Story by Ashley Bolek, Reporter
Photo courtesy of AQ Theatre
Every October, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre hosts the Grand Awards. This year will be the 21st annual award show. The Grand Awards are similar to the Tony Awards that take place in June to honor theatre across the country, but this is scaled down to just the Grand Rapids area. All of the collegiate and community theatres in the area are asked to join this special event and this year, Aquinas College has six nominations.
The first nomination goes to David Brown, a Compass student, for his lead performance in the Aquinas show “See What I Wanna See” as The Husband and Priest. To him, being nominated “is a huge honor for me. It shows that people watched and appreciated this show that we all worked so hard to pull off!”
“See What I Wanna See” took place last December. “Every minute spent with that cast and crew was a huge delight – including the minutes where I was crying like a preschooler or lying motionless on the floor because Eric had stolen my wife and stabbed me in the chest. All of which happened a lot.” David was previously nominated for his role as J.D. in “Heathers: the Musical.”
The second nomination was given to Kendra McInerney, Aquinas graduate, for her lead performance as the Wife, also in “See What I Wanna See.” Last year she was also nominated and won for Best Supporting Actress for the show “Enchanted April.” “I am very excited to be nominated again,” she said, “I have been nominated at least once every year that I was working at Aquinas. I am extremely proud and honored. I learned so much while in school there and can never thank everyone enough.”
Aquinas senior Justina Ouellette was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress for her performance as Rosalind in “As You Like It.” “Randy threw it in a slideshow,” she said on when she found out she was nominated, “and casually cruised past it while I sat with my jaw on the table. I teared up a little bit… This is my first time experiencing [The Grand Awards]… I am excited to be a part of it.” This is Justina’s first nomination for a show here at Aquinas.
The final AQ actor nomination goes to Christina Gonzalez as The Medium and Aunt Monie in “See What I Wanna See” for Outstanding Supporting Actress. “I was really excited and surprised because I really didn’t see it coming because there are so many talented people in Grand Rapids and in colleges. So it was really amazing to be one of the people who were nominated.” This is also Christina’s first nomination here at Aquinas.
The last two nominations are both for the show “As You Like It.” It was nominated for Best College Show and Best Direction of a College Show. Justina said of working with the nominated director, Katherine Mayberry, “Working with Katherine was really amazing. She really knew how to get us actually… interested in Shakespeare and help us understand without telling us what to understand.”
The Grand Awards take place on October 8th at the Civic Theatre in downtown Grand Rapids at 6:30pm. Kendra said it best about what the Grand Awards mean: “The Grand Awards is so important. It is a chance to bring the entire theatre community together once a year to celebrate and honor all of our hard work.”