Raucous, unpretentious and downright silly – the 32nd Annual LA Weekly Theater Awards rocked the El Rey Theatre last night, April 4, 2011.
Review by Pauline Adamek
The theme of the night was a “˜middle-school district sponsored sleepover,”™ so almost everyone could be seen clad in various degrees of pajama and sleepwear. The evening featured a gory, haunted house infested with blood-splattered teens in underwear plus a sizzling rock (covers) performance by energetic youth band Ash Panda.
Hilariously low tech, the nominees list for each award was projected onto two screens that flanked the amateurishly decorated “˜Middle School”™ stage. They may as well have used overhead projectors.
Chief theatre critic at large, Steven Leigh Morris, presented the night”™s festivities in elegant black satin PJ top (with cream piping) and patterned PJ pants, channeling Hugh Hefner. He was accompanied by a dusky maiden in shorty PJs with a sculpted afro topped by a silly miniature black hat.
The three big winners were Musical of the Year, Hoboken to Hollywood; Revival of the Year, Wit; and Production of the Year, 24th Street Theatre”™s La Razon Blindada. Produced by Peach Reasoner, the hit musical Hoboken To Hollywood also gained the award for Best Musical Direction for Paul Litteral and Best Director of a musical for Jeremy Aldridge.
Sacred Fools Theatre was a big winner with the marvelous production Watson landing a couple of key awards, namely Comedy Direction for playwright Jaime Robledo and the much deserved Male Comedy Performance award went to Henry Dittman.
The consistently excellent and gay-centric Celebration Theatre gained nods for several actors from two productions; The Women of Brewster Place and Take Me Out.
I”™m still not sure what the live geese were all about”¦ Some sort of Dada performance by “˜Gertrude”™ and “˜Alice,”™ who gave a beak-synched yet fowl portrayal of a scene from Mamet”™s Glengarry Glen Ross.Â Mmmmmkay.
Then there was the comic lunacy of The Steve Allen Theater who collectively launched into some sort of all-male interpretive strip performance that, according to fellow LA Weekly theatre critic William Raden, proved “a masterful piece of inspired perversity.”
Naturally, ArtsBeatLA was in the house. Critic Tracy Lynn Schafer unfortunately was MIA but critic Lucy Griffin was hanging with her peeps from the production of Brewsie and Willie, which won three couple of awards, for Production Design, Lighting Design (tied with Dan Weingarten, A Tale Told By an Idiot) and Original Music.
I wore Vargas girl-style shorty PJs (with green frogs designs) and was accompanied by stunning drag queen Connie Slocum — of Love, Connie fame — as my date. Connie told me she was wearing red lace and fur… little did I know that her fur was, uh, homegrown…
After-party catering was a buffet of Middle Eastern cuisine courtesy of Shamshiri Grill.
A helluva good time was had by all.
2011 L.A. WEEKLY THEATER AWARD WINNERS
PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR
La RazÃ³n Blindada (Armored Reason), 24th Street Theatre
REVIVAL PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR (of a 20th- or 21st-century work)
Wit, Actors Co-op
MUSICAL OF THE YEAR
Hoboken to Hollywood, Reasoner Productions at the Edgemar Center for the Arts
Peter Haskell, Kataki, Prince Livingston Players at the Lex Theatre
Simon Levy, Opus, Fountain Theatre
DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL
Jeremy Aldridge, Hoboken to Hollywood, Reasoner Productions at the Edgemar Center for the Arts
Jaime Robledo, Watson, Sacred Fools Theater Company
Paul Litteral, Hoboken to Hollywood, Reasoner Productions at the Edgemar Center for the Arts
Oedipus El Rey, Theatre @ Boston Court
The Women of Brewster Place, Celebration Theatre
Yellow, Coast Playhouse
LEADING FEMALE PERFORMANCE
Nan McNamara, Wit, Actors Co-op
LEADING MALE PERFORMANCE
Kevin Brief, A Prayer for My Daughter, Crown City TheatreÂ m
SUPPORTING FEMALE PERFORMANCE
Agatha Nowicki, Parasite Drag, Elephant Theatre Company
SUPPORTING MALE PERFORMANCE (TIE)
Tom Costello, Take Me Out, Celebration Theatre
Garrett Matheson, Take Me Out, Celebration Theatre
Thomas James O”™Leary, Take Me Out, Celebration Theatre
Robert Mammana and Will Bradley, The Twentieth-Century Way, Theatre @ Boston Court
Ann Randolph, Loveland, Santa Monica Playhouse
FEMALE COMEDY PERFORMANCE
Christine Estabrook, Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them, Blank Theatre
MALE COMEDY PERFORMANCE
Henry Dittman, Watson, Sacred Fools Theater Company
Candice Afia, Blood and Thunder, Moving Arts
John Steppling, Phantom Luck, Gunfighter Nation at the Lost Studio
QUEEN OF THE ANGELS
Jessica Kubzansky & Michael Michetti
Brewsie and Willie, Poor Dog Group and the Center for New Performance at CalArts at the 7th Floor Penthouse
Luis Alfaro, Oedipus El Rey, Theatre@ Boston Court
LIGHTING DESIGN (TIE)
Efren Delgadillo Jr. and Adam Haas Hunter, Brewsie and Willie, Poor Dog Group and Center for New Performance at CalArts at the 7th Floor Penthouse
Dan Weingarten, A Tale Told By an Idiot, Psittacus Productions at Son of Semele Theatre/Lounge Theatre
Christina Wright, The Good Woman of Setzuan, Open Fist Theatre Company
Potsch Boyd, Kataki, Prince Livingston Players at the Lex Theatre
Robert Oriol, Oedipus El Rey, Theatre @ Boston Court
Tina Kronis, Anton”™s Uncles, Theatre Movement Bazaar at 24th Street Theatre/Bootleg Theater
Lynn Jeffries, Project: Wonderland, Bootleg Theater
Andrew Conrad and Andrew Gilbert, Brewsie and Willie, Poor Dog Group and the Center for New Performance at CalArts at the 7th Floor Penthouse
Louis Roth, Kataki, Prince Livingston Players at the Lex Theatre
Steven Calcote, The Limitations of Genetic Technology, Off-Chance Productions at
Theatre of NOTE
Frederique Michel and Charles Duncombe, The Marriage of Figaro, City Garage