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Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Announces 2020-2021 Award Recipients

LADCC LogoThe Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle is proud to announce the award recipients for 2020 and 2021. Poor Clare (The Echo Theater Company) and The Father (Pasadena Playhouse) received the prestigious Production award, with additional honorees named in 18 other categories.

In total, 13 different productions were honored, celebrating a wide range of Los Angeles theater. Pasadena Playhouse’s The Father received the most awards for a single production and the most awards overall, with nine.

This year, out of an abundance of caution, the LADCC will once again forgo its annual event ceremony and will instead send the plaques to the honorees. Congratulations to all of the award recipients!

The complete list of award recipients for 2020 and 2021 is as follows:

Production:

  • Poor Clare, The Echo Theater Company
  • The Father, Pasadena Playhouse

McCulloh Award for Revival

  • My Fair Lady, Dolby Theatre

Lead Performance

  • Jordan Hull, Poor Clare, The Echo Theater Company
  • Alfred Molina, The Father, Pasadena Playhouse

Featured Performance

  • Sue Cremin, The Father, Pasadena Playhouse
  • Ann Noble, Poor Clare, The Echo Theater Company
  • Michael Sturgis, Poor Clare, The Echo Theater Company

Ensemble Performance

  • Poor Clare, The Echo Theater Company
  • The Father, Pasadena Playhouse

Solo Performance

  • Jim Ortlieb, Stand Up If You’re Here Tonight, VS. Theatre Company & Circle X Theatre Co.

Writing

  • Chiara Atik, Poor Clare, The Echo Theater Company
  • Florian Zeller (translation by Christopher Hampton), The Father, Pasadena Playhouse

Writing Adaptation

  • Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, An Octoroon, The Fountain Theatre

Musical Score

  • Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, Frozen, Hollywood Pantages Theatre
  • David Yazbek, The Band’s Visit, Dolby Theatre

Music Direction

  • John Bell, My Fair Lady, Dolby Theatre
  • Andre Cerullo, Hamilton, Hollywood Pantages Theatre
  • Adrian Ries, The Band’s Visit, Dolby Theatre
  • Ryan Whyman, Lizastrata, Troubadour Theater Company

Choreography

  • Jess Coffman, Suzanne Jolie, L.T. Martinez, Matt Walker, Lizastrata, Troubadour Theater Company
  • Christopher Gatelli, My Fair Lady, Dolby Theatre

Direction

  • Alana Dietze, Poor Clare, The Echo Theater Company
  • Jessica Kubzansky, The Father, Pasadena Playhouse

Set Design

  • David Meyer, The Father, Pasadena Playhouse
  • Frederica Nascimento, An Octoroon, The Fountain Theatre

Lighting Design

  • Elizabeth Harper, The Father, Pasadena Playhouse
  • Natasha Katz, Frozen, Hollywood Pantages Theatre
  • Azra King-Abadi, Poor Clare, The Echo Theater Company

Costume Design

  • Christopher Oram, Frozen, Hollywood Pantages Theatre
  • Halei Parker, Lizastrata, Troubadour Theater Company
  • Catherine Zuber, My Fair Lady, Dolby Theatre

Sound Design

  • John Zalewski, The Father, Pasadena Playhouse

CGI/Video

  • Kaitlyn Pietras, Jason H. Thompson, Revenge Song, Geffen Playhouse
  • Finn Ross, Frozen, Hollywood Pantages Theatre

Streaming Design

  • Corwin Evans, Bree Pavey, UnRavelled, Global Brain Health Institute, based at the University of California, San Francisco; and Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, Ireland
  • Andrew Schmedake, The Ballad of Emmett Till, The Fountain Theatre

Specialty

  • Lily Bartenstein, Prop Design, Lizastrata, Troubadour Theater Company
  • Jeremy Chernick, Visual Effects, Frozen, Hollywood Pantages Theatre
  • Joe Seely, Puppet Design, The ODDyssey, Troubadour Theater Company

Every effort has been made to ascertain proper credits for our award recipients. We regret any errors or omissions. Any that come to our attention will be corrected on our LADCC website and (when applicable) on a recipient’s award plaque.

The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle was founded in 1969. It is dedicated to excellence in theatrical criticism, and to the encouragement and improvement of theatre in Greater Los Angeles.

The 2020-2021 membership consisted of:
Lara J. Altunian, Stage Raw, L.A. Dance Chronicle
Katie Buenneke, Stage Raw, Theater Digest
Erin Conley, On Stage & Screen
Peter DeBruge, Variety
Ellen Dostal, BroadwayWorld, Musicals in LA
Lovell Estell III, Stage Raw, ArtsInLA.com
Margaret Gray, Los Angeles Times
Hoyt Hilsman, Cultural Daily, Pasadena Now, Riot Material
Harker Jones, BroadwayWorld, ArtsInLA.com
Deborah Klugman, Stage Raw, Capital and Main, Gia On The Move
Dany Margolies, ArtsInLA.com, Southern California News Group
Dana Martin, Stage Raw
Myron Meisel, Stage Raw
Terry Morgan, ArtsBeatLA.com, Stage Raw
Steven Leigh Morris, Stage Raw
Melinda Schupmann, Showmag.com, ArtsInLA.com
Jonas Schwartz-Owen, Theatermania.com, BroadwayWorld, ArtsInLA.com
Don Shirley, Angeles Stage
Rob Stevens, haineshisway.com

KING LIZ at Geffen Playhouse

Sabrina Sloan and Michelle Ortiz. Photo by Jeff Lorch

Sabrina Sloan and Michelle Ortiz. Photo by Jeff Lorch

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

Liz Rico (Sabrina Sloan) the central character in playwright Fernanda Coppel’s sports-themed drama, is one tough cookie. A woman-of-color, she’s hauled herself up by her bootstraps, transitioning through hard work from an impoverished childhood (her mom died of cancer because her dad couldn’t afford treatment) to Yale on a full scholarship to a pinnacled place as a sports agent with one of the most prestigious companies in the business. In her 40s and blazing hot in her 4-inch stilettos, Liz now owns a luxury condo on the Upper West Side in proximity to people like Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey. She’s been recognized several times in Forbes and Time magazines, and is viewed by her peers as one of the most formidable and relentless players in her game, which is still mostly dominated by men. Read more…

Now through August 14

When memories meet the present moment

Valerie Perri, Leo Marks, Samantha Klein. Photo by Jenny Graham

Valerie Perri, Leo Marks, Samantha Klein. Photo by Jenny Graham

Don Shirley – Angeles Stage

Don’t forget ‘If I Forget’ at the Fountain. Plus ‘Dear Evan Hansen,’ ‘A Wicked Soul in Cherry Hill,’ ‘King Liz,’ ‘Trouble the Water,’ ‘Freestyle Love Supreme,’ ‘Cookin’ with Gas’

The present moment is the essence of live performance. Everyone in the audience — or on the stage, for that matter — experiences an event that will never again be exactly replicated. More than filmed or “live” electronically recorded productions, live theater happens right now.

Of course improv-based stage productions, such as the current “Freestyle Love Supreme” at Pasadena Playhouse or the Groundlings’ “Cookin’ With Gas”, emphasize this quality. They rely on suggestions from the spectators, so the actual words and topics can change dramatically at each new performance (more about them later).

On the other hand, many scripted plays grapple so much with memories of the past that they sometimes ignore the relevance of the past to the present moment. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as the memories don’t feel musty. Read more…

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Nicholas Mongiardo-Cooper and Rivkah Reyes. Photo by Jeff Lorch

Nicholas Mongiardo-Cooper and Rivkah Reyes. Photo by Jeff Lorch

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

There are many things to like about A Wicked Soul in Cherry Hill, a musical by composer/lyricist Matt Schatz that was developed in a writers’ workshop at Geffen Playhouse, where the production now runs through July 24. A lively upbeat score (performed on stage by a five-member band, musical direction/orchestration by Scott Anthony), clever lyrics that tell a good story, and a well-disciplined ensemble under Mike Donahue’s very able direction are among the production’s strengths. Read more…

Jonas Schwartz-Owen

If you ever wondered what it would be like for composer William Finn (Falsettos) to musicalize an episode of Dateline, your dream has come true. A world premiere folk musical, A Wicked Soul in Cherry Hill, now running at the Geffen Playhouse, features the germ of a good idea, but the execution is sloppy and confounding. Read more…

Now through July 24

MAN OF GOD at Geffen Playhouse

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Peter Debruge – Variety

The lights come up on four Korean American teens crowded around a hotel bed. They’re members of a So Cal church group on a mission to Bangkok, Thailand — though the location only matters is the abstract. Audiences never leave the hotel room in “Man of God,” although director Maggie Burrows’ creative staging of this punchy feminist one-act from Anna Ouyang Moench has our imaginations working overtime. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – BroadwayWorld

In, MAN OF GOD, playwright Anna Ouyang Moench quite deftly gets right to the point in the setup for this extremely comic drama about four Asian-American high school girls on a mission trip to Thailand with their Pastor. And it’s definitely not what anyone expects. Read more…

Now through June 19

To hell (and back?) in TOOTSIE and HADESTOWN: Plus, A Heated Discussion, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, A Doll’s House Part 2, Masao and the Bronze Nightingale, Jane Austen Unscripted

Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

Photo by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

Don Shirley – Angeles Stage

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Now fresh drama has returned to the Dolby. Last Tuesday, the stage musical adaptation of “Tootsie” made its first LA appearance there, under the auspices of Broadway in Hollywood, depicting a very different fall from grace. It’s a contemporary take on the beloved 1982 film comedy about a man who enjoys steady employment — and even fame — while posing as a woman, before his ruse is exposed. Read more…

 

WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF at Geffen Playhouse

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Terry Morgan  -  Artsbeat LA

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Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

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Peter Debruge – Variety

The trick of stage acting comes in playing the same thing every night as if it were happening for the first time, right there in front of the audience’s eyes. But once-controversial American classic “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” calls for something different. Edward Albee wrote a play in which we get to observe the latest round in a cruel and competitive game of escalating insults between career-stalled history professor George and Martha, the wife who makes vicious sport of her disappointment. Read more…

Harker Jones – BroadwayWorld

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TRAYF at Geffen Playhouse

34_ben_hirschhorn-_ilan_eskenazi-_photo_by_jeff_lorch

Jonas Schwartz-Owen – Theatermania

Lindsay Joelle’s dramedy Trayf transports audiences to the structured world of the Hasidim, whose strict laws and customs may be outside the understanding of even some Jewish audience members. Director Maggie Burrows, with deft stage direction and sets, visually conveys the danger, heartbreak, and wonderment found in exploring the secular world outside. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

The grass is always greener, they say.

In Trayf, Lindsay Joelle’s tender winning play about friendship, an 18-year-old Hasidic Jew longs to experience something of the outside world, while a non-Jewish acquaintance who works in a mid-Manhattan record store is drawn to a more rigid and circumscribed way of life. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

The Oxford Dictionary defines trayf as “food not satisfying the requirements of Jewish law”. Lindsay Joelle’s play Trayf, currently receiving its West Coast Premiere at The Geffen Playhouse, deals with a lot more than food, but provides plenty of food for thought. Read more…

Now running through April 10

POWER OF SAIL at Geffen Playhouse

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Photo by Jeff Lorch

Terry Morgan  -  Artsbeat LA

One of the core American principles is the right to free speech. However, this glorious principle runs into trouble when truly evil groups such as the Ku Klux Klan or Nazis wish to spread their poisonous propaganda. Read more…

Deborah Klugman – Stage Raw

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Jonas Schwartz-Owen – TheaterMania

A timely tragedy plays out in Paul Grellong’s Power of Sail, indicting educators for placing discussion of hate — and the First Amendment — above safety and decency. Though the script loses focus, the cast assembled at the Geffen Playhouse by director Weyni Mengesha, led by Emmy- and- Tony-winner Bryan Cranston, invests in their characters to make a stirring, if chaotic, theatrical experience. Read more…

Rob Stevens – Haines His Way

In Power of Sail, his play currently receiving a stellar production in its West Coast Premiere at the Geffen Theatre in Westwood, playwright Paul Grellong examines the constitutional right to free speech in America, the growing threat of White Supremacy and the masks people wear to cover their true feelings and actions even in the hallowed halls of Academia. Read more…

Now running through March 20

 

BOLLYWOOD KITCHEN at Geffen Playhouse

Kyle Rosenberg

Kyle Rosenberg

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

Since the pandemic forced the temporary end of in-person theater, Geffen Playhouse audiences have performed magic tricks, solved puzzles, and investigated a cold case, all from the comfort and safety of their own homes. The latest Geffen Stayhouse offering brings new meaning to the phrase “dinner and a show.”

Read more…

Ellen Dostal – BroadwayWorld

Even before the performance began, I was hooked. I couldn’t stop smelling the spices.

Read more…

 

Now running through March 6, 2021

THE FUTURE at Geffen Playhouse

Julie Ann Renfro

Julie Ann Renfro

Ellen Dostal – Broadway World

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Read more…

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Off the unprecedented success of their first virtual production, The Present, the Geffen Playhouse is doubling down on magic. And it makes sense—The Present sold out 251 performances, plus an additional 6,000 tickets for the closing night alone, when the audience was greatly expanded beyond its usual intimate number to allow more to experience magician Helder Guimarães’s impressive and mystifying feats.

Read more…

Now running through March 14, 2021

 

INSIDE THE BOX at Geffen Playhouse

David Kwong

David Kwong

 Jonas Schwartz – Broadway World

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Read more…

Erin Conley – On Stage & Screen

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Read more…

Now running through January 3