Over Our Head Players concluded the “2020 Snowdance® 10 Minute Comedy Festival” on Sunday by presenting the audience’s favorite Best in Snow prizes. Over the five-week sold-out Snowdance run, each attendee played judge via their votes. The Best in Snow winning entry was The Talk by Greg Beattie of Lafayette CA, Second place went to My Parent’s Carjacking by Michael L. Johnson from Racine, WI, Third place went to The Last Game Night by Karen Fetherston of Racine, WI.
After the final Snowdance performance Sunday, the audience voted for their favorites, just as audiences at each of the previous 24 performances had done. The final show’s tally was added to the votes from throughout the run. Then, the Snowdance ensemble came together for the Closing Ceremonies.
This year’s Snowdance performances were opened by Snowdancers from the future who traveled through time and space from the year 2057. After a rough landing, Snowdance announcer “Rex Jig” was thought to be lost in a tragic spaceship explosion. Luckily, Rex was able to jump out just in the nick of time. At the Closing Ceremonies, Rex was once again joined by the glorious “Chet Thespian” to lead the 2020 Snowdance closing ceremonies. As Rex and Chet described the action, the annual pageantry of the Dance of the Salmon was momentarily halted while Rex desperately called for someone to produce a fish. Luckily, this Snowdance featured the character of Jesus (Philip Evreniadis); with a miracle, a semi-fresh salmon was waltzed into existence. Jesus then passed the salmon to Wonder Woman (John Adams) to complete the dance. Then, the ceremonial Snowdance snow cone was sealed away for next year’s competition, and the company gathered around balloting supervisor Anna Clementi, who had the winning results sealed in a mayonnaise jar. Philip Evreniadis, who played Jesus in The Last Game Night, accepted third place. Sea Daniel and Joe Van Hulle, the parents in My Parent’s Carjacking, took second place on the podium. Finally, John Adams, who played Dad, accepted first place for The Talk.
The $500 first-place Best in Snow award went to Greg Battie from Lafayette, California, for The Talk which featured a Hip Hop Pop (John Adams) using the rhythm method to rap about the birds and bees to his son (Ron Schulz). Second place was awarded to Michael L. Johnson of Racine, Wisconsin, for My Parent’s Carjacking about an older couple who is held up at the longest light in town. Third place went to Karen Fetherston of Racine, Wisconsin, for The Last Game Night about how tensions can run high when familiar friends play board games. Second place received $200, and the third-place award was $100.
Managing Artistic Director Rich Smith reflects on this year’s Snowdance and notes that the foundation is the key to success, “We are so proud to make Racine the home of the 10-minute comedy competition. This year, we were overwhelmed with 654 entries from around the world! That huge response generated great quality scripts for production. Further, we are very lucky to attract talented actors to Snowdance; Snowdance actors embrace the challenge of playing multiple characters, creating a tight ensemble in every sense.” Smith continued, “We read every submission anonymously, without knowing the playwright. So, we were very excited when we matched names to finalists and found that we had three hilarious plays from local playwrights. There is no bias toward Racine or Wisconsin playwrights, but maybe there is something in the water making them so funny.”
Once the plays and cast are in place, Smith emphasizes how important the final component, the audience is. “After 16 years, it is rewarding to hear from our audience, ‘It was so hard to choose.’ It is so rewarding to know that our formula still works, and audiences still enjoy what we are doing. We hope to continue enjoying Snowdance for a long time.”
Snowdance was produced by an ensemble. The cast includes John Adams, Kristin Althoff, Sea Daniel, Melissa Hughes Ernest, Philip Evreniadis, Chuck Lindas, Anne Mollerskov, Michael Retzlaff, Ron Schulz, Matt Specht, Jimi Turek, Joe Van Hulle, and Melissa Zeien.
Diane Carlson, A.J. Laird, Anne Mollerskov, Michael Retzlaff, and Rich Smith directed with Rich Smith also serving as artistic and production manager. Diane Carlson and Emily Sweetman served as co-stage managers with Chuck Lindas and Melissa Zeien as assistant stage managers. The staff includes Lori Adams, Janine Anderson, Elizabeth Bitner, Skip Carlson, Ana Clementi, Jeanna Christensen, Cody Ernest, Kyle Flood, Chad Heinzelman, Preston Hill, Devynn Johnson, Parker Jones, Ryan Loberger, Kate Potter-Barrow, Wendy Shulz, Brandy Smith, and Teri Stanley,
The Snowdance Comedy Festival was sponsored by Minuteman Press.
Over Our Head Players operates the Sixth Street Theatre, Downtown Racine. A non-profit organization of volunteer theatrical talent from throughout Southeastern Wisconsin in their 28th season, OOHPs focuses on contemporary comedies and original productions. OOHP will also present Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley in March and April then conclude their season with The Roommate by Jen Silverman in May. For information, please call the box office at (262) 632-6802.