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

2022 Honorees

Photo of Tim HigginsTim Higgins (Royal Oak, Michigan) joined Grosse Pointe Theatre in 1985 and has been sharing his incredible talents ever since. As an award-winning actor, director, and choreographer for over 30 productions, his thoughtful artistic vision  and  attention  to  detail raises the level of excellence with each production he takes on. His professional career as a retired VP of Information Technology for a major bank brings yet another critical skill set that has benefited his theatre. Tim is the driving force of the company’s Strategic Planning Committee, working to increase member engagement and coordinating with the board to implement policies and procedures to enhance business operations. Other theatre groups in Michigan, as well as the Naples Players in Florida, have also benefited from Tim’s artistic talents. As Tim says, “the transformative power of theatre continues to inspire people of all walks of life for themselves and their community.”

Star Center Theatre logoStar Center Theatre (Gainesville, Florida) Founder Rhonda Wilson’s vision 21 years ago was to provide an “opportunity for all kids to be a part of this thing I always loved—a space where everyone can sparkle and shine!” Over the past 22 years, the  group  has  expanded  to include adult artists and audiences, and has used its platform and programs as a catalyst for social change, as well as traditional productions that reflect the diversity of the country. Both the organization and its founder have been recognized nationally, regionally, and state-wide. Awards include 2017 and 2018 Finalist for Excellence in Theatre Education presented by the Tony Awards, and Carnegie Mellon, as well as Allstate National Champion for Good, Florida Governor’s Award for Investment in Youth, State Diversity and Inclusion and Women of Vision, and  the  Purpose  Award  from  Gainesville  Black Professionals.


Previous Recipients

2021   Joe Barton (Waterville, OH)
           Charles Corritore (Erie, PA)
2020   Kristi Gautsche (Hillsdale, MI)
           Steven Helsel (Altoona, PA)
           Pamela Livingstone (Hickory, NC)
2019   Debbie Litch (Memphis, TN)
           Volunteer Costume & Set Design Staff
              of US Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM)
              Europe Entertainment (Ansbach, Germany)
2018   Andrea Campfield (Sand Springs, OK)
           Gai Jones (Ojai, California)
           Dan LaMorte, U.S. Army IMCOM Europe
              Mons, Belgium
2017  Alan Buxkemper (Stuttgart, Germany)
          Dr. Alan D. Kaplan (Manchester, NH)
          André Bruce Ward (Moscow, TN)
          Tacoma Musical Playhouse (Tacoma, WA)
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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