Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle announces winners for 44th Annual Awards

“Stoneface: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Buster Keaton” – Ben Rock, director Jaime Robledo, Anthony Backman and playwright Vanessa Claire Stewart. Photo by Alyson Schultz.

The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle has announced the winners and special awards for excellence in Los Angeles and Orange County theatre for the year 2012.  The 44th Annual Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards ceremony took place Monday, March 18, 2013 at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in Downtown Los Angeles.  Home-grown productions handily held their own against touring fare at the 44th annual Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards, presented at the Los Angeles Theatre Center on Monday night.

Two local world premieres were among the year’s top productions: romantic musical “Justin Love” from the Celebration Theatre, and the contemporary spin on a French classic “Cyrano,” co-produced by Deaf West Theatre and The Fountain Theatre. Both shows picked up an additional four plaques for acting, writing or both.

It was a great night for Center Theatre Group, with a total of ten competitive plaques for its various venues. Artistic director Michael Ritchie accepted a special award for an excellent season that included the Ahmanson’s “War Horse,” honored for production, lighting design and puppetry. Kirk Douglas Theatre’s “The Convert” earned a writing nod for Danai Gurira, and John Hurt in “Krapp’s Last Tape” was cited for solo performance.

CTG’s acclaimed “Waiting for Godot” at the Mark Taper Forum walked off with theMcCulloh Award for Revival, triumphing in every category in which it was entered. Director Michael Arabian, set designer John Iacovelli, and lead actor Alan Mandell were all singled out.

The cast of “Godot” was also one of four cited ensembles, along with Rogue Machine’s “The New Electric Ballroom” and the Colony’s “The Savannah Disputation.” The fourth, the Fountain’s “In the Red and Brown Water,” picked up an additional plaque for Shirley Jo Finney’s direction.

Wealth was spread among numerous local playhouses in an evening themed to celebrate“Theatre Everywhere.” “Jitney,” from South Coast Rep and Pasadena Playhouse, earned acting honors for Larry Bates and Ellis E. Williams.  Celebration Theatre, now in its 30th anniversary season, was given the Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence, and nabbed an additional plaque for Gregory Nabours’ musical direction of “The Color Purple.”

The evening’s hosts, the LATC, had produced the winner of Ted Schmitt Award for an original LA world premiere, Evelina Fernandez’s “A Mexican Trilogy.”

Pasadena Playhouse’s costumes for “Intimate Apparel” (Leah Piehl) were honored along with those from the Theatre @ Boston Court’s “The Treatment” (Ellen McCartney). “The Bungler” from A Noise Within picked up an acting plaque forMichael A. Newcomer.

Previously announced were plaques for the career achievements of musical director David O, director Elina de Santos and set designer Stephen Gifford. The Fountain Theatre won the Polly Warfield Award for an outstanding season by a small to mid-sized theatre.

Pictured – one of three Lead Performance winners, Christine Lakin, “Silence! The Musical” with her beau. The other two winners were Troy Kotsur, “Cyrano” and Alan Mandell, “Waiting for Godot.” Photo by Newton Tak.

Splashy imports were not ignored at the ceremonies hosted by theater and TV starFrench Stewart. “The Book of Mormon”added to its already lengthy book of kudos with plaques for production, Stephen Oremus’s musical direction and score by Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez. 

“Fela!” and “Silence! The Musical” won for their choreography, the latter show picking up plaques for score and lead actress Christine Lakin (pictured). “Gatz,” which toured toREDCAT, was cited for its sound design.

Entertainment was provided by musical excerpts from nominated productions. The entire nineteen-member troupe of Anaheim’sChance Theater’s “West Side Story”recreated that show’s “The Rumble,” and the cast of “Justin Love” closed out the evening with understandable glee.

A delectable buffet was supplied by Gwen Kenneally and her partner Rafet, from “Back to the Kitchen” Catering company, that was 50% vegan fare and 100% delicious!

Click here for a complete list of nominees.

Critic Pauline Adamek (LA Weekly, ArtsBeatLA.com) and Composer David O presenting nominees for Musical Score. Photo by Jaime Robledo.

The award recipients for the 2012 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards are as follows:

Production:“Justin Love”; “War Horse”; “The Book of Mormon”; “Cyrano.”

McCulloh Award for Revival:“Waiting for Godot.”

Ensemble Performance: “In the Red and Brown Water”; “The New Electric Ballroom”; “The Savannah Disputation”; “Waiting for Godot.”

Lead Performance: Troy Kotsur, “Cyrano”; Christine Lakin, “Silence! The Musical”;Alan Mandell, “Waiting for Godot.”

Featured Performance: Larry Bates and Ellis E. Williams, “Jitney”; Michael A. Newcomer, “The Bungler.”

Solo Performance: John Hurt, “Krapp’s Last Tape.”

Direction: Michael Arabian, “Waiting for Godot”; Shirley Jo Finney, “In the Red and Brown Water”; Simon Levy, “Cyrano.”

Writing: Danai Gurira, “The Convert.”

Adaptation: Stephen Sachs, “Cyrano.”

Choreography: Christopher Gattelli, “Silence! The Musical”; Bill T. Jones, “Fela!”

Musical Score: Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez, “The Book of Mormon”;Lori Scarlett and David Manning, “Justin Love”’; Jon Kaplan & Al Kaplan, “Silence! The Musical.”

Musical Direction: Gregory Nabours, “The Color Purple”; Stephen Oremus, “The Book of Mormon.”

CGI/Video Design: Anthony Backman and Ben Rock, “Stoneface: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Buster Keaton.”

Set Design: John Iacovelli, “Waiting for Godot.”

Costume Design: Ellen McCartney, “The Treatment”Leah Piehl, “Intimate Apparel.”

Lighting Design: Paule Constable and Karen Spahn, “War Horse.”

Sound Design: Ben Williams, “Gatz.”

Specialty Awards:

Adrian Kohler with Basil Jones and Handspring Puppet Company for “War Horse”; David McCormick and Kelly Todd for the fight choreography of “West Side Story.”

Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence: Celebration Theatre.

Polly Warfield Award for an outstanding season in a small- to mid-sized theatre: The Fountain Theatre.

Joel Hirschhorn Award for outstanding achievement in musical theatre: David O.

Bob Z Award for career achievement in set design: Stephen Gifford.

The Ted Schmitt Award for the world premiere of an outstanding new play will be presented to Evelina Fernández for A Mexican Trilogy, whose world premiere took place at the awards venue, the Los Angeles Theatre Center.  The award is accompanied by an offer to publish from Samuel French, Inc.

Milton Katselas Award for career or special achievement in direction: Elina de Santos.

For an Excellent Season: Center Theatre Group.

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.