Stage Raw: Actors and Chickens and Bears, Oh My!

Stage Raw: Actors and Chickens and Bears, Oh My!
THE WEEKEND'S NEW REVIEWS ARE EMBEDDED IN THIS WEEK'S COMPREHENSIVE THEATER LISTINGS
Stage Raw: Actors and Chickens and Bears, Oh My!


Co-hosts Vanessa Claire Smith and Jake Broder at the 20th annual L.A. Weekly Theater Awards Monday night. Photo by Tim Norris

THE 30TH ANNUAL L.A. WEEKLY THEATER AWARDS

Co-hosts Jake Broder and Vanessa Claire Smith were joined by a bevy of dancing girls and impersonators to transform the El Rey Theatre into the stage of Las Vegas' Sahara Hotel, 1958, for the 30th annual L.A. Weekly Theater Awards on Monday night. Reprising their roles as lounge crooners Louis Prima and Keely Smith in their hit show Louis & Leely: Live at the Sahara (now at the Geffen), Broder and Smith were supported by their production's six piece jazz band and a gallery of supporting players from Sacred Fools Theatre Company. That show walked away with the Musical of the Year Award in a very tight vote with some very heady competition from Joe's Garage at Open Fist Theatre Company and Lovelace: A Rock Opera at the Hayworth. For much of the evening, the raucous, overflow crowd of 700 was treating the excellent production, nicely paced by director Jeremy Aldridge, as a backdrop to their drinking and socializing.

From the stage, Queen of the Angels recipient Frédérique Michel repeatedly told the revelers to shut up. The only performer who could command some silence was Gwendolyn the chicken, who appeared contentedly on the arm of Center Theater Group artistic director Michael Ritchie, as he gave a mock, somber homage to our hard times, adding that he always wanted to appear onstage with his pecker in his hand. 

Adding to the Dada were the artistic directors of the Colony Theatre and Geffen Playhouse,  Barbara Beckley and Gil Cates, who performed a duet of "Under My Skin," to which the Los Angeles Stage Alliance's executive director Terence McFarland performed a spirited interpretive dance. 

County Supervisor Zev Yaraslovksy's keynote address acknowledged that the smaller theaters (the purview of the Weekly's Theater Awards) are where the future of the theater lies, and Career Achievement recipient Dakin Matthews appeared digitally from Singapore, where he's performing with an international company, directed by Sam Mendes (Simon Russell Beale, Sinead Cusack, Ethan Hawke, Roger Bean, Paul Jesson, Richard Easton, and Rebecca Hall also sent their greetings to L.A. from Southeast Asia). Matthews closed his video with a nod to Shakespeare's most famous stage direction -- "Exit, pursued by a bear."  --  for Antigonus, whom Matthews is currently playing in The Winter's Tale. As he was speaking, a large brown bear chased him off the screen.

Click HERE for a SLIDE SHOW from the event.

Here's this week's  COVER STORY on the rise of the new, dark L.A. musical

FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF AWARDS RECIPIENTS, CLICK THE CONTINUE READING TAB DIRECTLY BELOW

30TH ANNUAL L.A. WEEKLY THEATER AWARDS RECIPIENTS

PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR
*Song of Extinction, Moving Arts at [Inside] the Ford

REVIVAL PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR (of a 20th- or 21st-century work)
*Klüb, Actors Gang

MUSICAL OF THE YEAR
*Louis & Keely: Live at the Sahara, Sacred Fools Theatre/Matrix Theatre

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DIRECTION
*Jon Lawrence Rivera, Sea Change, Gay and Lesbian Center

DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL
*Ken Sawyer, Lovelace: A Rock Opera, Hayworth Theatre

COMEDY DIRECTION
*Ian Forester, Fatboy, NeedTheater at the Imagined Life Theatre

ONE-ACT DIRECTION
*Gary Blumsack, Sexy Laundry, The Hayworth Theatre

MUSICAL DIRECTION
*Dennis Kaye, Louis & Keely: Live at the Sahara, Sacred Fools Theatre/Matrix Theatre

ENSEMBLE
*The Friendly Hour, Road Theatre Company

MUSICAL ENSEMBLE
*Lovelace: A Rock Opera, Hayworth Theatre

COMEDY ENSEMBLE (TIE)
*Fatboy, NeedTheater at the Imagined Life Theatre
*Stupid Kids, Celebration Theatre

ONE-ACT ENSEMBLE
*The Lost Plays of Tennessee Williams, Gay and Lesbian Center/Coast Playhouse

LEADING FEMALE PERFORMANCE
*Tinashe Kajese, Victory, Fountain Theatre

LEADING MALE PERFORMANCE NW
*Darrell Kunitomi, Song of Extinction, Moving Arts at [Inside] the Ford

SUPPORTING FEMALE PERFORMANCE
*Grace Wall, Gulls, Theatre @ Boston Court

SUPPORTING MALE PERFORMANCE
*Matt Kirkwood, Lady, Road Theatre Company

TWO-PERSON PERFORMANCE
*Regretosexual (Colleen Crabtree and Dan Rothenberg), Hudson Guild Theatre

SOLO PERFORMANCE
*Jay Sefton, The Most Mediocre Story Never Told, Meta Theatre

FEMALE COMEDY PERFORMANCE
*Christine Lakin, Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, Hudson Backstage Theatre

MALE COMEDY PERFORMANCE
*Alexander Wells, Fatboy, NeedTheater at the Imagined Life Theatre

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE
*Katrina Lenk, Lovelace: A Rock Opera, Hayworth Theatre

ONE-ACT PERFORMANCE
*Jack Heller, The Lost Plays of Tennessee Williams (Mr. Paradise), L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center/Coast     Playhouse

PLAY WRITING
*Susan Johnston, How Cissy Grew, El Portal Forum Theatre

CAREER ACHIEVEMENT
*Dakin Matthews

QUEEN OF THE ANGELS
*Frederique Michel and Charles Duncombe

PRODUCTION DESIGN
*U.S. Drag, Furious Theatre Company at the Pasadena Playhouse

ADAPTATION
*Nick Salamone, Gulls, Theatre @ Boston Court

LIGHTING DESIGN
*John Sylvain, 43 Plays for 43 Presidents, Sacred Fools Theatre Company

COSTUME DESIGN
*Josephine Poinsot, Les Bourgeois Gentilhomme, City Garage

SET DESIGN
*Stephen Gifford, Lady, Road Theatre Company

SOUND DESIGN
*Paul Rubenstein, The Mission (Accomplished), City Garage

CHOREOGRAPHY
*Jennifer Lettelleir, Joe's Garage, Open Fist Theatre Company

MASK DESIGN
*Charles Duncombe, Les Bourgeois Gentilhomme, City Garage

PUPPET DESIGN
*Michael Franco and Jeff G. Rack, Joe's Garage, Open Fist Theatre Company

ORIGINAL MUSIC
*Maurice McIntyre, Gulls, Theater @ Boston Court

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