Voting opens today for Dreamwell’s Night of Stars! Read the nominations below to refresh your memory, click here to vote. Voting ends Friday, May 23 so vote soon!
The winners will receive their trophies at the Night of Stars event, which is Thursday June 5th at the North Ridge Pavilion, 2250 Holiday Rd, in Coralville, at 7:00pm. Because space in this venue is limited we encourage you to make a reservation. To make a reservation please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and number of guests. We hope to see you there! Nominees, please also make a reservation so we know you’re coming! In addition to the awards ceremony, there will be entertainment, wine and hors d’oeuvres.
Three community judges who have seen every production this year will also make their selections. The judges’ votes will be weighted more than the online voting, but every vote counts so go vote for your favorites.
BEST SHOW and BEST TECH
(Two separate awards. The Best Show award goes to everyone, cast and crew. The Best Tech award goes to the entire tech crew.)
The Last Days of Judas Iscariot
Set in a time-bending, darkly comic world between heaven and hell, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot reexamines the plight and fate of the New Testament’s most infamous and unexplained sinner. Wildly funny with a moving ending, audiences loved Judas. The Iowa Theatre Blog wrote, “Dreamwell should be applauded for taking on as dense and challenging a script as The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. …When it’s going it’s really going, and the very lively characters give us the spoonful of sugar to chase the medicine of a crash course in Biblical history. Some really great character work has gone into this show.”
Tech highlight: Costumes, dialect work
Local playwright Mike Moran wrote this play which explores a teen boy’s attempt to find himself through internet relationships. With creative staging and excellent acting, audiences experienced a truly unique show. The Iowa Theatre Blog wrote, “Dreamwell should be commended for taking a risk and staging a brand new play. It’s not very common for a community theatre to take a risk on an unproven script, and in this case it was certainly worth it. So go see Fictional Murders. You won’t regret it.”
Tech highlight: Stylized lighting, video projection
Gruesome Playground Injuries
With sharp humor and sharper insights, Gruesome Playground Injuries follows Doug, an accident prone daredevil and Kayleen, a corrosive masochist as they navigate friendship, love and the squishy parts that lie in between. Simple evocative staging allowed the two actors to shine in this funny, heartbreaking play. The Iowa Theatre Blog wrote, “All in all, Gruesome Playground Injuires sets a very convincing reality that really allows the flights of romantic fancy to set sail.”
Tech highlight: Prosthetics and makeup design of the injuries, musical scene transitions
The Whipping Man
The Whipping Man is the intense story of two freed slaves who find themselves interacting with their Jewish former master as the Civil War ends. They wrestle with their shared past, the bitter irony of Jewish slave-owning and the reality of the new world in which they find themselves. Audiences were blown away by the powerful performances of the three actors. The Iowa Theatre Blog wrote, “This production reminds me of a top notch Chicago storefront theatre piece of work and I salute the team at Dreamwell Theatre for bringing this simplistic and stunning production to life. A must see.”
Tech highlight: Convincing set offering the illusion of a staircase, sound design with appropriate period music
Time Stands Still
A twist on the coming home story, Time Stands Still tells the story of wartime photojournalist Sarah, wounded overseas by a roadside bomb, as she returns home to her long-time boyfriend. As Sarah heals, she must decide whether to stay in New York with James, or return to her dangerous but meaningful career. The four person cast’s excellent acting forced audiences to consider the responsibility we each have to the tragedies happening all over the world.
Tech highlight: Incredibly realistic set with refrigerator
Becky’s New Car
Becky Foster is caught in middle age, middle management and in a middling marriage—with no prospects for change on the horizon. Then one night a socially inept and grief-struck millionaire stumbles into the car dealership where Becky works. Becky is offered nothing short of a new life…and the audience is offered a chance to ride shotgun in a way that most plays wouldn’t dare. Audiences raved about the show, writing “I thought the comedic timing was spot on! The audience was engaged in the action from start to finish.”
Tech highlight: Clever use of lighting to create different spaces, sound design adding humor
Matthew Brewbaker (Last Days of Judas Iscariot)
Matt has directed many shows with Dreamwell, from Death and the Maiden to Corpus Christi to Waiting for Godot. He is an expert at working with large casts and helping actors through dense dialogue. His pacing moved the show along at a good clip, which is crucial for a longer play. Every staging choice was smart and Matt did a fantastic job pulling so many standout performances from his cast.
Matthew Falduto (Fictional Murders)
Matt previously directed Soldier’s Daughter and World’s Teeniest. About Fictional Murders, the Iowa Theatre Blog wrote, “…the subject matter makes it difficult to portray without some innovative directing. By placing the action on a traverse stage… Falduto creates a very intimate and very dynamic space to work in. The direction is done with care and the actors are very tuned in to each other; the effect is that we see the layers of fantasy and reality all onstage at the same time.”
Chuck Dufano (Gruesome Playground Injuries)
Chuck previously directed The Drag and Trestle at Pope Lick Creek for Dreamwell. With Gruesome Playground Injuries, he also used the traverse staging effectively to show the ups and downs of Kayleen and Doug’s relationship. The thoughtful performances clearly showed that Chuck was a director invested in his actors. The Iowa Theatre Blog wrote, “Dufano gets the nuances of the tone and guides the actors through it elegantly. Dufano’s staging is simple and effective.”
Rachael Lindhart (The Whipping Man)
Rachael previously directed The Women of Lockerbie, Desdemona, A Play About a Handkerchief, and many others for Dreamwell. With the Whipping Man, she innovatively added two scene changers which allowed offstage characters to be part of the action. She also expertly guided her three actors to powerful performances. The Iowa Theatre Blog wrote, “Lindhart’s instincts are spot on for the piece.”
Christina Patramanis (Time Stands Still)
Christina previously directed House of Yes for Dreamwell. Christina’s staging of Time Stands Still was very thoughtful and considered, emphasizing the appropriate action and creating tableaus which illuminated character motivations. She handled the humor of the piece very well, a crucial aspect in a play that has such a serious subject matter. Christina’s smart direction of the play left the audience questioning their role in a world filled with tragic events.
Brian Tanner (Becky’s New Car)
Brian has directed many shows for Dreamwell, including Poona the F*ckdog and Kimberly Akimbo. This sort of straight up comedy is Brian’s forte and he elicited hilarious performances from all of his actors. His staging emphasized the comedy and allowed for the emotion. The Iowa Theatre Blog wrote, “The show’s free-flowing, somewhat manic pace could present a challenge to many directors, but the designed set and stage was expertly utilized by Brian Tanner.”
Christian Drollinger (Boy, Fictional Murders)
An accomplished pianist, this was Christian’s first major acting role. The Iowa Theatre Blog wrote “Drollinger does a great job of realizing this character, a self-centered but highly sensitive teen. He plays the humorous moments of the monologues well without ever losing the weight of the situation.”
Roschell Lloyd (Simon, The Whipping Man)
Roschell was in Dreamwell’s first play, Of Mice and Men. He returned to our stage in this gripping play about slavery. The Iowa Theate Blog wrote, “Masterful moments of work … Lloyd, as Simon, offers us optimism, joy, humor, and pain so openly and honestly over the course of this two-act piece.”
Dennis Lambing (Joe, Becky’s New Car)
Dennis also played Satan in the first play of the season, and is no stranger to the Dreamwell stage. Displaying expert comic timing and a deep empathy and understanding of his character, Dennis brought the character of Joe to life.
Mike Nelson (Judas, Last Days of Judas Iscariot)
A newcomer to the Dreamwell stage, Mike completely immersed himself in the role of history’s most famous betrayer. The Iowa Theate Blog wrote, “In the brooding scenes, Nelson is quiet, calm, and fascinating to watch. We get the sense of his struggle with despair without him having to do much but reflect the things the others are saying about him.”
Nate Sullivan (Doug, Gruesome Playground Injuries)
Nate first worked with Dreamwell back in 2007, but the role of Doug is his first major one with our company. The Iowa Theatre Blog wrote, “Sullivan is very at ease in Doug’s world, hobbling on stage with some very specific physical work. He also plays the age shifts very well: when he chases Anderson around the stage with his sock, he is just as clearly an obnoxious thirteen as his quiet, wheelchair-bound form at the end is a prematurely tired thirty-eight.”
Joseph Tranmer (James, Time Stands Still)
Joseph, an aspiring filmmaker, made his leading role debut as desperate to change gears journalist James. Completely present in every moment, Joseph brought a sense of weariness to his character. An easy chemistry with Carrie Erickson as Sarah allowed for a nuanced and compelling performance.
Becca Anderson (Kayleen, Gruesome Playground Injuries)
A product of Cornell College’s theatre department, Becca showed an amazing range as Kayleen. The Iowa Theatre Blog wrote, “She gets the high energy and impressionable nature of eight as easily as she gets the uncomfortable grumpiness of thirteen, and so on in each stage of Kayleen’s life, her character work and her physical presence roots her in the proper time.”
Carrie Erickson (Sarah, Time Stands Still)
Carrie is new to the Dreamwell stage, and we were thrilled to have her bring to life the complex conflicted character of Sarah. Her performance bubbled over with emotion and pathos, taking the audience through the conflicted emotions of the war weary photo-journalist.
Sharon Falduto (Cunningham, Last Days of Judas Iscariot)
Sharon returned to the Dreamwell after many years, portraying the forceful Cunningham. The Iowa Theatre Blog wrote, “Falduto is great in these scenes, and her last desperate attempts to trip up the Devil are very energetic and engaging. She is particularly good with Lambing; the play really activates when they’re on stage together, and the mutual disdain between the two characters is palpable.”
Carole Martin (Becky, Becky’s New Car)
Carole made a splash as Becky in her first Dreamwell play. From the first moments on stage, the audience felt immediately connected to Carole’s Becky. Audiences raved, writing “Carole Martin won over the audience from the start and even when Becky made some bad choices, she was still a lovable character.”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Monty Beal (Steve, Becky’s New Car)
Monty, new to the Dreamwell stage, created the compelling and funny character of Steve, whose life was turned upside down by the death of his wife. His comedic timing was spot on, particularly during his monologue about the puppy. He was also effective scene partner, which is what every good supporting actor must be.
Kevin Burford (Richard, Time Stands Still)
Kevin is no stranger to the Dreamwell stage, having performed in such shows as Baal and Enemy of the People. As Richard, he supported the leads with a deft touch by expertly using comedy and emotion, whichever the script called for. His Richard was a calm port in the storm of emotions the two lead characters were sailing through.
Felipe Carrasco (Caleb, The Whipping Man)
Felipe graduates from the Iowa Theatre Department in December. We were thrilled to have him take time away from those studies to create the role of Caleb, the Confederate soldier whose life is turned upside down. The Iowa Theatre blog wrote, “Masterful moments of work … Felipe Carrasco’s journey as Caleb was such a clear and solid study in character development that I hated him at the top and loved him in the end.”
Aaron Case (Mark, Fictional Murders)
Aaron’s gripping performance as Mark was his first outing on Dreamwell’s stage. The Iowa Theatre blog wrote, “Case’s acting is particularly effective here, as we see a kid who was at first out for a good time completely drawn in to a world of intrigue. His sense of comic timing, his attentive engagement with the fantasy females, and his intuitive connection with Drollinger all make the character of Mark come to life.”
Brian Tanner (Pontious Pilate, Last Days of Judas Iscariot)
Brian is no stranger to the Dreamwell stage, but the brash foul-mouthed Pilate in desert fatigues was unlike anything he had done before. The Iowa Theatre Blog wrote, “His response to Cunningham’s prodding is a lot of fun: after attempting to plead the Fifth, he explodes across the stage, chewing out Cunningham and finally taking his case to the audience.”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Kelsey Akers (Mandy, Time Stands Still)
A newcomer to the Dreamwell stage, Kelsey had the challenge of creating Mandy, who represented the counterpoint to Carrie Erickson’s forceful character Sarah. Kelsey’s Mandy was completely relatable and believable, and her sense of comic timing provided moments of sunniness in an otherwise stormy story.
Kelly Garrett (Juli, Fictional Murders)
While Kelly memorably portrayed Mary in Dreamwell’s production of The Crucible a few years ago, the character of Juli was a completely different role. She brought to life the imaginary online character, mesmerizing audiences with her seduction of Aaron Case’s Mark and her silent, disturbing abduction by Rex Van Dorpe’s Stalker.
Ramya Hipp (Kenni, Becky’s New Car)
A newcomer to the Dreamwell stage, as Kenni Ramya has an easy chemistry with her smitten boyfriend, Spencer Loucks’ Chris, and her wacky father, Dennis Aska’s Walter. The scene where she admits her lie to Chris is terribly charming and sweet, and Ramya presents an innocence that is joyous to behold.
Jessica Murillo (Mother Teresa, Last Days of Judas Iscariot)
Jessica was also seen in Fictional Murders this season, but her portrayal of Mother Teresa was truly a performance to remember. Commanding the stage, Murillo wass hilarious as the saintly nun. The Iowa Theatre Blog wrote, “Murillo creates a charming character and is engaged with everyone on stage.”
Once again, click here to vote. Voting ends Friday, May 23 so vote soon!