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Community arts group hosts launch party, awards ceremony

By Carol Rolf/Contributing Writer

This article was published December 10, 2017 at 12:00 a.m.


Among those honored at the Conway Community Arts Association’s 2017 awards ceremony are, front row, from left, Dana Kordsmeier, who was recognized as Best Actress; Kathy Busch, Best Supporting Actress; Jeff Ward, Best Supporting Actor; and Shua Miller, Best Actor and Best Director. In the back row are Josh Anderson, who was recognized for Best Lighting Design; Charles Bane, Best Director; Paul Bowling, Best Sound Design; and Shane Atkinson, Best Actor in a Featured Role.

CONWAY — It was a night of celebration Nov. 17 as actors, directors, crew members and patrons gathered for the Conway Community Arts Association’s launch party and awards ceremony at The Lantern Theatre in downtown Conway.

Interspersed with the awards announcements were scenes of past productions and glimpses of future productions planned for 2018.

Trent Reese of Conway, president of the CCAA Board of Directors, presided over the evening of entertainment. Assisting with the program were other board members — Jeff Ward, vice president; Shua Miller, treasurer; Lisa Ray, secretary; and Elizabeth Williams, Ashli Brown, Len Schlientz and Darby Burdine, all of Conway, and Shane Atkinson of Morrilton, members-at-large.

Theater patrons voted online for People’s Choice Awards, which include the following:

• Best Supporting Actor was presented to Ward for his portrayal of Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest.

• Best Supporting Actress was presented to Kathy Busch of Russellville for her role as Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest.

• Best Sound Design was awarded to Paul Bowling of North Little Rock and Miller for Electra.

• Best Scenic Design was presented to Stephen Perry of Little Rock for

The Importance of Being Earnest.

• Best Costume Design was awarded to Kolby Black of Conway for The Importance of Being Earnest.

• Best Lighting Design was presented to Josh Anderson of Little Rock for Electra.

• Best Actor in a Featured Role was presented to Atkinson for his role as Lane in The Importance of Being Earnest.

• Best Actress in a Featured Role, a tie, was awarded to both Kayla White of Conway for her portrayal of Mary in [title of show] and to Jeannie Denniston of Conway for her role as Miss Primm in The Importance of Being Earnest.

• Best Actor was presented to Miller for his portrayal of Jack Worthing in The Importance of Being Earnest.

• Best Actress was awarded to Dana Kordsmeier of Conway for her role as Electra in Electra.

• Best Director, a tie, was presented to Charles Bane of Conway for The Importance of Being Earnest and Miller for Electra.

• Best Production was The Importance of Being Earnest.

The directors of the 2017 shows presented Davis Awards to cast and crew members for excellence in such categories as acting, stage management and technical theater. The Davis Awards are named for Milton and Claudia Davis of Conway, longtime supporters of community theater.

Those receiving Davis Awards include Erin Henderson and Charlotte Grant, both of Conway, for Wrong Turn at Lungfish; Atkinson and Kordsmeier for [title of show]; Sarah Rawlinson and Chandler Gaines, both of Conway, for Hate Mail; Jordan D. Neil of Little Rock and Michael Richter of Conway for How I Learned to Drive; Wendy Shirar and Christa Davis, both of Conway, for Mothers and Sons; Davis and Sydney Stoner, also of Conway, for Stop Kiss; Ward and Rawlinson for The Importance of Being Earnest; Brynn Woods of Conway and Darby Burdine for Craigslisted; and Kordsmeier and Anderson for Electra.

The 2018 Season at The Lantern Theatre will include the following productions:

• Steel Magnolias, by Robert Harling, will be directed by Carla Grant and presented

Feb. 23 through March 4.

• You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, with music and lyrics by Clark Gesner, will be directed by Ward and presented April 20-29.

• Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, will be directed by Burdine and presented

July 20-29.

• Leading Ladies, by Ken Ludwig, will be directed by Miller and presented Aug. 31 through Sept. 9.

• A Lantern Halloween will be presented Oct. 19-21.

• She Kills Monsters, by Qui Nguyen, will be directed by Reese and presented Nov. 2-11.

• A Lantern Christmas will be presented Dec. 7-9.

The final production for 2017 will be A Lantern Christmas, which will take place at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15 and 16, and at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 17. Reese said the family-friendly event will feature “a fun night of songs, sketch comedy and other fun things.” Tickets are $15 online and at the door. Student rush tickets will be available at the door for $5. Children under 7 will be admitted free of charge.

Flex passes for the 2018 season are $90 and include seven tickets that can be used in any combination. To order flex passes or for more information, email More information is also available on the website or The Lantern Theatre Facebook page.


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