The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

August 22, 2012

Gaslight Theatre to present Charlies Saturday

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

— The annual Charlie Awards will take center stage 7:30 p.m. Saturday to recognize outstanding contributions to Gaslight Theatre during the past season.

A social hour will begin at 6:30 p.m., featuring a cash bar and snacks, at Gaslight Theatre, 221 N. Independence. Tickets are $5. Children 12 and under are admitted free.

The Charlies are the annual Oscars for the Gaslight season. Outstanding performance, directing, plays and contributions to the theater will be recognized.

The awards have been a theater tradition since about 1966 and are named for local actor Charlie Duff, who performed in a number of plays.

He was in the first production of the original theater group and was considered a colorful character.

The theme for this year’s ceremony is “All That Jazz,” reflective of next summer’s musical production “Chicago.”

Categories include best play, lead actor and actress, supporting actor and actress, and cameo actor and actress, along with ensemble performance by a group. Those awards will be given in both regular season and special season productions.

Teen awards for best actor and actress also will be presented.

Another award to be presented Saturday will be the Ron O’Neal Friend of the Gaslight, presented to an outstanding volunteer for service above and beyond the call of duty.

Recipients may be recognized for their work on stage, backstage or in administration. It is given in memory of O’Neal, a longtime supporter of Gaslight.

The Gene Nash Scholarship Award was first presented in 1988.

It is given to student attending college with plans for a degree in performing/dramatic arts. Lee Nash established the award in memory of her husband, and the theater has continued it.

The Gene Riggs Technical Award was first presented in 2001. It was created to acknowledge a person who, like the award’s namesake, gives additional work in backstage and technical areas.

Riggs had a good sense of humor, was a gifted artist and designed sets for many plays, said Christianne Chase, a longtime Gaslight Theatre director and actress.

The Toddy Awards were created in honor of the late Todd Smith, a longtime Gaslight presence. The award is presented for overacting. Smith brought to life an old show business saying “chewing up the scenery” and always got the most he could from his part. Smith, who operated Fat and Skinnies sandwich shop, also was known for quirky music and bad jokes.