'Caroline or Change' nabs top honor

Signature Theater’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Assassins” was a four-time winner at the annual Helen Hayes Awards April 16, but Studio Theater’s “Caroline, or Change” nabbed the prize for the year’s top resident musical.

No dominant production emerged from the 23rd presentation of the Hayes Awards, D.C.’s celebration of professional theater, but celebrants at the Warner Theater included the touring production of “In the Continuum” at Woolly Mammoth Theater. It was tapped best non-resident production while earning actress kudos for co-author and performer Danai Gurira.

“Continuum” muscled out several higher profile shows including “Twelve Angry Men” and “Canterbury Tales” at the Kennedy Center.

Among the more disappointed area orgs was Arena Stage, which received 27 nominations from Hayes judges in February but came away with only two awards — George Fulginiti-Shakar’s musical direction of “Cabaret” and Johanna Day’s lead actress award for “The Rainmaker.”

“Assassins” winners included director Joe Calarco, lead actor Will Gartshore, as well as supporting performers Andy Brownstein and Donna Migliaccio. The season’s top resident play was Folger Theater’s “Measure for Measure.” The award for best director was shared by Aaron Posner for “Measure” and Michael Kahn, a.d. of Shakespeare Theater Company, for his production of “Love’s Labor’s Lost” last spring. In addition, STC’s production of “The Beaux’ Stratagem” earned kudos for set designer James Kronzer.

A new award honoring ensembles went to Catalyst Theater Company for its production of Bertolt Brecht’s “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui.” Another top honor, the Charles MacArthur Award for outstanding new play, was presented to Renee Calarco for her “Short Order Stories” at Charter Theater. It bested Richard Greenberg’s humorous “Bal Masque” at Theater J, among several other new works.

Actress Frances Sternhagen was feted with the annual Helen Hayes Tribute, an award sponsored by D.C. philanthropists Gilbert and Jaylee Mead.

Helen Hayes Awards Winners:

Supporting performer, non-resident production: Jeff Dumas, “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” National Theatre

Lead actor, non-resident: David Burnham, “The Light in the Piazza,” Kennedy Center

Lead actress, non-resident: Danai Gurira, “In the Continuum,” Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

Costume design, play/musical: Catherine Zuber, “Love’s Labor’s Lost,” Shakespeare Theatre Company.

Lighting design, play/musical: Charlie Morrison, “The Elephant Man,” Olney Theatre Center

Set design, play/musical: James Kronzer; “The Beaux’ Stratagem,” Shakespeare Theatre Company

Director, musical: Joe Calarco, “Assassins,” Signature Theatre

Director, play: Michael Kahn, “Love’s Labor’s Lost”; Aaron Posner, “Measure for Measure,” Folger Theatre

Canadian Embassy Award for ensemble, play/musical: “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui,” Catalyst Theater

Supporting actress, musical: Donna Migliaccio, “Assassins”

Supporting actor, musical: Andy Brownstein, “Assassins”

Supporting actor, play: Philip Goodwin, “An Enemy of the People,” Shakespeare Theatre Company

Supporting actress, play: Kate Eastwood Norris, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Folger Theatre

Choreography, play/musical: Irina Tsikurishvili, “Frankenstein,” Synetic Theater (as part of Kennedy Center Prelude Festival)

Music direction, play/musical: George Fulginiti-Shakar, “Cabaret,” Arena Stage

Sound design, play/musical: Matthew M. Nielson, “A Prayer for Owen Meany,” Round House Theatre

Charles MacArthur Award for new play/musical: Renee Calarco, “Short Order Stories,” Charter Theatre

Lead actor, musical: Will Gartshore, “Assassins”

Lead actress, musical: Julia Nixon, “Caroline, or Change,” Studio Theatre

Lead actress, play: Johanna Day, “The Rainmaker,” Arena Stage

Lead actor, play: Andrew Long, “Frozen,” Studio Secondstage

Non-resident production: “In the Continuum”

Resident musical: “Caroline, or Change”

Resident play: “Measure for Measure”

KPMG Distinguished Service Award: Target Corp.

Washington Post Award for Innovative Leadership: Cultural Development Corp.

Helen Hayes Tribute: Frances Sternhagen

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