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Some Enchanted Evening 

The 24th annual L.A. Weekly Theater Awards

Thursday, May 1 2003
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Photos by Ted Soqui

Thanks to generously brief speeches by most of the award recipients and the efficiency of host/co-producer Ziggurat Theater Ensemble, the 24th annual Lawees at LATC clocked in at a record, breakneck one hour and 58 minutes Monday night. Motherland Music provided a pre-show drum circle in the courtyard. On a platform stage constructed in the lobby, Anahata and the Urban Gypsy Dancers belly-danced, and the National Wushu Academy put on a martial-arts display. The svelte women of Hoop Revolution gyrated erotically within plastic spheres while, on ropes and hammocks hanging from upper railings, aerialist Judith Flex and her company cavorted airborne. Michael York presented the Career Achievement Award to Ray Bradbury, who bathed in the crowd’s thunderous ovations — due partly to Bradbury’s animated remarks about the need, when doing theater, to “throw money out the window.” Queen of the Angels Pamela Gordon was almost literally beside herself with the honor. The entire evening was briskly and seamlessly emceed by Dean Purvis and urban clown Michael Rayner, whose interludes of balancing a wheelbarrow on his face and spinning a cheeseburger on an umbrella were among the evening’s highlights. Though A.S.K. Theater Projects has withdrawn its cash support of the Playwriting Award, the Mark Taper Forum has stepped up to the plate by inviting the winning playwright(s) to participate in one of the Taper’s new play programs within the year. The other recipients are as follows:

Anahata belly-dancing in the lobby PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR

La Gioconda, the Collective at Stages Theater Center

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REVIVAL PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR (TIE)

The Caretaker, the Pinter Project at the Lost Studio

The Grapes of Wrath, West Coast Ensemble

MUSICAL OF THE YEAR

Laura Comstock’s Bag-Punching Dog, Circle X Theater Company at the 24th Street Theater

DIRECTION

Roger Mathey, Trainspotting, Seat of Your Pants Productions at Theatre/Theater

Ray Bradbury ENSEMBLE

Direct From Death Row: The Scottsboro Boys, Fountain Theater

COMEDY ENSEMBLE

A Mulholland Christmas Carol, Theater of NOTE

LEADING FEMALE PERFORMANCE

Laurie O’Brien, Times Like These, Padua Playwrights Productions at 2100 Square Feet

LEADING MALE PERFORMANCE (TIE)

Morlan Higgins, After the Fall, Fountain Theater

Norbert Weisser, Times Like These, Padua Playwrights Productions at 2100 Square Feet

Ziggurat Theater Ensemble’s opening number SUPPORTING MALE PERFORMANCE

Cooper Thornton, After the Fall, Fountain Theater

SUPPORTING FEMALE

PERFORMANCE

Lauren Campedelli, Pentecost, Evidence Room

COMEDY PERFORMANCE

Joe Fria and Tim Sabourin, Laura Comstock’s Bag-Punching Dog, Circle X Theater Company at the 24th Street Theater

Wushu warrior SOLO PERFORMANCE

Ann Randolph, Squeeze Box, Court Theater

PLAYWRITING (TIE)

Murray Mednick, Fedunn, Judy Arnold Productions at the Odyssey Theater

John O’Keefe, Times Like These, Padua Playwrights Productions at 2100 Square Feet

ONE-ACT PLAYWRITING

Ray Bradbury, Bradbury: Past, Present and Future, Pandemonium Theater Company

ONE-ACT DIRECTION

Anthony Caldarella, The Lover, Open City and Hudson Theatricals at the Hudson Backstage

PRODUCTION DESIGN

Red Thread, Ziggurat Theater Ensemble at the Gascon Center Theater

Emily Liu hoisting an award to the balcony ADAPTATION

William Robens, A Mulholland Christmas Carol, Theater of NOTE

ORIGINAL MUSIC

Susan Christiansen, Red Thread, Ziggurat Theater Ensemble at the Gascon Center Theater

LIGHTING DESIGN

Rand Ryan, Dog Mouth, Padua Playwrights Productions and Evidence Room at Evidence Room

COSTUME DESIGN

Robert Velasquez, Red Thread, Ziggurat Theater Ensemble at the Gascon Center Theater

Queen of the Angels: Pamela Gordon SET DESIGN

Jason Adams, Dog Mouth, Padua Playwrights Productions and Evidence Room at Evidence Room

SOUND DESIGN

Karl Lundeberg, Dog Mouth, Padua Playwrights Productions and Evidence Room

CHOREOGRAPHY

Tim Storms, Matt Emery and Eric Chen, Red Thread, Ziggurat Theater Ensemble at the Gascon Center Theater

SPECIAL COMMENDATION

FOR VIDEO DESIGN

Tim Kiley, Richard III, Circus Theatricals and the Odyssey Theater Ensemble at the Odyssey Theater

Reach the writer at smorris@laweekly.com

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