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‘Next to Normal’ and ‘The Cake’ lead Cloris Awards

8/29/2022

Carousel Theatre of Indianola’s production of “Next to Normal” won the award for best musical, while Iowa Stage Theatre’s staging of “The Cake” won the award for best play during the seventh annual Cloris Awards Ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 28, at the Jamie Hurd Amphitheater in West Des Moines.

Named for the Oscar-winning Des Moines native who attended the 2016 ceremony, the annual Cloris Leachman Excellence in Theatre Arts Awards honor outstanding contributions – both on stage and behind the scenes – to locally produced theater in greater Des Moines. Accordingly, trophies are awarded for acting, directing and design.

“We’re proud to support all the creative work that happens on and off stage, which boosts local businesses like Leachman Lumber and carries on the legacy of Cloris Leachman,” said Jennifer Leachman, president and CFO of Leachman Lumber Co., the event’s lead sponsor.

In all, Cloris Awards were bestowed this year in 17 categories. A panel of volunteer judges chose the winners from a total of 33 shows produced by the following eight participating companies: Ankeny Community Theatre, Carousel Theatre of Indianola, Des Moines Community Playhouse, Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre, Iowa Stage Theatre Co., Pyramid Theatre Co., Tallgrass Theatre Co. and Urbandale Community Theatre.

This year’s ceremony celebrated the central Iowa theater community’s resilience after the pandemic forced most companies to cancel or curtail their seasons. The Cloris Awards held a virtual ceremony in 2021 but skipped 2020, when most stages were dark.

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For more information, including a complete list of this year’s nominees, visit clorisawards.org.

BEST PLAY
“The Cake,” Iowa Stage Theatre Co.

BEST MUSICAL
“Next to Normal,” Carousel Theatre of Indianola

BEST PRODUCTION FOR YOUTH & FAMILY
“Heathers: The Musical,” Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE
[title of show], Carousel Theatre of Indianola

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A YOUTH ENSEMBLE
“Heathers: The Musical,” Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre

PERFORMANCE IN A LEAD ROLE IN A PLAY
Richard Maynard as Lear in “King Lear,” Iowa Stage Theatre Co.
Kiera McGregor as Marianne Angelle in “The Revolutionists,” Tallgrass Theatre Co.
Becky Scholtec as Della in “The Cake,” Iowa Stage Theatre Co.

PERFORMANCE IN A LEAD ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Madison Green as Natalie in “Next to Normal,” Carousel Theatre of Indianola
Charlie Reese as Don Lockwood, “Singin’ in the Rain,” Des Moines Playhouse
Brett Spahr as the Pigeon in “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus,” Des Moines Playhouse

PERFORMANCE IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY
Thomas Gill as Edmund in “King Lear,” Iowa Stage Theatre Co.
Amy McGrew as Steele in “A Piece of My Heart”, Ankeny Community Theatre
James Serpento as Tim in “The Cake,” Iowa Stage Theatre Co.

PERFORMANCE IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Katelyn Hughes as Miss Agatha Trunchbull in “Matilda,” Des Moines Playhouse
Maggie Schmitt as Lina Lamont in “Singin’ in the Rain,” Des Moines Playhouse
Dane Van Brocklin as Gabe in “Next to Normal,” Carousel Theatre of Indianola

PERFORMANCE BY A RISING STAR
Liliana Haaland as Matilda in “Matilda,” Des Moines Playhouse
Nina Spahr as Matilda in “Matilda,” Des Moines Playhouse

DIRECTION
Jennifer Nostrala, “The Cake,” Iowa Stage Theatre Co.

MUSIC DIRECTION
Adam Yankowy, “Cabaret,” Des Moines Playhouse

CHOREOGRAPHY
Erin Horst, “Singin’ in the Rain,” Des Moines Playhouse

SCENIC DESIGN
Nicholas Amundson, “Matilda,” Des Moines Playhouse

LIGHTING DESIGN
Alex Snodgrass, “Cabaret,” Des Moines Playhouse

SOUND DESIGN
Brandon Kair, “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play,” Iowa Stage Theatre Co.

COSTUME & MAKEUP DESIGN
Angela Lampe, “Cabaret,” Des Moines Playhouse

SPECIAL RECOGNITIONS

In addition to the traditional award categories, three exemplary contributions to the local community were held up for special recognition.

Stronger Together – Recognizing the partnership of the Des Moines Playhouse and Pyramid Theatre Co. for co-producing a workshop production of “Beaufield Berry’s Buffalo Women,” a story inspired by historical events.

Home Sweet Home – Recognizing Tallgrass Theatre Co.  for successfully opening a shared arts venue in West Des Moines to advance the company’s mission and serve the greater community.

Supporting Community Initiatives – Recognizing the Des Moines Playhouse for collecting financial donations for local first responders, in connection to the 9/11 drama “with their eyes,” and more than 1,000 books donated to the public library, in connection to “Matilda.”

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