SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - Jimmy Humphries, associate professor of theatre and dance at Wittenberg University, is no stranger to the award stage. Already a member of the Ohio Educational Theatre Association's Hall of Fame, Humphries can now add an Ostrander Award to his collection.
Honoring excellence in locally produced community and college theatre, the Ostrander Awards, which celebrated their 20th anniversary this year, are presented annually by the Greater Memphis Arts Council and "Memphis Magazine." Humphries learned that he had won an "Ossie" Award during a gala ceremony held at the Memphis Botanical Gardens on Aug. 24.
A slate of judges selected by the arts council nominated Humphries in the categories of set dressing and set design for the Memphis-based Playhouse on the Square's production of "Proof." Rob Satterlee from the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, who guest lectured at Wittenberg in 2002, directed the play. The original New York City production of "Proof" took home both a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for best play in 2001, and Humphries won for set dressing in Playhouse's rendition of the award-winning play.
The category examines all props, upholstery and drapery among other items used in a set, and the judges hailed Humphries' "Proof" set dressing for its attention to detail, including the "dried leaves under the porch."
"As they announced the winner of the set dressing award, I was sitting next to another nominee from the Playhouse in the same category," Humphries said. "We were rooting for each other. It was a marvelous night that I enjoyed a great deal."
The technical director and designer for four statewide high school theatre productions, including the upcoming "Day in the Ukraine" slated for next spring, Humphries has presented countless workshops at local and statewide Thespian conferences. He also developed the stage management individual event on behalf of the Ohio Educational Theatre Association (OedTA) state board, and he has shared his artistic talent with the Springfield area, most recently by painting a full-size fiberglass Harley-Davidson Hog for a fundraiser to benefit the Springfield Symphony Orchestra.
Humphries is currently working on the set for "Guys and Dolls" at the Playhouse, and he has also been asked to design the sets for "Spitfire Grill" at the Circuit Playhouse, also in Memphis, and for "Philadelphia Story" at the Playhouse later this year.
Humphries, who has served on the faculty at Antioch University, Texas A& M University, and the Universities of Nebraska and Idaho, received his B.A. from Southern Arkansas University and his M.F.A. from the University of Idaho. He joined the Wittenberg faculty in 1992.
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