Ethington Theatre plays earn 8 ariZoni Awards
By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau
The reason, says College of Fine Arts and Production Assistant Dean William Symington, is the students and the education they receive in the college.
“I feel like I can believe that it’s just going to get better and better in terms of what we do and our reputation across the country,” he said. “I also think it represents the environment of the University in general. The arts are supported and valued here so that the quality of the productions can remain at a level where we’re competitive.
“The care, the intention and the money that the University puts into a program shows in how well they perform, and that’s really showing as well.”
With last year’s performance of “A Year with Frog and Toad” leading the way, the victories highlight Ethington’s strength in musical theatre. GCU’s winners:
- Overall Musical: “A Year with Frog and Toad”
- Actor in a Major Role (Musical): Alexander Cavanaugh, “A Year with Frog and Toad”
- Actor in a Major Role (Musical): Brandon Brown, “A Year with Frog and Toad”
- Actor in a Supporting Role (Musical): Chris Bradford, “A Year with Frog and Toad”
- Director (Musical): Debra K. Stevens, “A Year with Frog and Toad”
- Musical Direction: Mark Fearey, “A Year with Frog and Toad”
- Costume Design: Jay Nguyen, “Arms and the Man”
- Hair and Makeup Design: Jay Nguyen, “A Year with Frog and Toad”
This year’s ariZonis were held online because of COVID-19 and featured performances by a number of nominated theatres. Multiple GCU students participated in the performance of “No One Is Alone” from “Into the Woods.” The host was live to announce the winner of each category.
Brandon Brown, who both participated in the final performance and won for his portrayal of Frog in “A Year with Frog and Toad,” described the unique set up of this year’s event and the experience of viewing it with his peers within the theatre department.
“We all got to sort of experience the ceremony together,” Brown said. “It started with our friend Chris Bradford winning the supporting role for Snail, which was extraordinarily exciting … then we just continued on and kept getting the wins for ‘Frog and Toad,’ which was exciting.
“I was with Alex (Cavanaugh) as we both won best lead in a musical, and it couldn’t have worked any better.”
For Cavanaugh, winning the award with his co-lead was both surprising and made total sense to him.
“I did not expect to win at all,” he said. “I think, honestly, it was more than just my particular role and it was the way Brandon and I worked together. I think we had a very solid chemistry and a very solid relationship on stage. I think that’s why we both won together.
“I think when it comes to choosing, they’re like. ‘All right, we want to nominate somebody from Frog and Toad,’ it almost becomes hard to separate Brandon’s performance from mine because we spend the entire time together and it’s all about our relationship.”
Both performers said the awards are an honor they share with the rest of the students who worked on the production. It works to further solidify the love and care that goes into every Ethington production.
“Out of 150 productions that were judged, to win eight in just our company, we represented very well,” Symington said. “We’re incredibly proud of all of our winners from ‘A Year with Frog and Toad.’”
Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected].