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GVSU students win multiple Grand Awards for "Sweeney Todd"

  • Members of the "Sweeney Todd" cast pictured during a February performance.
  • Members of the "Sweeney Todd" cast and crew pictured at the Grand Awards on October 8.
  • Maxwell Elkiss (right) and Kristina Papas (left) reprising their roles as Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett during a performance at the Grand Awards October 8.

Posted on October 10, 2017

The annual Grand Awards celebrates Grand Rapids area college and community theater performers and performances, and multiple Grand Valley students won awards during this year’s ceremony.

Students who participated in GVSU Opera Theatre’s production of “Sweeney Todd" in February won awards in all six of the categories it was nominated for.

“To sweep the awards in every category is a very rare and extremely exciting moment,” said Dale Schriemer, GVSU Opera Theatre director and professor of voice. “We are proud of the performances we create, and to have that recognition and confirmation of student performances from the Grand Rapids theater community is truly gratifying.”

Below is a full list of recognitions Grand Valley students received at the annual gala event, which was held October 8 at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre.

Category: Outstanding Lead Actor in a College Production
Winner: Maxwell Elkiss as Sweeney Todd

Category: Outstanding Lead Actress in a College Production
Winner: Kristina Papas as Mrs. Lovett

Category: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a College Production
Winner: Ryan Blok as Judge Turpin
*Nominees also included Jake Jager as Tobias Ragg, Jono Taccolini as Anthony and Alex Williams as Beadle

Category: Outstanding Supporting Actress in a College Production
Winner: Bianca Calisi as Johanna
*Nominees also included Dilana Beilfuss as Beggar Woman

Category: Outstanding Direction of a College Production
Winner: Christopher Carter, '09 (guest stage director)

The production of “Sweeney Todd” also took home the award for Outstanding College Production.

“I think the entire ensemble and crew not only deserved these awards, they earned these awards,” said Elkiss, a senior majoring in vocal performance. “This cast was such a cohesive unit that by the time the show was in full swing, everything and everyone was like clockwork. The crew was incredible as well and the quality of tech and props for that show was incredible.”

Elkiss added that these awards are a reflection of the success of the GVSU Opera Theatre program.

“The fact that the Grand Rapids theater community has given us all of these awards makes it clear to GVSU, Grand Rapids and all of West Michigan that our program is respected and recognized as a medium for quality, professional-grade productions and performances,” he said.