Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers, Europe players’ lively production of the musical “Anyone Can Whistle” was the most awarded community theater performance at the annual Tournament of Plays Topper Awards Show April 24 at Patrick Henry Village in Heidelberg.
This daffy musical tale of a town in search of a miracle to exploit for tourists’ dollars took home eight coveted gold Topper statues, including that for Best Musical.
Joining in the “top three” of 2010 were Stuttgart Theatre Center with the Best Comedy, “Patchwork” (seven Toppers), and Ansbach’s Terrace Playhouse, which produced the Best Drama, “W;t” (six Toppers).
But although “Whistle” may have somewhat dominated the proceedings, there was plenty of praise to go around. For example, “A Chorus Line,” produced by Bamberg’s Stable Theatre, won five major awards, including Best Actress, Supporting Actress and Youth in a Musical; “Sweeney Todd,” mounted by Ankara Stage on the Run, scored four top honors, including a sweep of the three male actor categories for a musical.
Altogether, technical, musical, acting, artistic and directing achievements were celebrated by the presentation of 82 golden Topper statues, and 211 framed nomination certificates.
Twenty-three musicals, comedies and dramas were produced during the six-week adjudication period in Army, Air Force and international community theatres in Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Turkey. It is a testament to the quality of the performances that each entered production received multiple awards nominations for excellence.
Installation Management Command-Europe sponsors the annual event, and the Topper show has become an important part of each community theater’s season. Some are already planning their entries for next year.
Although the awards and recognition provide good incentives, the real value of the event is to obtain the training that the adjudicators provide with their post-show critiques. The team of roving judges offers on-the-spot verbal insights and suggestions after each entry that they attend.
For the 600 in attendance at the Patrick Henry Village ballroom, the night was not only a chance to cheer the nominees and winners, but also to be entertained by the professional-quality Topper Singers and Band in a show modeled after Broadway’s Tony Awards.
It was also a golden opportunity to network with fellow theater volunteer enthusiasts — service members, family members, civilians, local nationals and international participants — and to celebrate their passion for creating a little bit of Broadway in their local communities.
(Editor’s Note: James Sohre is the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Entertainment Director for USAG Kaiserslautern)