WASHINGTON — The Signature Theater’s slick production of Greg Kotis/Mark Hollmann tuner “Urinetown” was the big winner at D.C.’s Helen Hayes Awards on Monday, snaring eight honors including resident musical. No other production came close during Washington’s 22nd annual salute to excellence in area professional theater.
“Urinetown” won for direction of a musical (Joe Calarco), choreography (Karma Camp) and musical direction (Jay Crowder) and won or shared awards in all four acting categories in which it was nominated. Stephen Schmidt and Jenna Sokolowski took supporting actor in a musical, while Will Gartshore and Erin Driscoll shared lead performer awards with Michael McElroy in the Ford’s Theater production of “Big River” and Meg Gillentine in Arena Stage’s revival of “Damn Yankees,” respectively.
The Hayes award for resident play also was shared, by Woolly Mammoth Theater’s production of playwright Sarah Ruhl’s “The Clean House” and Studio Theater’s mounting of Richard Greenberg’s “Take Me Out.” Actor Rick Foucheux’s perf as a nerdy gay accountant who falls in love with baseball in Greenberg’s comedy-drama earned him performance honors in a resident play, an award shared with Patrick Page for the Shakespeare Theater’s “Othello.”
“I Am My Own Wife,” the Tony winner and touring one-man show by Doug Wright at the National Theater, won nonresident play and also earned Jefferson Mays top actor honors for his solo perf. Stephanie J. Block took lead actress in a nonresident production for her perf as Elphaba in “Wicked” at the Kennedy Center.
The Charles MacArthur Award for new play or musical went to the Woolly Mammoth production of “Starving,” S.M. Sheppard-Massat’s memory play about racially divided Atlanta during the 1950s.
Another multiple winner was the Shakespeare Theater Company’s lavish production of “Lady Windermere’s Fan,” which earned kudos for Robert Perdziota’s costumes and Simon Higlett’s set.
The director award went to the Studio Theater’s Joy Zinoman for her staging of Caryl Churchill’s “A Number.” Supporting actor honors went to Bruce Nelson for Greenberg’s “The Violet Hour” at Rep Stage and Franca Barchiesi for “The Clean House.”
It was a disappointing evening for Arena Stage, which counted Gillentine’s acting award as its only honor. Round House Theater also received one award, for Martin Desjardins’ sound design for “columbinus,” the play about the Columbine High School shootings, which opens at New York Theater Workshop in May.