VERSAILLES — Towne and Country Players has been a part of the Community Arts World since 1972. This group has yearly produced at least one show or more since its conception.
“Many amazing people cross your path while living the dream of doing a show,” said a spokesperson. “Over 25 years ago we began recognizing those extraordinary people who traveled the extra mile to assure the groups success. The award was named in honor of longtime Versailles School District music teacher Esther Pitsenbarger. Mrs. P. was the one who thought every student needed a role in a show. She directed countless operettas, minstrel shows, choral production and, of course, seasonal Broadway style shows for all the grades. Mrs. P. played the piano, made the costumes, painted the scenery and taught the dance. She was a one woman show! For this and her love of teaching it was an easy choice to honor her with the first award. The difficulty is in finding qualified recipients for the future.”
According to the spokesperson, that was easily accomplished in just a few years with Margaret Brewer, husband and wife teams of Dale and Alnora Snedeker, and Jerry and Sue Kerns were honored. Years would follow with the worthy additions of Cynthia Vogel, Marilyn Barge, Therese Pohlman, and lastly the team of Karen and Jim Kelch.
On Sunday, following the wildly successful production of “Nunsense” once again this prestigious award was presented. The 2016 recipients were Phyllis Corbin and Karen Lawrence.
These women’s credits are amazing. Karen began play the piano or keyboard for one of TandCP’s early shows with “The Sound of Music.”
“After that it seemed almost every show had a spot for Karen doing many with Terri Fryman and Jane Tester as the trio,” the spokesperson continued. “In 1990, Karen was a part of the group that traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland, to perform with the group as they represented the United States at the Festival Fringe. Following that, Karen continued to accompany as she had done all through her high school years. In addition, Karen marks 48 years as the organist at Trinity of Versailles. A life of celebrating music well deserves to be recognized.”
Phyllis Corbin first came to Towne and Country as a request from her daughter, Beth, who wanted to audition for a part in “Carousel” and both earned a roll. From then on, her dramatic degree paid off and numerous character roles came her way. Her thoughtful way and keen insight to theatre operations made her a natural for two terms on the board of directors. Later teaming with Director Jim Kelch, Corbin served as an assistant for seven productions.
Both ladies were involved with the recent production and hopefully will continue to grace the stage with their work.