Nada Vaughn, whose dedication to music and theatre in St Louis began as a schoolgirl and flourished in later years as an integral part of Clayton Community Theatre, is this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient at the 9th Annual Theater Mask Awards on April 20.

She was part of school plays as a youth, majored in voice and minored in theater and education in college, and retired from teaching music at Bishop DuBourg High School in 2010.

Nada Vaughn

After that, she devoted more time to music, theater, and art. At Clayton Community Theatre, she has been board president, producer, director, music director, assistant director, stage manager, house manager, concession manager, sound designer, and on crews for sets and lights.

She received a TMA award for directing “A Soldier’s Play” in 2021, and has directed “Black Coffee,” “Unexpected Guest,” “The Piano Lesson,” “Night Must Fall,” “Two Trains Running,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Murder on the Nile.”

Tickets are now available for the Arts For Life annual awards ceremonies for community theater recognition.

Through the nonprofit organization AFL, the TMAs have honored drama and comedy plays since 2015.

This year’s 9th annual Theatre Mask Awards will take place starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 20, at the Royale Orleans banquet center, 2801 Telegraph Road, St. Louis, Mo. 63125. Doors open at 10:30 a.m.

Awards will be presented in 17 categories as lunch is served. Cocktail attire is suggested. Tickets to the event are $30 + $2 service fee. Table seating is available at 10 per table. A full meal will be served, and a cash/card bar will be available.

O’Fallon Theatre Works topped all TMA nominations with 23, with a production-leading 12 for “Radium Girls” and 11 for “Emma: Portrait of a Lady.”

The Kirkwood Theatre Guild followed with 16 overall, six for both “The Last Night of Ballyhoo” and “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” with Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap” garnering four.

Monroe Actors Stage Company in Waterloo had a total of 14, including 10 for “Unnecessary Farce,” three for “Father of the Bride” and one for “Fuddy Meers.”

Act Two Theatre in St. Peters earned 12 TMA nominations, including 11 for “Peter and the Starcatcher” and one for “Sandy Toes and Salty Kisses.”

Other groups receiving TMA nominations included Clayton Community Theatre, Looking Glass Playhouse and Theatre Guild of Webster Groves.

“This has been one of our best years yet for community theatre plays, and it shows in just how many of the productions received nominations,” said TMA Chairman Melissa Boyer. “I am so proud of all of our groups that put all their heart into these productions, and of all of our judges that take the time to go to so many shows.”

Mark Lull

Mark Lull returns as the master of ceremonies after hosting in 2022. A 10-time AFL nominee, he won Best Performance by a Comedic Actor as Uncle Fester in Alfresco Productions’ “The Addams Family” in 2015.

A retired school principal, he has performed at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, The Muny, and with other theater companies in the St. Louis metropolitan area. He is currently teaching early childhood education at St. Louis Community College and serves as vice president on the AFL board of directors.

Tickets are available online with a service fee of $2 added:

A combination ticket for both TMAs and Best Performance Awards, at a discounted price of $50 with a $2 service fee, is available, but must be purchased by April 12.

The BPAs have honored musical theater in community and youth productions for 24 years. The awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, June 30, at 2 p.m. at the Keating Theater at Kirkwood High School. Formal attire is requested, and the event will be reserved-style seating. Soft drinks and snacks will be available in the lobby. Doors open at 1:30 p.m.

The event will include performances from the top musicals nominated in the three Best Musical Production categories. Tickets to the show are $30.00 + a $2.00 service fee per ticket. Seating is reserved seating.

Cast members of “Calendar Girls,” and director Deanna Jent, which Kirkwood Theatre Guild presented in 2022, winner of best comedy at the TMAs April 2023, with trophy presenter Natalie Klick. Photo by Chuck Hill.
Cast members of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” at Hawthorne Players, and director Ken Clark, which won Best Drama Production at the 2023 TMAs. Chuck Hill Photo.

AFL Community Theatre Awards

Nominations are listed on the website,

Arts For Life is a local not-for-profit arts organization dedicated to the healing power of the arts through its work with youth, the underserved, and the community, with its goal of “Making a Dramatic Difference.”

AFL is dedicated to promoting public awareness of local community theatre, encouraging excellence in the arts, and acknowledging the incredible people who are a part of it.

“Arts For Life provides a community recognition program. These events recognize the incredible talent we have in St. Louis community theater and honor the passion and dedication of those who build this amazing and unique theatrical community,” said Mary McCreight, AFL president.

Nomination and selection of the community theatre awards are done by a special committee, i.e., the Theatre Recognition Guild, made up of theatre critics, drama teachers, professional performers or artists, members of community theatre groups, and people who just have an avid interest in theatre.

This committee reviews each of the theatrical productions as an audience member and scores each participant in each category.  

Theatre groups within a 35-mile radius of Clayton, Mo., who hold open auditions for non-paid actors are invited to participate.

For more information, email or visit the website,

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