A Noise Within, Glendale's classical theatre company, was the big winner at the 30th annual Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards ceremony at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel.
A Noise Within won eight honors, the most for a single company, for its productions of Lillian Hellman's Another Part of the Forest and Sam Shepard's Buried Child.
David Chambers' staging of Noel Coward's Private Lives copped six awards, the most for a single show.
Director Julia Rodriguez Elliott received two awards; she staged Buried Child and co-directed Forest along with her husband, Geoff Elliott, who also won a second award for his performance in the latter play.
One of the highlights of the ceremony was when critic Polly Warfield, 86, was handed a Lifetime Achievement award. She reviews theatre for Back Stage West/Drama-Logue. Two West Coat premiere productions received four awards each: the Matrix Theatre staging of Wendy MacLeod's The Water Children and the Laguna Playhouse musical The Last Session, which later moved to Hollywood's Tiffany Theatre and is enjoying a long run.
The creators of The Last Session, Jim Brochu and Steve Schalchlin, won writing awards. The play was inspired by the latter's bout with AIDS. Brochu introduced Schalchin as "my life partner of the last 14 years" and told the audience that "the most wonderful thing I can say...is that the composer lived."
The Ted Schmitt Award (for writing a world premiere) went to Shem Bitterman for The Job.
The critics honored productions that opened in 1998.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent