A message from Frank Calo, Spotlight On festivals.
Spotlight On Festivals has been chosen as the award recipient of this year’s Fresh Fruit Festival HoneyBerry Award for Supporting and Nurturing LGBT Artists. We will be given a physical award and certificates listing the names of the Spotlight On contributors to this award and this is where all of you come in! I was given the task of listing up to 6 awardees in 4 separate categories. The awardees had to have nurtured and supported LGBT artists and content. They also had to have been a pivotal part of Spotlight On. This was a very hard task for me since there were so many artists supporting the LGBT community within Spotlight On. I could list many of whom began with us in the 90s and left along the way; I could list many in later years that were only with us a shorter amount of time. I thought it was important that the list contain artists that not only fit Fresh Fruit’s requirements but showed loyalty and that willingness to help the cause of keeping a theater family together for which we are known. Of course, artists did not have to produce only gay content but there had to be a large smattering of it throughout their work. That is why you will see some omissions from our list of artists that were with us for many years but did not produce enough gay material for this particular award. Many artists produced a diversity of genres. For instance, Renee Flemings wrote, directed and acted in many pieces with a majority of straight characters but also produced much gay content and Teresa Fischer who has appeared in numerous shows both gay and straight portraying all with honesty.
There are a few on the list that came in early and left along the way like Kevin Brofsky who wrote and directed many productions for us during our very beginnings before Raw Space and during our stay at Raw Space and Tony Ciccotelli who came along during our Raw Space days and was involved in what seemed like everything from playwriting to directing to acting to participation in the acting classes. Some came a little later and stayed like Duncan Pflaster who started as a playwright/director with our 2002 festival and produced many plays with us and Jim Stewart who came to us in the early 00’s and designed one of our big festivals and has been in and out of spotlight on ever since. Of course, many on the list have been around since or almost since the beginning and are still with us: Ken Bachtold; Susan Bucci; Teresa Fischer; Martin St. Lawrence; Ricardo Cordero; Myles Cohen; Steven Thornburg [of course!] to name just a few.
Another difficult chore was to divide all of you into sections. Many of you had your hand in almost everything at Spotlight On. That was part of the beauty of what we were that allowed this kind of diversity. I chose the category that I thought you most supported the LGBT community. This really wasn’t easy. I could have put Louis Lopardi in with playwrights because he wrote a lot of pieces we produced but he was there for all of us as a designer and problem solver so I had to put him in our Production category; Andrew Rothkin could actually have gone in any of the categories and he has won or been nominated in just about everything including a win as a transgendered character in a Hector Lugo play but I chose Playwriting because he wrote so many pieces that he went on to direct for us; Hector Lugo wrote so many gay and gay related plays for us that you would think he would go in that category but who could forget his portrayals of La Contessa or Aunt Googie so actor[ress] it was. Ricardo Cordero has been an actor, director and playwright as well as our press agent sending out thousands of e-mails on our behalf! Acting is his first love and how can I deny that placement; Marjory Conn, playwright? Actor? Director? She wrote some unique lesbian pieces for us and without that she might not have directed or acted in our festivals; Ken Bachtold, you might think, would be easy to place since directing is his major love and he directed many productions for us but he was also instrumental in the design department with all of our brochures and flyers always picking the right image for each production and in the end Directing had to win. As I said it wasn’t easy but hey, if you think you are in the wrong category I will keep an open ear for change.
Of course, there were some easier choices like Sue Marticek who was an incredible production manager for all of our shows; Susan Bucci who acted in everything [and joined us for many gay bar outings]; Alan Kanevsky who designed for many productions; Brian Saxe who directed so many of the Grove St. Wannabee shows; Martin St. Lawrence the Music Director/pianist for every event we ever had; David Dotterer who started with us the very first week at Raw Space and has done some great gay theater for us; Myles Cohen the perfect reader, poet and lady Tink; the author of 3 Guys in Drag, for whence Tink draws breath, Edward Crosby Wells has provided us with many wonderful plays with great gay roles and situations.
Thank you all for being part of Spotlight On all these years and congratulations for YOUR HoneyBerry Award! As I said each of you will receive a certificate that evening.
By the way, other awardees that evening include: State Senator Tom Duane, Off-Broadway Legend Doric Wilson and Television Producer Tony Sawicki all to receive a Fresh Fruit Festival Award of Distinction. Further ticketing information below:
Playwrights Kevin Brofsky
Edward Crosby Wells
Directors Ken Bachtold
Martin St. Lawrence [musical direction)
Performers Susan Bucci
Technical Alan Kanevsky
The awards ceremony is 6/21 at the Jan Hus Playhouse.
VIP TABLES – Table for six $150; Table for 8 $200: includes best views, pre-show Hors D'oeuvres and wine, 2 bottles of champagne, a brie tray and gift bag. VIP tables RESERVATIONS: through theatremania [I will set this up for spotlight - just let me know if you want in.]