Opies recognize local actors, crew members

By John Peters

October 27, 2013

Last week actors, actresses, stage crew and supporters gathered to celebrate the 2012-2013 Theater Season of the Surry Arts Council at the annual Opie Awards.

Volunteer Kristie McMillan organized and hosted this year’s festivities with the help of Jake Pack. The event was held in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre, which McMillan and her crew of volunteers had transformed into a Halloween-themed Crystal Ball, complete with photo station, apothecary’s table, and, of course, costumes.

The focus of the event was on the Surry Arts Players. The Opies recognize the best and brightest of the season with the majority of awards being determined by audience vote. This year’s winners were:

Leading Actor: Gregory Matthew, The Wedding of the Siamese Twins

Matthews is a veteran of the Surry Arts Players and was also nominated in the same category for his work in Welcome to Mitford.

Leading Actress: Linda Donnell, Welcome to Mitford

As comfortable on screen as she is on stage, Donnell is always in the midst of some production. In addition to acting, she also dances and teaches dance.

Supporting Actor: Alex Bowers, Welcome to Mitford

Bowers began his work with the Surry Arts Council as Flick in A Christmas Story and has been in almost every show since then! He is currently in rehearsals for the Surry Arts Council’s The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood.

Supporting Actress: Kristie McMillan, A Christmas Story

McMillan has been involved backstage with the Surry Arts Council, but this role marked her stage debut! She immediately followed it with stage managing Welcome to Mitford.

Best Set: Chip Holton, Cinderella

Holton’s set was integral in bringing the classic fairy tale to life. In addition to his contributions to our stage, Holton also painted the amazing mural in the Andy Griffith Museum Theatre.

Best Director: John Adams, A Christmas Story

Though a seasoned director, A Christmas Story marked Adam’s debut to the Surry Arts Council stage. The show was a favorite with cast, crew and audiences.

Best Show: Welcome to Mitford

Though the audiences loved the entire season, Welcome to Mitford took top honors. Perhaps it is because, as one Opie balloter noted, “Mitford reminds me of home.”

Ovation Award: Steve Welker

The Ovation Award is given to an individual for contributions to the Surry Arts Players that go above and beyond. Welker offered to help out with sets for A Christmas Story and has remained involved since then. “His assistance with sets is invaluable, but it is his genuine helpfulness and constant encouragement that makes him so well loved by all of the Surry Arts Players and staff,” the council said.