GRANITE CITY — Mark Lull made history last month.
The Maryville Elementary principal on June 12 became the first Alfresco Productions actor to win a Best Performance Award. Lull was awarded a BPA for Comedic Role for his performance as Uncle Fester in “The Addams Family Musical.”
“It sounds cliché, but it’s very exciting and humbling when you think about it,” Lull said. “There are so many excellent performers out there. When you are singled out for a nomination, that’s basically winning itself because they said it’s kind of hard for people to win it this year because there are so many good performers. When you hear your name called, it’s kind of surreal and you stop and say, ‘Did you really call out my name?’ It’s really exciting and I’m still reeling about it even today.”
Lull received his award at the Skip Viragh Center For The Performance Arts at Chaminade College Preparatory School in St. Louis. The event is sponsored by Arts For Life, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and celebrating community and youth theater in the St. Louis area.
Alfresco Productions had 19 nominations and Lull was the company’s only winner. He also nominated for Best Actor In A Cameo Role for his role as Herod in “Jesus Christ Superstar,” but lost to Michael Blackwood of Alpha Players of Florissant, Mo.
“For only our third season of being recognized, it’s an honor for me to actually say that I won the first BPA for Alfresco,” said Lull, who also had a Best Actor in a Leading Role nomination last year for his performance as Horton in “Seussical The Musical.” “That’s an honor for me. The 19 nominations alone tell you a lot about the quality of work that’s produced in Alfresco. I think there are more nominations and more awards that are still yet to come.”
In “The Addams Family Musical,” Lull played Uncle Fester, a hairless character who wears a heavy fur coat.
“A lot of people said that this was a role that was written for me,” Lull said. “I wanted Uncle Fester to come across as kooky and lovable. I found Fester once the costume that Kathy Slavik built for me and then the makeup that Sarah Curtis and Shannon Slavik created for me. Once all of that came together, I found Fester. People came up to me later and said, ‘He was so kooky, but I loved him.’”
Lull learned of his nomination for Best Comedic Role during the Arts For Life Trivia Night on Feb. 26.
“To be recognized for that nomination, I was just overjoyed with that,” Lull said. “The cherry on top was taking home that trophy.”
After receiving his award, Lull made his acceptance speech.
“I wanted everything to be organic and I didn’t want it to seem overly prepared and scripted, so I picked some ideas that I wanted to say, but emotionally, I was so excited and shocked that when I got up there, I can’t remember truly what I said,” Lull said. “I wanted to thank my family who came all the way from Kansas City and I totally forgot to thank them. I do remember thanking Brenda (Whitaker, the director), who was absent because she was ill and she couldn’t be there. But I wanted to make sure that her name and her beautiful Alfresco Art Center was recognized. I wanted to recognize Kathy for my costume and Shannon and Sarah for the makeup because that completed the entire character of Fester.”
“The Addams Family Musical,” which was performed in October at the Alfresco Arts Center, had six nominations. The show was also nominated for Best Actress In A Featured Role, Best Actress In A Supporting Role, Best Large Ensemble Musical Production, Juvenile Performer and Costume Design.
Alfresco Productions tied St. Louis-based Christ Memorial Productions for the second-most BPA nominations. Hawthorne Players of Florissant had 22 nominations and won four awards.
Lull is rehearsing for the role of Edna Turnblatt in the musical “Hairspray,” for Hawthorne Players. The musical is scheduled to run from July 29 to Aug. 7 at the Florissant Civic Center Theatre.
“I’m excited to be in Hawthorne Players,” Lull said. “They’re a wonderful group and they’re very welcoming. I’m so excited to play Edna. That’s one of my dream roles.”
Alfresco Productions has five shows remaining in the 2016 season. They are “The Normal Heart” (July 30), “August: Osage County” (Aug. 19-21 and 27), “Honk” (Sept. 16-17 and 23-24), “Jekyll and Hyde” (Oct. 21-23, 28-29) and “Rent” (Dec. 2-4 and 9).