Kennedy Center tops noms

'Ragtime,' 'Streetcar' and 'August' draw Hayes mentions

The Kennedy Center’s 2009 season of plays and musicals was a hit with judges for D.C.’s Helen Hayes Awards, garnering 20 nominations for the annual prizes to be presented April 5. Org’s tally of noms was the highest for any single theater.

The center’s production of the tuner “Ragtime,” which transferred to a short-lived Broadway run, received six mentions in the resident category while three visiting productions received non-resident noms — the Sydney Theater Company’s “Streetcar Named Desire” featuring Cate Blanchett, Steppenwolf Theater’s “August: Osage County” and the touring production of “Spring Awakening.”

The Shakespeare Theater Company was the second most honored org, garnering 14 nominations for three productions, including seven for its co-production of “King Lear” with Chicago’s Goodman Theater that featured Stacy Keach.

Arena Stage’s productions of “The Fantasticks” and “Crowns” drew seven noms in total, while the Gotham-bound production of “Looped” with Valerie Harper earned a bid for the actress. Arena’s production of drama “The Quality of Life” was recognized with three noms.

Another perpetual Hayes winner, Arlington’s Synetic Theater, received 12 nominations for its wordless and movement-based interpretations of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Dante” and “Dracula.”

Several of the D.C. area’s smaller troupes also impressed Hayes judges. They include Alexandria, Va.’s MetroStage for its production of the tuner “Cool Papa’s Party” and Keegan Theater for its production of “Rent.” Forum Theater received six noms for its mounting of Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America.”

Among individual performers, Holly Twyford received leading actress bids for her roles in Signature Theater’s “The Little Dog Laughed,” Theater J’s “Lost in Yonkers” and the Folger Theater’s “Arcadia.” Karl Miller was nominated twice for both parts of “Angels.”

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