Distinguished Merit Award | AACT

Distinguished Merit Award

Distinguished Merit
Presented to individuals and organizations in recognition of contributions made to promote and develop the highest standards for community theatre

2021 Honorees

Photo of Joe Barton Joe Barton (Waterville, Ohio) has been serving the local and state theatre community for over 25 years, including 20 years with the Ohio Community Theatre Association (OCTA), serving as President for three of those years, and as Regional Representative for OCTA’s Northwest Region. In 2005, Joe and several friends formed 3B Productions, and is proud that it has “set the standard for high quality productions and has been invited to OCTA State Conference almost every year since their inception.” Joe has directed over 100 productions for multiple theatres in Northwest Ohio. Besides acting, directing, and producing, he has costumed hundreds of productions, winning numerous costume design awards. He is the owner/operator of 3B Costumes, and was manager and head costumer for Kostumes, Ltd. for 15 years. “Community Theatre has been and will continue to be a huge part of my life,” he says. “To me, theatre people have become family!”

Photo of Charles Corritore Charles Corritore (Erie, Pennsylvania) has been part of the Erie Playhouse for 47 years. In 1974, when a fire decimated the group’s rented space, his work as Business Manager maintained the theatre’s financial stability while it performed in 10 different county-wide venues, until buying a permanent home in 1984. In addition to his contributions on the business side, Charlie has participated in well over 100 productions, sharing his innate abilities in character development, dance, and choreography with others. Partnering with Michael Malthaner, he has been a librettist/lyricist for eight musical theatre productions. These musical productions, along with murder mysteries, which Charlie began writing in 1989, are still being performed in community theatres nationwide. Says current Executive Director, Kate Neubert, “I cannot express the incredible respect and admirations I have for him, and I know it is shared by all who have ever crossed paths. He embodies all that we love about community theatre.”

Previous Recipients

2020   Kristi Gautsche (Hillsdale, Michigan)
           Steven Helsel (Altoona, Pennsylvania)
           Pamela Livingstone (Hickory, North Carolina)
2019   Debbie Litch (Memphis, Tennessee)
           Volunteer Costume & Set Design Staff
              of US Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM)
              Europe Entertainment (Ansbach, Germany)
2018   Andrea Campfield (Sand Springs, Oklahoma)
           Gai Jones (Ojai, California)
           Dan LaMorte, U.S. Army IMCOM Europe
              Mons, Belgium
2017  Alan Buxkemper (Stuttgart, Germany)
          Dr. Alan D. Kaplan (Manchester, New Hampshire)
          André Bruce Ward (Moscow, Tennessee)
          Tacoma Musical Playhouse (Tacoma, Washington)
2016 Jim Chervenka (Grand Rapids, MI)
         Celia Couture (Tewksbury, MA)
         Loween Getter (Webster City, IA)
2015 Aubrey Dunne* (San Diego, CA)
          Oklahoma Community Theatre Association (OCTA)
2014 Melanie Cornelison (Ashland, KY)
         Lisa Garza (Houston, TX)
         SCERA Center for the Arts (Orem, UT)
2013 Anthony Del Rosso
        & Gwendolyn Whitney
        (SHAPE Perf. Arts Centre NATO Base)
        Carolyn Pitman (Whitefish, MT)
2012  Dennis Assaf & Jefferson Performing
         Arts Society (Metairie, LA)
         Linda McClane (Fernandina Beach, FL)
2011  April Cochran (Paducah, KY)
         Ginny Morrison (Seville, OH)
2010  Penelope Notter (Grand Rapids, MI)
2009  Bonnie Daniels (US Army)
          Andre Bruce Ward (Memphis, TN)
2008  Jim Buckley (Cambria, CA)
2007  Morrie Enders (Kalamazoo, MI)

2006  John Rich (Pullman, WA)
2005  Jerry Zimmerman (Ft Jennings, OH)
2004  Shirley Cockrell (Oneida, NY)
         Hap Ryder* (Fairbanks, AK)
         Pat White (Amherst, NH)
2003  Ohio Community Theatre Association
2002  Enid Holm* (Odessa, TX)
         Harv Thompson (Madison, WI)
2001  Jim Sohre (US Army, Europe)
2000  Charles Jeffers* (Hickory, NC)
1999  David Young (Gainesville, FL)
1998  Stage Directions Magazine
1997  William Talbot (New York, NY)
1996  Steve Spiegel & Music Theatre
         International (New York, NY)
1995  Sherwood Lohrey* &
         Theatre Memphis (TN)
1994  Theatre Midland (TX)
1993  Jon Kerkhoff (Omaha, NE)
1992  Paul Ebert (Oak Ridge, TN)
1991  Target Stores
1990  Hiroshi Koizumi (Toyama City, Japan)
1989  Charles Jones* (Omaha, NE)
1988  Kalamazoo Civic Players (MI)
1987  Twink Lynch (Topeka, KS)
1985  National Multicultural Theatre Association
         of Canada
1984  Alaska State Community Theatre
1983  Bea Miller* (Memphis, TN)
1982  David Gooder* (Downers Grove, IL)
1981  Henry Fonda* (Omaha, NE)
1980  Douglas Cook (University Park, PA)
1979  Norman Carver* (Kalamazoo, MI)




          * Deceased



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