Over Our Head Players Award Playwriting Prizes
RACINE, WISCONSIN, MARCH 28, 2021: Over Our Head Players concluded the “2021 Snowdance® 10 Minute Comedy Festival” on Sunday by presenting the audience’s favorite Best in Snow prizes on Facebook Live. Over the five-week Snowdance run, which was recorded and streamed online, each viewer played judge via their votes. The Best in Snow winning entry was Annnd Scene (Of The Crime) by John Busser of Avon, OH. Second place went to Family Justice by James McLindon, Northampton, Massachusetts. Third place went to Tooth Or Dare by Emily McClain of Lawrenceville, GA.
After each Snowdance view, the audience voted for their favorite plays, just as audiences have done for 16 years. The audience votes were collected throughout the run and tallied after the closing of Snowdance to determine this year’s winners. Then, the Snowdance ensemble came together for the Closing Ceremonies.
This year’s Snowdance was opened by interpretive dance expert “Rex Jig” and the man with the voice of a generation “Chet Thespian.” Working for the first time on camera rather than to a live audience, the timeless hosts guided viewers by introducing the Kringle Queen, the arrival of the coveted Snowdance snow cone, and the ceremonial first utterance of profanity, as is tradition. At the Closing Ceremonies presented on Facebook Live, fashion icon Rex was once again joined by the glorious Chet. As Rex and Chet described the action, the annual pageantry of the Dance of the Salmon began. The Kringle Queen beautifully waltzed with a nearly fresh salmon before passing the fish to other Snowdance ensemble members. Then, the ceremonial Snowdance snow cone was sealed away for next year’s competition. The company gathered around balloting supervisor Anna Clementi, who had the winning results sealed in a mayonnaise jar. Ron Schulz, who played The Tooth Fairy in Tooth Or Dare, accepted third place. Kristin Althoff doing her best impression of Cody Ernst, who played Dad in Family Justice, took second place on the podium. Finally, Brandy Smith, who played Detective Milch, accepted first place for Annnd Scene (Of The Crime).
The $500 first-place Best in Snow award went to John Busser from Avon, Ohio, for Annnd Scene (Of The Crime), which featured police officers (Brandy Smith and Rich Smith) interrogating a murder suspect (John Adams) using comedy improv methods to reenact the crime. Second place was awarded to James McLindon of Northampton, Massachusetts, for Family Justice about a family’s unique way of solving disputes. Third place went to Emily McClain of Lawrenceville, Georgia, for Tooth Or Dare about the tooth fairy responding to a negative online review. Second place received $200, and the third-place award was $100.
Managing Artistic Director Rich Smith reflects on this year’s Snowdance, “We are so proud to make Racine the home of the 10 minute comedy competition. Despite the difficulties brought on by the pandemic we are very proud to have continued the Snowdance tradition for a 17th year. This year, we were overwhelmed with 547 entries from around the world! That huge response generated great quality scripts for production. Presenting Snowdancee virtually forced us to focus on small individual casts rather than our usual ensemble approach. This enabled OOHP to reach some very talented friends and performers who have been with us over the years and allowed us to get them all involved at the same time, and allowed us to do it in a very safe manner with very little interaction.”
Once the plays and cast are in place, Smith emphasizes how important the final component, the audience is. “Rapport with our audience in a live experience simply can’t be replaced. The fun and energy of being in our intimate theater for a live performance is incredibly unique and sorely missed. The feedback and support of our audience to our online production of Snowdance has been exceptional. We hope to return to Snowdance with a live audience next season.”
Snowdance was produced by an ensemble. The cast includes John Adams, Kristin Althoff, Michael Becker, Diane Carlson, Doug Despin, Rick Ditter, Cody Ernest, Melissa Hughes Ernest, Patti Fitchett, Kevin Hlavka, Brianna Hubbard, A. J. Laird , Scott Lema & Puppets of Oddly Incorporated, Len Maki, Suzanne Maki, Anne Mollerskov, Tina Paukstelis, Michael Retzlaff, Joan Roehre, Ron Schulz, Wendy Schulz, Brandy Smith, Rich Smith, Shelly Tyree, Leslie Utech, Melissa Zeien, and Dave Zuniga.
Kristin Althoff, Diane Carlson, Michael Retzlaff, Brandy Smith, and Rich Smith direct with Rich Smith also serving as artistic and production manager. Diane Carlson serves as stage manager, with Emily Sweetman as assistant stage manager. Video production by Gary Alvarado and A.V.A. Media Services, L.L.C. and Preston Hill with video sound design by Skip Carlson. The staff includes Anna Clementi and Paula Ann Czechowicz. Special thanks to Minuteman Press, Waterford Design Technologies, Jack Ernest, Zoey Ernest, Georgia Harrell, and Al Sikora. Music was provided by The Biscaynies, Rainy Day Crush, The Sandcarvers, and Whisper Stream. The “2021 SnowdanceⓇ 10 Minute Comedy Festival” was made possible in part by a grant from S.C. Johnson.
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 29th season, OOHPs focuses on contemporary comedies and original productions. OOHP will return to live in-person theatre productions when it is safe to do so. For information, please call the box office at (262) 632-6802.
2021 Best in Snow
The 2021 Best in Snow Winner: "Annnd Scene (of the Crime)" by John Busser, Avon, Ohio.
Detective Lieutenant Milch – Brandy Smith
Detective Sergeant Raye – Rich Smith
Eddie Sumner – John Adams
Second place went to "Family Justice" by James McLindon, Northampton, Massachusetts.
Mom – Melissa Hughes Ernest
Dad – Cody Ernest
Lexi – Melissa Zeien
Third place went to "Tooth or Dare" by Emily McClain, Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Tooth Fairy – Ron Schulz
Andrew Gillis – A. J. Laird
Lydia Gillis – Anne Mollerskov