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Henry Players take home seven awards

By Valerie Baldowski

vbaldowski@henryherald.com

Several members of a local theater company walked away with top honors during a recognition ceremony for dramatic performances.

The Henry Players took home seven awards, from the 2010 Metropolitan Atlanta Theater Awards, recently held at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center.

The awards were in recognition of last year's performances of "Sweeney Todd" and "The Women," said Rebecca Dingbaum, Henry Players president.

Dingbaum received awards for Set Design, Lighting Design, and Overall Performance, in the production of "Sweeney Todd."

"It was actually a very exciting evening. It's a tough competition," she said. "When you're sitting there amongst all these theaters from the Atlanta area, it's like your own version of the Tonys. You're caught up in the moment."

Dingbaum said 20 theaters competed for honors, and the judges narrowed down the finalists to three in each category.

"It's pretty impressive to make it to the nomination status," she said. "To actually walk away with an award, it goes beyond pride. When you're there, and see what the competition is like, you realize, 'Wow, this really is something.'"

Sarah Anne Plummer received the Leading Actress Award for her portrayal of "Mrs. Lovett," in "Sweeney Todd," while Kathryn Durham earned the Minor Supporting Actress Award for her portrayal of a beggar woman in "Sweeney Todd."

Abbey Middlebrook won the Youth Award for the role of "Little Mary" in "The Women." And Jacob McKee, who played the part of "Tobias" in "Sweeny Todd," received the Minor Supporting Actor Award.

McKee, 17, has been a member of the Henry Players since age 13. He said he had prepared a speech in advance, but when the time came to step on stage and accept his award, he got nervous.

"I had to go up and give an acceptance speech," he said. "I was trying to remember what I had prepared." He said his parents, Denise and Ralph McKee, were there, with him, when his name was called.

"They were really excited. They gave me a hug," he said. The young actor was 16 years old when he took on the role of "Tobias." Considering his age and the level of competition, he said, receiving an award during the ceremonies was quite an honor.

"I didn't really expect to win so young. I was nominated against adults," he added.

Aside from the award recipients in the Youth category, McKee said he was the youngest actor to receive an award. Actors in the Youth category must be 15 years old, or younger.