Janney, Hilty, Louis & Keely, Fitzgerald, Margulies, Ellis Among L.A. Ovation Nominees

By Kenneth Jones
20 Oct 2009

Nominations for the 2009 LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards — the only peer-judged theatre awards in Los Angeles — were announced on Oct. 19. Creators of 9 to 5: The Musical, Louis and Keely: Live at the Sahara, Minsky's and The Little Dog Laughed are among the nominees.



Center Theatre Group garnered the most nominations, followed by the Geffen Playhouse, the Troubadour Theatre Company and the El Portal Theatre. The CTG productions honored with nominations are the pre-Broadway run of 9 to 5: The Musical (seven), the post-Broadway resident engagement of The Little Dog Laughed (six), the Broadway-aimed Minsky's (five), Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (four), Lydia (two) and The School of Night (one).

The Geffen productions are Louis & Keely: Live at the Sahara (five), Farragut North (three), Beethoven As I Knew Him (two), Time Stands Still (two) and By the Waters of Babylon (one).

The El Portal Theatre's production of Smokey Joe's Café received ten nominations.

The Ovation Awards ceremony, which has traditionally been held in November each year, will now happen in January, kicking off the Los Angeles awards season. The 2009 Ovation Awards ceremony will take place on Jan. 11, 2010 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, home of the Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities.

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The nominated Troubadour Theatre Company productions are Alice in One Hit Wonderland 2: Through the Looking Glass (six) and As U2 Like It (five).

Tony Award nominee Christopher Fitzgerald (currently playing Og in Broadway's Finian's Rainbow) was nominated as Lead Actor in a Musical for playing Bill Minsky in the Broadway-aimed Minsky's.

The ladies competing in the Lead Actress in a Musical category are Megan Hilty and Allison Janney (both of 9 to 5), Vanessa Claire Smith (Louis & Keely), Katrina Link (Lovelace: a Rock Opera), Leslie Uggams (Stormy Weather), Lillias White (The Best is Yet to Come), Jennifer Paz (The Last Five Years).

Julie White, who won the Tony for her turn in The Little Dog Laughed, is nominated for the L.A. repeat of the part, as Lead Actress in a Play. (Director Scott Ellis was also nominated for his work.) Her competition includes Laurie Metcalf and Betty Garrett, among others.

Production and design categories were separated out into Large Theatre and Intimate Theatre divisions.

Individual nominees garnering more than two nominations include Matt Walker (four - two nominations for Director of a Musical, and two for performing in Acting Ensembles), Cricket S. Myers (four - all for Sound Design), and Ann Closs-Farley (three - all for Costume Design).

A new category has been added for the 2009 voting year: Best Season. The award recognizes theatre companies who have produced shows of consistently high quality throughout the voting season (Sept. 1-Aug. 31). Any company who registered at least three productions for Ovation Awards consideration during the season is eligible. As with most other Ovation categories, there will be five nominations and one recipient.

For this first Best Season Award, the nominees are: the Chance Theater, the Fountain Theatre, the Geffen Playhouse, the Rubicon Theatre Company, and the Troubadour Theatre Company.

In the category of Book/Lyrics/Music for an Original Musical, the nominees are Dolly Parton & Patricia Resnick, 9 to 5: The Musical, Center Theatre Group; Erin Kamler, Divorce! The Musical, Split Up Productions; Frank Zappa, Pat Towne & Michael Franco, Joe's Garage, Open Fist Theatre Company; Ken Roht & John Ballinger, Ken Roht's Calendar Girl Competition, Bootleg Theater; Charles Strouse, Susan Birkenhead & Bob Martin, Minsky's, Center Theatre Group.

In the category of Playwriting for an Original Play, the nominees are Rajiv Joseph, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Center Theatre Group; Tim Toyama & Aaron Woolfolk, Bronzeville, Robey Theatre Company; Carolyn Almos, Matt Almos, Albert Dayan and Jon Beauregard, Land of the Tigers, Sacred Fools Theatre Company; Vince Melocchi, Lions, Pacific Resident Theatre; Kevin King, The Idea Man, Elephant Stageworks; John W. Lowell, The Letters, Andak Stage Company; Donald Margulies, Time Stands Still, Geffen Playhouse.

For a complete list of nominees, visit www.LAStageBlog.com or www.LAStageAlliance.com.