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April 22, 2013

Ashford clear winner for DLT’s ‘Dixie’

DUNCAN — Though they aren’t advancing to nationals, the cast and crew of Duncan Little Theatre’s “Dixie Swim Club” swam home with their heads held high on Sunday.

The production competed Friday at the American Association of Community Theatre’s Regional Festival in Lafayette, La. Only one show was chosen to advance, however, several individuals received Acting Excellence Awards including DLT’s Tana Ashford.

This was the only award given to either of the Oklahoma productions that advanced to regionals and Ashford was the only actor to receive such an award without being in one of the top productions.

“I was very surprised and honored to have been given the award,” Ashford said. “I’m proud to know that I didn’t do a good job just because of me, but because of us acting together as a team.”

Others on the “team” are Gina Flesher, Heather Amaya, Cindy Reynolds and Loisdawn Jones, who comprise the rest of the cast; Sharon Burum, director and Darrel Ashford, stage manager.

Despite not winning, the group is pleased with the response they received from both the judges and the audience they performed in front of. Burum said the judges appreciated the cast’s good comic timing and the fact that they underplayed their comedy.

One scene in particular that may have won Ashford her award always gets a good response locally, and at regionals, the audience stopped the show with applause.

“The audience loved it (the entire show); they laughed and laughed,” Burum said. “There were directors who saw our show at state and said they thought we had improved from state. I’m pleased with the performance and proud of the cast.”

Everyone involved was able to have fun while in Louisiana while sight-seeing and enjoying plenty of Cajun cuisine. Much of their funds were raised prior to the trip, which offset a lot of the travel cost, something for which the entire group was grateful.

“Thank you Duncan for supporting us financially and otherwise,” said Ashford. “Without that support, this would have been much harder and we did y’all proud.”

With the success of “Dixie Swim Club,” Duncan Little Theatre is looking forward to even more with future productions.

“The trip was very well worth it; it was an adventure and we hope for many more trips to regionals onto nationals and then internationals,” said Ashford.

“We know what it’s like now and we’re going to try even harder.”

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