11 for the second annual Kelsey Theatre Awards Night. The event, which drew an audience of close to 300, was part musical revue and part comedy routines, but most importantly, a recognition of excellence for productions presented during the 2011-12 season, based on votes cast by more than 1,100 people in two rounds of online voting this summer.

According to Kelsey Artistic Director M. Kitty Getlik, the awards night was a fast-paced, affectionate look at the past year at Kelsey. The show started off with a hilarious take-off on songs from West Side Story, complete with cool choreography and riotous references to the companies, directors, producers, and stars of Kelsey shows. Each of the productions nominated for Best Musical was in the spotlight once again, presenting a production number from their shows.

"The comedy routines were hilarious and the dance numbers were stunning," Getlik said. Her personal favorite was a version of The Cell Block Tango from "Chicago," featuring actresses from six different shows in a number entitled "He Didn't Cast Me."

Maurer Productions OnStage, led by the unparalleled John and Diana Maurer, both of whom are MCCC alumni, was the big winner of the evening, earning awards for all three of its shows last season: "AIDA," "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" and "The Drowsy Chaperone." John Maurer won for Best Director and Best Production of a Play for "Laughter on the 23rd Floor." "AIDA" won for Best Musical.
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical went to Meera Mohan for "AIDA ," Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical went to Mark Applegate for "The Drowsy Chaperone," and Nick Pecht and Joe Zedeney won Best Villians for the same show.

Said Getlik, "Maurer Productions had so many awards, at one point Diana Maurer tripped over them on the way up to the podium to accept another."

Kelsey Theatre's 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Associate Professor Bob Terrano, coordinator of MCCC's Entertainment Technology program. His segment included a short slide show of his accomplishments and his passions, including his three adorable grandchildren.

MCCC alums John and Diana Maurer display one of Maurer Productions' numerous awards.
Joe Zedeney, left, and Nick Pecht won the Best Villians Award for their roles as the gangsters/bakery chefs in "The Drowsy Chaperone."
 

In an acknowledgement of Mercer's home-grown talent, Terrano's EnTech students came out the winners in both the Best Lighting and Sound Design categories.

In the Best Play category, the award for Outstanding Lead Actress went to Diana Cooper, the daughter of Mercer's very own Rose Cooper of The Center for Continuing Studies, for her role in "And Then There Were None." Her leading man, Mark Swift, won for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play.

Co-hosts Kyrus Westcott, an MCCC alum and Kelsey actor who also directs for The Pennington Players, and Kelsey actor Dominick Sanelli were an outstanding comedic duo, while a tongue-in-cheek comedy routine written by another Kelsey regular, Tom Bessellieu (husband of Kelsey Administrative Assistant Amy Bessellieu), featured shows that did not quite make it - like "Breath of a Salesman." Westcott was the event's lead organizer, overseeing the online voting and event promotion via Facebook.

Getlik observes that the enthusiasm and good humor overflowing at Kelsey Theatre during the evening was palpable. "The college and the community are so fortunate to have these companies and actors who have decided to make Kelsey Theatre their home. Clearly, they have raised the bar. You are guaranteed a good time at Kelsey Theatre," she said.

Getlik invites everyone to check out the new season, which starts September 7 with the iconic musical "Pippin." More on the 2012-13 Kelsey season is available here.

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