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"Over the River" wins first Not-For-Profit Tony Aware ever presented!

This was, of course, an April Fool’s Day joke. There is no such thing as a Not-for-Profit Tony Award, and Maddie Upp and April S. Phools aren’t real people. The chemistry of the cast is very real, though, and the show does indeed only run from April 4-12, so get your tickets now! Original post follows.

In an unprecedented and history-making move, the Tony Awards Administration Committee has awarded Sugar Factory Playhouse’s production of “Over the River and Through the Woods” the first ever Not-for-Profit Tony Award.

“Over the River and Through the Woods” is a poignant comedy about young Nick Cristano, who has accepted a new position that will require him to move across the country from his loving but overbearing grandparents with whom he has weekly Sunday dinner. To try to convince him to stay nearby, they introduce him to the also-single Caitlin O’Hare in hopes that love will blossom. As everyone finds out, though, life doesn’t always go according to plan…

“This is a real honor, not just for Sugar Factory Playhouse, but also for not-for-profit theaters everywhere,” said Sugar Factory Playhouse’s marketing specialist Travis Green. “To create a Tony Award category for not-for-profit theater productions is a really big deal and will help raise awareness of the incredible talent that the public is largely unaware surrounds them. To be the first production to receive this award is a real honor. This award is something that just hasn’t been done before.”

But what makes this award even more unprecedented is that it comes before the show even officially opens.

“‘Over the River and Through the Woods’ opens April 4 and closes April 12, and we knew we weren’t going to be able to get a delegation there during the show’s run to review the show,” said Maddie Upp, a spokesperson for the Tony Awards Administration Committee. “Kate Rufener, who directs the production, worked with the show’s producer, Jen Crabb, to arrange for our delegates to sit in on one of the cast’s final dress rehearsals. They were incredibly impressed with the cast’s chemistry, so much so that they told me they had to check the playbill to see if the cast were, in fact, related to each other.”

Despite the fact that the set was still being completed and there were a few props yet to be acquired, the choice was clear. “There was a locally-written musical production of ‘Dennis the Menace’ being produced in Blanchard, Oklahoma that was a strong contender, but in the end we were surprisingly united in our decision,” said a member of the voting committee, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she is not authorized to speak publicly about the voting.

So what does Sugar Factory Playhouse do from here? “We act as if nothing happened. We’re the same group of talented, local performers we were before; that hasn’t changed. If anything, we hope it just means more people will come see ‘Over the River and Through the Woods,'” said April S. Phools, prop master for the show.

Watch marketing specialist Travis Green react to the announcement here.

“Over the River and Through the Woods”

April 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Pioneer Hall (1137 W. 7800 S. West Jordan, UT 84088)

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