Arnett, Garris to receive BLT Brauser Award

Sep 30, 2016

From left, Diane Kerner Arnett and Nanci K. Garris will receive the Brauser Award from Bradford Little Theatre. It is the first time BLT has issued the award to two recipients instead of one. The awards will be presented on Oct. 14, opening night of BLT’s revival of “Over the River and Through the Woods” at Togi’s Playhouse at 18 Welch Ave.

Diane Kerner Arnett and Nanci K. Garris have been announced as recipients of Bradford Little Theatre’s Brauser Award.

In celebration of Bradford Little Theatre’s 20th anniversary season, the group has decided to do something they have never done before — award the Brauser Award to two recipients instead of one.

Arnett and Garris will both be presented with a Brauser Award on Oct. 14, opening night of the revival of “Over the River and Through the Woods,” at Togi’s Playhouse at 18 Welch Ave. A small reception in honor of the two recipients will follow the play, but, as the two awardees are co-directing the comedy, they are more than willing to speak to guests after the 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15 and 2 p.m. Oct. 16 performances as well.

The Lester Brauser Theatre Appreciation Award, established in 2001, is presented to an individual or individuals whose work makes community theatre possible in the Bradford area. The award is named after theatre enthusiast the late Lester Brauser.

“It seemed right to give the Brauser Award out to Diane and Nanci this year,” board member Rawny Reed said. “This is our twentieth season and we have not given out the award in three years. Diane and Nanci are both amazing and dedicated people and anyone that knows them, almost never knows one without the other.

“As for the recipients of the award, each embodies the spirit of Lester Brauser in different ways.”

Arnett began theatre in third grade and has loved it ever since. She was a charter board member of the Bradford Creative and Performing Arts Center (BCPAC) for nearly 10 years and co-wrote Kiwanis Kapers for several years with Dr. Richard Frederick, a past recipient of the Brauser Award.

During her time with BLT, Arnett has taken on nearly every role in the theater, both onstage and off. She was also a member of the Bradford Little Theatre board for 11 years, serving as president for two of those years.

Garris’s theatre experience started much later in her life than Arnett’s. She attempted to act in high school, auditioning for every single role she could, but never being cast in a part. After her three children entered college, Garris auditioned for Kiwanis Kapers and so began her community theater involvement. Garris also served on the Bradford Little Theatre board, serving as president for four of her 11 years.

Both women have been involved in 30-plus productions for BLT, including both the original and revival of “Over the River and Through the Woods.” No part is too small for either of them.

“Both Diane and Nanci are so great to work with,” said BLT board member Jessica Ann Coder. “If I ever need anything or have a question I know they are each a phone call away. Diane and Nanci have both stepped in at the last minute on shows I’ve stage managed and made a big difference on the stage crew.”

When asked about receiving the Brauser Award in conjunction with Garris, Arnett responded, “It’s an honor, seriously, to be recognized with Nanci and receive an award named after Les.”

As to receiving the award in conjunction with Arnett, Garris stated, “I would be happy if just Diane were receiving the Brauser Award. It is obvious she is most deserving. After all we have shared as part of Bradford Little Theatre, the fact that we are sharing the award makes me both humbled and proud.”

Past recipients of the Brauser Award include the late Dr. Robert C. Laing Jr., John and Marlene Kijowski, Dr. Richard Frederick, the James VanScoy family, the late Marmy and Steve Hodges, Patty Bianco, Ron Johnson, H.L. “Woody” Woodruff, Richard “Dick” Marcott, and Jeanie Satterwhite.