Shenaniganing in Memphis: The Ostrander Awards

September 8, 2014

The Ostrander Awards (known years ago as the Memphis Theatre Awards) is an annual event that recognizes the season’s best Memphis stage talent. For the past two years, the awards were held at the prestigious Orpheum theater in downtown Memphis and hosted by the hilarious Sister Myotis.

I was once nominated for my role as Kyle (the UPS guy in Legally Blonde: The Musical), but I honestly believe it was because of the shorts I wore rather than my performance. This year, I failed to grab a “nod” for my role as Lancelot/The Knight of Ni/The French Taunter/Tim the Enchanter in Spamalot, so I was free to celebrate the recognition of many theater friends and acquaintance.

The original intent for this post was to share the experience with my readers as most of you are not familiar with the close-knit Memphis theater community. However, since my embarrassingly high intake of alcohol prevents my memory from recollecting much of the evening, I will, instead, share on outline of the event through pictures. Yay, alcoholism.


The evening begins nobly at The Majestic for dinner and (much of) drinks. To my left is the outstandingly gorgeous Claire (who is also responsible for inspiring a couple of my favorite articles). Over my left shoulder (in the black dress) is Lena (who did the makeup for the mug shots you see on my website). Can we just take a moment to recognize how beautiful Memphis women are? Ahhhh. Okay, now back to being gay.


After smelling Claire’s hair, we wander down the street to the Orpheum theater where a sea of familiar faces mingle. I think I spoke to many, but unfortunately don’t recall the words we exchanged. See below for empty apology.


Note to self: you are no longer allowed to pose for pictures while drunk. Doing so apparently makes me look like an eager child molester.


I would like to submit a prayer request to all prayer warriors that my flash was not on when I took this picture (that I do not remember taking and found it on my iPhone a couple of days later).


I have no idea… This was forwarded to me from Claire. And no, I do not remember this moment. I was later told that I heckled during the ceremony. I doubt that someone as nice as me would do something so disrespectful. Since no audio proof of this exists, it is their word against mine.


If you look closely, you can see me lurking in the background. I am facing the camera. I think my friends just left me there in the corner of the Orpheum lobby so they wouldn’t have to babysit me, and I don’t blame them.


To all Memphis theater friends and acquaintances I encountered during this night, I want to apologize. I admit that I don’t really know what I am apologizing for, but I’m sure I did or said something to make you uncomfortable, embarrassed, and/or angry. And to the organizers of the Ostrander awards, I will not be surprised or hurt if my name is on some sort of no-admittance list when we once again recognize members of the Memphis theater community next year (because let’s be real, I can’t promise I won’t get as shit-faced again).


by Cary Vaughn (2014)