ELYRIA — The Lorain Community Music Theater performed so well in its 2016 production of “Into the Woods” that it receive more than standing ovations — it received numerous awards from BroadwayWorld.
The organization announced the winners of its regional awards at the beginning of January, and the Lorain Community Music Theater took home six of a possible 14 awards in the Cleveland area.
Producer Lynn Maslinski said the show, which ran in July at Lorain County Community College’s Stocker Center, was part of a yearlong planning process. She said it was rewarding to be recognized for the work.
“We spend about $45,000 to $50,000 on each production and put all year into it,” she said. “We’re really the closest thing you’re going to find the Playhouse Square in Lorain County. ‘Into the Woods’ is tough, but it’s a show you do for the actors because they love it so much.”
Maslinski said more than 100 people auditioned for the show, callbacks were made to 50 people and the final cast totaled 17.
“Most of the time, we get a few people that leave us wondering why they even bothered to try out, but this time, a lot of the people were above and beyond,” she said.
One of these cast members who went “above and beyond” was Marlene Karpinski, who received the best actress in a musical award for her role as The Witch.
“Everyone is a little good and a little bad sometimes, just like The Witch,” Karpinski said. “It’s like Jekyll and Hyde. It’s fun to be naughty and a little nasty but to be able to do both in one role is lovely.”
Karpinski said while the music was challenging because of composer Stephen Sondheim’s changing rhythms, it was nice to get back on the stage after spending several years behind the scenes.
“I usually live to produce and am very rarely on the stage anymore,” she said. “I like putting things together and watching them unfold and facilitating all of the little pieces the audience doesn’t necessarily notice but still make a show a show. It’s so fulfilling, and for the end result to come out like this one is really great.”
Karpinski praised her fellow castmates and their chemistry, as did choreographer Pamela Shirtz, who was recognized by BroadwayWorld for best choreography.
“Pam did an amazing job because this is not a show where you usually have choreography. She made it really developed, especially for the opening number,” Maslinski said. “It was unique. I mean, the original Broadway production didn’t even have it.”
Shirtz said she had been in and seen the show multiple times and knew she needed to do something different with this production.
“I take a lot of pride in my work, and when I get hired for something like this, I want to make it worth it,” she said. “I honestly was wondering what they were wanting me to do, but the cast was such a wonderful group that was willing to learn. Sometimes you get people that don’t want to grow, but these people helped bring my vision to life.”
Shirtz said the different ages and ability levels of the cast made it an interesting task to take on, but overall she was happy with the final product and pleased to be recognized for her efforts.
“I’m so grateful that our show was even worthy of being nominated for these awards, but even more worthy of winning them,” she said.
Other winners from the Lorain Community Music Theater include Claudette Campana for best costume design, Ted Williams for best director and Anthony Trifiletti for best musical director.
The performance also won best production of a musical.