L.A. Drama Critics also laud 'River,' 'Shadow'
Though South Coast Repertory Theater was accorded five honors (including the prestigious Margaret Harford Award), smaller legit houses dominated the 33rd annual Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards, presented Monday at the Burbank-based Colony Theater.Leading the small venues’ dominance was Hollywood’s Greenway Court Theater’s adaptation of “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” which garnered seven awards; the Deaf West Theater production of the Roger Miller musical “Big River” with five; and the Black Dahlia Theater presentation of Austin Pendleton’s “Orson’s Shadow” with four. Of the 30 kudos presented for excellence in theater in Los Angeles and Orange counties, 24 were claimed by Equity 99-seat (formerly Equity Waiver) houses, with six awards to large and mid-size theaters. The only other multiple winner was the South Coast Repertory production of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” Two productions at Costa Mesa-based SCR were cited for playwriting. Amy Freed was honored with the Ted Schmitt Award for the world premiere of an outstanding new play (“Beard of Avon”) and David Lindsay-Abaire received an LADCC writing award for “Kimberly Akimbo.” The 24-member Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle was founded in 1969 and is dedicated to excellence in theatrical criticism and to the encouragement and improvement of theater in greater Los Angeles. And the winners are … PRODUCTION “Big River,” Deaf West Theater “Orson’s Shadow,” Black Dahlia Theater “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?,” Greenway Court Theater DIRECTION Jeff Calhoun, “Big River” Rick Sparks, “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” MUSICAL DIRECTION Steven Landau, “Big River” WRITING David Lindsay-Abaire, “Kimberly Akimbo,” South Coast Repertory Austin Pendleton, “Orson’s Shadow” ADAPTATION Mark Savage, “Pinafore!” Celebration Theatre Rick Sparks & Gary Carter, “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” MUSICAL SCORE Richard Rodgers & Stephen Sondheim, “Do I Hear a Waltz?,” Pasadena Playhouse LEAD PERFORMANCE Gretchen German, “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” Robert Machray, “Orson’s Shadow” Maria O’Brien, “Mrs. Feuerstein,” 2100 Square Feet Douglas Sills, “Much Ado About Nothing,” South Coast Repertory Jeff Sugarman, “Orson’s Shadow” FEATURED PERFORMANCE Clinton Derricks-Carroll, “Central Avenue,” Fountain Theater Kevin Earley, “1776,” Freud Playhouse Leslie Hicks, “A Little Night Music,” Interact Theater Gregory Itzin, “The Birthday Party” Eileen T’Kaye, “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” SCENIC DESIGN Ray Klausen, “Big River” LIGHTING DESIGN Kathi O’Donohue, “The Night of the Iguana,” Fountain Theater Robert L. Smith, “A Mislaid Heaven,” The Road Theater COSTUME DESIGN Gregg Barnes, “Flower Drum Song,” Mark Taper Forum Shon LeBlanc, “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” SOUND DESIGN John Epperson, “Lypsinka! The Boxed Set,” Tiffany Theaters CHOREOGRAPHY Jeff Calhoun, “Big River” Art Manke, “Much Ado About Nothing” MAKEUP/HAIR/WIG DESIGN Stephen Ratliff, “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” MARGARET HARFORD AWARD (for sustained excellence in theater) South Coast Repertory THE ANGSTROM AWARD (for lifetime achievement in stage lighting) Kim Killingsworth TED SCHMITT AWARD (for world premiere of an outstanding new play) Amy Freed, “The Beard of Avon” THE BOB Z AWARD (for lifetime achievement in set design) Dwight Richard Odle NATALIE SCHAFER AWARD (for an emerging comic actress) Beth Kennedy POLLY WARFIELD AWARD (for an excellent season in a small to mid-size theater) Pacific Resident Theater