Center Theatre Rises To Top Of 5th Annual L.A. Ovation Awards

News   Center Theatre Rises To Top Of 5th Annual L.A. Ovation Awards
 
LOS ANGELES -- The Center Theatre Group was the big winner at the 5th annual Theatre L.A. Ovation Awards ceremony at the Shubert Theatre, Mon. Dec. 16, walking off with nine out of twenty-six trophies.

LOS ANGELES -- The Center Theatre Group was the big winner at the 5th annual Theatre L.A. Ovation Awards ceremony at the Shubert Theatre, Mon. Dec. 16, walking off with nine out of twenty-six trophies.

Such CTG productions as Cider House Rules, Chicago, Rent, Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk and Enemy of the People were singled out.

Chicago copped the Best Musical (larger theatre) award and Cider House Best Play (large theatre).

In the small theatre category, the Circle X Theatre Company's production of Glen Berger's Great Men of Science Nos. 21 & 22 won prizes for Best Play, Set Design and Costume Design. The Equity-waiver production of Request Concert received two awards.

Another little-theatre entry, Valsetz, by first-time playwright Pamela Forrest, was cited for Best World Premiere and Lead Actress (Patricia Place). East West Players, which operates out of a new, mid-sized house in Japan Town, also won two prizes for its production of Pacific Overtures: Costume Design and Best Director of a Musical (Tim Dang).

The 3-hour-long Ovations ceremony was hosted by Nathan Lane and featured such presenters as Ed Begley, Jr., Annette Bening, Blythe Danner, Susan Egan, John Rubinstein, Lee Blessing and Carol Burnett, among others.

Lifetime Achievement Awards were handed out to Ian McKellen and Terrence McNally, both of whom were represented by video appearances.

The James A. Doolittle Award for Leadership in Los Angeles Theatre went to Barbara Beckley, co-founder and producing director of The Colony Theatre Company since 1975.

The evening's other winners include: New Translation/Adaptation (Milena Albert, The Seagull; Musical, smaller theatre (On the Twentieth Century, Colony Theatre); Lead Actor in a Musical (Deven May, Bat Boy -- the Musical, Actors' Gang); Lead Actor in a Play (Tony Abatemarco, The Mystery of Irma Vep, Tiffany Theatre); Lead Actress in a Musical ( Charlotte d'Amboise, Chicago); Featured Actor in a Musical (Wilson Cruz, Rent; Featured Actress in a Play (Stephanie Faracy, Two Rooms, The Court Theatre); Ensemble Performance (the cast of Bring in Da Noise; Director of a Play (Andrew J. Robinson, Yield of the Long Bond, Matrix Theatre Co.); Choreography (Derik K. Grant, Bring in Da Noise); Lighting Design, larger theatre (Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, Bring in Da Noise; Lighting Design, smaller theatre (Deena Lynn Muller, Request Concert, Whitefire Theatre); Set Design, larger theatre (John Napier, An Enemy of the People); Set Design, smaller theatre (Gary Smoot, Great Men; Costume Design, larger theatre (Naomi Yoshida Rodriguez, Pacifc Overtures; Costume Design, smaller theatre (M.E. Dunn, Great Men; Sound Design, larger theatre (Red Ramona, Old Wicked Songs, Geffen Playhouse); Sound Design, smaller theatre (Bob Blackburn, Request Concert).

The Mark Taper Forum's two-part production of The Cider House Rules, adapted by Peter Parnell from John Irving's 1985 best-selling novel, had topped this year's nominees. Kander and Ebb's Chicago, voted Best Musical, had taken the most nods for a musical with 10 nominations. Last year, the pre-Broadway run of Ragtime broke Ovation history, capturing eight awards from their record-breaking 16 nominations.

The Ovations have 26 categories in all and, with the exception of acting, direction, choreography and writing, include separate awards for larger and smaller theatres. They are the only "peer-based" competitive awards in Los Angeles theatre.

During the voting season, which ran Sept. 1, 1997 to Aug. 31, 1998, 281 productions were eligible to compete, of which 105 were world premiere plays or musicals and 21 were new translations or adaptations. Productions (all of them Equity) were submitted by Theatre L.A. member companies. Votes are then tallied by the firm, KPMG Peat Marwick.

The Awards are administered by Theatre LA, a non-profit association of more than 150 theatres and producers in Los Angeles. Programs include the Theatre Times directory in the Los Angeles Times, the Associate Member program, the Theatre LA News and Opening Night Calendar, information services to the Los Angeles theatre community, and the Times Half-Price Tix ticket outlet at Jerry's Famous Deli in West Hollywood.

A special, non-competitive award went to Imagination Workshop, which provides services to two mental institutions, a geriatric center and two schools. The Imagination Workshop methodology is based on the artistic intervention technique of acting, including imaginative encounters between patients who create characters that interact and improvise with each other. The Workshop was founded in 1969 by actress Margaret Ladd and developed with her husband, playwright Lyle Kessler.

Here's the full list of Ovation nominees and winners (marked with an asterisk):

Best World Premiere Play or Musical
Keythe Farley, Brian Flemming & Laurence O'Keefe (Bat Boy -- The Musical), Actors' Gang
Larry Atlas (Yield of the Long Bond), Matrix Theatre Company
Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Marathon Entertainment
Glen Berger (Great Men of Science Nos. 21 & 22), Circle X Theatre Company
* PAMELA FOREST (Valsetz), Celebration Theatre

Best New Translation/Adaptation:
David Schweizer & Richard Howard (Salome), Actors' Gang
The Flying Karamazov Brothers w/ Paul Magid & Robert Woodruff (Room Service), Mark Taper Forum
Bertolt Brecht & W.H. Auden (The Duchess of Malfi), Theatre of N.O.T.E.
* MILENA ALBERT (The Seagull), Hollywood Court Theatre
Shimizu Kunio (The Dressing Room), Actors' Gang

Best Musical -- Large Theatre
Pacific Overtures, East West Players
Peter Pan, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
Blame It on the Movies -- Pasadena Playhouse
Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk, The Ahmanson Theatre
*B CHICAGO, The Ahmanson Theatre

Best Play -- Large Theatre
Neat, Mark Taper Forum
The Old Settler, Pasadena Playhouse
Old Wicked Songs, Geffen Playhouse
Harriet's Return, Geffen Playhouse
* THE CIDER HOUSE RULES, Mark Taper Forum

Best Musical -- Small Theatre
Situation Tragedy, Globe Theatre Playhouse
Cabaret, West Coast Ensemble
Hello Again, The Blank Theatre Company
* ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY , The Colony Studio Theatre
Bat Boy -- The Musical, Actors' Gang

Best Play -- Small Theatre
Valsetz, Celebration Theatre
* GREAT MEN OF SCIENCE NOS. 21 & 22, Circle X Theatre Company
Yield of the Long Bond, Matrix Theatre Company
Room Service, Actor's Alley
Indiscretions, Pacific Resident Theatre Ensemble

Best Lead Actor in a Musical
* DEVEN MAY (Bat Boy -- The Musical)
Brent Barrett (Chicago)
David Engel (Blame It on the Movies)
Jeff Trachta (3 Guys Naked From the Waist Down)
Lego Louis (On the Twentieth Century)

Lead Actor in a Play
Sir Ian McKellen (An Enemy of the People)
Michael Winters (The Cider House Rules)
* TONY ABATEMARCO (The Mystery of Irma Vep)
Frank Langella (The Father)
Josh Hamilton (The Cider House Rules)

Best Lead Actress in a Musical
Cathy Rigby (Peter Pan)
Cindy Benson (Blame It on the Movies)
* CHARLOTTE D'AMBOISE (Chicago)
Susan Egan (Hello Again)
Kaitlin Hopkins (Bat Boy -- The Musical)

Best Lead Actress in a Play
Jillian Armenante (The Cider House Rules)
CCH Pounder (The Old Settler)
Debbie Allen (Harriet's Return)
* PATRICIA PLACE (Valsetz)
Charlayne Woodard (Neat)

Best Featured Actor in a Musical
Ron Orbach (Chicago)
* WILSON CRUZ (Rent)
M.E. Spencer (Chicago)
David Furumoto (Pacific Overtures)
Mark Leroy Jackson (Rent)

Best Featured Actor in a Play
Christopher Duncan (The Old Settler)
* TOM BEYER (The Cider House Rules)
Bobs Watson (Of Mice and Men)
Martin McDougall (Burning Blue)
Kevin Jackson (The Cider House Rules)

Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Leigh Hetherington (Rent)
* JENNIFER LEIGH WARREN (Hello Again)
Christine Kellogg (Blame It on the Movies)
Deborah Nishimura (Pacific Overtures)
Avery Sommers (Chicago)

Best Featured Actress in a Play
* STEPHANIE FARACY (Two Rooms)
Elizabeth Ruscio (Slide)
Salli Richardson (The Old Settler)
Jane Carr (The Cider House Rules)
Brenda Wehle (The Cider House Rules)

Best Ensemble Performance
* BRING IN `DA NOISE, BRING IN `DA FUNK
Room Service
Yield of the Long Bond
Dealer's Choice
Indiscretions

Best Director of a Musical
Todd Nielsen (On the Twentieth Century)
* TIM DANG (Pacific Overtures)
David Galligan (Blame It on the Movies)
George C. Wolfe (Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk)
Walter Bobbie (Chicago)

Best Director of a Play
Jeremiah Morris (Room Service)
Kent Gash (Harriet's Return)
* ANDREW J. ROBINSON (Yield of the Long Bond)
Jillian Armenante (Great Men of Science Nos. 21 & 22)
Tom Hulce & Jane Jones (The Cider House Rules)

Best Choreography
* DERIK K. GRANT (Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk)
Ann Reinking (Chicago)
Patti Colombo (Peter Pan)
Yehuda Hyman (Blame It On The Movies)
David Furumoto & Betsy Chang (Pacific Overtures)

Best Lighting Design -- Large Theatre
Julie Archer (Peter & Wendy)
James F. Ingalls (The Cider House Rules)
Daniel A. Ionazzi (All in the Timing)
Ken Billington (Chicago)
* JULES FISHER & PEGGY EISENHAUER (Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk)

Best Lighting Design -- Small Theatre
Dan Weingarten (Great Men of Science Nos. 21 & 22)
Peter Strauss (Room Service)
J. Kent Inasy (Tennessee in the Summer)
* DEENA LYNN MULLER (Request Concert)
Ken Booth (The Mystery of Irma Vep)

Best Set Design -- Large Theatre
* JOHN NAPIER (An Enemy of the People)
John Arnone (The Cider House Rules)
David Jenkins (Dealer's Choice)
Gary Wissmann (The Old Settler)
Markas Henry (Old Wicked Songs)

Best Set Design - Small Theatre
Victoria Profitt (Indiscretions)
Victoria Profitt (Request Concert)
Deborah Raymond & Dorian Vernacchio (The Mystery of Irma Vep)
Richard Scully (Room Service)
* GARY SMOOT (Great Men of Science Nos. 21 & 22)

Best Costume Design -- Large Theatre
David Zinn (The Cider House Rules)
* NAOMI YOSHIDA RODRIGUEZ (Pacific Overtures)
Paul Tazewell (Harriet's Return)
Zoe DuFour (The Old Settler)
John Bright (An Enemy of the People)

Best Costume Design -- Small Theatre
* MICHELLE DUNN (Great Men of Science Nos. 21 & 22)
Audrey Eisner (Indiscretions)
Christine Wright (The Mystery of Irma Vep)
Salvatore Salamone (Salome)
Diane Ross (Room Service)

Best Sound Design -- Large Theatre
Abe Jacob (Harriet's Return)
* RED RAMONA (Old Wicked Songs)
Edward Cosla (Peter & Wendy)
Scott Leher (Chicago)
Jon Gottlieb (The Cider House Rules)

Best Sound Design -- Small Theatre
Mark Wheaton & Weba Garretson (The Mystery of Irma Vep)
David Hakim (Great Men of Science Nos. 21 & 22)
* BOB BLACKBURN (Request Concert)
John Zalewski (Salome)
Adam Kroloff (Xenogenesis)

Lifetime Achievement
*IAN McKELLEN & TERRENCE McNALLY

James A. Doolittle Award for Leadership
*BARBARA BECKLEY (founder of Colony Theatre Company)

-- By Sean McGrath and Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent


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