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SALTYs Show Goes On



MATT MUMAU PHOTO

A hearty, boisterous crowd turned out at Cicero-North Syracuse High School Auditorium on June 6 for the presentation of the SALTY (Syracuse Area Live Theatre Youth) Awards and a series of scenes from shows that rivaled the best that any company put up all year.

Distractions from the (show) business at hand abounded: A disconcertingly lovely Saturday afternoon kept the crowds down. On top of that it was a day many seniors took SAT exams and were also preparing for the evening’s prom.

However, hosts Ted Long and Amy Robbins from 93Q moved things along quickly, never diverting attention to themselves. In a sample tension-reducer, Long begged winners to overlook the big orange thumb print on their trophies, because he had just been eating a bag of Cheez-Its. And he also sprang to the rescue when an unexplained technical glitch kept performers from Fowler High School stranded speechless for a four-minute eternity. (The delay may have resulted from missing body mikes that caused two members of the ensemble to show up late. Their number, “Seasons of Love,” had evidently been dynamite, with a two-octave riff from a soloist.)

Youthful winners were blessedly brief and modest compared with trophy-holders at the Oscars, Tonys and other competitions. An obviously surprised LaRae Brooks of Fowler, winning for a supporting role in Night Chills, blushed and gasped, “Sooo . . . I have to give a speech,” and then said thanks.

Teresa Werbeck of Bishop Ludden could not be present to pick up her award for best actress in a play for Register Here, and a smiling, gray-bearded man leapt to the stage to explain, “I am sure she would want to thank her director for all she was able to accomplish.”

Top marks for generosity go to Andrea Soule, of Cicero-North Syracuse, who as Anita in West Side Story tied for best supporting actress. It was the only tie of the ceremony. Her first words were to congratulate Maria Pedro of Fayetteville-Manlius, saying how much she had loved Maria’s Witch in Into the Woods.

Some nominees were named more than once. A few of them lost in each category. Nick Vozzo of Bishop Ludden was cited for best supporting actor in Register Here and for the lead, Stephen/Jesus in Godspell, but was empty-handed both times. Yet in a category carrying more prestige, the Rising Star Award for the entire competition, he took the prize. In accepting he the was the only winner to strike a religious note, thanking God for everyone’s talent, and then in a gesture drawing long oohs from all over the crowd, he thanked his girlfriend. Only later was it revealed that Vozzo had been scheduled for open-heart surgery but had requested this life-saving procedure be delayed until he attended the SALTYs.

While most of the awards are given to performers and productions at high schools, some students competed in categories devoted to community theater productions from Gifford Family Theatre, Simply New Theatre, Syracuse Children’s Theatre and the Syracuse Shakespeare Festival. Leaders from community theater groups were prominent among the presenters, including Talent Company doyenne Christine Lightcap, who held up a copy of the glossy 55 Plus magazine with her picture on the cover. “I had to lie about my age to get my picture here,” she cracked.

Sometime community theater people met each other coming and going. Jon Wilson of Appleseed Productions presented the award for best director to Holly Wilson (no relation), formerly with Theatre ’90. Later Holly Wilson was the presenter for Jon Wilson for the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Speeding the afternoon along were seven excerpts from different nominated shows. By the end of the entire ceremony the audience could see that the day’s performance was unrelated to the larger competition, whose voting had been decided before the SALTY Awards. The winner for the selections performed at the awards ceremony was Solvay High School’s “Been a Long Day” from Frank Loesser’s How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The precise witty counterpoint won over judges from community theater, Nora O’Dea, James Shults and Joe Zappala.

How the day’s performances ran, though, clearly affected audience response. When the announcers got to the final award, best musical of the year, the prize went to Fowler’s Rent, bringing the entire cast and director Mary McCone on stage. The announcement prompted a standing ovation, the only one of the afternoon.
                                                                                                                                                    

2009 SALTY Award winners

BEST ACTRESS,
COMMUNITY THEATER PLAY/MUSICAL
Jo D’Aloisio, Romeo and Juliet
Syracuse Shakespeare Festival

BEST ACTOR,
COMMUNITY THEATER PLAY/MUSICAL
Jeremy Wallace, Romeo and Juliet
Syracuse Shakespeare Festival

BEST ENSEMBLE,
COMMUNITY THEATER
Go, Dog, Go
Gifford Family Theatre

BEST PLAY/MUSICAL,
COMMUNITY THEATER
Go, Dog, Go
Gifford Family Theatre

DISTINGUISHED EDUCATOR
Bill Ralbovsky
Tully High School

BEST ACTRESS,
HIGH SCHOOL PLAY
Teresa Werbeck, Register Here
Bishop Ludden Junior-
Senior High School

BEST ACTRESS,
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL
Betty Etheredge, Once Upon a Mattress
Christian Brothers Academy

BEST ACTOR,
HIGH SCHOOL PLAY
Eric Graf, Register Here
Bishop Ludden Junior-
Senior High School

BEST ACTOR,
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL
Chad Healy, Into the Woods
Fayetteville-Manlius High School

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS,
HIGH SCHOOL PLAY
LaRae Brooks, Night Chills
Fowler High School

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS,
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL (TIE)
Maria Pedro, Into the Woods
Fayetteville-Manlius High School

Andrea Soule, West Side Story
Cicero-North Syracuse High School

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR,
HIGH SCHOOL PLAY
Ryan Sparkes, Metamorphoses
Baker High School

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR,
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL
Cody Chester, High School Musical II
Westhill High School

BEST ENSEMBLE,
HIGH SCHOOL
West Side Story
Cicero-North Syracuse High School

BEST DIRECTOR,
HIGH SCHOOL
Holly Wilson
West Side Story
Cicero-North Syracuse High School

BEST PLAY,
HIGH SCHOOL
Register Here
Bishop Ludden Junior-
Senior High School

BEST MUSICAL,
HIGH SCHOOL
Rent
Fowler High School

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Jon Wilson

RISING STAR   
Nick Vozzo

BEST SALTY
PERFORMANCE AWARD
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, “Been a Long Day”
Bobby Hall, Christi Frateschi
and Holly Nodzo
Solvay High School






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