Bob McPhail 6:31 a.m., May 19
I once knew a man - old Bill - who didn't just have a black cloud always overhead, he was one. Mention a subject, he'd say "it's stupid." Mention a person, "a bum." I swore he could take on all comers at a Scrooge-out.
When he retired, Bill moved to a large, Leisure World-like home for seniors. Someone talked him into volunteering for their theatrical productions: basic behind-the-scenes stuff, like painting flats, sweeping up, help out, provide support.
Well guess what: for maybe the first time in his gloom-clogged life Bill got involved. Working with others on a creative project woke him up. Then - and this is still hard to believe - he became an extrovert. His last years were by far his happiest.
This Tuesday, the San Diego Performing Arts League honors the unsung heroes of the arts: the volunteers. Each organization names a recipient who receives a Star Award for "so generously giving their time to individual companies and contributing to the overall success of the entire performing arts community."
There's more to it than that. Often the honorees would just as soon remain nameless. They do the work, don't count the hours, and pitch in instinctively. Also they are just the top of a mountain of volunteers many thousands strong.
The Star Awards Ceremony will be held Tuesday, September 18, 7:30 p.m., at the Lyceum Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza, downtown.
The ceremony had a theme: a "Roaring 20's Speakeasy Celebration" featuring songs and dances from Broadway shows of the 1920s. This isn't required, but if they want, "attendees will be encouraged to shake out their flapper dresses and dust off their fedora hats and pinstripe suits."
Honorees for the 20th Annual Star Awards:
American Rose Theatre - Laura Garcia Bravo San Diego - Douglas Friedman California Youth Conservatory Theatre - Beth Connelly Center Stage Productions - Lisa Robinson Coronado Playhouse - Kelly Prow Coronado School of the Arts - Irv Kass Cygnet Theatre Company - Tim Mulligan La Jolla Playhouse - Jeff Conley Lamb's Players Theatre - Nancy Helsper Looking Glass Theater - John Wead Metropolitan Educational Theatre Network - Deb Duffield Museum of Making Music - Terry Chaffee Oceanside Cultural Arts Foundation - Joni Yribe Orchestra Nova - Judith Moore Palomar College Performing Arts - Sue Gilson Pickwick Players - Cameron Williams POWpac - Sabato Fiorello San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts - Morris Dye and Beth Malachowski San Diego Civic Dance Association - Jo McClenny and Davell Jackson San Diego Master Chorale - Tricia Hay San Diego Shakespeare Society - Kim Keeline San Diego Symphony - Rick Lapp St. Paul's Cathedral Center for the Performing Arts - Mark and Donna Turner Super Sonic Samba School - Courtney Carter Villa Musica - Jane Wolgemuth Visionary School of the Performing Arts - Alisa Bonesteel
Emerging Star Volunteers (under 30 years of age)
ACT-San Diego - Kathleen Garcia Arts Off Broadway - Darby Schnoebelen California Youth Conservatory Theatre - Brielle Mussomeli Looking Glass Theater - Athena Halsema-Fernandez Pickwick Players - Nettie Allen Visionary Dance Theatre - Ramon Montes