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Stage Raw: L.A. Drama Critics Circle Awards recipients

Stage Raw: L.A. Drama Critics Circle Awards recipients
Stage Raw: L.A. Drama Critics Circle Awards recipients

Grease Photo by Joan Marcus

NEW REVIEW GREASE Born of NBC's reality-TV casting competition Grease: You're the One That I Want,

this latest take on Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey's Broadway-hit

malt-shop musical features perfunctory performances by Eric Schneider

and Emily Padgett as the star-crossed summer lovers, Danny and Sandy.

This may explain why headliner status went to American Idol winner

Taylor Hicks, despite his mere cameo appearance. He's the Teen Angel

("teen"? wait, what?) who advises beauty school dropout Frenchy (Kate

Morgan Chadwick) to go back to high school. Hicks' turn is actually the

most effective part of the show, with him crooning to her swooning, as

he descends from above amid wafting curls of smoke -- but that's not

saying much. Director-choreographer Kathleen Marshall's staging

generally involves the cast just walking around or, worse, sitting or

standing in one place as they belt out their numbers. Can we get these

kids some roller skates or something? The actors' voices are uniformly

strong, though Schneider's is unremarkable, and Padgett often tackles

the Olivia Newton-John songs like they're arias. Paul Huntley's wig

stylings and Martin Pakledinaz's costume design provide delightfully

retro coifs on the ladies and snazzy duds on the dudes, but Derek

McLane's cartoon set looks like it was designed by a middle school

stagecraft club. And what's with censoring the explicit lyrics? Greased

Lightnin' is no longer the car that gets you pussy, it's a "dragon

wagon." What the hell does that even mean? Make no mistake, I love

Grease, with its timeless plot of boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl,

girl-sluts-it-up-to-get-boy-back, but this  is not the one you want. Pantages Theater, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., L.A.; Tues.-Sat., 8

p.m.; Sat., 2 p.m.; Sun., 1 & 6:30 p.m.; thru March 22. (213)

365-3500. (Derek Thomas)

The latest  NEW REVIEWS are all embedded within this coming week's COMPREHENSIVE THEATER LISTINGS. For a complete list of the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Awards recipients, press the "Continue Reading . . ."  tab directly below.

The award recipients for the 2008 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards are as follows:

Production
Anything, Elephant Theatre Company at the Lillian Theatre
Gem of the Ocean, Fountain Theatre
Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara, Sacred Fools Theater Company at Sacred Fools and at the Matrix Theatre

McCulloh Award for Revival
(For Shows between 1920 and 1980)

Of Mice and Men, Theatre Banshee

Direction
Jeremy Aldridge, Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara, Sacred Fools Theater Company at Sacred Fools and at the Matrix Theatre
Ben Bradley, Gem of the Ocean, Fountain Theatre
David Fofi, Anything, Elephant Theatre Company at the Lillian Theatre
Writing
Athol Fugard, Victory, the Fountain Theatre
Writing (Adaptation)
Sean T. Cawelti with Miles Taber and the Rogues, The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch, Rogue Artists Ensemble at Bootleg Theater
 
Music Direction
Dennis Kaye, Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara, Sacred Fools Theater Company at Sacred Fools and at the Matrix Theatre

Choreography
Andy Blankenbuehler, 9 to 5: The Musical, Center Theatre Group at the Ahmanson Theatre
Lee Martino, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Havok Theatre Company at Bootleg Theatre

Musical Score
Michael Friedman, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Center Theatre Group at the Kirk Douglas Theatre
Dolly Parton, 9 to 5: The Musical, Center Theatre Group at the Ahmanson Theatre

Lead Performance
Sean Branney, Of Mice and Men, Theatre Banshee
Jake Broder, Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara, Sacred Fools Theater Company at Sacred Fools and at the Matrix Theatre
Ellen Geer, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Theatricum Botanicum
John Glover, Secrets of the Trade, the Black Dahlia Theatre
Louis Jacobs, Anything, Elephant Theatre Company at the Lillian Theatre
Judy Kaye, Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Center Theatre Group at the Ahmanson Theatre

Featured Performance
JD Cullum, Don Juan, A Noise Within
Beth Kennedy, As U2 Like It, Troubadour Theater Company at the Falcon Theatre
Sharon Lawrence, Orson's Shadow, Pasadena Playhouse
Adolphus Ward, Gem of the Ocean, Fountain Theatre

Ensemble Performance
Assassins, West Coast Ensemble at The El Centro Theatre

Set Design
Laura Fine Hawkes, Snake in the Grass, Salem K Theatre Company at The Matrix Theatre

Lighting Design
Steven Young, Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story, Havok Theatre Company at the Hudson Backstage Theatre

Costume Design
Shigeru Yaji, An Italian Straw Hat: A Vaudeville, South Coast Repertory

Sound Design
Ken Rich, The Common Air, SoulArt and Elephant C.A.F.E at Theatre Asylum

Solo Performance
Nilaja Sun, No Child..., Center Theatre Group at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

CGI/Video
Brian White, The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch, Rogue Artists Ensemble at Bootleg Theater

Puppet and Mask Design
Joyce Hutter and Patrick Rubio, The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch, Rogue Artists Ensemble at Bootleg Theater

Fight Choreography
Ned Mochel, On An Average Day, VS. Theatre Company at the Elephant Theatre Lab

Special Awards

The Ted Schmitt Award
for the world premiere of an outstanding new play was awarded to EM Lewis for Song of Extinction.  The award was accompanied by an offer to publish and a $1000 check funded by Samuel French, Inc.

The Polly Warfield Award
for an excellent season in a small to mid-size theater was awarded to Sacred Fools Theater Company.  The award was accompanied by a $500 check, funded by the Nederlander Organization.

The Angstrom Award for career achievement in lighting design was awarded to Lisa D. Katz.  The award was accompanied by a $1000 check, funded by Angstrom Lighting.

The Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence in theater was awarded to the Los Angeles Women's Shakespeare Company.  The award was accompanied by a $500 check from Camelot Artists.

The Joel Hirschhorn Award for outstanding achievement in musical theatre will be awarded to Nick DeGruccio.  The award was accompanied by a $500 check from David Elzer/DEMAND PR.


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