‘Starcatcher’ production bags four ariZoni Awards
By Ashlee Larrison
Photos courtesy of Daniel and Tiffany Martinez
GCU News Bureau
It’s no surprise that last year’s production of “Peter and the Starcatcher” was a memorable and meaningful production for all involved in the Grand Canyon University’s College of Fine Arts and Production’s Theatre Department. Monday night, ariZoni judges could say the same — they selected “Peter and the Starcatcher” as the winner in four categories.
The ariZoni Awards, Arizona’s version of the Tony Awards, celebrate the work of theatres around the Valley. GCU’s Ethington Theatre earned 20 nominations for its productions of “Ring Round the Moon” and “Peter and the Starcatcher” and won these awards:
- Best Overall Production: Peter and the Starcatcher
- Actress in a Supporting Role: Megan Sutton – Peter and the Starcatcher
- Director: Michael Kary – Peter and the Starcatcher
- Fight Choreography: Kary – Peter and the Starcatcher
For Sutton, the last two plays of her undergraduate experience resulted in not only her first ariZoni nominations — for her supporting roles in both of “Ring Round the Moon” and “Peter and the Starcatcher” — but her first win as well.
“It was super exciting,” Sutton said. “It was really cool that that production (“Peter and the Starcatcher”) in particular got recognized because the whole nature around the production was so collaborative and miraculous. … We had a very short amount of time to put it together.”
Taking home an award alongside Kary, her acting instructor, isn’t the only meaningful memory Sutton has with the “Starcatcher” director.
“I came in (to GCU) as a transfer student because Michael Kary came and did a workshop at Paradise Valley Community College, where I went, and inspired me to come to the school, and once I got there it was just incredible,” Sutton said. “All the faculty is super passionate and giving to the students, and they work well beyond what’s asked of them to create a space for us that is conducive to our learning and growth as artists and individuals.”
Although the ariZoni was awarded to her for her role, Sutton said she couldn’t have won the award by herself.
“Really, everything about those two shows in particular was all to the credit of my castmates and my director,” she said. “Michael Kary was actually my director for both, and I’m just really thankful and indebted to him for believing in me and giving me a chance to portray these characters.”
Sutton, who graduated in April with her Theatre degree, has since taken a job at Arizona Theatre Company’s education department. She will be assistant directing “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time” for Arizona Theatre Company and “Anything Goes” for TheatreWorks with Kary.
Kary said that he was happy that “Starcatcher” resonated within the GCU community as well as with other theatre professionals in the Valley, but “the awards aren’t why we do it. We do it to tell stories.”
As for winning alongside his former student, Kary said, “It’s only right. We’re training them to be our peers.”
Kary expressed pride in Sutton’s hard work and dedication in both of her roles last year and felt that she deserved the recognition she received.
At the ceremony, GCU’s “Starcatcher” ensemble performed a comedic scene from the production.
“The scene went really, really well,” Assistant Dean William Symington said. “People were laughing. It went beautifully.”
Symington said GCU’s awards highlight the talent coming from the department, through both University nominations and alumni nominations in other theatres.
“Winning at all now is really hard because it’s so big,” he said of the ariZonis. “We’re competing with all these other universities as well as all these professional/regional theatres. To get nominated is a miracle, but to win is crazy. It’s pretty cool to get that opportunity.”
Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected]
GCU Today: A ‘Starcatcher’ is born at Ethington Theatre