From Staff Reports
A full house of diners and theatre-lovers watched as a two-hour cabaret show and YNOT Awards presentation went on Saturday at Sammy’s Prime Time restaurant in downtown Jefferson.
As dessert was being served, the cabaret act of Jane Maddox, of Austin, whose impersonation of famous Hollywood blonde Marilyn Monroe, served up her own version of “dessert” with a full 30 minutes of song and narrative of the legendary actress.
Dressed in a deep red, sequined gown and white fur stole, Maddox wowed the crowd with songs that were signature songs of Monroe during her reign as the world’s most beautiful actress.
The awards were emceed and presented by Opera House Theatre Players president, Marcia Thomas.
The first award was The Sherry-Dorothy-Kathy Big Heart Award, given to persons who exhibit the most faithful and industrious work with the Players over a period of time.
The award went to an actor-couple, Charles and Dian Beaird of Hallsville, who have belonged to the Players almost from the beginning and still work with the group when they are able to.
A new award was created just this season by the Players to recognize a special person who has lived in the community and worked with the group and visitors alike for many decades, combining good nature, good service and making new friends for the town in doing so.
The Good Neighbor Award went to Nadine Joseph, a longtime beautician who has owned her own beauty shop for some 65 years in Jefferson and made many friends along the way.
The Dorothy Award went to Jefferson and Dallas resident Richard “Dick” H. Collins for his continuing development of resources that feature the history and preservation of the community and continually attracts attention to the city by doing so.
The award was first given to the late longtime president of the group, Dorothy Craver, and was thereafter named for her.
Collins was present as Thomas read a lengthy report of his beginning interest in Jefferson history in the 1960s and his vision for continuing the development of the communities assets to lure more visitors to the town.
His showplace house, The House of the Seasons, was acquired by Collins in the 1970s and fully restored to its original grandeur over a period of years. It is now on tour daily along with the beautiful Victorian gardens.
Collins also has also developed the Collins Institute and the riverwalk and nature trail along the riverfront.
His current undertaking is the restoration of the Union Missionary Baptist Church, the oldest documented African-American congregation still existing in Texas. A November opening is being planned when restoration is complete.
Two significant awards were given to close the presentation — the Lucille M. Terry Cultural and Performing Arts Award Past and Lucille M. Terry Cultural and Performing Arts Award Present.
The Past award went posthumously to Roy Theodore Hawkins, an African-American man who was born in Jefferson in 1904 but achieved some fame in California as a singer-songwriter during the 1940s through the 1960s.
Although he signed with a record label in Los Angeles, his own recordings became only minor hits on the R&B charts. One of this most famous tunes, “The Thrill Is Gone,” was recorded by many famous singers, but was made a Grammy-winning hit by B.B. King.
Unfortunately, Hawkins received almost no credit for his music at the time. He lost the use of his right arm in an automobile accident and was unable to continue even though he had created many songs that still are being played today.
According to Thomas, Hawkins is buried in a cemetery near Los Angeles and the group hopes to put a small stone or metal marker on his gravesite in the future.
The Present award went to Sarah Hobbs, an up and coming young country and western singer-songwriter. While not a native of Jefferson, she has roots in Marion County through the Wicker family.
Her prolific career has sent her to Europe for touring and even Iceland, where she was chosen to go for a special music festival in November.
Hobbs was given a tall, blue multi-level trophy topped with stars and displaying a brass plaque that identifies her as the winner for the Players Season 30.
The event ended as Thomas introduced the new board, Scott Imhof, Dian Beaird, Evie Mims and the surprise board member, Jane Maddox, of Austin, who was thrilled to participate with the group beyond being an actor.
Thomas indicated that the new season will likely begin in November with a comedy-drama.