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Best of theater 2011

 

16 Years.

That’s how long now THE COLUMN has been in existence. It’s a fair statement to say THE COLUMN was the first DFW Theater related blog/newsletter/column of its kind to be created and published for the Dallas-Fort Worth Theater community.

16 years ago it started with a close group of 20 or so friends that were all on one “email group” format that chatted, laughed, and commented on Theater and everything else during the day via email.

One day I sent to them a mini review (raw, no spell check, tons of grammar errors) to this group on a show I saw. Why I did I do that? I don’t know. It just popped into my brain to do that. Several of them emailed back and said, “You should be a critic John. Since you are a working actor your voice is distinct, original, and fresh. No one else would see theater from that point of view. Put your own stamp with your unique point of view & critique of shows.” Paraphrasing all that, but in a series of conversations all those points were made to me from this “reply all group” as we were known back then.

What the hell? Sounds like fun. So I did. Went into it completely green. There was nothing in the actor’s handbook of rules or in any of my college education (which included a summer session with Circle in the Square in New York) stating that an actor cannot be a published theater critic. Plus back then there wasn’t much around regarding “blogs” or “internet critics” pertaining to the DFW Theater scene. Well not to my knowledge anyway.

Thus began the creation of THE COLUMN and reviewing (The COLUMN Awards were created three years later). Along those years have come major highs and lows. Learning how to review was a difficult, challenging, and educational process. There was major backlash in the early years. “Who in the HELL does he think he is?” “An actor can’t review theater!” “He has no journalism degree!” “Who put him in the position as a critic to begin with?” “God he can’t spell worth a crap!”

A local female Theater critic gave me some strong & solid advice in that if I was to be taken seriously I needed to educate myself and learn about writing. So out of my own pocket I took several journalism & writing courses at a local University. It was expensive, but very valuable in helping me become a much better writer.

Even with the backlash & harsh reactions by some, a strange thing began to occur. More and more people wanted to subscribe to THE COLUMN. And not just DFW theater folk. But the general public. Then once I started to review National tours and Broadway, there was a HUGE and drastic rise in readers from New York and Broadway joining THE COLUMN.

Today THE COLUMN has a mind blowing number of subscribers reaching close to 22,000 WORLDWIDE. From 30 close friends 16 years ago to 22,000? How is that possible?  The subscribers include practically everyone in the DFW theater community. But THE COLUMN membership also has a huge following of Broadway performers, over a dozen marquee Broadway stars, several Tony winners/nominees, Tony Award voters, national Theater producers, and even several stars from Television and Film! Not to mention many local Television anchors and reporters, several publication editors/writers, and several local area Theater critics from other publications. But then there is that massive amount of just theatergoers-the general public.

This is how lucky the DFW Theater area is! We have two internet publications whose focus is on DFW Theater. We have THE COLUMN & THEATER JONES! What other city in the nation (or even Texas) has two publications who are there to only support the arts! I think that’s pretty darn cool if you ask me!

THE COLUMN has a staggering staff of 20 Theater Critics. This staff has a wide range of backgrounds in theater, writing, journalism, and education. Each has their own unique “voice”. But they all have one thing in common: Their love, respect, and appreciation for the art of theater.

With such a large staff we were able to cover the ENTIRE Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Reviewing not just equity or “select “theater companies, but everyone! Any theater company that wanted to be reviewed, we sent a COLUMN theater critic out to review them. In December alone we reviewed close to 20 shows! This past year our staff reviewed close to 450-500 shows! From equity to non-equity. From the big theater companies, to the smaller companies that tend to be ignored by other media outlets. We also reviewed both the Out of the Loop Festival and the Festival of Independent Theaters Festivals!

My staff and I believe strongly in my personal mission and original idea of why I even created THE COLUMN. To promote and support the ENTIRE DFW Theater community. Not to tear it apart. Not to just focus on Dallas Theater companies-but EVERY theater company. THE COLUMN reviewed at least once at every single theater company in the metroplex (with the exception of two companies).

This 2010-2011 Theater season brought us so much exciting, vibrant, thought provoking, emotional, lavish, and outstanding theater. But what did the staff of COLUMN Theater critics consider was the Best of 2011?

Now suffice to say that the entire staff of critics did not see every show. We all either attended or reviewed so many productions, and yet we did not see every single show. No one can do that. Period.

That is why this year’s selections are so unique and special in the fact that our staff all have different points of views and “tastes” in what they consider was the “best” in their own personal opinion. They had no guidelines, rules, or ANY influence from me whatsoever. It was THEIR decisions. Their OWN personal picks. I did not hint, persuade, or gave them advice on who or what to pick. Also not every critic on my staff participated.

There was one rule: I myself could NOT be personally eligible to be selected as one of their picks if they saw me on stage this season. Just like THE COLUMN Awards, I am NOT nor will EVER be eligible to be nominated. Same ruling goes regarding my staff’s picks. I’m their Editor. It would be unethical and unprofessional to allow myself to be selected as an actor.

So subscribers, with great excitement may we present the selections made by myself and my staff of Associate Theater Critics on what we felt was the BEST in Dallas-Fort Worth Theater for 2010-2011: 

 

John GarciaSENIOR CHIEF THEATER CRITIC/EDITOR
JOHN GARCIA'S
PICKS

 


BEST PRODUCTIONS OF THE YEAR (in alphabetical order):

CabaretCABARET (Dallas Theater Center)-After I saw Sam Mendes' jarring, magnificent revival on Broadway of this Kander & Ebb classic I thought, "Ok. No need to ever see this show again because I just witnessed the best version I've ever seen here!" I was wrong. Director Joel Ferrell, his flawless army of designers, and his first rate cast created a phenomenal piece of musical theater with their graphic, raw, intense creation of CABARET.

 

 

 

NEXT TO NORMAL (Uptown Players)- Take a cast of six outstanding performers, a brilliant design team, primo direction (Michael Serrecchia) & music direction (Scott Eckert )and what do you have? Well you have the best musical production ever produced by Uptown and one of the best musicals of the DFW season. This cast was so in the moment with every lyric, every note, and every emotion. If you did not leave that show with tears in your eyes, then you have no heart.

 

 

RUMORS (Grand Prairie Arts Council)- As an actor I have done my share of Neil Simon plays, and even I was bored on stage! Simon's plays creak with age and are done ad nausea. So what a breath of fresh air this production turned out to be! Directed with panache by J. Alan Hanna he had on his hand a great comedic cast and one of the most beautiful sets I've seen designed for a play this season.

 

 

 

 

 

Spring AwakeningSPRING AWAKENING (Watertower Theatre)- As someone who saw the original Broadway cast of this masterpiece rock opera and then the superb national tour-I was quite nervous on seeing this regional premiere. While there were problems and choices that I did not agree on when I saw WTT's version, it was still a marvelous overall production. A talented, hard working cast really gave it their all, and it showed-in abundance! Combine that with lavish design elements and a solid production team and WTT produced a very exciting regional premiere.

 

 

 

 

 

THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL (Greater Lewisville Community Theatre)- I saw the original Off-Broadway production of this hysterical musical and laughed so hard I about tinkled in my seat. GLCT's version used every inch of their intimate space to create a side splitting production. The cast was on fire with their comedic skills. Director Teri Hagar Scherer and her cast added new ad-libs and some very clever sight gags, props, and set pieces that made the material fresh and vibrant. Bravo!

 

 


THE LITTLE FOXES (ICT Mainstage)- This has always been one of my all time favorite plays (written by Lillian Hellman). Director Chris Robinson and his terrific cast steered completely away from one dimensional acting that tends to seep into this play. Instead the entire cast had vivid subtext and a firm grip on their characterizations. Robinson also had an eye popping set (designed by
Ellen Mizener) to create his magic on stage. Hellman would be quite pleased with ICT's version of her hit play!

 

 

 


THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL (Plaza Theatre Company)- Once again PTC challenged themselves in producing this Frank Wildhorn musical which contains a sea of scene changes and lots of period costumes. They again achieved glowing success with this production. From the great scenic design, the gorgeous lighting design, and those exquisite period costumes-they were all sublime eye candy. To complete this hit was the perfect direction by JaceSon & Tina Barrus and a powerful cast. Plaza actually had several big box office, critical hits under their belt this season, so it was difficult to choose just one. How many theater companies can achieve that nowadays? Plaza has yet again proven this season why they are such a major standout theater company in the DFW area.

 

THE TEMPERAMENTALS (Uptown Players) - What a great find and surprise this dramatic play turned out to be. Helmed by one of the best directors in the metroplex, Bruce Coleman and his fantastic cast took the audience on a very powerful and engrossing history lesson of gay politics and social life of the 1950s. The use of projected photos and images for the myriad of scene changes was a stroke of genius. But the test of a true director is able to use a set of chairs and tables to create an array of pristine staging. It was a great testament to this cast to make so much of the exposition fly by and then allow the darker dramatic moments to hit its mark with such truth and honest emotion.

 

TUCK EVERLASTING (Dallas Children's Theater)- Under Artie Olaisen's excellent direction, this was another sweet treat of a surprise this season. A heart warming tale of a family never growing old. The entire cast was in the zone with their acting craft while the designers created a magical, ethereal world in set, costume, and lighting. The entire cast was grounded in realism within their acting choices. Each showing sweet compassion, humor, and took the audience on a magical journey.

 

 

 

 

BEST NATIONAL TOURS OF THE YEAR:

BILLY ELLIOT (AT& T Performing Arts Center)

BURN THE FLOOR (Dallas Summer Musicals)

LES MISERABLES (AT & T Performing Arts Center)

ROCK OF AGES (AT & T Performing Arts Center)

XANADU (Dallas Summer Musicals)

WEST SIDE STORY (Dallas Summer Musicals)

 

 

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES OF THE YEAR:

This is by far the hardest choices to make. There were so MANY dynamic & entertaining performances that I watched all season long. So to choose from this plethora of outstanding talent is TOUGH. But I decided upon the following qualities that made them stand out from the rest of this incredible talent pool of thespians:

These performers had eye blinding stage presence, letting the character's subtext ebb from their inner souls onto the audience. If they sang, their vocals were polished, refined, controlled, and sublime. The acting went beyond "the norm". They had that extra special quality that made their performances still stay fresh on my mind almost a year later. These actors & actresses achieved that rare quality in acting-they did not just "act" but instead allowed their craft to transcend into that truly unique, unforgettable performance. So here are those individuals I felt achieved that:

*Amy Atkins as "Christine" in PHANTOM (Artisan Theatre Center)

*Christine Atwell as "Marguerite St.Just" in THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL (Plaza Theatre Company)

*Patty Breckenridge as "Diana" in NEXT TO NORMAL (Uptown Players)

*JaceSon Barrus as "Frank Butler" in ANNIE GET YOUR GUN (Plaza Theatre Company)

*Bradley Campbell as "Charles" in PIPPIN (Theatre Three)

*Kayla Carlyle as "Ilse" in SPRING AWAKENING (Watertower Theatre)

*Daron Cockrell as "Annie Oakley" in ANNIE GET YOUR GUN; "Narrator" in JOSEPH..DREAMCOAT (Both at Plaza Theatre Company)

*David Cook as "Sir Percival Blakeney" in THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL (Plaza Theatre Company)

*Shoshana Cook as "Narrator" in JOSEPH..DREAMCOAT (Artisan Center Theater)

*Travis Cook as "Ken Gorman" in RUMORS (Grand Prairie Arts Council)

*David Coffee as "Herr Schultz" in CABARET (Dallas Theater Center)

*Caitlan Davis as "Narrator Alto" in JOSEPH..DREAMCOAT (Plaza Theatre Company)

*Sherry Etzel as "Betty" in THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL (Greater Lewisville Community Theatre)

*Adam Garst as "Mortiz" in SPRING AWAKENING (Watertower Theatre)

*Erica Harte as "Natalie" in NEXT TO NORMAL (Uptown Players); "Wendla" in SPRING AWAKENING (Watertower Theatre)

*Gary Lynn Floyd as "Dan" in NEXT TO NORMAL (Uptown Players)

*Doug Fowler as "Benjamin Hubbard" in THE LITTLE FOXES (ICT Mainstage)

*Gregory Gerardi as "Joseph" in JOSEPH..DREAMCOAT (Plaza Theatre Company)

*Dana Harrison as "Claire Ganz" in RUMORS (Grand Prairie Arts Council)

*Kyle Holt as "Phantom/Erik" in PHANTOM (Artisan Center Theater)

*Lee Jamison as "Catherine" in PIPPIN (Theatre Three)

*Neeley Jonea as "Addie" in THE LITTLE FOXES (ICT Mainstage)

*Julie Johnson as "Fraulein Schneider" in CABARET (Dallas Theater Center)

*Jason Kennedy as "Miles Tuck" in TUCK EVERLASTING (Dallas Children's Theater)

*James T. Lane as "Scarecrow" in THE WIZ (Dallas Theater Center)

*Denise Lee as "Aunt Em/Glinda" in THE WIZ (Dallas Theater Center)

*Gregory Lush as "Harry Hay" in THE TEMPERMENTALS (Uptown Players)

*Charles Maxham as "Tony Kirby" in YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU (ICT Mainstage)

*Nolan Allan Martin as "Jesse Tuck" in TUCK EVERLASTING (Dallas Children's Theater)

*Wade McCollum as "Master of Ceremonies" in CABARET (Dallas Theater Center)

*Jonathan Metting as "Bobby Child" in CRAZY FOR YOU (Plaza Theatre Company)

*Liz Mikel as "Addaperle/Evillene" in THE WIZ (Dallas Theater Center)

*Scott Nixon as "Boris Kolenkhov" in YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU (ICT Mainstage)

*Ben Phillips as "Chauvelin" in THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL (Plaza Theatre Company)

*Evan Ramos as "Joseph" in JOSEPH…AMAZING DREAMCOAT (Artisan Center Theatre)

*Zak Dacus Reynolds as "Gabriel" in KISS OF THE SPIDERWOMAN (Artes De La Rosa)

*Blake Rodgers as "Duke" in THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL (Greater Lewisville Community Theatre)

*Morgana Shaw as "Fastrada" in PIPPIN (Theatre Three)

*Courtney Sikora as "Pippi" in THE GREAT AMERICAN TRAILER PARK MUSICAL (Greater Lewisville Community Theatre)

*Brandon Simmons as "Leo Hubbard" in THE LITTLE FOXES (ICT Mainstage)

*Corey Cleary-Stoner as "Simon" in CRAZY, JUST LIKE ME (Uptown Players Pride Festival)

*Montgomery Sutton as "Rudi Gerneich" in THE TEMPERMENTALS (Uptown Players)

*Michael Sylvester as "Barnaby Tucker" in HELLO DOLLY! (Plaza Theatre Company)

*Max Swarner as "Pippin" in PIPPIN (Theatre Three)

*Taylor O'Toole as "Annie" in ANNIE (Plaza Theatre Company)

*Lee Trull as "Cliff Bradshaw" in CABARET (Dallas Theater Center)

*Keith J. Warren as "Valentin" in KISS OF THE SPIDERWOMAN (Artes De La Rosa)

*Daylon Walton as "Dale Jennings/Nigel Butler" in THE TEMPERMENTALS (Uptown Players)

*Kate Wetherhead as "Sally Bowles" in CABARET (Dallas Theater Center)

 

BEST FEMALE DANCER: Gina Gwozdz (JOSEPH…DREAMCOAT- Artisan Center Theater)

BEST MALE DANCER: Jason Moody (CABARET-Dallas Theater Center; SPRING AWAKENING, Watertower Theatre)

*BEST ENSEMBLE:
PIPPIN (Theatre Three): Michael Albee, Heath Billups, Kia Nicole Boyer, Wes Cantrell, Michelle Foard, Sergio Antonio Garcia, Michael Gasparro, Carlos Gomez, Whitney Hennen, Arianna Movassagh, Tricia Ponsford, Thomas Renner, Darius-Anthony Robinson, Alexandra Valle.

*BEST TAP ENSEMBLE:
The "Follies Girls" from CRAZY FOR YOU (Plaza Theatre Company): Rachel Hunt, Stefanie Glenn, Tabitha Barrus, Caitlan Davis, Monica Glenn, Faith Brown, Mary Vickers, and Cessany Ford.

 

BEST LIVE ORCHESTRAS / BANDS:
CABARET (Dallas Theater Center)
NEXT TO NORMAL (Uptown Players)
KISS OF THE SPIDERWOMAN (Arts De La Rosa)
SPRING AWAKENING (Watertower Theatre)
THE WIZ (Dallas Theater Center)

 

BEST SCENIC DESIGN:
Matt Betz (RUMORS- Grand Prairie Arts Council)
Bob Lavallee (CABARET-Dallas Theater Center)
Jason Leyva & John Wilkerson (PHANTOM-Artisan Center Theater)
Jason Leyva & Dennis Canright (JOSEPH.DREAMCOAT-Artisan CT)
Ellen Mizener (THE LITTLE FOXES-ICT Mainstage)
Andy Redmon (NEXT TO NORMAL-Uptown Players)
Randel Wright (TUCK EVERLASTING-Dallas Children's Theater)

 

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN:
Leann Burns (SPRING AWAKENING-Watertower Theatre)
Lap Chi Chu (CABARET- Dallas Theater Center)
Jason Foster (NEXT TO NORMAL-Uptown Players)
Matt Wasson (KISS OF THE SPIDERWOMAN-Arts De La Rosa)

 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:
Tina Barrus (CRAZY FOR YOU, JOSEPH…DREAMCOAT, THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL-all at Plaza Theatre Company)
Bruce Coleman (PIPPIN-Theatre Three)
Lyle Huchton (TUCK EVERLASTING-Dallas Children's Theater)
Wade Laboissoniere (THE WIZ-Dallas Theater Center)

 


 

NOTE: ASSOCIATE THEATER CRITICS ARE LISTED ALPAHABETICALLY

 

John GarciaASSOCIATE THEATER CRITIC
STEN-ERIK ARMITAGE'S
PICKS

 

 

Best Play:
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST - WingSpan Theatre Company

 

 

 

 

 

 


Best Musical:
JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT - Plaza Theatre Company

 

 

 

 

 

 


Best Actress:
Lisa Schreiner as the Hon. Gwendolen Fairfax in THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST - WingSpan Theatre Company

Best Overall Performance:
Jessica Renee Russell as Cecily Cardew in THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST - WingSpan Theatre Company

Best Display of Vocal Chops:
Caroline Bowman as the Lady of the Lake in SPAMALOT- Dallas Summer Musicals

Most Convincing Rendition of a Sheep by an Actress under age of 5:
Mimi Barrus in JOSEPH….TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT-Plaza Theatre Company

Best Supporting Actor:
Mark Ammann as Juror #3 in 12 ANGRY JURORS, Runway Theatre

Best Comic Performance:
Carol Farabee Blackwood in DUETS, Theatre Three

Best Ensemble:
The Cast of Plaza Theatre Company's JOSEPH…..TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT

Best Choreography:
Tabitha Barrus, JOSEPH.DREAMCOAT, Plaza Theatre Company

Best Dancer:
John Garry (Not Dead Fred, Nun, Prince Herbert) in SPAMALOT, Dallas Summer Musicals

Best Costume Design:
Barbara C. Cox, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST - WingSpan Theatre Company

Best Scenic Design:
Joseph Cummings & Donna Covington for TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, Garland Civic Theatre.

Best Lighting Design:
Paul Arnold for LANGUAGE OF ANGELS, Theatre Three

Most Touching Musical Number:
"Shouldn't I Be Less in Love" performed by Jeff Kinman in I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE, Theatre Three

Best Performance by a Child Trapped in an Adult's Body:
Scott Zenreich as Alexander in ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VER BAD DAY, Dallas Children's Theater

 


 

John GarciaASSOCIATE THEATER CRITIC
KAYLA BARRETT'S
PICKS

 

 

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL (Non-Equity):
Lana K. Hoover as Sister Mary Paul "Amnesia" in NUNCRACKERS: The Nunsense Christmas Musical

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY (Non-Equity): Eddie Floresca for NUNCRACKERS: The Nunsense Christmas Musical

 


 

John GarciaASSOCIATE THEATER CRITIC
RICHARD S. BLAKE'S
PICKS

 

 


Best Play:

NO SEX PLEASE, WE'RE BRITISH - ICT Mainstage

 

 

 

 

 

 


Best Musical:

WEST SIDE STORY (National Tour) - Dallas Summer Musicals

 

 

 

 

 


Best Actor - Musical:
Ryan Amador Keating as Jesus in GODSPELL, Onstage in Bedford

Best Actor - Play:
Brian Cook as Gideon in THE SOULD GATHERER, MBS Productions

Best Actress - Musical:
Jacquelyn Lengfelde as Marian Paroo in THE MUSIC MAN, Garland Summer Musicals

Best Actress - Play:
Christina Cornevin as Annie Sullivan in THE MIRACLE WORKER, Creative Arts Theatre & School

Best Supporting Actor - Musical:
Kirk Corley as Christmas Present in SCROOGE THE MUSICAL, Artisan Center Theatre

Best Supporting Actor - Play:
Jon Morehouse as Lenny Ganz in RUMORS, Grand Prairie Arts Council

Best Supporting Actress - Musical:
Mary McElree as Necile in SANTA CLAUS, THE MUSICAL, Casa Manana

Best Supporting Actress - Play:
Emily Scott Banks as Catherine in ARMS AND THE MAN, Stage West

Best Featured Actor(s) - Musical:
Drew Davis as Cornelius and Michael Pandolfo as Barnaby in HELLO DOLLY, Artisan Center Theatre

Best Featured Actor - Play:
Dennis G. W. Millegan as Leonard Jolijoli in PAJAMA TOPS, Pocket Sandwich Theatre

Best Featured Actress - Musical:
Laura Lutz Jones as Peggy in GODSPELL, Onstage In Bedford

Best Featured Actress - Play:
Megan Ruth Nieves as Susan in NO SE* PLEASE, WE'RE BRITISH - ICT Mainstage

Best Ensemble - Musical:
FOREVER PLAID - Flower Mound Performing Arts Theatre

Best Ensemble - Play:
Girls from Girdleville Defend Men in BVD's from Bullies in BRIEFS - Hip-Pocket Theatre

Best Director - Musical:
Stephen Daldry – BILLY ELLIOT, THE MUSICAL (National Tour), AT&T Performing Arts Center

Best Director - Play:
Jac Alder – LA BETE, Theatre Three

Best Dancer:
Maximilien A. Baud as Older Billy in BILL ELLIOT (National Tour), AT&T Performing Arts Center

Best Choreographer: Kelly McCain for METROPOLIS, Level Ground Arts

Best Musical Director: Jay Dias – GYPSY, Lyric Stage

Best Costumes: Beowulf Boritt for THE TEMPEST, Dallas Theater Center

Best Scenic Designer: Bob Lavallee for CABARET, Dallas Theater Center

Best Lighting Designer: Leann Burns for SPRING AWAKENING, Water Tower Theatre

 


 

John GarciaASSOCIATE THEATER CRITIC
MARY L. CLARK'S
PICKS

 

 


BEST PLAYWRIGHT OF A PLAY
Valerie Goodwin – The Magdalen Whitewash, Broken Gears Project Theatre

BEST PLAYWRIGHT OF A MUSICAL
Dianne Tucker – Billie's Blues, DVA Productions

BEST DIRECTOR OF A PLAY
Mac Lower – The Lesson, Second Thought Theatre
Evan Mueller – Animals Out of Paper, Amphibian Stage Productions
Tre Garrett – Top Dog/Underdog, Jubilee Theatre
Rene Moreno – Hamlet, Shakespeare Dallas
Andy Baldwin – Corpse, Theatre Arlington
Joel Ferrell – Dividing the Estate, Dallas Theater Center
Lee Trull – Bob Birdnow's Remarkable Tale. . . .of Self, Second Thought Theatre
Cassie Bann – Love Song of an Albanian Sous Chef, Rite of Passage Theatre

 

BEST DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL
Kelsey Ervi – Dani Girl, Greyman Theatre Company
Terry Martin – Spring Awakening

 

BEST MUSICAL DIRECTION
Adam C. Wright – Giggle, Giggle, Quack, Dallas Children's Theater
Mark Mullino – Spring Awakening, WaterTower Theatre
Jay Dias – Rags, Lyric Stage

 

BEST SCENIC DESIGN FOR A PLAY
Christopher Pickart – The Lieutenant of Inishmore, WaterTower Theatre
Jac Alder – Travesties, Theatre Three
Sean Urbantke – Animals Out of Paper, Amphibian Stage Productions
Clare Floyd Davies – The Traveling Lady, WaterTower Theatre
Beowulf Boritt – The Tempest, Dallas Theater Center
Michael Pettigrew – Top Dog/Underdog, Jubilee Theatre
Max Marquez – Corpse, Theatre Arlington
John Arnone – Dividing the Estate, Dallas Theater Center

 

BEST SCENIC ARTIST FOR A PLAY
Rachel Obranovich – Ponzi, Kitchen Dog Theater
Jennye James – Corpse, Theatre Arlington

 

BEST SCENIC DESIGN, TO WORK LIKE A RUBIK'S CUBE, FOR A PLAY
Cindy Ernst – 26 Miles, Kitchen Dog Theater

 

BEST SCENIC DESIGN FOR A MUSICAL
Kelsey Ervi – Dani Girl, Greyman Theatre Company
Rodney Dobbs – Ebenezer Scrooge, Pocket Sandwich Theatre
Christopher Pickart – Little Shop of Horrors, WaterTower Theatre

 

MOST THOUGHT-PROVOKING BACKWALL SET DESIGN FOR A MUSICAL
Jeffrey Schmidt – It's Only Life, Theatre Too

 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN FOR A PLAY
Bruce R. Coleman – Travesties, Theatre Three

 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN FOR A MUSICAL
Laurie Land – Giggle, Giggle, Quack, Dallas Children's Theater
Drenda Lewis – Rags, Lyric Stage
Aaron Patrick Turner – Little Shop of Horrors, WaterTower Theatre

 

BEST PROPERTIES DESIGN FOR A PLAY
Karen Matheny – Animals Out of Paper, Amphibian Stage Productions
Jen Gilson Gilliam – Bad Dates, Contemporary Theatre of Dallas

 

BEST PROPERTIES DESIGN FOR A MUSICAL
Jane Quetin – Rags, Lyric Stage

 

BEST SOUND DESIGN FOR A PLAY
Daniel Baker and Aaron Meicht – The Tempest, Dallas Theater Center
Newton Pittman – Hamlet, Shakespeare Dallas
Andrea Allmond – Corpse, Theatre Arlington

 

BEST CHOREOGRAPHER
Ellie Leonhardt – Pixel Dances, Ellie Leonhardt Presents
Patti Columbo – Guys and Dolls National Tour, Dallas Summer Musicals

 

BEST ORIGINAL MUSIC FOR A PLAY
Justin Locklear and Deanna Valone – Love Song of an Albanian Sous Chef, Rite of Passage Theatre
Daniel Baker and Aaron Meicht – The Tempest, Dallas Theater Center
Newton Pittman – Hamlet, Shakespeare Dallas

 

BEST "DIA DE LOS MUERTOS MUSICIANS" IN A PLAY
Justin Locklear and Stefan Gonzalez – Ex Voto: The Immaculate Conceptions of Frida Kahlo, Ochre House

 

BEST MUSICAL INSTRUMENT SOLO IN A MUSICAL
Anthony Benitz – Clarinetist – Rags, Lyric Stage

 

BEST PUPPETRY DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION FOR A PLAY
Clay Wheeler, Christopher Eastland, Matthew Clark, Cassie Bann and Nic McMinn – Love Song of an Albanian Sous Chef, Rite of Passage Theatre

 

BEST ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Karen Petite–Dee Dee/Miss Tom–Shakin'… Outta Misery, Jubilee Theatre

Laura Jennings–Mrs. Reese– Farnsdale Ave..Manor, Mesquite Arts Council

Lisa Fairchild – Becky – Becky's New Car, Circle Theatre

Jenny Ledel – Ophelia – Hamlet, Shakespeare Dallas

Renee Kelly – Annie Gayle Long – The Roads to Home, Theatre Three

Elizabeth Evans – Frida Kahlo – Ex Voto: The Immaculate Conceptions of Frida Kahlo, Ochre House

 

BEST UP AND COMING ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Allie Donnelly – Olivia – 26 Miles, Kitchen Dog Theater

 

BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY

Matt Moore – Padraic – The Lieutenant of Inishmore, WaterTower Theatre

Chad Peterson – Tristan Tzara – Travesties, Theatre Three

Justin Locklear – Angelo – Measure for Measure, Nouveau 47

David Lugo – Professor – The Lesson, Second Thought Theatre

Marshall York – Andy – Animals Out of Paper, Amphibian Stage Productions

Scott Venters – Henry Thomas – The Traveling Lady, WaterTower Theatre

Adrian Churchill – Eddie –Love Song of an Albanian Sous Chef, Rite of Passage Theatre

David Jeremiah – Lincoln – Top Dog/Underdog, Jubilee Theatre

Gregory "Rico" Parker – Booth – Top Dog/Underdog, Jubilee Theatre

Cameron Cobb – Hamlet – Hamlet, Shakespeare Dallas

Jeff Swearingen – Rupert/Evelyn – Corpse, Theatre Arlington

 

 

BEST PERFORMANCE IN A ONE PERSON PLAY

Barry Nash – Bob Birdnow – Bob Birdnow's Remarkable Tale of Human Survival and the Transcendence of Self, Second Thought Theatre

Shannon J. McGrann – Haley – Bad Dates, Contemporary Theatre of Dallas

 

BEST DUET PERFORMANCES IN A PLAY
Tony Dausset as Davey/Jason C. Kane as Donny – The Lieutenant of Inishmore, WaterTower Theatre

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A PLAY

Maribeth Ayers – Cecily – Travesties, Theatre Three

Nancy Sherrard – Mrs. Tillman – The Traveling Lady, WaterTower Theatre

Fritz Ketchum – Ginger – Becky's New Car, Circle Theatre

Constance Gold Parry – Queen Gertrude – Hamlet, Shakespeare Dallas

Anastasia Munoz – Mayella – To Kill a Mockingbird, Dallas Theater Center

Nance Williamson – Mary Jo – Dividing the Estate, Dallas Theater Center

June Squibb – Stella Gordon – Dividing the Estate, Dallas Theater Center

Pam Dougherty – Mabel Votaugh – The Roads to Home, Theatre Three

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A PLAY

Jackie L. Kemp – Vladimir Lenin – Travesties, Theatre Three

Joe Nemmers – Caliban – The Tempest, Dallas Theater Center

James Dybas – Bob Ewell – To Kill a Mockingbird, Dallas Theater Center

Aidan Langford – Dill – To Kill a Mockingbird, Dallas Theater Center

Akin Babatunde – Doug – Dividing the Estate, Dallas Theater Center

Michael Serrecchia – Cecil Henry – The Roads to Home, Theatre Three

 

BEST SINGING VOICE IN A PLAY

Hunter Ryan Herdlicka – Ariel – The Tempest, Dallas Theater Center

Delilah Buitron – Vocalist, Dancer and Castanets Player – Ex Voto: The Immaculate Conceptions of Frida Kahlo, Ochre House

 

 

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Rachel Brown – Dani – Dani Girl, Greyman Theatre Company

Kayla Carlyle – Ilsa – Spring Awakening, WaterTower Theatre

Tamara Stovall Peterson – Billie Holiday – Billie's Blues, DVA Productions

 

 

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Joshua Gonzales – Marty – Dani Girl, Greyman Theatre Company

Matt Tolbert – Raph – Dani Girl, Greyman Theatre Company

Patrick Pevehouse – Duck – Giggle, Giggle, Quack, Dallas Children's Theater

Adam Garst – Moritz – Spring Awakening, WaterTower Theatre

 

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

Kristin Dausch – Belle – Rags, Lyric Stage

Sydney M. Favors – Ghost of Christmas Past – Ebenezer Scrooge, Pocket Sandwich Theatre

Amy Wells – Mrs. Cratchit – Ebenezer Scrooge, Pocket Sandwich Theatre

Kristen Bond – Chiffon – Little Shop of Horrors, WaterTower Theatre

 

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

Jennings Humpries – Tiny Tim – Ebenezer Scrooge, Pocket Sandwich Theatre

Alex Organ – Orin – Little Shop of Horrors, WaterTower Theatre

 

BEST ANNUAL RENDITION OF EBENEZER SCROOGE IN DALLAS
David H.M. Lambert – Ebenezer Scrooge, Pocket Sandwich Theatre

 

BEST SINGING TRIO IN A MUSICAL
Kelly Holmes – Pam, Lindsay Lambeth – Lizzie, Linda K. Leonard- Arlene – Baby, PFamily Arts

 

BEST ENSEMBLE IN A MUSICAL
Seth Grugle, Erica Harte, Jennifer Noth, Darius-Anthony-Robinson, Angel Velasco – It's Only Life, Theatre Too

 

BEST ENSEMBLE SINGING AND DANCING IN A MUSICAL
The Ensemble of Guys and Dolls National Tour, Dallas Summer Musicals

 

THE BEST ACROSS THE BOARDS THEATRE EXPERIENCE I HAVE HAD IN MY SEVERAL DECADES IN THE THEATRE

Les Miserables – Cameron Macintosh's New 25th Anniversary Production, AT&T Performing Arts Center

 

BEST PLAY

Ex Voto: The Immaculate Conceptions of Frida Kahlo - Ochre House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dividing the Estate – Dallas Theater Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob Birdnow's Remarkable Tale of Human Survival and the Transcendence of Self
- Second Thought Theatre

 

 

 

 

 

Top Dog/Underdog – Jubilee Theatre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hamlet – Shakespeare Dallas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEST MUSICAL

Les Miserables – At&T Performing Arts Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dani Girl – Greyman Theatre Company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Awakening – WaterTower Theatre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

John GarciaASSOCIATE THEATER CRITIC
BONNIE K. DAMAN'S
PICKS

 

 

 

BEST SHOWS OF THE YEAR (a tie):

TREASURE ISLAND

- Plaza Theater Company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A VEW FROM THE BRIDGE

- Artes de la Rosa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY:
Eddie Zertuche in A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE (Artes de la Rosa)

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL:
Jonathan Beck Reed in OLIVER! (Lyric Stage)

BEST ACTRESS IN A PLAY:
Janelle Lutz in SENSE AND SENSIBILITY (Stolen Shakespeare Guild)

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL:
Jill Hall in MOTHERHOOD THE MUSICAL (G4 Productions)

BEST ENSEMBLE: Artes de la Rosa's A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE

BEST DIRECTOR: Adam Adolfo for HENRY V ( Stolen Shakespeare Guild)

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY:
Eddie Floresca for JOSEPH..TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT (Artisan Center Theater)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:
Tina Barrus for TREASURE ISLAND (Plaza Theater Company)

BEST SCENIC DESIGN:
Mark Morton for OLIVER! (Lyric Stage)

BEST MUSICAL SOLO PERFORMANCE:
Amanda Gupton, "Ribbons Down My Back" from HELLO DOLLY (Artisan Center Theater)

BEST SCREWBALL CHARACTER:
Kristi Ramos Toler in THE MISS FIRECRACKER CONTEST (Theatre Arlington)

BEST MONOLOGUE: Carter Frost in HENRY V (Stolen Shakespeare Guild)

BEST DIALOGUE/COUPLE:
Todd Camp & Kyle R Trentham in SOME THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE THE END OF THE WORLD (A Final Evening with the Illuminati) Drag Strip Courage

 


John GarciaASSOCIATE THEATER CRITIC
LYLE HUCHTON'S
PICKS

 

 

BEST PRODUCTIONS:

THE MIKADO (Fort Worth Opera)
Fort Worth Opera yanked the obis off of this Gilbert and Sullivan classic Japanese tale and replaced them with repelling Ninjas, Segway's, and Hello Kitty backpacks. Under John de los Santos' inventive direction FWO proved that opera can be fun, a lot of fun.

 

 

 


 

THE TEMPERMENTALS (Uptown Players)
I was proud of Uptown for sticking to their guns to produce such an important work as The Tempermentals. It certainly paid off with outstanding performances and terrific directing and design elements.

 

 

 

 

 


 

DADDY'S DYIN' WHO'S GOT THE WILL (Onstage in Bedford)
Onstage took Daddy's Dyin', a comical script about a dysfunctional Southern family, to new heights by not just scraping the surface for the obvious laughs but digging deep to reveal the pure emotion of Del Shore's text.

 

 

 

 

 

MARVIN'S ROOM (Circle Theater)
Director Harry Parker and his talented cast and design team presented a poignant yet funny portrayal of how we view death and dying with Marvin's Room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CRAZY FOR YOU (Plaza Theatre Company)
Plaza Theatre Company presented their best dish when they cooked up a delicious and flirty confection with the Gershwin musical, Crazy for You.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DICK WHITTINGTON (Theatre Britain)
Theatre Britain's annual Christmas panto, Dick Whittington, was anything but traditional. Superior in writing, direction, design, and acting it was a pleasant and surprising way to spend an evening and to end the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEST DIRECTION:

Sue Birch for DICK WHITTINGTON (Theatre Britain)
Bruce R. Coleman for THE TEMPERMENTALS (Uptown Players)
Harry Parker for MARVIN'S ROOM (Circle Theatre)

 

 

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES IN A LEADING ROLE:

James Chandler in DICK WHITTINGTON (Theatre Britain)

Daron Cockrell in ANNIE GET YOUR GUN (Plaza Theatre Company)

Jennifer Engler in MARVIN'S ROOM (Circle Theatre)

Samantha Fierke in THE MIRACLE WORKER (Runway Theatre)

Gregory Gerardi in JOSEPH…..DREAMCOAT (Plaza Theatre Company)

Julienne Greer in MARVIN'S ROOM (Circle Theatre)

Gregory Lush in THE TEMPERMENTALS (Uptown Players)

Jonathan Metting in CRAZY FOR YOU (Plaza Theatre Company)

Van Quattro in REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT (Level Ground Arts)

Montgomery Sutton in THE TEMPERMENTALS (Uptown Players)

Daylon Walton in REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT (Level Ground Arts)

 

 

BEST PERFORMANCES IN A SUPPORTING OR FEATURED ROLE:

Soni Barrus in CRAZY FOR YOU (Plaza Theatre Company)

Caitlin Davis in CRAZY FOR YOU (Plaza Theatre Company)

Doug Fowler in THE LITTLE FOXES (ICT Mainstage)

Lisa Anne Haram IN DADDY'S DYIN' (Onstage in Bedford)

Jean-Luc Hester in DICK WHITTINGTON (Theatre Britain)

Laurie McDonald in DADDY'S DYIN' (Onstage in Bedford)

Dorothy Sanders in DADDY'S DYIN' (Onstage in Bedford)

Jad B. Saxton in DICK WHITTINGTON (Theatre Britain)

Brandon Simmons in THE LITTLE FOXES (ICT Mainstage)

Chad Patrick Smith in MARVIN'S ROOM (Circle Theatre)

Daylon Walton in THE TEMPERMENTALS (Uptown Players)

Ouida White in MARVIN'S ROOM (Circle Theatre)

 

BEST ENSEMBLE (Acting): The cast of RUMORS (Grand Prairie Arts Council)-Staci Cook, Travis Cook, Dana Harrison, Jon Morehouse, Steve Adams, Denise Rodrigue, Keith Head, Rose Anne Holman, Adam Wallman, and Cindy Newton.

 

BEST ENSEMBLE (Dance): The "Follies Girls" from CRAZY FOR YOU (Plaza Theatre Company)-Rachel Hunt, Stefanie Glenn, Tabitha Barrus, Monica Glenn, Faith Brown, and Cessany Ford.

 

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION:

Tina Barrus, Costume Design for CRAZY FOR YOU (Plaza Theatre Company)

Leann Burns, Lighting Design for SPRING AWAKENING (Watertower Theatre)

Suzi Cranford, Costume Design for THE TEMPERMENTALS (Uptown Players)

Darryl Clement, Set Design for DICK WHITTINGTON (Theatre Britain)

Clare Floyd DeVries, Set Design for MARVIN'S ROOM (Circle Theatre)

John Harvey, Prop Design for MARVIN'S ROOM (Circle Theatre)

Jason Leyva & John Wilkerson, Set Design for PHANTOM (Artisan)

Alexis Matthews, Make-Up Design for REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT (LGA)

Matt McNeill, Costume Design for THE MIRACLE WORKER (Runway Theatre)

Mark Mullino, Music Direction for SPRING AWAKENING (WaterTower Theatre)

Tory Padden, Costume Design for DICK WHITTINGTON (Theatre Britain)

Christopher Pickart, Set Design for SPRING AWAKENING (WaterTower Theatre)

Chris Robinson, Multimedia Design for THE TEMPERMENTALS (Uptown Players)

Rob Stephens, Lighting Design for DICK WHITTINGTON (Theatre Britain)

Amanda West, Lighting Design for THE TEMPERMENTALS (Uptown Players)

 


 

John GarciaASSOCIATE THEATER CRITIC
CHRIS JACKSON'S
PICKS

 

 

 

MUSICALS OF THE YEAR:
SPRING AWAKENING

- Water Tower Theater

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


CABARET

- Dallas Theater Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PLAYS OF THE YEAR:
THE TEMPEST

- Dallas Theater Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


26 MILES

- Kitchen Dog Theater

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL:
Wade McCollum in CABARET (Dallas Theater Center)
Adam Garst in SPRING AWAKENING (Watertower Theatre)
Sonny Franks in A CATERED AFFAIR (Theatre Three)

 

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL:
Julie Johnson in CABARET (Dallas Theater Center)
Sally Soldo in A CATERED AFFAIR (Theater Three)

 

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY:
John de los Santos for SPRING AWAKENING (Watertower Theatre)

 

BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY:
James Crawford in SHOOTING STAR (Watertower Theatre)
Chamblee Ferguson in THE TEMPEST (Dallas Theater Center)

 

BEST ACTRESS IN A PLAY:
Christina Vela in 26 MILES (Kitchen Dog Theater)

 

BEST COMIC DUO:
Shane Strawbridge and David Coffee in THE FANTASTICS (Circle Theater)

 

BEST ENSEMBLE:
The cast of DIVIDING THE ESTATE (Dallas Theater Center)

 

BEST SCENIC DESIGN:
Christopher Pickart for SPRING AWAKENING (Watertower Theatre)
Bob Lavallee for CABARET (Dallas Theater Center)

 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:
Clint Ramos for CABARET (Dallas Theater Center)
Michael A. Robinson for SPRING AWAKENING (Watertower Theatre)

 


John GarciaASSOCIATE THEATER CRITIC
DANIEL MACCHIETTO'S
PICKS

NOTE: Daniel is new to the staff, but reviewed a lot of the Christmas holiday shows, so he decided to pick from all the holiday shows he reviewed and/or attended this season:


Best Holiday Show:

SEVEN IN ONE BLOW OR THE BRAVE LITTLE KID

- Circle Theatre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Holiday Show:
Mikaela Krantz as "The Kid" in Circle Theatre's SEVEN IN ONE BLOW OR THE BRAVE LITTLE KID

Best Performance by an Actor in a Holiday Show:
Ken Orman as "Bernard" in ONSTAGE in Bedford's SEASON'S GREETINGS

 


 

John GarciaASSOCIATE THEATER CRITIC
ERIC MASKELL'S
PICKS

 

 


BEST PLAY:

DOUBLE FALSEHOOD

- Stolen Shakespeare Guild

 

 

 

 

 


BEST MUSICAL:

ALICE WONDER

- Jubilee Theatre

 

 

 

 

 


BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY:
Eddie Zertuche as Camillo, DOUBLE FALSEHOOD (SSG)
Nick Haley as Brian Runnicles, NO SE* PLEASE, WE'RE BRITISH (ICT Mainstage)

 

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL:
Ryan Page as Billy Crocker, ANYTHING GOES (SSG)

 

BEST ENSEMBLE: ANYTHING GOES (Stolen Shakespeare Guild)

BEST CHOREOGRAPHER: Sheran Goodspeed Keyton for ALICE WONDER (Jubilee Theatre)

BEST OVERALL DESIGN (SCENIC,LIGHTING, MUSIC, SPECIAL EFFECTS): VIGIL (Amphibian Stage Productions)

 


 

John GarciaASSOCIATE THEATER CRITIC
JEREMY OSBORNE'S
PICKS

 

 


Best Musical, Best Music Direction, Best Director, Best Actress, And Best Actor: None aspired for greater and succeeded more handily than Uptown Players and their regional debut production of NEXT TO NORMAL.

There was nothing "bad" or "wrong" with this production in any way. Michael Serrecchia did a brilliant job guiding the stellar cast into bringing the emotional impact of such a weighty show to the front while not allowing it be mired down by the subject matter.

Before Next to Normal came along, it felt like years passed since I felt such an enormous emotional impact from a show.

Patty Breckenridge, as Diana, played one of the most complex characters ever written with seeming ease. With the wonderful support
of the rest of the cast, It was easy to get lost in Diana's struggle and the effects they have on the people around her.

Alongside Patty was Gary Floyd, playing Diana's husband Dan. His incredibly nuanced performance gave Next to Normal the emotional kick it deserved. My only regret was only seeing the show once during its run.

 


 

John GarciaASSOCIATE THEATER CRITIC
ASHLEA PALLADINO'S
PICKS

 


MUSICALS (Equity):

Overall Production:

Cabaret

- Dallas Theater Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

Direction:
Joel Ferrell - Cabaret (Dallas Theater Center)

Actor in a Leading Role:
Wade McCollum - Cabaret (Dallas Theater Center)

Actress in a Leading Role:
Patty Breckenridge – Next to Normal (Uptown Players)

Actor in a Supporting Role:
David Coffee - Cabaret (Dallas Theater Center)

Actress in a Supporting Role:
Julie Johnson - Cabaret (Dallas Theater Center)

Scene Stealer:
Whitney Hennen – Victor, Victoria (Uptown Players)

Hardest-Working Ensemble:
Hairspray (Casa Manana)

Best Dance Sequence:
Michael Whitney as Tulsa, "All I Need is the Girl" – Gypsy (Lyric Stage)

Choreography:
Joel Ferrell - Cabaret (Dallas Theater Center)

Musical Direction:
Scott A. Eckert - Next to Normal (Uptown Players)

Costume Design:
Michael Robinson & Suzi Shankle, Dallas Costume Shoppe – CATS (Garland Summer Musicals)

Scenic Design:
Kelly Cox – CATS (Garland Summer Musicals)

Lighting Design:
Jason Foster - Next to Normal (Uptown Players)

 

MUSICALS (Non-Equity)

Overall Production:
The Great American Trailer Park Musical

– Greater Lewisville Community Theatre

 

 

 

 

 

 


Direction:
Michael Serrecchia – How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (ICT MainStage)

Actor in a Leading Role:
Max Swarner - How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (ICT MainStage)

Actress in a Leading Role:
Sherry Etzel - The Great American Trailer Park Musical (GLCT)
Samantha Parrish – Hairspray (Garland Civic Theatre)

Actor in a Supporting Role:
Charlie Knight – Into the Woods (McKinney Repertory Theatre)

Actress in a Supporting Role:
Amanda Edwards – Into the Woods (McKinney Repertory Theatre)

Scene Stealer:
Scott A. Eckert - How to Succeed..Trying (ICT MainStage)
Blake Rodgers - The Great American Trailer Park Musical (GLCT)

 

Hardest-Working Ensemble:
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Plaza Theatre Company)

Youth Performance:
Laura Scarborough – Anne of Green Gables The Musical (Artisan Center Theater)

Music Direction:
Scott A. Eckert - How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (ICT MainStage)

Costume Design:
The Dallas Costume Shoppe - How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (ICT MainStage)

Scenic Design:
Judd Vermillion - How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (ICT MainStage)

Best Dancing Pair:
Michael Sylvester and Tabitha Barrus – Hello, Dolly! (Plaza Theatre Company)

Best Choreography:
Tabitha Barrus – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Plaza Theatre Company)

 

Original Work:
Taffy Geisel and Joey Geisel for their work on Anne of Green Gables The Musical (Artisan Center Theatre). My one complaint about the original music in this show is that there wasn't enough of it.

 

PLAYS (Equity)

Actor in a Leading Role:
Andy Baldwin – Boeing, Boeing (Circle Theatre)

Set Design:
Jeffrey Schmidt – Wild Oats (Theatre Three)

 

PLAYS (Non-Equity)

Overall Production:

Rumors

- Grand Prairie Arts Council

 

 

 

 

 


Direction:
Mikey Abrams – Murder at the Orient Burlesque (Rover Dramawerks)
Alan J. Hanna – Rumors (Grand Prairie Arts Council)

Actor in a Leading Role:
Gregory Hullett – To Kill A Mockingbird (Garland Civic Theatre)

Actress in a Leading Role:
Nikki Cloer - Murder at the Orient Burlesque (Rover Dramawerks)

Actor in a Supporting Role:
Gregory Phillips – Pillow Talk (Garland Civic Theatre)

Actress in a Supporting Role:
Laura C. Cutler – Black Comedy (Rover Dramawerks)

Ensemble Cast:
Murder at the Orient Burlesque (Rover Dramawerks)

Scene Stealer:
Allegra Denes - Murder at the Orient Burlesque (Rover Dramawerks)

Absolute Best Death Scene Ever:
Alexis Nabors - Murder at the Orient Burlesque (Rover Dramawerks)

Set Design:
Matt Betz - Rumors (Grand Prairie Arts Council)

Costume Design:
Eric Criner, Costumes by Dusty - Rumors (Grand Prairie Arts Council)

 


 

John GarciaASSOCIATE THEATER CRITIC
CHRISTOPHER SODEN'S
PICKS

I would be less than honest if I failed to point out that this year's "Best of" list is woefully marred by exclusion. There were an impressive number of compelling shows throughout 2011, but the following list contains the shows that touched me most deeply. When you see a lot of theatre, the pieces that break new ground, take more chances, and resist traditional classification, tend to grab your attention and linger in your brain. In a year of abundantly entertaining and confident theatre, the pathos, audacity, ferocity, playfulness, and sheer ingenuity of these 10 shows stood out:

 

SRING AWAKENING (WaterTower Theatre): Following the touring company that appeared in ATTPAC, Director Terry Martin brought the local premiere of Spring Awakening to Addison. Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik's musical adaptation of Frank Wedekind's drama (written in 1891) Spring Awakening grapples with all the exhilaration and excruciation that comes with adolescent sexuality and love. The characters are lost, elated, enraged, despondent, and Dionysian, but it all seems valid. It all works. Spring Awakening was no candy-a** reverie on sweet, gentle, puppy love, but a howl of loneliness in a downpour. Martin's powerful cast (including Lulu Ward, Kayla Carlyle, Erica Harte, and Adam Garst) tore up the stage with titanic, equine choreography by John de los Santos. The result was a volcanic evening of anger and tears.

 

 

OLEANNA (The Dallas Actor's Lab): Carol, a student with serious self-esteem issues, shows up at her professor's office for an unscheduled meeting. John is in the midst of a telephone conversation, discussing details of closing the sale on his home. From this premise playwright David Mamet drags us into unexpected, nightmarish realms of vindictiveness, confusion, and despair. Oleanna was brilliant, aggravating, unnerving. Savvy and intense. Natalie Young and Kyle Lemieux were stunning in this merciless piece that takes us to the ugly realms of cunning, manipulation, and political expediency. Never have I left a theater feeling so conflicted. Or clobbered.

 

RED LIGHT WINTER (Second Thought Theatre): Many of us remember the buzz this show ignited as the promotional material warned there would be prolonged frontal nudity. Few were prepared for the irony that nudity was the least of it. Two American best friends share a flat in Amsterdam. Matt is a writer and Davis is a publisher. Matt has been wrestling with isolation, depression, and a persistent bout with illness. Not 10 minutes into Red Light Winter, we witness his failed suicide attempt. Davis returns with Christina, a French sex worker who seems quiet and subdued. Davis has decided a se*ual encounter just might have a healing effect on Matt's despondency. Red Light Winter drags us deeper and deeper into the abyss these three lost souls inhabit. Heartbreaking doesn't cover it. Neither does painful. Playwright Adam Rapp has fashioned a compass to guide us through a blinding sh**storm. Or maybe it just leaves us there. Director Regan Adair, Alex Organ (Davis) Drew Wall (Matt) Natalie Young (Christina) have done phenomenal work here. Nothing less. This kind of material is so difficult and dangerous, so brave and unrelenting, you can't help but admire the dedication it must take to explore these dark, angry, elegiac realms.

 

THE VIOLET HOUR (Upstart Productions and Project X): Imagine a play that's comedic, yet tragic, pensive, yet playful, full of bravado, yet somehow frail. The premise of The Violet Hour is quizzical, yet playwright Richard Greenberg manages to excavate an astonishing, visionary plot from simple ideas. Should we base our decisions on possible outcome or unequivocal ethics? John "Pace" Seavering, a fledgling publisher at the beginning of the twentieth century, must choose between publishing the unwieldy, gargantuan first book of close college friend, Denis McCleary, or his paramour, Jazz chanteuse, Jessie Brewster. Pace is torn between this devotion to his best friend and his lover. The Violet Hour reinforced my faith that theatre can still rattle, delight, provoke, seduce, and yes, gladden our hearts. It invited us to a glittering universe of the possible.

 

 

 

THE CROWD YOU'RE IN WITH (Rover Dramawerks): Jasper and Melinda are throwing an informal July 4th party for their friends. They are considering pregnancy, which sparks the revelation that Karen and Tom are childless by choice. What follows thereafter is a volatile debate over parenthood versus living without progeny. Before long emotions are running high. Feelings are bruised and the party ends abruptly. The folks at Rover Dramawerks in Plano continue to demonstrate a knack for finding rich, highly intelligent, compelling drama that comes in under conventional radar. The actors are skilled and subtle. The narratives surprising, engaging and provocative. Rebecca Gilman's The Crowd You're In With raised the question of why and how we procreate, and far more unsettling questions. It makes you wonder about issues like social pressure, honesty, and the elusive dream of tolerance. Despite the fact that American Civilization continues to get older, will we ever truly evolve?

 

IN THE NEXT ROOM OR THE VIBRA*OR PLAY(Kitchen Dog Theater): Anyone with the audacity to name a piece In the Next Room or The Vibra*or Play better know what they're doing. Playwright Sarah Ruhl has proven she has those chops, and more. The title suggests something frank and salacious, yet mysterious. I'm not sure if it's feminist (or gender) epiphany masquerading as se*ual satire, or tragedy in the guise of class struggle, but despite an unmistakable tone shift, The Vibra*or Play is an astonishing fusion of disparate elements. It flouts our obsessive need to categorize shows and pretty much makes its own rules, juggling strong, raucous or tender emotions like fine Limoge, mocking us as we wince. It took what might have been merely clever, and turned it into poetry, bathos, and epiphany.

 


 

CABARET (Dallas Theater Center): Cabaret was an ode to the necessity of cynicism, shattered by its better angels. It tempted audiences with the confection of sumptuous depravity, proffered by the Kit Kat Club of 1930s Berlin. The dancers were girls and boys, in suggestively torn clothes, flirting brazenly with the audience. Cabaret exploited our ambivalence about se*, pleasure, happiness, virtue. When Sally belts the tale of roommate Elsie, who fought despondency with promiscuity and substance abuse, it made perfect sense. We're all going to die, anyway, so why not numb the pain? This is when the beautiful corpses inhabiting The Kit Kat Club seemed less innocuous. And this is the genius of Kander, Ebb and Masteroff. The milieu is so enticing, so vibrant, we hardly realize we're glimpsing the Nazi underbelly. Cabaret held us all accountable.

 

NEXT TO NORMAL (Uptown Players): Bryan Yorkey (writer) and Tom Kitt (composer) took on quite a challenge with Next to Normal. Like attempting to write a piece about, say, death or Christmas or orphans, the topic (one woman's struggle with Bi-Polar Disorder) is so fraught with emotion, it's difficult to say anything relevant or genuine without stooping to manipulation. Similar to Ordinary People, Next to Normal might have more to do with unresolved interpersonal conflicts, than the triggering event. Is full-on grief a path to self-destruction, or a necessary step in the healing process? Kitt and Yorkey avoid pitfalls of the genre. The lyrics in Next to Normal lean more towards accuracy than cleverness, though there's plenty of sardonic wit. Even intense moments are subdued, and the poignant, blissfully free of spin. Next to Normal sought out the unvarnished truth of the matter, while ultimately, avoiding blame. It was coherent, deeply affecting, and surprisingly, life-affirming.

 

REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT (Level Ground Arts): Originating as a teleplay written by Rod Serling for Playhouse 90 in 1956, Requiem for a Heavyweight is a stirring, deeply affecting drama, aching with pathos and humanity. Director Billy Fountain chose to retain the squalid '50s milieu, with its blue collar urban lingo, and it worked surprisingly well. Fountain knows just how to manage chemistry and tone, and kept this painful material from spilling into melodrama. At 33, Mountain McClintock is finished after 14 years of being a formidable prizefighter. Now he must start from scratch, overcome by loyalty to a manager who may not have his best interests at heart. Requiem for a Heavyweight was a powerful story about the cost of caring in a world that encourages cannibalism and rage. Daylon Walton led a crackerjack cast of colorful, sometimes cynical characters. Rhonda Durant brought an exceptional, beatific energy to the story, as the tremulous social worker, Grace. Walton was overwhelming in the difficult role of McClintock, and his scenes with Durant blinded me with tears.

 

BLACK COMEDY (Rover Dramawerks): Director Lisa Devine never chooses a project (it seems) without challenging herself and the audience. The result is an implacable mixture of the wrenching and sublime. In September she selected an early, experimental play: Black Comedy by Peter Shaffer (The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Equus, and Amadeus). Originally staged in 1965, Black Comedy is predicated on an ingenious conceit: If a group with hidden animosity were plunged into darkness, how would they behave towards one another? For logistical reasons, the actors must pretend they are obstructed in this way. But you begin to realize this premise is a launching pad for pondering the nature of truth and salience. What aspects of reality are we simply unwilling to confront, even when they're unmistakably on display? It all happens with such unexpected verve and velocity that it takes awhile to process. A lot of came together after the fact, but it doesn't matter. Any literature of substance has much going on between the lines, and Devine had the expertise and inspiration to explore subtext, while keeping the narrative thread connected. Kudos to Devine (and Rover) for having the vision to risk this marvelously unorthodox and compelling show.

 


 

John GarciaASSOCIATE THEATER CRITIC
MARK-BRIAN SONNA'S
PICKS


 

Mark-Brian Sonna's top 10 theatre moments in DFW:

The year 2011 closed and as always there are some theatrical moments I will cherish and carry with me. Keep in mind that this list is based off of not just shows I reviewed but also got a chance to see. Please remember that I don't just cover theatre, but also Opera, so this list is truly the best moments of the year that I experienced on a Dallas/Fort Worth area stage. Here is my top 10 and in no particular order:

10 – Best reinvigorated show: STOMP, Dallas Summer Musicals. This re-invigorated production proves that you can actually improve on a good thing. I was skeptical of the changes they had made till I saw the performance. The new musical interludes and the new ending made the experience that much more visceral and delightful.

 

9 – The original script for MURDER AT THE ORIENT BURLESQUE, Rover Dramawerks. This zany script was full of delights and surprises. Carol Rice has penned a show that will hopefully be produced in many theatres around the country.

 

8 – The production design by Claude Girard, and lighting design by Mark McCullogh for ROMEO & JULIET, Dallas Opera. Only gasps can describe the beauty of the sets and lighting of this Opera. Truly one of the most stunning pieces of theatrical magic I've ever seen.

 

7 – Cora Cardona's direction of the play THE MAIDEN OF THE USED BOOKS, Teatro Dallas. Ms. Cardona was at the top of her game in creating harrowing images, and bringing out stunning performances in this difficult play. You either loved the play or hated it, but you couldn't deny the power of her direction in this show.

 

6 – Steven Michael Walters' performance in THOM PAIN (BASED ON NOTHING), Second Thought Theatre. Is it a play? Is it performance art? Is it Theatre of the Absurd? It doesn't matter how you categorize it, Mr. Walters created a character that was comical, flawed, detestable, but very memorable.

 

5 - If I have to choose the best actress in a musical category I would hands down give it to Lorens Portalatin for her performance as Robin in GODSPELL, Creative Arts Theatre & School. She had to perform what is the most famous song in this musical "Day by Day", and she delivered it with such breathtaking beauty that it brought tears to my eyes. The show was quite enjoyable, but it was her performance in this role that sent shivers up my spine.

 

4 – Paolo Gavanelli's performance in RIGOLETTO, Dallas Opera. Seldom does a performer set a new standard on a classic role. Mr. Gavanelli IS Rigoletto. His performance is the one that others will be compared to for the next generation, and it may take much longer for anyone to surpass what was a seminal moment in Opera.

 

3 – Best performance by an ensemble in a play: Jeff Swearingen and Joey Folsom in THE HAND, Broken Gears Project Theatre. Jeff Swearingen is a brilliant actor and to see him paired up with Joey Folsom in this production was absolutely thrilling. The two changed roles every night, and though I only was able to catch the play once, Jeff was playing the more "normal" of the two men, whereas he's known for playing slightly "off kilter" characters. His performance was absolutely captivating. Joey Folsom brought a level of danger in his performance that made me like him but at the same time fear him.

 

2 – The best direction of a musical? Barry Swindall for GODSPELL, Community Performing Arts Center in Cleburne. Everything in this production was perfectly coordinated: the music, costuming, lighting, etc. He also created some wonderful stage moments that rivaled any Broadway show I've seen.

 

1 – Dylan Peck's performance of the role of Yvan in ART, QLive! I had the pleasure of playing this role many years ago as an actor in a very successful version of this play and I went to go see this play with trepidation for I couldn't see myself being able to enjoy the play without being highly critical of it. I also know Mr. Peck quite well having worked with him in various productions. I find that when I've worked with an actor repeatedly I can't see past the actor and appreciate the character he creates. What stunned me in his performance was that from the moment he hit the stage till his very last moment he made me forget it was him. I only saw Yvan, and an Yvan portrayed differently than I had played it. He so completely embodied the character in voice and movement that it was no longer an actor I saw on stage but the character Yasmena Reza intended for all of us to see.

 

Ok. So there's one more production I must add to this list. To me this was ...

THE BEST production in DFW last year:

THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL, Contemporary Theatre of Dallas. Pure theatrical magic from start to finish. Words cannot describe how thoroughly touched and moved I was after seeing this play. Every performance, every detail in the production, every moment directed brought this script to life and made it the most memorable play last year.