This page will be updated weekly through the awards. Last update: February 12, 2002

What are the Lawees?

Dubiously known as the “The Lawees,” The L.A. Weekly Theater Awards, now in their 23rd year, are an annual celebration of stage work in Southern California theaters that have a seating capacity of 99-seats or less – rather like a West Coast version of the Obies. The ceremony has always possessed an irreverent antithesis to the glitz and glamour of the Tonys, the Oscars, or any other awards show where people arrive in limos, decked out in tuxes and gowns. Those people like to dress up, the Lawees prefer to dress down, and often to undress completely. For some inexplicable reason, the Lawees have been historically punctuated with bouts of pointless and gratuitous public nudity. Some events need to embody the virtues of the gratuitous and the pointless, and so, for over two decades, the Lawees have risen to meet such challenges — some would say heroically, though most wouldn’t. Former hosts/presenters almost included Karen Finley before she stalked out of the dressing room in a huff, and have included Michael Douglas, Linda Purl, Charlotte Rae, Megan Mullally, Sharon Lawrence, Swoozie Kurtz, Chris Wells, Tim Miller, Alan Mandell and president Theodore Roosevelt. But who really cares about celebrities in Los Angeles anyway? — certainly not us. The event is conceived as a big party where the Los Angeles theater community and its friends can meet under one roof, dance or just look cool with a piece of shrimp on a paper plate in one hand, and a bottle of warm beer in the other. Attendees have been known to kiss each other roundly on both cheeks, have fortunes told, receive some glittering prizes or, if leaving empty handed, smile warmly and hug those who have received glittering prizes while thinking snotty thoughts. In other words, the Lawees represent all that Community encompasses.

What’s happening this year?

This year’s awards ceremony is co-hosted by Burglars of Hamm Theater Company and Ronnie Larsen (Making Porn, A Few Gay Men), with a lobby display, based on Los Angeles theater history, produced by Alison Merkel and presented through a parternship of Edge of the World Theater Festival and the Los Angeles City Library. The play writing award comes with a $3,000 stipend generously provided by A.S.K. Theater Projects. Pre-show festivities include a fashion show, an L.A. theater history-themed interactive tour designed by Tracy Hudak, the cavortings of both aerialist, Montana, and some fleshy porn stars (generously provided by Ronnie Larsen), the cabaret crooning of Rob Kendt, and heaven knows what else.

A catered post-show reception will complement dancing downstairs in Theater III, to close out the night.

In the same spirit of local stage history, short scenes from Kaufmann and Hart’s “coming to L.A.” comedy, Once in a Lifetime will be staged throughout the ceremony, showing the virtuosity and range of our prominent women directors: At this point, we have Tracy Young, Laural Meade and Frederque Michel on the docket.

Tickets are free for nominees only; all others, $5 at the door. Reservations are required (323) 993-3693, and will be taken on a first come, first serve basis, and confirmed by a return phone call. There is no guaranteed seating and limited standing room, so early RSVPs are recommended. The theater’s seating capacity is 585.

Who is a nominee?

Nominees are individuals mentioned by name in the nominations announcement, with the following exceptions:.

For “ensemble” awards, nominees are actors in the ensemble who have been listed in the production’s program.
For “production” awards (Production of the Year, Revival Production of the Year, etc.), nominees consist of actors, director(s), writer(s), producer(s), designer(s) and stage manger(s) listed in the program.
For the Production Design Award, the nominees include all designers and directors and producers.

How are the nominees and winners selected

From January 1 to December 31, a committee of the L.A. Weekly’s theater critics puts forward nominations from plays they’ve reviewed. The committee meets four times throughout the year at a very secret location to vote on the nominations. This year, a quorum of four critics having seen a production and/or performer was required to qualify that production/performer for a Lawee.

This site will be updated weekly through the awards.


LA Weekly