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The 27th annual L.A. Weekly Theater Awards

Wednesday, Apr 12 2006
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The cast of Blank Theater Company’s 2005 production of The Wild Party hosted the 27th annual L.A. Weekly Theater Awards at the Music Box @ Fonda on Monday night. The company performed a redux of the Prohibition-era musical, sharply staged by director Daniel Henning and musical director David O, and into which the entire awards ceremony was folded. With body mikes and a wonky sound system that was continually being adjusted, the troupe of ace singers and hoofers, with headliners Valarie Pettiford, Sally Kellerman and Daisy Eagan, also presented awards on the fly, midplay, with the help of Robin Riker and Ann Magnuson. The snappy concept allowed 32 awards to be presented in just under two hours for a crowd just shy of 700, followed by a rooftop reception catered by Cha Cha Cha, with plenty of drink, spicy chicken and rice, that started to close down around midnight.

Director Allan Miller battled a talkative crowd as he tried to introduce his wife, Queen of the Angels recipient and arts advocate Laura Zucker, who heads the L.A. County Arts Commission — one of the most important funders of our small theater companies.

Veterans of Del Shores’ plays performed excerpts from the L.A. playwright’s two-decade oeuvre of Texas-trash comedies, marbled with gay themes, before Shores accepted his Career Achievement Award.

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The evening was dedicated to the memories of Estelle Busch and Rick Dean. A loving letter from Dean’s widow, Susanna Shulten-Dean, was read onstage.

The award winners:

PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR

Yellowman, Fountain Theater

REVIVAL PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR (of a 20th- or 21st-century work)

Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, Evidence Room

MUSICAL OF THE YEAR

Fellowship!, El Portal Forum Theater

DIRECTION

Shirley Jo Finney, Yellowman, Fountain Theater

COMEDY DIRECTION

Jessie Marion, Love Tapes, Sacred Fools Theater Company

ONE-ACT DIRECTION

Delroy Lindo, Medal of Honor Rag, Egyptian Arena Theater

MUSICAL DIRECTION

David O, The Wild Party, Blank Theater Company at the Hudson Mainstage Theater

ENSEMBLE

The Battle: ABC, City Garage

COMEDY ENSEMBLE

Fellowship!, El Portal Forum Theater

LEADING FEMALE PERFORMANCE

Anne Gee Byrd, Mother Courage, Antaeus Company at NewPlace Theater Center

LEADING MALE PERFORMANCE

Robert Mandan, The Caretaker, Bob’s Your Uncle and APPLEARTS Productions at the Zephyr Theater

SUPPORTING MALE PERFORMANCE

J.D. Cullum, Reapers, Odyssey Theater

SUPPORTING FEMALE PERFORMANCE

Daisy Eagan, The Wild Party, Blank Theater Company at the Hudson Mainstage Theater

SOLO PERFORMANCE (TIE)

Michael Cassady, Catalpa, Alliance Repertory Company

Blake Robbins, Placement, Black Dahlia Theater

COMEDY PERFORMANCE

Jayme Armstrong, Ruthless!: The Musical, Golden Afternoon Productions LLC at the Hudson Mainstage Theater

ONE-ACT PERFORMANCE

Heavy D, Medal of Honor Rag, Egyptian Arena Theater

ONE-ACT ENSEMBLE

Blood! Love! Madness!, The Actors’ Gang at the Ivy Substation Theater

PLAY WRITING

Mark Eisman, Shove, Road Theater Company

CAREER ACHIEVEMENT

Del Shores

QUEEN OF THE ANGELS

Laura Zucker

PRODUCTION DESIGN

Echo’s Hammer, Theater @ Boston Court

ADAPTATION

Amy Ludwig, The House on Mango Street, East Los Angeles Repertory Theater Company at La Casa del Mexicano Theater

LIGHTING DESIGN

Ian Garrett, Permanent Collection, Robey Theater Company and Greenway Arts Alliance

COSTUME DESIGN

Audrey Eisner, Happy End, Pacific Resident Theater

SET DESIGN

Tom Buderwitz, Pera Palas, Theater @ Boston Court and the Antaeus Company

SOUND DESIGN

John Ballinger, Echo’s Hammer, Theater @ Boston Court

CHOREOGRAPHY

Jane Lanier, The Wild Party, Blank Theater Company at the Hudson Mainstage Theater

MASK DESIGN

Erhard Stiefel, Blood! Love! Madness!, The Actors’ Gang at the Ivy Substation Theater

ORIGINAL MUSIC

John Ballinger and Ken Roht, Echo’s Hammer, Theater @ Boston Court

SPECIAL RECOGNITION

Tim Weske and His Fight Team, for Fair Maid of the West, Furious Theater Company at the Pasadena Playhouse

The Imagination Liberation Front, for “I’m Gonna Kill the President!”: A Federal Offense at various locations

Reach the writer at smorris@laweekly.com

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