Jim Truell, pictured here in his role of Norman Thayer Jr. in the Grand Island Little Theatre’s production of “On Golden Pond,” was recently named the Craig Scarborough Entertainer of the Year at GILT’s award night.

Jim Truell was awarded the Craig Scarborough Entertainer of the Year Award at the annual Grand Island Little Theatre awards night.

In community theater, the thespians are actors, backstage help, board members, custodians, you name it, and they pretty much do it all.

Truell can be found in the director’s chair, on the stage, building the set, cleaning up and disposing of things no longer needed. If a show needs extras in the cast, he is willing and able to do what is needed. He will take those roles, and then create and own his character.

He can also be found meeting with businesses, working with the production council and sitting in the president’s chair during GILT Board meetings. He has also served as treasurer and legal consultant.

His first GILT show was in June 1982 when he played Elwood P. Dowd in “Harvey.” Through the years he has had many onstage, as well as backstage roles. He has won awards for sets he has helped build, as well as for some of the memorable characters he has played onstage. This past season he was Norman Thayer Jr in “On Golden Pond.” He was also Sitting Bull in “Annie Get Your Gun.” When GILT performed “Chicago” in 2016, he played all six jurors, giving them all their own personalities. He also played a “ghost” in “A Nice Family Gathering” in 2017.

An attorney who arrived in Grand Island in 1975, Truell has been involved with the Heartland United Way, serving as president for two years. He has been on the Board of the Hall County American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity and Hope Harbor. He was a board member and president of the Central Nebraska Humane Society for at least 10 years. He was a deacon for First Presbyterian Church and has been a representative of the local attorneys as a delegate to the House of Nebraska State Bar Association.

This award was created in 2004 to honor the memory of Craig Scarborough. “He had a passion for theater and was an outstanding director and performer. He was not often seen on stage, but when he was, the performance was memorable,” according to a press release from GILT.

“He auditioned only for roles he felt he could do well. If cast in the part, he truly owned the role. He was also willing to work backstage. Those who worked under him as a director recall it as a remarkable experience. He was known as a director who guided his actors, but allowed for their personal creativity. As an actor, Scarborough was spontaneous and genuine. As a person, he was gracious, humble and honest. He was always there with a word of encouragement for others. He did not have to be the ‘star.’ Craig was professional in all he did. He epitomized theater. It is with great pride that this award is given by friends of Craig Scarborough.”

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