Desert Stars Awards Gala

Jack Lyons Theatre & Film Critic

The 25th Annual Desert Stars Award Ceremony and Gala presented by The Desert Theatre League (DTL) at Sun City Shadow Hills, October 14th, entertainingly co-hosted by actor/singers Julie Rosser and Paul MacKey went off without a hitch to the applause of nominees and the audience of over 300 enthusiastic actors, directors, writers, technical wizards, and musicians. Speaking of musicians, the entire awards ceremony was treated to the ongoing piano accompaniment of local musical Impresario/Producer Derrik Lewis and to Bassist Jeff Stover, who musically bridged the winners’ walk to the stage to accept their DTL Statuettes.

The 2012 Desert Theatre League Lifetime Achievement Award Honoree Joy Groves, co-founder of The Groves Cabin Theatre of Morongo Valley, received a standing ovation as she walked onto the stage to accept her Award from the DTL Judging Coordinator Barbara Johnson. Johnson enumerated the many, many, theatrical accomplishments and honors Joy Groves has received over the years.  Groves was obviously moved and very humble in her acceptance speech. She reminded everyone “… theatre is a collaborative art form with many players required for theatre to be successful.” The Groves Cabin Theatre is the DTL’s leading award winner over the 25-year span of the Desert Theatre League, winning more than fifty awards for excellence.

   Special DTL Board of Director Awards were presented to:  Chuck Yates, co-founder of Coyote StageWorks of Palm Springs, who received the Joan Woodbury Mitchell Award for getting theatre done and who inspires that effort in others; Alden West, received the Michael Grossman Award which is presented to an Actor in recognition of talent, dedication, and devotion to the craft of theatre production; Barbara McReal, received the Bill Kuhlman Award which recognizes the “unsung heroes” of theatre production, who greatest performances and contributions may never be seen in the glow of the footlights, but without whom, those footlights would never burn; Derik Shopinski, actor, dancer, choreographer, and costume designer, received the Sidney Harmon Award which is presented to a Coachella Valley resident in recognition of efforts in the advancement of theatrical excellence, both on and off the stage.  Shopinski was the only performer to receive three honors/awards at the 2012 Desert Stars Awards.

Several theatre groups received multiple Desert Stars Awards, with The Palm Canyon Theatre garnering the most – eighteen trophies in all.  Coyote StageWorks was the second biggest winner nabbing twelve excellence awards including five for its production of “Plaid Tidings”.  CK Dance Company won eight awards, and Dezart Performs received seven trophies.  It was a great night for the twenty-seven theatrical and musical producing organizations located here in the Coachella Valley and Hi-Desert.

For a complete list of winners go to: www.deserttheatrleague.org.

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