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Jeremiah Ward exits the stage after accepting his award for best actor in a musical during the Toppers award show in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. Ward won for his portrayal of the boy and Matt in the Amelia Earhart Playhouse's production of "The Fantasticks."
Jeremiah Ward exits the stage after accepting his award for best actor in a musical during the Toppers award show in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. Ward won for his portrayal of the boy and Matt in the Amelia Earhart Playhouse's production of "The Fantasticks." (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)
Jeremiah Ward exits the stage after accepting his award for best actor in a musical during the Toppers award show in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. Ward won for his portrayal of the boy and Matt in the Amelia Earhart Playhouse's production of "The Fantasticks."
Jeremiah Ward exits the stage after accepting his award for best actor in a musical during the Toppers award show in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. Ward won for his portrayal of the boy and Matt in the Amelia Earhart Playhouse's production of "The Fantasticks." (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)
Nicole Soren takes a selfie during the Toppers awards show intermission in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016.
Nicole Soren takes a selfie during the Toppers awards show intermission in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)
Audience members react during a performance at the annual U.S. Army Tournament of Plays awards show in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016.
Audience members react during a performance at the annual U.S. Army Tournament of Plays awards show in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)
David Dittmer, right, and Aaron Talley perform the song "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" during the Toppers awards in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016.
David Dittmer, right, and Aaron Talley perform the song "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" during the Toppers awards in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)
Cast members of Amelia Earhart Playhouse's performance of "The Fantasticks" accept their award for best musical ensemble  during the Toppers awards in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. David Mattingly, left, is programs manager for IMCOM-Europe Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
Cast members of Amelia Earhart Playhouse's performance of "The Fantasticks" accept their award for best musical ensemble during the Toppers awards in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. David Mattingly, left, is programs manager for IMCOM-Europe Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)
Philippe Michael Augustin holds his Topper after winning best actor in a featured role in a musical during the Toppers award show in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. Augustin won for his portrayal of the old actor and Henry in the Amelia Earhart Playhouse production of "The Fantasticks."
Philippe Michael Augustin holds his Topper after winning best actor in a featured role in a musical during the Toppers award show in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. Augustin won for his portrayal of the old actor and Henry in the Amelia Earhart Playhouse production of "The Fantasticks." (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)
PJ Schuepbach-Ahearn exits the stage after accepting his award for best supporting actor in a musical during the Toppers award show in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. Schuepbach-Ahearn won for his portrayal of Leaf Coneybear in Ansbach?s production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee".
PJ Schuepbach-Ahearn exits the stage after accepting his award for best supporting actor in a musical during the Toppers award show in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. Schuepbach-Ahearn won for his portrayal of Leaf Coneybear in Ansbach?s production of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee". (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)
The Toppers Singers perform the song "In Whatever Time We Have" during the annual U.S. Army Tournament of Plays awards show in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016.
The Toppers Singers perform the song "In Whatever Time We Have" during the annual U.S. Army Tournament of Plays awards show in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)
Guest performer David Moore, a performer and former U.S. soldier, sings "Wheels of a Dream" during the Toppers awards show in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016.
Guest performer David Moore, a performer and former U.S. soldier, sings "Wheels of a Dream" during the Toppers awards show in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)
The Grafenwoehr Performing Arts Center cast of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" performs the song "Oklahoma?" during the Toppers awards in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016.
The Grafenwoehr Performing Arts Center cast of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" performs the song "Oklahoma?" during the Toppers awards in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)
Trophies sit on display at the annual U.S. Army Tournament of Plays awards show in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016.
Trophies sit on display at the annual U.S. Army Tournament of Plays awards show in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)
Airman 1st Class Jessica Lynne Hoyle celebrates after winning best military actress in a play during the annual Tournament of Plays awards in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. Hoyle played Maggie in the Baumholder's Hilltop Theater production "Lend Me a Tenor".
Airman 1st Class Jessica Lynne Hoyle celebrates after winning best military actress in a play during the annual Tournament of Plays awards in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. Hoyle played Maggie in the Baumholder's Hilltop Theater production "Lend Me a Tenor". (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)
Nicole Soren performs the song "Defying Gravity" during the annual U.S. Army Tournament of Plays awards show in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016.
Nicole Soren performs the song "Defying Gravity" during the annual U.S. Army Tournament of Plays awards show in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)
Actor Karan Soni announces an award winner via a recorded video message during the annual Tournament of Plays in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016.

Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes
Actor Karan Soni announces an award winner via a recorded video message during the annual Tournament of Plays in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)
Spc. Stanley Holling Jr., left, accepts his Topper award from Col. G. Shawn Wells, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz commander, in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. Holling won best debut in a play or musical for his portrayal of Freddy Benson in Grafenwoehr Performing Arts Center's production of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels".
Spc. Stanley Holling Jr., left, accepts his Topper award from Col. G. Shawn Wells, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz commander, in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. Holling won best debut in a play or musical for his portrayal of Freddy Benson in Grafenwoehr Performing Arts Center's production of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels". (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)
Nicole Soren performs the song "Let Me Be Your Star" during the Toppers awards in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016.
Nicole Soren performs the song "Let Me Be Your Star" during the Toppers awards in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)
Meaghan Noranbrock reacts after winning best makeup for a play and musical during the annual U.S. Army Tournament of Plays awards show in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016.
Meaghan Noranbrock reacts after winning best makeup for a play and musical during the annual U.S. Army Tournament of Plays awards show in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)
The SHAPE Performing Arts Center cast of "Uninetown" performs the song "Run, Freedom, Run" during the Toppers awards in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016.
The SHAPE Performing Arts Center cast of "Uninetown" performs the song "Run, Freedom, Run" during the Toppers awards in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)
Arthur Ross Jr., left, accepts his Topper award from Steven Pelletier, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Director of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. Ross won best sound design for a play and musical for his work on the SHAPE Players Performing Arts Center's production of "The Lucky Spot."
Arthur Ross Jr., left, accepts his Topper award from Steven Pelletier, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Director of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, April 23, 2016. Ross won best sound design for a play and musical for his work on the SHAPE Players Performing Arts Center's production of "The Lucky Spot." (Michael B. Keller/Stars and Stripes)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — There was glitz, glamor and enough drama to elicit screams of 11 on the “Spinal Tap” scale.

About the only thing missing from the Army in Europe’s version of Broadway’s Tony Awards Saturday night was long acceptance speeches.

Winners rushed to the stage to accept their golden “Toppers” — a gleaming gold statuette hoisting a star. They then beamed for a few stunned seconds while getting their photos snapped in front of an audience of more than 400 packed inside the Armstrong’s Club ballroom at Vogelweh.

No more than 15 seconds on stage was the rule, a limit imposed because of the large number of troupes up for recognition.

Among the night’s big winners was Wiesbaden’s Amelia Earhart Playhouse, which earned about a dozen Toppers, including prizes for the best play, best ensemble for a musical, best director and several actor awards.

This theater season, some 644 military personnel, civilians and family members volunteered at their local theaters in far-flung military communities across Europe. They served in every imaginable role — as actors and singers, musicians, directors, costume makers and ticket sellers.

Fifty awards were presented at the annual Installation Management Command Europe Tournament of Plays Toppers awards ceremony. The show salutes the best work — on stage and behind the curtain — of 11 theater programs at Army and Air Force bases in Germany, Italy and Belgium.

The night went long, with more than three hours of presentations and high-energy performances. Actors and singers showcased musical numbers from “Guys and Dolls,” “Into the Woods,” “The Fantasticks” and other shows. The acts came from some of the 16 productions that were critiqued this season by three judges, who traveled throughout Europe reviewing up to two musicals or plays at each community theater.

Nominations — there were 200 in more than 40 categories — aren’t disclosed in advance, creating a high level of anticipation. Adding to the night’s excitement were video appearances by several guest celebrities, including William Shatner, Sean Hayes, Harvey Fierstein, Dean Cain and Lin-Manuel Miranda. They read off nominees and winners and gave shout-outs to fellow theater types in the audience. It was a big night for the Earhart Playhouse, and the giddy Wiesbaden crowd made no effort to conceal its joy.

“I’m over the roof,” said Spc. Joseph Morsher, an Army human resources specialist at Wiesbaden, who was involved in three productions this season. “This is the best showing, I think, the (playhouse) has ever done.”

Morsher said theater is a big part of his life. The rewards of being part of a theater “family” far outweigh the nerves he can’t quite calm while on stage, he said.

“I’m always a wreck inside until the final bows are taken. But I feel an immense pride. I feel more alive when I’m doing it.”

Senior Airman Eli Rios, who tied for best military actor in a play for his portrayal of Southern simpleton Turnip Moss in the SHAPE Players’ “The Lucky Spot” in Belgium, said it’s challenging to balance a military job with long hours of rehearsal.

“You’re tired at the end of the day, you’re tired in the morning,” he said, “but at the end of the day, when you perform well in your job, when you perform well in the theater, that’s what it’s all about.”

Nicole Soren, an Army spouse from Stuttgart, was delighted to win a Topper for best hair and wig design for the Stuttgart Theatre Center’s production of “Stage Door.”

Soren researched hairstyles from the 1930s and helped train the actors to do their own hair.

The Topper was a surprise. “I got one a couple of years ago for a performance, but this is really cool because, I mean, it’s for hair and I just really didn’t expect it.”

svan.jennifer@stripes.com

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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