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.
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
Shirley Jo Finney, Yellowman, Fountain Theater
Jessie Marion, Love Tapes, Sacred Fools Theater Company
Delroy Lindo, Medal of Honor Rag, Egyptian Arena Theater
David O, The Wild Party, Blank Theater Company at the Hudson Mainstage Theater
The Battle: ABC, City Garage
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
Jayme Armstrong, Ruthless!: The Musical, Golden Afternoon Productions LLC at the Hudson Mainstage Theater
Heavy D, Medal of Honor Rag, Egyptian Arena Theater
Blood! Love! Madness!, The Actors’ Gang at the Ivy Substation Theater
Mark Eisman, Shove, Road Theater Company
QUEEN OF THE ANGELS
Echo’s Hammer, Theater @ Boston Court
Amy Ludwig, The House on Mango Street, East Los Angeles Repertory Theater Company at La Casa del Mexicano Theater
Ian Garrett, Permanent Collection, Robey Theater Company and Greenway Arts Alliance
Audrey Eisner, Happy End, Pacific Resident Theater
Tom Buderwitz, Pera Palas, Theater @ Boston Court and the Antaeus Company
John Ballinger, Echo’s Hammer, Theater @ Boston Court
Jane Lanier, The Wild Party, Blank Theater Company at the Hudson Mainstage Theater
Erhard Stiefel, Blood! Love! Madness!, The Actors’ Gang at the Ivy Substation Theater
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John Ballinger and Ken Roht, Echo’s Hammer, Theater @ Boston Court
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