Curtain Call honors its ‘champion of arts’

Daisy Babione (second from right), wife of the late Rob Babione, accepted the AACT Spotlight Award from Curtain Call President Lori Sanborn (right) prior to the start of Curtain Call’s musical, “The Putnam County Spelling Bee” on Saturday, Aug. 3. Also presenting the award were (from left) Donna Norberg, former Region V Rep. to AACT, Larry Pint of Curtain Call and past president of MACT, and Bill Muchow former AACT President. (Wade Young Photo)

The American Association of Community Theatre (AACT) Spotlight Award is given to a special person who has made a significant impact in community theatre. It recognizes outstanding dedication, service and contribution to theatre. On Saturday, Aug. 3, a founding member of Curtain Call Theatre post humously received this special award.

In a special ceremony before the start of Curtain Call’s musical, “The 25th annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at Hilltop Hall, Rob Babione’s widow Daisy, and their son Tryone, accepted the AACT award in Rob’s memory. 

Former Region V Representative Donna Norberg called Babione a “champion of the arts and an outstanding individual” who was instrumental in the development of Curtain Call. A passionate singer, she said Babione always carried a song in his heart and believed that people should carry a tune wherever they go and to “live life as a musical”.

Anyone who has seen a Curtain Call production has most likely recognized Babione’s distinct physical presence on the stage. He auditioned for almost every production since the theatre’s inception in 1994, appearing in more than 28 shows. 

“As an actor, Rob participated in every possible play he could, up until his death on November 3, 2012. He made a point to audition for every play saying, ‘There is no part too big or too small.’ As long as he did his best (and earned a part!),” Norberg said. “His favorite role was portraying detective O’Finn in ‘Bull in a China Shop’ in 1999. He was a passionate dramatist, as he often spoke fondly of his days in Maryland playing Shakespeare’s Bassano in ‘Merchant of Venice’ in 1969.”

Speaking on behalf of his mother and their family, Tyrone Babione thanked everyone for the special award that commemorated and honored a “unique and passionate man”.

“This is something my father would have really loved. He loved every chance to be in the spotlight and so this award is named rather appropriately,” Tyrone said. “With this Spotlight Award honor, I know that my father will be remembered. His positive impact on his community will continue. Acting gave him such happiness and joy that for him, I don’t think it was acting at all. And perhaps that’s the secret and why he hasn’t left us. He is here with us now.”

The event also included a cake with Babione’s portrait, beverages and a slide show of his many performances with the theatre group.