And the nominees are...

By James Sanford

They’ve done it again. The City Pulse’s tireless sextet of Pulsar Awards judges — Erin Buitendorp, Mary Cusack, Tom and Kathy Helma, Paul Wozniak and Ute Von Der Heyden — have turned in their final ballots, the results have been tabulated and we have a list of nominees, plus a brief explanation of the Pulsar nomination process.

How do you qualify?

The shows that qualified for this year’s Pulsars opened between May 1 of last year and April 30 of this year. Productions that opened after May 1 of this year are eligible for next year’s Pulsars. In order to qualify for a Pulsar, a show must be seen and scored by at least three of the six judges. Approximately 50 productions — from Stormfield Theatre, Starlight Dinner Theatre, Lansing Civic Players Guild, Peppermint Creek Theatre Co., Riverwalk Theatre, Williamston Theatre, Over the Ledge Theatre, Holt-Dimondale Community Players and the theater departments of Lansing Community College and Michigan State University — were considered for this year’s race. The first show of the 2011-2012 Pulsars season was Starlight Dinner Theatre’s “The Hallelujah Girls”; the last to qualify was Peppermint Creek Theatre Co.’s “Ruined.”

Who is eligible?

The Pulsar judges attend community theater, professional theater and college theater productions in the Lansing area. They do not evaluate children’s theater, high school theater, staged readings, gala presentations, student showcases or workshop shows. Special awards are sometimes given to outstanding plays that would not otherwise qualify for the Pulsars, such as pieces performed at the Renegade Theatre Festival.

Why are there more nominees in some categories than in others?

In most categories, there are five nominees. In some, there are fewer, which may be due to a lack of qualified candidates. For example, most of the musicals produced this season were judged as ensemble pieces, which means they were not evaluated for individual performances. Only a handful of shows had original scripts — world-premiere works that were not based on previously produced or published material — so that field was also limited.


LCC, Lansing Community College

MSU, Michigan State University

PC, Peppermint Creek Theatre Co.

RW, Riverwalk Theatre

SDT, Starlight Dinner Theatre

ST, Stormfield Theatre

WT, Williamston Theatre


“At Home at the Zoo” (RW)

“Blackbird” (PC)

“Dead Man´s Shoes” (WT)

“The Lady With All the Answers” (ST)

“A Streetcar Named Desire” (MSU)


“The Boy in the Bathroom” (PC)

“The Fantasticks” (MSU Summer Circle)

“Legally Blonde” (MSU)

“Smokey Joe´s Café” (RW)

“The Usual” (WT)


Addiann Hinds, “At Home at the Zoo” (RW)

Lela Ivey, “Blackbird” (PC)

Rob Roznowski, “A Streetcar Named Desire” (MSU)

Kristine Thatcher, “The Lady With All the Answers” (ST)

David Wolber, “Dead Man’s Shoes” (WT)


Chad Badgero, “The Boy in the Bathroom” (PC)

Tony Caselli, “The Usual” (WT)

Jeff Croff, “Annie” (RW)

Hope Rollins and Diane Spicer, “Smokey Joe´s Café” (RW)

Rob Roznowski, “Legally Blonde” (MSU)

Lead Actor/Play

Doak Bloss, “Blackbird” (PC)

Eric Dawe, “At Home at the Zoo” (RW)

Aral Gribble, “Dead Man’s Shoes” (WT)

Curran Jacobs, “A Streetcar Named Desire” (MSU)

Allan I. Ross, “The Pride” (PC)

Lead Actor/Musical

Ben Cassidy, “The Boy in the Bathroom” (PC)

Wes Haskell, “Legally Blonde” (MSU)

Christopher Robinson, “Legally Blonde” (MSU)

Lead Actress/Play

Marianne Chan, “The Gingerbread House” (LCC)

Leslie Hull, “Mother Courage” (MSU)

Gini Larson, “Becky’s New Car” (RW)

Chelsea Lucas, “Ruined” (PC)

Christina Traister, “A Streetcar Named Desire” (MSU)

Lead Actress/Musical

Emily McKay, “The Boy in the Bathroom” (PC)

Erika Moul, “Legally Blonde” (MSU)

Brianna Rucinski, “Annie” (RW)

Supporting Actor/Play

Mark Gmazel, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” (RW)

Wes Haskell, “Mother Courage” (MSU)

Paul Hopper, “Dead Man’s Shoes” (WT)

Edward O´Ryan, “The Gingerbread House” (LCC)

Joe Quick, “Terra Nova” (RW)

Supporting Actor/Musical

Landon Duyka, “Legally Blonde” (MSU)

Joe Quick, “Annie” (RW)

Supporting Actress/Play

Angela Dill, “Let’s Murder Marsha” (SDT)

Lela Ivey, “Next Fall” (PC)

Caitlyn Knisely, “The Cripple of Inishmaan” (MSU)

Maggie Meyer, “Dead Man’s Shoes” (WT)

Amy Rickett, “Cat on a Hot Tin

Roof” (LCC)

Supporting Actress/Musical

Angela Dill, “Annie" (RW)

Trish Amanda Hubbard, “Legally Blonde” (MSU)

Featured Actor/Play

Ken Beachler, “The Shrike” (LCC)

Jeremiah Hawkins, “Ruined” (PC)

Melvin Lane, “Ruined” (PC)

Featured Actor/Musical

Andrew Bailiff, “Keep On the Sunny Side” (LCC Summer Stage Under the Stars)

Scott Long, “Legally Blonde” (MSU)

Featured Actress/Play

Molly Epstein, “The Gingerbread

House” (LCC)

Leslie Hull, “A Streetcar Named Desire" (MSU)

Jane Zussman, “Becky’s New Car” (RW)

Featured Actress/Musical

Claudia Dibbs, “Legally Blonde” (MSU)

Veronica Diebold, “Annie” (RW)


“Eleemosynary” (WT)

“Gemini” (MSU Summer Circle)

“God of Carnage” (PC)

“Heroes” (ST)

“Two 9/11 Plays” (MSU)


“The Fantasticks” (MSU Summer Circle)

“Smokey Joe´s Café” (RW)

“The Usual” (WT)


Eric Franzen, “The Beaux

Stratagem” (MSU)

Mary K. Hodges-Nees and Patti Campbell, “Conspiracy” (RW)

Holly Iler, “The Lady With All the Answers” (ST)

April Townsend, “Legally Blonde” (MSU)

Priya Rane, “A Streetcar Named

Desire” (MSU)


Tim Fox, “Heroes” (ST)

Tim Fox, “The Lady With All the Answers” (ST)

Matt Reynolds, “Legally Blonde” (MSU)

G. Max Maxin IV, “A Streetcar Named Desire” (MSU)

Katie Sprow, “Two 9/11 Plays” (MSU)


Cheryl Smith and Heidi Greyerbiechl, “Metamorphoses” (LCC Summer Stage Under the Stars)

Zachara Wollenberg, “A Streetcar Named Desire” (MSU)

Susie Perazza, “Terra Nova” (RW)


Patricia A. York, “The Lady With All the Answers” (ST)

Bruce Bennett, “Romantic Fools” (ST)

Rob Roznowski and Kira Tait, “A Streetcar Named Desire" (MSU)

Roger Nowland, “Terra Nova” (RW)

Lynn Lammers, “The Usual” (WT)

Set Design

Kirk Domer, “Dead Man´s Shoes” (WT)

Michelle Raymond, “The Lady With All the Answers” (ST)

G. Max Maxin IV, “Legally Blonde” (MSU)

Fred Engelgau, “The Shrike” (LCC)

Rob Roznowski, “A Streetcar Named Desire” (MSU)


Will Myers, “And the Creek Don´t Rise” (WT)

Will Myers, “Dead Man´s Shoes” (WT)

Sergei Kvitko, “The Lady With All the Answers” (ST)

Matt Ottinger, “Terra Nova" (RW)

THR 216 Students, “Two 9/11 Plays” (MSU)

Musical Direction

Jen Sygit, “Keep on the Sunny Side” (LCC Summer Stage Under the Stars)

R. MacKenzie Lewis, “Legally Blonde” (MSU)

John Dale Smith and Algie Watkins, “Smokey Joe´s Café” (RW)

Jeff English, “The Usual” (WT)


Brittane Rowe, “The Fantasticks” (MSU)

Dionte Brown, Travis Staton-Marrero and April Townsend, “Legally

Blonde” (MSU)

Tonya Hardy, Monique Harvey, Janice Rogers and Bonita Smith, “Smokey Joe´s Café” (RW)

Dana Brazil, “The Usual” (WT)

Original Script

Joseph Zettelmaier, “And the Creek Don´t Rise” (WT)

Joseph Zettelmaier, “Dead Man´s Shoes” (WT)

Alan Gordon and Mark Sutton-Smith, “The Usual” (WT)

When will the winners be announced?

The Pulsars will be presented

beginning at 6 p.m.

on June 11 at Riverwalk Theatre,

228 Museum Drive in Lansing.

The event is free.

For details, visit

Breakdown of nominations

By theater company

Lansing Community College — 9 nominations

Michigan State University — 34 nominations

Peppermint Creek Theatre Co. — 13 nominations

Riverwalk Theatre — 21 nominations

Starlight Dinner Theatre — 1 nomination

Stormfield Theatre — 10 nominations

Williamston Theatre — 18 nominations