More than two years after a pandemic shutdown, Pull-Tight Players celebrated an abbreviated season with a 1970s-themed event. The 53rd Knot Awards Banquet took place at the Fieldstone Farms community clubhouse in Franklin, Tenn. Board member parliamentarian Leslie Berra and outgoing board member and vice-president Jeanne Drone served as co-chairs of the celebration. Themed costumes, food from Martin’s Barbecue, classic songs, and numerous awards helped to fill the evening with laughter and cheers.
Those 70s Acknowledgements
Board of Directors
Jeanne and Leslie recognized the “changing of the guard” following our May elections of four new members to our Board of Directors.
Outgoing Board of Directors Members
- Mark Buchanan
- Jeanne Drone
- Matt Grimes (one-year term)
- Dan Kassis
Incoming Board of Directors Members
- Savannah Aiello
- Bre Hall (one-year term)
- Cindy Davis Massey
- Johnny Peppers
Lifetime Artist Members
The Board of Directors elected to grant lifetime Artist Membership to two outstanding community volunteers: John Neely Davis and Peggy Macpherson.
Jeanne Drone and Steve Evans presented our segment dedicated to the memory of two Pull-Tight Players we lost since our last banquet: Ray Cooper and Bill Ewin.
Bill was a well-known Franklin professional radio personality and professional actor. He graced the Pull-Tight stage beginning in the early 1980s. Bill performed in productions including Barefoot in the Park, The Hasty Heart, and The Fantasticks. “He was a wonderful character actor and able to change his voice at the drop of a hat! A man truly after my own heart,” said Jeanne.
Ray came to Pull-Tight in the late 1980s. He appeared in several productions, including Fiddler on the Roof and Arsenic and Old Lace. “He was a real team player, always trying to perfect his performances,” Steve remarked. Ray also performed with other theatre organizations in the Nashville area.
Those 70s Costumes
Matt Grimes presented awards for the evening’s best themed costumes, as judged by Heather Bottoms, Greg Grimsley, and Becky Leopard.
1st overall – Melanie McBurney as Wonder Woman
2nd overall – Cathie and Steve Stamps as a 60s holdover hippie couple
3rd overall – Pat and Steve Evans as Sonny & Cher
- Sexiest Man Alive (or at the party) – Jon Kieffner
- Best Shoes – Alex Wasson
- Best Throwback – Julie Murphy (wearing a dress she actually wore in the 70s)
Those 70s Entertainers
Blast-from-the-past performances filled the evening with toe-tapping songs and side-splitting laughter.
Several of the women of Pull-Tight began the evening taking turns leading in a medley of tunes from the Swedish pop group, Abba. These were all songs featured in the stage musical, Mamma Mia.
Iain and Peggy Macpherson brought us the introduction to the classic Norman Lear television show, All in the Family with their rendition of “Those Were the Days” as Archie and Edith Bunker.
Jon Kieffner appeared as Steve Martin to perform “King Tut,” with background vocals and choreography by Bre Hall, Chelsea Craig, Roger Csaki, Steve Evans, and Art Peach.
The original “Knot Ready for Primetime Players” reminded us of the early years of NBC’s perennial sketch comedy series, Saturday Night Live. Matt Grimes took the role of Chevy Chase to provide our weekend update, complete with a hand-drawn national weather forecast. Roger Csaki and Daryle Tallent offered their point/counterpoint opinions on a scandalous celebrity breakup as Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin. Pat Street as Emily Litella decried the removal of violins from television. Jeanne Drone as Roseanne Roseannadanna shared her unrelated thoughts regarding the “Great American Smokeout.” Finally, Roger Csaki and Jon Kieffner appeared as somewhat modernized and enlightened versions of Dan Aykroyd and Steve Martin’s “Wild and Crazy Guys.”
The pop/rock group Chicago brought us a medley of their 70s radio hits: “Saturday in the Park,” “Just You and Me,” “Does Anybody Know What Time it Is?,” “Colour My World,” and “25 or 6 to 4.” Lead singers were Roger Csaki, Stan Ferguson, Bill Jones, and Art Peach.
An ensemble performed the moving 70s anthem, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing,” with a lead vocal by Meghan Russell. Finally, after appearing as a streaker, Matt Grimes recreated the Andy Kaufman “Mighty Mouse” sketch complete with portable turntable and awkward pauses.
Those 70s Knot Awards
Melanie McBurney leapt into slow-motion action to rescue Pull-Tight from the clutches of the pandemic and present each show and annual award in true Lynda Carter “Wonder Woman” fashion.
The Real Inspector Hound
Techie Award, presented by Dan Kassis and Sarah Kieffner as the Coneheads
Awardee: Savannah Aiello
Congeniality Award, presented by Wade Woodruff
Awardee: Roger Csaki
Most Valuable Player Award, presented by Johnny Peppers
Awardee: Roger Csaki
Crimes of the Heart
Techie Award, presented by Roger Caski and Jon Kieffner as the “Wild and Crazy Guys”
Awardee: Tim Massey
Congeniality Award, presented by Pat Street as Emily Litella
Awardee: Bre Hall
Most Valuable Player Award, presented by Cindy Davis Massey
Awardee: Bre Hall
Techie Award, presented by Jennifer Bennett, Chelsea Craig, and Bre Hall as Charlie’s Angels
Awardee: April Presley
Congeniality Award, presented by JT Landry as “Kojak”
Awardee: Mark Buchanan
Most Valuable Player Award, presented by Laurel Aiello and Beth Woodruff as Laverne and Shirley
Awardee: Chelsea Craig
The Odd Couple
Techie award, presented by incoming board president Lynda Gibbs
Awardee: Carmela Hofstee
Congeniality Award, presented by Pat and Steve Evans as Sonny and Cher
Award: Mark Buchanan
Most Valuable Player Award, presented by JK Gregg
Awardee: Lenny West
Howard Tellis Friends of the Year Award
Presented by Iain Macpherson
Awardees: Jim and Dorothy Lesch
Jim Highfill Techie of the Year Award
Presented by Savannah Aiello
Winner: David Weatherbee
Behind the Scenes Award
Presented by Becky Leopard
Winner: Stephanie Dillard
Cam Davis Spirit Award
Presented by Carmela Hofstee
Winner: Johnny Peppers
Player of the Year Award
Presented by Matt Grimes
Winner: Carmela Hofstee
Hall of Fame Award
Presented by Bill Jones as Elvis Presley
Winners: Leslie Berra and Mark Buchanan
That 70s Ending
The final awardee made her speech and received a hearty cheer from her Pull-Tight family. To close the event, JK Gregg appeared as Carol Burnett’s famous washerwoman character to sing her variety show’s beloved theme song.
I’m so glad we had this time together
Just to have a laugh or sing a song.
Seems we just get started and before you know it
Comes the time we have to say, “So long.”