Who’d have guessed that in the summer of
‘43, Gordon Davidson offed an inept stage manager named Dick Watson who
had come out West to make it big in small theater? Davidson confessed,
and was led away in ‘cuffs by 28th Annual LA Weekly Theater Awards
hosts Culture Clash, but not before presenting the night’s final award
– Production of the Year. A boisterous crowd of about 700 packed
Hollywood’s Avalon nightclub for the event that was part theater awards
ceremony and part murder mystery/farce. Rockin’ Mexican/Irish
eight-piece band, OLLIN, provided the music, while the L.A. Lindy
Hoppers did the jitterbugging. Perhaps because of the pre-show drinks,
it was a tough crowd, albeit diligently well heeled in ‘40s-themed
attire. (Even that decade probably never saw such an opulent display of
fedoras, suspenders and stoles running down Vine Street as the crowd
lined up to get in.)

Introducing Queen of the Angels Michael
Kearns, Luis Alfaro angrily chided the distracted crowd to “listen,”
when he spoke of the ‘80s AIDS plagues. Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks,
eloquently introduced by Michael Ritchie, gave a poetical acceptance
speech about the relationship between theater and community for her
Career Achievement Award. City Council President Eric Garcetti (“a
close friend of Dick Watson”) presented two awards and served up a
parody speech, as though written in 1943, about the “glorious” future
(of smog and gridlock) that awaits L.A. Other suspects/presenters
included artistic directors of the Geffen and Pasadena playhouses, Gil
Cates and Sheldon Epps, respectively, as well as the L.A. Weekly’s food critic, Jonathan Gold, the
O.C. Weekly
’s “Ask a Mexican” columnist, Gustavo
Arellano, and City Garage’s artistic director Frederique Michel. The
evening ran longer than in the past, clocking in at just under two and
a half hours. A post-show dance party was still going past midnight.
The recipients are as follows:



PRODUCTION DESIGN*Three by Mee, City Garage

ADAPTATION*James Goss and Arvind Ethan David, Dirk, Road Theatre Company

LIGHTING DESIGN*John Eckert, Iphigenia (A Rave Fable), Son of Semele Ensemble at the Studio Space

COSTUME DESIGN*Katie Wilson, Machiavelli, UC Irvine Field Station at the Hayworth Theater SET DESIGN*Robert Prior, Lobster Alice, Blank Theatre Company

SOUND DESIGN*Robbin Broad, Eurydice, Circle X Theatre Co. at [Inside] the Ford

CHOREOGRAPHY*Tracy Powell, Urinetown, Interact Theatre Company at the Matrix Theatre

FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY*Ameenah Kaplan, Everyman for Himself, Silverback Productions and Oasis Theater Company at the Unknown Theater

SPECIAL RECOGNITION*Deborah Bird, puppets, Iphigenia (A Rave Fable), Son of Semele Ensemble at the Studio Space*Hallie Dufresne, masks, Iphigenia (A Rave Fable), Son of Semele Ensemble at the Studio Space*Michael Marius Pessah, Matthew McCray and Barbara Kallir, multimedia projections, Iphigenia (A Rave Fable), Son of Semele Ensemble at the Studio Space*Anaitté Vaccaro, scenography, Dirk, Road Theatre Company

ORIGINAL MUSIC*Alex Wong, Everyman for Himself, Silverback Productions and Oasis Theater Company at the Unknown Theater

Continue to more photos

Richard Montoya grills Michael Ritchie(Photo by Timothy Norris)

Michael (“Machine Gun”) Ritchie, Daniel Henning and Ken Werther(Photo by Timothy Norris)

Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, Career Achievement(Photo by Timothy Norris)

Theater Editor Steven Leigh Morris(Photo by Timothy Norris)

City Council President Eric Garcetti says he was, “A personal friend of Dick Watson”(Photo by Timothy Norris)

Richard Montoya asking a Mexican, Gustavo Arellano(Photo by Timothy Norris)

L.A. Lindy Hoppers (Photo by Timothy Norris)

OLLIN(Photo by Timothy Norris)

Bonnie Bailey Reed, Supporting Female Performance(Photo by Timothy Norris)

Dan Mailley, Leading Male Performance(Photo by Timothy Norris)

Leading female performance, Maria O'Brien makes a point(Photo by Timothy Norris)

Roger Guenveur Smith, Revival Production (Photo by Timothy Norris)

Ric Salinas, Richard Montaya and Herbert Siguenza(Photo by Timothy Norris)

Jonathan Gold might know who poisoned Dick Watson(Photo by Timothy Norris)

Michael Ritchie introducing Suzan-Lori Parks

(Photo by Timothy Norris)

Click here for the full list of Theater Awards nominees

Click here for more stories of L.A. Theater 2007

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