Little Theatre of Watertown’s production of “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” wrapped itself in a prestigious honor last month at the annual Theater Association of New York State Festival.
A panel of three adjudicators at the festival in Batavia, Genesee County, selected Kathie M. Strader of Watertown as Outstanding Actor for her performance in the comedy by the late Nora Ephron and her sister, Delia Ephron.
A roving adjudicator for the theater association qualified the production for the state festival after he viewed it in August when Little Theater staged it at the Clayton Opera House. The players then had to perform it at the festival in front of the three adjudicators.
Little Theatre plans an encore production of “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” from Jan. 11 to 13 at the Black River Valley Club, 131 Washington St.
Little Theatre competed with seven other community theater groups from around the state at the festival, held the weekend before Thanksgiving. Watertown Little Theatre also received the Shirley Cockrell Community Theatre Excellence Award, which is given to an organization “that provides exemplary service to its community and continually aspires to and maintains the highest level of artistic achievement.”
Only one Cockrell award is given each year after a rigorous application process. Watertown Little Theatre’s application was submitted by veteran performer and director Jane Bowman Jenkins.
Mrs. Strader, who said she was “thrilled, happy and taken aback” by the award, said the script by the Ephrons made it easy for her to act in “Love, Loss, and What I Wore.” The comedy opened off-Broadway in 2009. A New York Times review by Charles Isherwood called it “a scrapbook of stories about unfortunate prom dresses, the traumatic lighting in fitting rooms, high heels, short skirts and the existential state of having nothing to wear.”
The show is performed by a cast of five on a bare-bones stage. Each actress plays several characters. Besides Mrs. Strader, other actresses in the Little Theatre production are Bethany Dumas, Emily Smith, Tina Thompson and Elizabeth Smith. All will reprise their roles for the January productions.
“It resounds with audiences because I think it’s a collection of stories, and those stories reflect choices that we make, good or bad, when it comes to what we are going to wear and what accessories we will choose,” Mrs. Strader said.
Mrs. Strader said that at auditions for the play, director Daniel Allington asked performers to tell a true story about their clothes.
“We all had one — a different story about what we once upon a time wore,” she said.
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Little Theatre of Watertown also was honored at the festival for shows presented this year and in late 2011. The awards were accepted by Little Theatre director Sherman C. Ward Jr.
The awards, which were given by roving adjudicators and announced at the festival:
n Meritorious Achievement in Ensemble Acting to the cast of “The Nerd,” performed in February 2012. The cast: Claire Auborg, Terry Burgess, Shane Coughlin, Chase Marshall, Jeremy Marshall, David Murphy and Stephanie Wilson.
n Little Theatre’s production of “My Three Angels,” staged in November, 2011, was given three awards: Excellence Achievement in Direction by Mr. Ward; Meritorious Achievement in Ensemble Acting to Terry Burgess, David Fichtenmayer and Levi Whitney, and Meritorious Achievement in Costume Design and Execution to Rebecca Hopfinger.