Cliff Smith Award

The Cliff Smith Award for Outstanding Direction was established in 1989.

Cliff Smith was a native of Pittsburg, where he graduated from Carnegie Mellon University. He came to the Washington area in 1968. Cliff worked as an actor, director and designer with many of the area community theatres, including Cedar Lane Stage, Greenbelt Arts Center, Sandy Spring Theatre Group, Silver Spring Stage, Rockville Little Theatre, Rockville Musical Theatre and Prince Georges Little Theatre.

Cliff believed in taking chances. He maintained the integrity of the playwrite's vision while challenging the audience as well as the actors and crew he worked with. His shows were beautiful to see. He directed more than 60 productions and won many awards. His many theatre talents included designing sets, lights, costuming and poster art.

Throughout his life Cliff fought a rare form of Sickle Cell Anemia. Despite it's painful treatments, he rarely missed rehearsals or performances and was an inspiration to many area theatre people. Following his death in 1988, the Best Director Award was renamed in his honor.


Past Recipients

YEAR Recipient/Group Production
1986 Betty Xander / Silver Spring Stage The Typists
1987 Richard Foster / Montgomery Playhouse Tell Me Another Story, Sing Me A Song
1988 Chappel Aldredge / Adventure Theatre The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
1989 Thomas Fenton / Montgomery Playhouse An Actor's Nightmare
1990 Lil Medas / Port Tobacco Players The Gin Game (Act II)
1991 Lisa Holland / Alliance Theatre Workshop Seascape With Sharks and Dancer
1992 Richard Highby / Port Tobacco Players Twelve Angry Men
1993 Mary Frances Northham / Colonial Players Where Have All the Lightning Bugs Gone
1994 Eric C. Peterson / Montgomery Playhouse Strangers In the Night - Afterglow
1995 Bill Kamberger / Montgomery Playhouse No Riders
1996 Jane Wingard / The Pasadena Theatre Company Home At Six
1997 Jeff Lesniak / Burtonsville Players Sure Thing

(tie) Lorraine Murray Sampson / Cedar Lane Stage
Jack Sbarbori / Silver Spring Stage

Patient A
Midnight Caller
1999 John Morogiello / Montgomery Playhouse The Matchmaker's Guide To Controlling the Elements
2000 Stephanie Mumford / Silver Spring Stage A Little Trick
2001 Martin Blanco / Red Light Theatre Men and Parts
2002 (tie) Richard and Deanne Highby / Port Tobacco Players
Roxanne Fournier / Red Light Theatre
Lone Star
Men and Parts
2003 (tie) Bob Bartlett / Hard Bargain Players
Bridget Muehlberger / Silver Spring Stage
The Tar on Ferret Gough's Hands
Sticks and Stones
2004 Michael Kharfen / Silver Spring Stage Fin and Euba

Bob Bartlett / Hard Bargain Players

xphiles, unrequited
2006 Leta Hall / Silver Spring Stage Perfectly Good Airplanes
2007 James Kleyle / Port Tobacco Players Never Swim Alone
2008 Kryss Lacovaro ? Sandy Spring Theatre Group Not So Soft
2009 Alex Claxton / Colonial Players Coax
2010 Amy Sullivan / Montgomery Playhouse A Separate Peace
2011 Bill Scarafia / Newtowne Players Woman: Revised
2012 Donna K. Shute / Silver Spring Stage Winners
2013 Andrew Greenleaf / Silver Spring Stage Spoken For
2014 Bruce Hirsch / Montgomery Playhouse Commencing
2015 Cseni Szabo / Colonial Players Tough Cookies
2017 Bruce Hirsch / Montgomery Playhouse Virtual Reality
2018 (tie) Jennifer Cooper / Colonial Players
Ally Cardinalli / Silver Spring Stage
The Universal Language
2020 Jeff Mikoni / Silver Spring Stage The Rockefeller Special
2022 Bruce Hirsch / Kensington Arts Theatre The Last Nickel
2023 Sarah Pollard & Trish Cole / Raging Hag Productions Paradise


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