Thirty-three years ago they were called "The Maharams." Now they're simply titled the American Theatre Wing Design Awards, and they honor excellence in design Off-Broadway and Off-Off-design, as well as on Broadway. This, as opposed to the Wing's best known administration: the Tony Awards, which are solely for Broadway (with one regional theatre category).
For the Design Awards' 33rd year, 63 designers were nominated for their "Outstanding Artistry." Winners, announced Oct. 22, will receive honoraria and citations at a special seminar, Oct. 23, 2 PM, at City University of NY's Graduate Center (West 42nd St). Theatre critic Tish Dace and costumer/director Tony Walton will chair the Design Seminar. This year's judges were Alexis Greene, Mel Gussow, Henry Hewes, Jeffrey Sweet and Joan Ungaro.
Here are the 1997 winners (in caps), chosen from designers on shows seen during the 1996-97 season:
Robin Phillips/James Noone/Christina Poddubiuk (Jekyll & Hyde) . John Lee Beatty; Bill Clarke; David Gallo/Jan Hartley; Markas Henry, Stewart Laing; Derek McLane; Andrea Paciotto/Sandro Tommasini/Mia Yoo; Tony Straiges; Tony Walton/Wendall K. Harrington (for Steel Pier); Akira Yoshimura; Robert Brill; F. David Cosier; David Gallo; James Leonard Joy; Thomas Lynch; James Noone; Neil Patel; James Schuette; Robin Wagner; Tony Walton (for The Importance Of Being Earnest).
Howard Crabtree (posthumous), When Pigs Fly). Jonathan Bixby; Laura Crow; Jane Greenwood; Michael Krass; William Ivey Long; Ann Roth; Sally Thomas; Catherine Zuber; Judith Dolan, Anna Kiraly/Gabriella Simon; Stewart Laing; Martin Pakledinaz; Teresa Snider-Stein; Tony Walton. Lighting Design:
Beverly Emmons (Jekyll & Hyde, When The World Was Green. Ken Billington; Michael Chybowski; Paul Gallo; Allen Lee Hughes; Jean Kalman; the late Richard Nelson/David J. Lander; Richard Pilbrow; Mimi Jordan Sherin; Jennifer Tipton; Blake Burba; Donald Holder; James F. Ingalls; Peter Kaczorowski; Dennis Parichy; Kenneth Posner; Howard Thies.
Noteworthy Unusual Effects:
Julie Archer (puppets, Peter & Wendy). James `JJ' Johnson/John Collins (sound, The Hairy Ape); Dan Moses Schreier (sound, God's Heart); Theodora Skipitares (design, Body Of Crime); David Van Tieghem (sound, A Question Of Mercy); Richard Foreman (design; Permanent Brain Damage); Giacomo Nottiani (mask, Geranos); Tim Shellenbaum (sound, Body Of Crime); Marc Anthony Thompson (sound, A Huey P. Newton Story); Darron L. West (sound, The Medium).
-- By David Lefkowitz