If the 19th annual L.A. Weekly Theater Awards are any indication, 1997 was the year the newpapers theater critics couldnt make up their minds, awarding a record-setting three ties (for Play Writing, Com edy Ensemble and Set Design). In a ceremony held at the Los Angeles Theater Center last Monday, co-host Robert A. Prior and the Fabulous Monsters set a surreal, ritualistic and whimsical tone with an opening parade through the theater featuring tribally painted actors and incense. Performance artist Rachel Rosenthal was carried onto the stage by a quintet of bald-headed tribesmen to receive her Career Achievement Award, introduced by Disney veep Thomas Schumacher. Rosenthal noted the Weeklys good taste in selecting her as the Award recipient. The other co-host, Linda Purl, a model of good sportsmanship, played along with the Monsters while helping to introduce a docket of presenters that included Swoosie Kurtz, Laurie Metcalf, playwright José Rivera and the Tapers Robert Egan. John Fleck and Tony Abate marco performed an excerpt from the quick-change extravaganza The Mystery of Irma Vep, exposing the backstage dres sers, and Margots Bush put on a bawdy sketch parodying Glamour Shots.
Steven Leigh Morris
1997 Awards Recipients Production of the Year: The Arabian Nights , Lookingglass Theater Company at Actors Gang Theater Revival Production of the Year (of a 20th-Century Work): The House of Blue Leaves , West Coast Ensemble Musical of the Year: Bat Boy: The Musical , Actors Gang Leading Female Performance: Robin Johnson, An Unhappy Woman , Moving Arts Leading Male Performance: Armando Durán, Dictator , Theater of NOTE Supporting Female Performance: Lisa Forté, The Lesson , Stages Theater Center Supporting Male Performance: Chris Wells, The Importance of Being Earnest , Fabulous Monsters at Glaxa Studios Play Writing: Pamela Forrest, Valsetz , Celebration Theater Murray Mednick, Dictator , Theater of NOTE Direction: Leo Geter/Dan Bonnell, Morphic Resonance , Eclectic Company Theater/ Matrix Theater Comedy Direction: Florinel Fatulescu, The Lesson , Stages Theater Center Ensemble: Morphic Resonance , Eclectic Company Theater/Matrix Theater: James DuMont, Lea Floden, Christopher Grove, John C. McLaughlin and Francesca Rollins Comedy Ensemble: Cheatin , Theatre/Theater: Keana Hall, Debra D. Holt, Rif Hutton, Greg Poland, David Roberson, Stuart K. Robinson and Angela Teek Fighting Over Beverley , Fountain Theater: Priscilla Pointer, Jacqueline Schultz, Robert Symonds and Malachi Throne Solo Performance: Alec Mapa, I Remember Mapa , Taper Too/East West Players Sketch Comedy/Improvisation: Margots Bush, Pedros Grill: Eliza Coyle, Loretta Fox, Melanie Hutsell, Joe Liss, Brett Paesel, Sam Pancake, Patrick Towne and Benjamin Zook Production Design: The Vakhos , Open Fist Theater Company at Los Angeles Playhouse Costume Design: Sherri L. Grider, A Midsummer Nights Dream , Stella Adler Theater Lighting Design: Kathi ODonohue, A Midsummer Nights Dream , Stella Adler Theater Set Design: Lisa Hashimoto, The Taste of Kona Coffee , East West Players Robert A. Prior, The Importance of Being Earnest , Fabulous Monsters at Glaxa Studios Original Music: The company of The Arabian Nights , Lookingglass Theater Company at Actors Gang Theater