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ACT Cincinnati Annual Awards

It's that time of year - Nominations for the 2024 ACT Annual Awards are now open!

Each ACT member group is invited to nominate up to FOUR (4) people - one (1) each for the following awards:

  • Art Rouse Award

  • Mario Pitocco Award

  • Roger Grooms Award

  • Rising Star Award

Submissions are due no later than 11:59:59pm May 1, 2024 - NO EXCEPTIONS. 

All nominations should be submitted via the google form at this link:

Each year, at its annual banquet, ACT Cincinnati recognizes individuals with awards that acknowledge the winner’s contributions to Greater Cincinnati community theater. These awards recognize significant achievement by individuals who strive to encourage the growth and improve the quality of community theater throughout the region.


The nominees for three of the awards, The Art Rouse Award, The Mario Pitocco Award, and The Roger Grooms Award, come from each of the member groups who may nominate one individual for each award per year. The written nominations are read and discussed by a committee chaired by the Awards Chairperson and the committee votes on the winner of each award. The winner’s names are kept secret until the night of the banquet when the name of the winner is announced after a narrative of their experience and contributions has been read.


The nominees for the fourth award, the Rising Star Award, also come from each of the member groups, but unlike the Rouse, Pitocco, and Grooms awards, all Rising Star nominees will be recognized at the banquet with a certificate.

These awards are considered the highest honors ACT Cincinnati can bestow on the winner. Even to be nominated for any of the awards is considered an honor as the nominations come from your peers who are recognizing your contributions to your theater group.


The fifth award, the President’s Award, is given by the President of ACT who chooses the winner based on an individual’s contributions to ACT Cincinnati during the current season.


Art Rouse Award
Established in 1976

ACT of Greater Cincinnati presents the prestigious Art Rouse Award to an individual or couple who has shown exceptional commitments and dedication to community theatre. Art was a founding member of both ACT and OCTA. He served as president of ACT of Greater Cincinnati, Inc., establishing the annual President’s Award, and was a tireless and capable administrator. He was an OCTA delegate, and worked both on and off stage for numerous groups. This award is given in memory of Art and his efforts to promote community theatre and improve its quality.

Download the Art Rouse nomination form

Submit your 2024 Art Rouse nominee here



2023 Art Rouse Award Winner: Judy Berrens

2022 Bunny Arszman

2021 Cathy Lutts

2020 Tom & Nancy Storey

2019 Laureen Catlin

2018 Kathy Beiting

2017 Arlene Borock-Balczo

2016 Wayne Kirsch

2015 Dee Dunn

2014 Gittee Bortz

2013 Dennis Murphy

2012 Patt Robb

2011 Mike Burke

2010 Arny Stoller

2009 Linda Roll

2008 Norma Niinemets

2007 Ron & Freida Houck

2006 Pat Furterer

2005 Tom Fox

2004 Bill & Stella Brinkman

2003 Dee Anne Bryll & Ed Cohen

2002 Henry Capluch 

2001 Rilla Foster

2000 Joy Sharp

1999 Ginny Chizer

1998 Marty Mehring

1997 Don Frimming

1996 John Wesseling

1995 Judy & Gary Wettengel

1994 June Dean Baldwin

1993 Richard Stoops

1992 Peggy Kenney

1991 Michael Murphy

1990 Charlotte Hall

1989 Jim Ponchot

1988 Julian Feldman

1987 Ed Spencer

1986 Frank Beard

1985 Ethel & Gordon Youngerman

1984 Dorthy Kommann

1983 Frank Nesi

1982 Roger Grooms

1981 Sally Dowlin

1980 Carol Mills

1979 Sally Gensler & Robert Mehring

1978 Mary Haas

1977 Jeanette Henn

1976 Elston Hurst 

Art Rouse Award - Judy Berrens.jfif
Art Rouse Award

Mario Pitocco Award
Established in 1988

To preserve and encourage innovative technical theatre in memory of Mario Pitocco, this award is presented annually to honor an individual who has shown continuous service and excellence in creative technical theatre, including, but not limited to: costuming, house management lighting sound program, props, set décor, set design, set construction, stage management, etc.

Download the Mario Pitocco nomination form

Submit your 2024 Mario Pitocco nominee here

Mario Pitocco

2023 Mario Pitocco Award Winner: George Fee

2022 Elaine Michael

2021 Kent Smith

2020 Jason Cox

2019 Art Kibby

2018 Glenna Knapp

2017 Sharon Buchtman

2016 Ray Persing

2015 Elaine Volker

2014 Patrick Downey

2013 Vicki Rafferty

2012 John Netzley

2011 Fran Uecker

2010 Eric Bardes

2009 Scott Baker

2008 Robert F. McClain II

2007 Ed Spencer

2006 Dan Dermody

2005 Steve Myers

2004 Peggy Stouffer

2003 John Wesseling

2002 John & Kim Minor

2001 Bob Fritzsch

2000 Dennis Murphy

1999 Dave Myers

1998 jef brown

1997 Fred Thoman

1996 Michael L. Morehead

1995 Tim Binzer

1994 Deidre Dyson

1993 Howard Mills

1992 Jeffery T. Straight

1991 Phil Pitocco

1990 Gary Rogers

1989 Don Haas

1988 Ron Houck

George Fee Headshot.jpg

Roger Grooms Award
Establish in 2007

Known for his wit, eloquence, charm and passion for theatre, Roger Grooms supported the artistic growth of theatre in our region throughout his long career as an educator, film and dramatic critic, actor and director of plays and musicals. This award is therefore given annually in Roger’s memory to honor an individual who has demonstrated dedication to raising the artistic quality of community theater production through active teaching and/or by demonstrating sustained excellence in the categories of directing, acting, choreography, musical or vocal direction.

Download the Roger Grooms Nomination form

Submit your 2024 Roger Grooms nominee here


Roger Grooms

2023 Roger Grooms Award Winner: Charles Wilhelm

2022 Danny Davies

2021 Wayne Kirsch

2020 Jerry Wiesenhahn

2019 Tom Peters

2018 Rebecca McLaughlin

2017 Peggy Kenney

2016 Gary Rogers

2015 Karen Vanover

2014 Burt McCollum

2013 Ed Cohen

2012 John & Anna Nixon

2011 Norma Niinemets

2010 Dick Wesp

2009 Dee Anne Bryll 

2008 Ginny Chizer

2007 Bonnie Schanz


Roger Grooms Award - Charles Wilhelm.JPG
ACT Cincinnati New Logo-01.png

President's Award
Established in 2007

The ACT President’s Award is given annually by the President of ACT to an ACT board member who has demonstrated outstanding commitment and dedication to the goals of the ACT during that particular year. The award generally goes to the board member who has gone beyond the normal duties of their position and demonstrated extra effort.

President's Award

2023 President's Award Winner: Amy Waldfogle

2022 Joy Sharp & Mary Stone

2021 Laureen Catlin

2020 Fred Hunt

2019 Amanda Emmons Shumate

2018 Amanda Emmons Shumate

2017 Ray Persing & Long Range Judging Committee

2016 Arlene Borock

2015 Arlene Borock

2014 Dee Anne Bryll

2013 Arlene Borock

2012 Wayne Kirsch

2011 John Wesseling

2010 Joy Sharp & Dee Anne Bryll

2009 Joy Sharp

2008 Tracy Botos

2007 John Wesseling

Amy Waldfogle.jpg
ACT Cincinnati New Logo-01.png

ACT Rising Star Award
Established in 2019

ACT of Greater Cincinnati presents the Rising Star Award to recognize individuals who have exemplified a new level of exceptional dedication and commitment to their theatre or the ACT community as a whole. This could mean an individual who is in the early stages of their theater career, no matter their age, or someone who has been around a while that has demonstrated a renewed dedication to Community Theater. Rising Star nominees should be different than Art Rouse, Mario Pitocco and Roger Grooms nominees, and all nominees will be recognized at the banquet with a certificate.

Download the Rising Star Nomination form

Submit your 2024 Rising Star nominee here

2023 Rising Star Award Winners:


Emily Nickles – Acting Up

Mary Jo Bissmeyer – Beechmont Players

Zak Kelley – CenterStage Players

John Michael Durnil – Cincinnati Music Theatre

Megan Horton – Footlighters, Inc.

Pollen Greely INNOVATheatre

Pettrina Barresi – Loveland Stage Company

Kelly Holtgrefe – Mariemont Players

Dana Davis – Mason Community Players

Nick Dunker – Sunset Players

Chris & Amy Evers – The Drama Workshop

Christy Carson – Village Players of Fort Thomas

Rising Star Award - Emily Nickles.jpg

Emily Nickles, Acting Up

Rising Star Award- Mary Jo Bissmeyer

Mary Jo Bissmeyer, Beechmont Players

Rising Star Award - Zak Kelley.JPG

Zak Kelley, CenterStage Players

Rising Star Award - John Michael Durnil.jpg

John Michael Durnil, Cincinnati Music Theatre

Rising Star - Megan Horton.JPG

Megan Horton,  Footlighters, Inc.

Rising Star Award - Poleena Greely.jpg

Poleena Greely, INNOVATheatre

Rising Star Award - Pettrina Barresi.png

Pettrina Barresi, Loveland Stage Company

Rising Star Award - Kelly Holtgrefe.jpeg

Kelly Holtgrefe, Mariemont Players

Rising Star Award - Dana Davis.jpg

Dana Davis, Mason Community Players

Rising Star Award - Nick Dunker.jpg

Nick Dunker, Sunset Players

Rising Star Award - Chris & Amy Evers.jpg

Chris & Amy Evers, The Drama Workshop

Christy Carson

Christy Carson, Village Players of Fort Thomas

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