Spotlight Award | AACT

Spotlight Award

Spotlight Awards
Presented for local service to community theatre

Announced by AACT, and presented locally, AACT's Spotlight Award allows member theatres across the nation to recognize special local achievement. Any individual, organization or company is eligible. Nominations are accepted for persons of all ages. Awards may be presented anytime through the year that is appropriate. This is a fitting tribute to the hardworking volunteers, staff, and patrons of local community theatre groups--an AACT tradition and service since 2000.

2022 Honorees

Photo of Mary Sue WeeksThe Lincoln County Community Theater (LCCT), in Damariscotta, Maine, has honored Mary Sue Weeks of Bremen, Maine, with the AACT Spotlight Award for her contributions to the artistic life of the theatre. An accomplished scenic artist, Mary Sue has shared her considerable talents with the company for over a decade.

John Mulcahy, LCCT Production Supervisor, says “From the moment she walked through the door of our theater, we have not mounted a production that has not been blessed with Mary Sue’s incredible skills, tireless work ethic, and friendly demeanor.” He recalls that “when we wanted to show a giant IBM Selectric typewriter on the upstage drop for Nine to Five—a little research and it was done. Paint a drop and false proscenium in the style of Rousseau for Iolanthe?—she mastered it.”

Weeks plays a particularly important role in brainstorming discussions in the early stages of the design process, which Mulcahy says “never seems to be about individual egos colliding, but rather about comrades weighing different ideas and happily arriving at the best plan for moving ahead. Every community theatre should be as lucky as we are to have a someone like Mary Sue Weeks among its dedicated volunteers.”

2021 Honorees

Soldiers' Theatre, Vicenza, Italy, awarded the AACT Spotlight Award for outstanding contributions to community theatre to SGT. Martin Sinlao and Alphonso (Al) Ortiz.

SGT. Sinlao and Mr. Ortiz were honored for countless volunteer hours, dedication, and devotion to supporting and creating community theatre for U.S. Army Garrison (USAG) Italy, Installation Manage­ment Command-Europe, and AACT. “Your Soldiers' Theatre family appreciates all you do and celebrates this amazing honor with you,” said Jerry Brees, Entertainment Director at Soldier’s Theatre in Italy, which is a member of AACT.

Photo of SGT. Martin Sinlao SGT. Martin Sinlao has made a tre­mendous impact on Soldiers’ Theatre and the U.S. Army Entertainment Program. Soldiers are typically only assigned to USAG-Italy for a short time, and Martin has devoted all of it to making Soldiers’ Theatre a success. In only three years he has contributed 1569 vol­unteer hours to the program. Martin is also seen as a talented actor, dancer, and singer, participating in many roles during his time in Italy.

Perhaps more importantly, Martin serves as a choreographer and stage manager, and has improved not only the quality of productions, but significantly increased the morale and spirit of each production’s cast and crew. Company members say he has been instrumental in producing that spark of passion, excitement, and joy that has changed lives for many volunteers.

In addition, he has built sets, constructed props, helped with cos­tumes and makeup, worked backstage and in the technical booth, tended bar, handed out programs, and assisted with marketing and advertising. He has been recognized with acting awards in the IMCOM-Europe Festival of One Act Plays, AACT Region X, and TOPPERS, as well as nominations for his creative choreography in musicals at Soldiers’ Theatre.

Additionally, Martin has supported the program by being a staunch advocate in the community to bring in young, single soldiers, and encourage their participation. His nomination papers emphasize how his mentorship, personality, and enthusiasm has been instrumental in relieving stress, giving soldiers a safe space, and encouraging them to learn, grow, and pursue their dreams in the arts. Several soldiers have since become active members of the theatre family after being intro­duced to Soldiers’ Theatre by Martin.

Photo of Alphonso (Al) OrtizAlphonso Ortiz has been extremely active in the U.S. Army Entertainment Pro­gram at Soldiers’ Theatre for the past eight years, contributing 1707 volunteer hours to the theatre program. Through a variety of activities, volunteerism, and support, Al has volunteered and participated in musical and theatrical productions, special events, and programs at the theatre—nights, week­ends, and holidays for rehearsals and special events.

A talented volunteer performer, which requires countless hours of rehearsal, preparation, and performance, Al also serves behind the scenes in construction, design, and building sets, as well as the organization and storage of set pieces and props. He is known as a leading advocate for the Entertainment Program in the community.

In addition to his many talents, qualities, contributions, and unique assets, his nomination papers cite his most valued contribution as his support, encouragement, and dedication to making each play, musi­cal, event, or program a success. In particular, he has been praised for his work in marketing and advertising and his work in the IMCOM-Europe Festival of One Act Plays, AACT Region X, and TOPPER competitions through the years.

“Due to his many years of service and continued support, Soldiers' Theatre is successful in accomplishing our mission,” says Entertainment Director Jerry Brees. "Alphonso Ortiz is truly a dedicated and valued volunteer, and helps ensure that the U.S. Army Entertainment program remains vital to our command, volunteers, patrons and staff.”

Previous Honorees & Their Presenting Companies

Rebecca Donner
Halifax County Little Theatre
South Boston, Virginia
Diane Hanisch
Arts for Life
St. Louis, Missouri

Freddie Beth Bayne
The Upstagers
Del Rio, Texas
Daniel Sheehan
The Walpole Footlighters
Walpole, Massachusetts
Sharon Burum
Duncan Little Theatre
Duncan, Oklahoma
Chuck Tweed
Jewell Box Theatre
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Sue McCollum
Highlands Little Theatre
Sebring, FL


Reverend William Dunn
A Repertory Theatre (ART)
Banning, CA

Shannon Egbert
SHAPE Performing Arts Centre
Mons, Belgium

John Hanlon
Lincoln Community Playhous
Lincoln, NE

Sabrina Switzer-Wareing
A Repertory Theatre (ART)
Banning, CA

Nancy Wollenburg
Billings Studio Theatre
Billings, MT


Bonnie Cahill
Butler Little Theater (BLT)
Butler, PA
John Hanlon
Lincoln Community Playhouse (LCP)
Lincoln, NE


Sue Keenan
Village Theatre Guild
Glen Ellyn, IL

Glenn Fournier
Mansfield Music and Arts Society (MMAS) Black Box Theater
Mansfield, MA

Margie Bankert
Sue and Gary Collar
Ron Lockwood
Butler Little Theatre
Butler, PA


Benjamin Keegan Arnold
Lakeside Community Theatre
The Colony, TX

Sheila Bourque
Kirk Players
Mundelein, IL

Herbert Hemming
Ojai Center for the Arts
Ojai, CA

Beth Marshall
Theatre Arlington
Arlington, TX


Robert "Rob" Babione
Curtain Call Theatre, (CCT)
Montgomery, MN

Jerry Davis
Crittenden Fine Arts Center, West Memphis, AR
ASAP & Carousel Theater Workshops for Seniors, Hot Springs, AR

Claudia Mathes
Albuquerque Theatre Guild
Albuquerque, NM

Melinda Worthington
Newton Community Theatre
Newton, IA

Jim Buckingham
Lincoln County Community Theater Damariscotta, ME
Kevin Frazier-Jones
Sock & Buskin Community Theatre
Sidney, OH
Vivian K. Humphrey
Triboro Youth Theatre, South Attleboro, MA
Aleta Grillot Looker
Cheshire (CT) Community Theatre
Colleen McGonegle
Theatrix Command Costume Support Center
Army Europe Entertainment
Doug Mishler
Reno Little Theater, Reno, NV
Joan Sammons
Theatre Cedar Rapids, Cedar Rapids, IA
Sally Skelding
North End Players, Portland, OR


Russ's Market
Lincoln, NE
Rita Ford
Wellesley (MA) Players
Cindy Healy, Tim Blount & Wanda Blount
Newton (IA) Community Theatre
Don Mansfield
Center Stage Jackson, MI
Eeva Stromski
Theatre at the Mount, Gardiner, MA
Frank Milder and Joel Soukkala
County Seat Theater Company, Cloquet, MN
Bill Thorne
Greater Lewisville (TX) Community Theater



Kay Addison
Laurens County Community Theatre, SC
Fred Brockwell
The Upstagers, Del Rio, TX
Karen Reisenauer
Racine Theatre Guild, Racine, WI
Lorraine Tetlus
Manatee Players, Bradenton, FL



Anthony Batchelder, Tulsa, OK
Heller Theatre, Tulsa, OK
Richard Gannon, Downers Grove, IL
Grove Players, Downers Grove, IL
Betty Goettsch, Cedar Falls, IA
Waterloo Community Playhouse
Black Hawk Children's Theatre, Waterloo, IA
Carl G. (Gil) Haase, Schuyler, NE
Nebraska Assn of Community Theatres (NACT), Saint Paul, NE
Manatee Players Guild, Bradenton, FL
Manatee Players, Bradenton, FL
Sandi & Bill Taylor, Longview, TX
Arts View Children's Theatre, Longview, TX
Arthur Volmrich, Lake Placid, NY
Community Theatre Players, Ray Brook, NY


Patricia Beetschen
The Children's Theatre, Inc. Dover, DE
Jean Gold
The Middleburg Players, Inc. Middleburg, VA
George Mangold
Racine Theatre Guild, Inc. Racine, WI
Jess Mark
Tupelo Community Theatre Tupelo, MS
Donald Mummert
Boise Little Theater Boise, ID
André Bruce Ward
Theatre Memphis Memphis, TN
Pat Ward
The Red River Theater Company Ivanhoe, TX
Emily Westbrook Theatre of Northeastern Connecticut, Inc.
Putnam, CT
Jan H. Wolfe
El Paso Playhouse El Paso, TX


City of Willow Park
Weatherford Stage Performers, Weatherford, TX
Jessica Deeb
Community Theatre Players, Ray Brook, NY
Joshua Erichsen
The Players Guild Theatre Canton, OH
Harold Goldman
Des Moines Community Playhouse /Kate Goldman Children's Theatre Des Moines, IA
Barbara & Jim Poythress
Weatherford Stage Performers Weatherford, TX
Julia Woodward
Quincy Music Theatre Quincy, FL
Jon & Angela Wright
Arts View Children's Theatre Longview, TX





Jeffrey Brown
Chattanooga Theatre Centre Chattanooga, TN
Trish Davis
The Hudson Players Hudson, OH
Michael Galloway
Cadillac Footliters Cadillac, MI
Pat & Kim Gilligan
CYT San Diego El Cajon, CA
Lyn Joslyn
The Hudson Players Hudson, OH
Jean Nicholas
Cadillac Footliters Cadillac, MI
Shirley Tuzinowski
Algonac Community Theatre Algonac, MI


Charles & Madeleine Dionne
The Majestic Theatre Manchester, NH
Larry, Debbie, P.J., & Melissa Louie
The Children's Theatre Dover, DE
Harry & Terri Moore
The Children's Theatre, Inc. Dover, DE
CCX Trucking Company
Chanooka Center Stage Theatre Company, Channahon, IL


George Anne Bedford
Art Park Players Deer Park, TX
Daven Edmonds
Muhlenberg Community Theatre, Inc. Greenville, KY
George W. Kinsley, III
Neshaminy Valley Music Theatre, Inc. Langhorne, PA
Garth Stubbolo
The Children's Theatre, Inc. Dover, DE
Carl Tenuta
Pontiac Theatre IV Novi, MI




City of Winfield, Kansas
Winfield Community Theatre, Winfield, KS
B. J. Scott
Camino Real Playhouse, San Juan Capistrano, CA


Parents Of Desert Stages Theatre
Ensuring Tomorrow Productions, Scottsdale, AZ
Debra Dieckman
Flat River Community Players, Greenville, MI
Sally McFadden
Green Earth Players, Luverne, MN

Stacey Storey
River City Players Cape Girardeau, MO
Russ Williams
Waco Civic Theatre, Waco, TX



Fred & Mary Blish
The Little Theatre of Manchester, CT
Bill Brown
Villa Playhouse Theatre, Springville, UT
Irv Clark
Stage West Community Playhouse, Spring Hill, FL
Betty J. Coleman
Butterfield Stage, Gainesville, TX
Walter Edwards
Fredericksburg Theater Company, Fredericksburg, TX
Wesley College
The Children's Theatre, Inc. Dover, DE
Yvonne Pinkerton
Venice Theatre, Venice, FL
Barbara Polka
The Trinity Players Inc., Weaverville, CA
Chuck Ross
River City Players, Cape Girardeau, MO
Jamie Sanders
Shreveport Little Theatre, Shreveport, LA
Robert D. Sandmaier
Fort Wayne Civic Theatre, Fort Wayne, IN
Patricia Schuman
Fredericksburg Theater Company Fredericksburg, TX
Velvet Sponaugle
The Children's Theatre, Dover, DE
Sig Stock
Stage West Community Playhouse, Spring Hill, FL
Dr. Thomas Vaughan
The Children's Theatre, Dover, DE


Aloha Airlines
Hawaii State Theatre Council Kamuela, HI
Mary Ann Baures
La Crosse Community Theatre La Crosse, WI
Lillian Baxter
Runaway Stage Productions, Elk Grove, CA
Gordon Becker, Creative Financial Planning
Cabrillo Music Theatre, Agoura, CA

Margaret M. Cahill
The Butler Little Theatre, Butler, PA

Robert "Bob" Child
Stage West Community Playhouse, Spring Hill, FL

John Igo
S.T.A.G.E., Inc.,  Bulverde, TX
PJ Searsy
Waxahachie Community Theatre, Waxahachie, TX
Guy Thrift - Minuteman Press
Tapestry Theatre Company Alexandria, VA
Lorraine Wagner
Fort Lauderdale Players, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Jeffrey Williams
Theatre at the Mount, Gardner, MA


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