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Fire and Fire Marshals

With wry hosts Megan Mullally, John Fleck and David Schweizer, and considerable organizational efforts by Robert Berg, Robert A. Prior and the Fabulous Monsters theater troupe, the 22nd annual L.A. Weekly Theater Awards became a multi-ring, interactive environmental circus, with an overflow crowd and the tone of a rave melting into Burning Man, last Monday night at the Los Angeles Theater Center. Koshin Taiko drummers greeted revelers with a pre-show outdoor concert in the front atrium. On the lobby‘s curving staircase, a fashion show, hosted by Bennett Schneider and featuring works by the costume-design nominees, preceded the show proper, while in the downstairs lobby, tarot-card readers and massage therapists offered their services. Meanwhile, in LATC’s subterranean maze of stairwells and passageways, Tracy Hudak‘s ”Fun Tunnel“ beckoned groups of five through an evocative, macabre atmosphere of fabrics and pebbles, witches and spirits, culminating in a miniprocession through an audition-in- progress in the facility’s downstairs theater. Dream Theater offered a post-show cabaret that left dozens of patrons and tribally attired performers gyrating on the main stage to the pulse of bongo drums, early into Tuesday morning.

Though the ceremony included black-lit Hula-Hoop and break dancers, it was the appearance of the fire performers, Esoterotica, that drew the attention of the city fire marshals. They were invited to observe a rehearsal Monday afternoon, gave their approval and remained for the show. Which meant that the substantial SRO -- a standard practice for the Lawees in prior years -- disappeared at the last minute, enraging a few dozen customers, who were relegated to the lobby areas until seats in the theater opened up.

The awards were fairly evenly distributed this year, with the lion‘s share of five nods going to Zoo District’s production of The Master and Margarita; Evidence Room‘s The Berlin Circle won in four categories, including Production of the Year.

Mullally blew the roof off the house with her gutsy-bluesy rendition of Randy Newman’s ”Guilty.“ One-hundred-year-old actor-director Martin Magner accepted the Career Achievement Award -- a good season for Magner, who is also getting The Living Century‘s Centenarian of the Month Award. Alice Dodd and Jillian Armenante took the Playwriting Award for their gothic parody In Flagrante Gothicto, entitling them to split a check for $3,000 provided by A.S.K. Theater Projects. The breakdown of awards recipients is as follows:

PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR

The Berlin Circle, Evidence Room

REVIVAL PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR (OF A 20TH-CENTURY WORK)

The Man Who Had All the Luck, Antaeus Company, at the Ivy Substation

MUSICAL OF THE YEAR

”bare,“ God Help! Productions, at the Hudson Mainstage Theater

LEADING FEMALE PERFORMANCE

Megan Mullally, The Berlin Circle, Evidence Room

LEADING MALE PERFORMANCE

Troy M. Kotsur, A Streetcar Named Desire, Deaf West Theater Company

SUPPORTING FEMALE PERFORMANCE

Marianne Savell, The Seagull, Actors Co-op

SUPPORTING MALE PERFORMANCE

John Fleck, The Berlin Circle, Evidence Room

COMEDY PERFORMANCE

Leslie Jordan, Southern Baptist Sissies, Delane Productions, at the Zephyr Theater

ONE-ACT PERFORMANCE (tie)

Brad Henson, Two Men Losing Their Minds, Moving Arts, at the Los Angeles Theater Center

Brian Newkirk, Two Men Losing Their Minds, Moving Arts, at the Los Angeles Theater Center

PLAYWRITING

Alice DoddJillian Armenante, In Flagrante Gothicto, Circle X Theater Company, at the McCadden Place Theater

ONE-ACT PLAYWRITING

Sheila Callaghan, New Shoes, Moving Arts, at the Los Angeles Theater Center

DIRECTION

Loren Rubin, The Master and Margarita, Zoo District, at ArtShareHudson Backstage

SHORT-PLAY DIRECTION

Victor D’Altorio, The Babysitter, McCadden Theater

COMEDY DIRECTION

Del Shores, Southern Baptist Sissies, Delane Productions, at the Zephyr Theater

ENSEMBLE

Pudd‘nhead Wilson, Falcon Theater

COMEDY ENSEMBLE (tie)

In Flagrante Gothicto, Circle X Theater Company, at the McCadden Place Theater

Speed-Hedda, Fabulous Monsters, at Evidence Room

SOLO PERFORMANCE, MALE

Ric Borelli, Best Dope in Town, Screamin’ Chicken Productions, at the Tamarind Theater

SOLO PERFORMANCE, FEMALE

Rose Abdoo, Get to the Part About Me, Zate Entertainment at The Complex

PRODUCTION DESIGN

The Master and Margarita, Zoo District, at ArtShareHudson Backstage

COSTUME DESIGN

Maro ParianSofi Khachmanyan, The Master and Margarita, Zoo District, at ArtShareHudson Backstage

LIGHTING DESIGN

Robert Fromer, Sleepwalk, Playwrights‘ Arena, at Inside the Ford

SET DESIGN

Jason AdamsAlicia Hoge, The Berlin Circle, Evidence Room

SOUND DESIGN

John Zalewski, Sleepwalk, Playwrights’ Arena, at Inside the Ford

CAREER ACHIEVEMENT

Martin Magner

MUSICALVOCAL DIRECTION

Eric Anderson, ”bare,“ God Help! Productions, at the Hudson Mainstage Theater

ORIGINAL MUSIC

Jef Bek, The Master and Margarita, Zoo District, at ArtShareHudson Backstage

QUEEN OF THE ANGELS AWARD

Kim Garfield

ADAPTATION

Richard Helweg and Michael Franco, The Master and Margarita, Zoo District, at ArtShareHudson Backstage

CHOREOGRAPHY

Nancy Keystone, The Akhmatova Project, Critical Mass, at the Actors‘ Gang Theater

VIDEOGRAPHY

Rush RiddleMarvin Solomon, Speed-Hedda, Fabulous Monsters, at Evidence Room

PROP DESIGN

Bradley Thordarson, Dubya 2000, Sacred Fools Theater Company

MASK DESIGN

Paule Lemasson, Pathe X, Zoo District, at the Lillian Theater


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