Liberty Bell High School senior Dean Hussey is the winner of The Merc Playhouse’s 2019 Steinebach Award for Outstanding Contribution to Live Theater.
The award was presented at the opening night of The Merc’s current production of “Charlotte’s Web.”
In a press release, Merc Executive Director Missi Smith said Hussey began his association with the theater during its 2014 production of “Willy Wonka, Junior,” working in the sound booth.
“He was in eighth grade at the time, and according to Dean, his mom signed him up,” Smith said. “He wasn’t very excited about it … but by the time the show was over he claims he was ‘in his element.’ We were fortunate that theater hooked him because he has worked on nearly every show since then. He has logged well over 1,000 volunteer hours in five years of productions.”
The award is named after The Merc’s founders, Carolanne and the late Egon Steinebach. Dean Hussey’s mother, Darla Hussey, was the winner of the inaugural award in 2018. She has been involved in several Merc productions, creating costumes, props and special makeup including elaborate face-painting. Darla Hussey is the graphic designer and social media director for the Methow Valley News.
“To say Dean’s contribution to live theater is outstanding does not even begin to scratch the surface,” Smith said in the press release. “He has participated on our production team in a number of ways over five years. He’s gone way beyond pushing the ‘go’ button behind our soundboard. Dean has composed original music and created sound cues for a number of shows, most notably ‘Bike America,’ for which he composed the full soundtrack as his senior project. Our 2018 summer production required Dean to commit countless hours of composing, editing and working with the rest of the cast and tech crew through rehearsals and performances.”
Hussey also participated as an actor in the recent Readers’ Theater production of “A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.”
“Adding another whole level of risk, and stepping even further out of his normal comfort zone, he became a strong advocate for those living with autism while teaching his fellow cast members about his own experiences with it,” Smith said.
Hussey will graduate in June and is exploring college options. He has been accepted to Shoreline Community College’s Music Technology department as well as Central Washington University’s Theater Arts Design and Production BFA program.
Listen to some of Dean’s music
Hear Dean Hussey’s songs composed for ‘Bike America’ at https://soundcloud.com/razorr3kker/the-road-home and at https://youtu.be/hj59Qa0UPoA. You can check out the full range of his work on Soundcloud or YouTube, as well.
His characterization of the song “The Road Home,” an original composition from his senior project: “It is imbued with adventure and the feeling of good memories. This piece was created for the final scene in ‘Bike America,’ a play about the search for happiness and the unpredictable turns life (and death) sometimes makes. In this particular scene, the protagonist finally discovers she’s the only one who can make herself happy, only to be cut down in a car vs. bicycle crash, with this song playing underneath the horrific and dramatic sounds of that. This song’s bittersweet atmosphere helped to fuel that scene and carry the feeling of finding one’s home (or self) after being away for a long time.”