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Fort Worth Opera Festival

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I recently had the pleasure of attending the 2013 Fort Worth Opera Festival. While the company has been in existence since the late 40’s, their recent history has been marked by a successful decision to move from a traditional season to a concentrated Festival schedule. The Festival calendar is a boon to out-of-towners like me, as it allows a visitor to see all four of the season’s operas over a long weekend.

The Festival was implemented by the Opera’s dynamic Managing Director, Darren K. Woods. He has also been instrumental in programming a number of regional and world premiere works which share Festival time with more standard repertoire. These new productions have resulted in greater national and international visibility. Their new Opera Unbound series will feature chamber works in smaller venues.

The main performance venue is the stunningly beautiful and built for comfort, Bass Hall in Downtown Fort Worth. Designed in the style of classic European opera houses, with numerous box seats, the hall seats a couple thousand, but feels relatively intimate.

GLORY DENIED

This season’s Opera Unbound production was the regional premiere of GLORY DENIED by Tom Cipullo which was performed in the McDavid Studio, across the street from Bass Hall. The opera is based on Tom Philpott’s oral history of Colonel “Jim” Thompson, the longest held POW in American history. A tag line like this would lead one to expect a claustrophobic and introspective piece—perhaps even a monodrama. But the reality is much more comprehensive. This is not only the story of a single man’s heroism in the face of incomprehensible odds, but the collateral damage inflicted on the family of that man. And, by extension, all the families caught up in the turbulent and questioning cultural landscape of America in the 60’s.

The opera’s narrative conceit utilizes a Younger and Older Thompson and a Younger and Older Alyce, the wife who sits not-so-Penelope-like at home. Their intensely personal stories unfold in a riveting and compact 80 minutes in which snapshots of his 9 year imprisonment and his eventual homecoming are dramatized in a non-linear, semi-poetic style.

Cipullo’s score is gritty, vigorous, and as dense as the conflicting emotions it portrays. Still, he finds moments of lyricism and even a few full-scale arias in the second half. Both musically and dramatically it is reminiscent of Bernstein’s TROUBLE IN TAHITI, that other incisive look at the dissolution of a mid-century American marriage.

Director Dean Anthony has wisely opted for a stripped down setting which puts the raw emotions front and center. Anthony trusts the text and his performers, grounding their movement in what is appropriate for the moment and eschewing too many “look at me” directorial touches. However, he does use one visual concept to telling effect. Paper proves crucial in their lives—the letters they share, the days of the month torn off a calendar, the pile of magazines in which Older Thompson discovers how much the world has changed during his incarceration. All of these pages are used and then discarded, leaving the stage littered with a chaos of paper. It is an eloquent metaphor for the detritus of two lives that have drifted irrevocably apart.

The Singers: David Blalock and Sydney Mancasola as the Younger Thompson and Alyce and Michael Mayes and Caroline Worra as their older selves create memorable characters and sing the English text with exemplary diction. Blalock summons an edge to his essentially sweet tenor for the torture and interrogation scenes, but he warms that up for his memories of the wife and the life left behind. Mancasola, playing the idealized wife, has the least complex character, but she brings charm and an appealing, bright soprano to the role. Mayes and Worra are true stage animals who fully inhabit their characters' frustrations and disappointments. Mayes’ forceful baritone bitterly rails against a world he cannot comprehend in a list aria which, interestingly, mirrors a similar list in the then cutting edge musical, HAIR. And to hear Worra’s guilty but determined attempt to explain her actions to her husband on his return is a master class in vocal acting. Their scenes are the heart of the piece and occasionally the emotions seem so raw and the situation so vulnerable that it feels as if the audience is a voyeur. Conductor Tyson Deaton brings precision and sensitivity to his small orchestra.

ARIADNE AUF NAXOS

Richard Strauss’ ARIADNE AUF NAXOS might be the most schizophrenic opera in the standard repertoire-- which is half of its fascination. Using his knowledge of backstage life, librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal devises a witty satire on the battle between the lofty ideals of pure Art and the pragmatic reality of putting on a show.

In Hofmannstahl’s backstage Prologue, a naively idealistic Composer has been hired to write an opera for a patron’s party. His opus is a possibly pretentious treatment of the myth of Ariadne, deserted by her lover and longing for death on her desert island. The Major Domo informs him that, in order to accommodate a fireworks display the patron has arranged, the opera must be trimmed and performed simultaneously with a troupe of commedia del arte performers who have also been engaged.  Zerbinetta, the troupe’s leader, is philosophical about the adjustment, but the Composer is horrified.  That is, until he weighs the notion of never hearing the work performed and agrees to the compromise. The Second Act reveals the opera in all its incongruity. Balancing these dichotomies and calibrating the proper mix of slapstick to sumptuous music are the decisions that any director of ARIADNE must make.

Director David Gately has chosen an approach which honors both humor and romanticism, though the humorous touches work best. He has encouraged the performers in even the smallest roles to develop idiosyncratic characters which spring vividly to life. Thus William V. Madison’s hilariously supercilious Major Domo and Ian McEuen’s jaded Dance Master are truly memorable performances. Also doing sterling musical and physical work are Anthony Reed, Steven Eddy, Zak Engle and Michael Porter as the male members of the commedia troupe.

Still, as with most Strauss operas, it is all about the ladies, and Fort Worth has chosen them well. Cecelia Hall proves an endearing composer whose graceful mezzo and rapturous tone could truly convince you that music is a holy Art. As with many productions, Audrey Luna’s Zerbinetta is a well-deserved audience favorite. Of course, her second act scena, espousing her generous philosophy of love, is a famously showy display of coloratura fireworks. But Luna pushes beyond the thrill of her sparkling and seamless vocalizing to highlight the thematic core of the piece and contrast it with Ariadne’s glorification of lost love. As the Diva playing the titular Ariadne, Marjorie Owens commands a sizable soprano with surprisingly dark undertones. She easily conqueres Strauss’ vocal challenges and finds no problem cutting through his dense orchestration. The same could not be said for Corey Bix, her Bacchus. Underpowered and adrift in what is admittedly a punishingly high tessitura, Bix signals his discomfort by constantly shifting his weight.

Designed for Utah Opera, Robin Vest’s scenic design economically brings a touch of baroque luxury to this traditional production. Susan Memmott Allred’s costumes and Steven Bryant’s makeup and wig designs are allowed a greater degree of theatrical whimsy. In the pit, Joe Illick marshals his forces for Strauss’ moments of grandeur, without losing a hint of comic élan.

LA BOHEME

Is Puccini’s LA BOHEME the most frequently produced opera in major houses?  I have no hard data beyond my opera-going experience, but only Mozart’s MAGIC FLUTE springs to mind as a possible rival. BOHEME’s popularity is easy to understand. Audiences delight in its gorgeous melodies, its succinct tale of young love and its heartbreaking end.  For opera companies, the appeal is just as obvious—it’s a genuine audience-pleaser, it features a young cast, which allows for the hiring of up-and-coming singers with moderate price tags and, oh yes, it’s a masterpiece.

Director David Lefkowich decided not to tamper with a sure thing and helms a traditional production in which the story of the bohemians could unfold without overt directorial comment. Sean Panikkar’s ardent Rodolfo displays an attractive lyric tenor and an understated way with the histrionics. As his Mimi, Mary Dunleavy sings with a transparent sensitivity which enhances the character’s fragility, while her acting makes the encroaching disease believable. Wes Mason’s virile baritone brings power and sex appeal to his lovable, puppy dog take on Marcello, while Rosa Betancourt’s Musetta avoids the musical pitfall of shrillness in the role and also sidesteps the dramatic trap of overplaying the character’s mercurial nature. John Boehr is an engaging and exuberantly boyish Schaunard whose warm baritone shows promise, but it feels a little small for the house. Derrick Parker's Colline is serviceable, with a dry, constricted sound.

R. Keith Brumley’s sets, originally designed for Lyric Opera of Kansas City, are attractive and detailed enough to require a second intermission for the set change before the final act. Conductor Joe Illick elicits a passionate and energetic performance from the orchestra, though the Chorus in the second act had some trouble finding the downbeat.

THE DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT

For years Donizetti’s FILLE DU REGIMENT was occasionally trotted out for star coloratura sopranos looking for a change of pace. The story of Marie, the young tomboy raised by the regiment, who falls in love just as she finds she is actually an heiress provides physical comedy, romance, and enough vocal pyrotechnics to satisfy both the Diva and her audience. When Joan Sutherland revived the opera in the late 60’s, a young Luciano Pavarotti astounded the world with his effortless rendition of “A! mes amis” and its 9 high C’s. Suddenly the opera became a much more equal partnership between soprano and tenor.

Fort Worth has produced this Nineteenth Century confection in the Ruth and Thomas Martin English translation. This choice makes the spoken dialog (FILLE is an opera comique) easier for the performers and the comedy more immediate. It also makes the work’s position as a proto-operetta quite clear. Director Dorothy Danner has chosen  to present a traditional production which, thankfully, didn’t burden the piece with topical references. Or, indeed, any semblance to reality. This is the only way a soufflé like this works.

Ava Pine’s Marie displays a brash and vivacious personality, a sparkling vocal sheen with pin-point precision, and a pretty impressive cartwheel. But, while she is absolutely at home in the knockabout comedy and showy passage-work, it is in the quieter moments that she truly impresses with her heartfelt singing. Marie’s lover Tonio is not called on to do much beyond singing with sweet fervor, hitting those C’s and waiting with patient loyalty for the moment when he wins the girl. David Portillo manages all of this with grace and a brightly focused tenor. Rod Nelman is a sturdily sung and sympathetic Suplice, sporting an Inspector Clouseau accent and terrific timing. But the real comic laurels must go to the veteran performers-- Joyce Castle’s dizzily imperious Marquise de Birkenfeld and Darren K. Woods (yes, the Managing Director) as her hapless servant Hortensius. Whether haughtily shouting orders, praying to the Virgin in her own unique fashion, or sharing her inimitable vocal warm-ups, Ms Castle is a constant delight. Knowing that Castle was going for the grand gesture, Woods wisely has chosen to underplay his moments, making them all the funnier. The program doesn’t name the non-speaking performer playing Marie’s erstwhile bridegroom, but his hilarious dumbshow is something I will long remember.

Boyd Ostroff’s sets are functional and attractive while Beni Montresor’s costumes clearly delineate the characters. Conductor, Christopher Larkin finds surprising complexity in the score, and his detailed reading of the overture, in particular, is masterful.

I would urge anyone who loves opera to visit Fort Worth Opera Festival. The artistic decisions are interesting, the talent is strong, the venues are terrific, and the audiences are the friendliest I’ve encountered.

Fort Worth Opera Festival  April 20 – May 15, 2013  www.fwopera.org


 

Spotlight

Hollywood Fringe Awarded 10K from National Endowment for the Arts

Hollywood, CA -- The Hollywood Fringe Festival is proud to announce that it has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Art Works grant of $10,000 to support the Fringe Scholarships program. This grant stems from more than $82 million approved by NEA Chairman Jane Chu to fund local arts projects and partnerships. The Art Works category supports the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts through 13 arts disciplines or fields.

“Hollywood Fringe began only seven years ago and has grown into a festival reaching tens of thousands of people,” says Festival Director Ben Hill. “This funding allows us to sustain that growth by supporting artists and programming that is diverse, inclusive, and relevant to the local community. We are truly honored to have been selected a recipient."

The Fringe Scholarships program strives to provide a platform for artists to exhibit the most diverse and cutting-edge points-of-view, by offering unique and underserved artists scholarships to participate in the 2016 Hollywood Fringe Festival. Scholarships will be awarded to artists whose festival participation will increase festival attendance and participation by local Hollywood residents, increase arts participation of ethnically diverse and/or low-income artists, and enrich audience experience through the presentation of unique, underrepresented themes and/or narratives.

“The arts are all around us, enhancing our lives in ways both subtle and obvious, expected and unexpected,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Supporting projects like the one from Hollywood Fringe Festival offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”

ABOUT HOLLYWOOD FRINGE

The Hollywood Fringe Festival is an annual, open-access, community-derived event celebrating freedom of expression and collaboration in the performing arts community. Each June during the Hollywood Fringe, the arts infiltrates the Hollywood neighborhood: Fully equipped theaters, parks, clubs, churches, restaurants and other unexpected places host hundreds of productions by local, national, and international arts companies and independent performers. The 2016 festival runs June 9th - 26th and offers over 1,400 performances in over 30 venues.

Participation in the Hollywood Fringe is completely open and uncensored. This free-for-all approach underlines the festival’s mission to be a platform for artists without the barrier of a curative body. By opening the gates to anyone with a vision, the festival is able to exhibit the most diverse and cutting-edge points-of-view the world has to offer. Additionally, by creating an environment where artists must self-produce their work, the Fringe motivates its participants to cultivate a spirit of entrepreneurialism in the arts. 

Want more information? Contact us at press@hollywoodfringe.org or by visiting the website at www.HollywoodFringe.org/press.

 
Laguna Playhouse Announces Ellen Richard as its Interim Executive Director

May 3, 2016…Laguna Beach, Calif…Laguna Playhouse Board of Directors announced today that, later this month, Ellen Richard will be joining Laguna Playhouse as its Interim Executive Director. The Playhouse announced late last year that it was undertaking a national search guided by Arts Consulting Group (ACG) for an Executive Director to succeed Karen Wood who had held this position for the past eight years.

Commenting on the appointment Joe Hanauer and Paul Singarella, Co-Chairmens of the Board of Directors, said “In the midst of our search we encountered this wonderful opportunity to engage Ellen while we continue to seek appropriate long-term leadership. To have found someone with the extraordinary qualifications that Ellen has is thrilling. She is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company where she was Managing Director. Ellen also has strong successes in supervising the construction of theatres in New York and also in San Francisco at the American Conservatory Theater, a rare and valuable skill set considering the contemplated major remodel and expansion of the Laguna Playhouse.” Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham adds, “We are pleased and proud to have Ellen Richard, truly a rock-star in our field, join us as our interim Executive Director who will help guide the Playhouse during this transition.” Comments Ellen Richard, “I have quickly grown fond of Laguna Beach and the Playhouse. I embrace this extraordinary opportunity to join one of the country’s top regional theatres at this time in its remarkable 95-year history. I look forward to helping the Playhouse and working with their incredible Board of Trustees and Ann E. Wareham.”

ABOUT ELLEN RICHARD

Ellen Richard served as Executive Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco from 2010 through 2015.  During her tenure, Ms. Richard negotiated a deal to buy the Strand Theater in tech corridor of Mid-Market San Francisco, helped raise the $34,000 million to renovate and operate it and steered the design and construction for the project which opened in May of 2015. The complex featured two performance spaces and has won multiple awards.  She opened the 50 seat Costume Shop Theater, a 49-seat “black box” venue used for the company’s Master of Fine Arts students and for shows by other local companies.  Ms. Richard was also credited with expanding the company’s educational efforts, coming up with programs like the San Francisco Semester, which brings undergraduate acting students to ACT from around the world, and Stage Coach, a community theater mobile unit that reaches into diverse neighborhoods

She was also Executive Director of The Second Stage Theatre in New York City. During her tenure at Second Stage, which began in 2006 (through 2009), she was responsible for the purchase contract of the Helen Hayes Theatre, growth in subscription income of 48 percent, and growth in individual giving of 75 percent, as well as conceptualization of a highly successful gala format and “Second Generation,” a giving program through which donors enable deserving New York City youth to experience live theater. Under Ms. Richard’s leadership, Second Stage provided the initial home for the Broadway productions Everyday Rapture, Next to Normal, and The Little Dog Laughed.

From 1983 to 2005, Ms. Richard enjoyed a rich and varied career with Roundabout Theatre Company. The Roundabout that Ms. Richard joined was a small nonprofit theater company in bankruptcy. By the time she departed as Managing Director, Roundabout had become one of the country’s largest and most successful theater companies of its kind, with net assets in excess of $67 million dollars. Ms. Richard is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer, for Roundabout productions of Cabaret (1998), A View from the Bridge (1998), Side Man (1999), Nine (2003), Assassins (2004), and Glengarry Glen Ross (2005). As producer of more than 125 shows at Roundabout, she had direct supervision of all management and marketing functions. She created Roundabout’s “Theatre-PLUS” programs, which include singles, teachers, family, gay and lesbian, wine tasting, and the 7 p.m. “Early Curtain” series, all of which grew to represent more than 10 percent of Roundabout’s 40,000 subscribers.

As director of design and construction at Roundabout, Ms. Richard was responsible for more than $50 million of theater construction for 11 projects. She conceptualized the three permanent Roundabout stages — The Broadway venues of Studio 54 and the American Airlines Theatre, and the Off-Broadway venue The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre She directed the location search for Cabaret and oversaw the creation of the production’s environmental Kit Kat Klub. Prior to her tenure at Roundabout, Ms. Richard served as business manager of Westport Country Playhouse, theater manager for Stamford Center for the Arts, and business manager for Atlas Scenic Studio. She began her career working as a stagehand, sound designer, and scenic artist assistant.

 
Los Angeles Drama Critics Announce Nominations for 2015

The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle (LADCC) has announced its nominations and special awards for excellence in Los Angeles and Orange County theatre for the year 2015 (Dec. 1, 2014 – Nov. 30, 2015). The 47th annual LADCC awards ceremony will take place on Monday, March 14, 2016 at The Ann & Jerry Moss Theater at New Roads School, in the Capshaw-Spielberg Center for Arts and Educational Justice at the Herb Alpert Educational Village, 3131 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica, CA. (There is some onsite parking and ample street parking.) All event tickets are $40, and can be purchased at www.brownpapertickets.com (small service fee applies) or at the door if available. (Purchased tickets will be held at Will Call.) Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for our Silent Auction, hors d’oeuvres, and cash bar. The show will commence at 7:30 p.m. Further information will be found at www.ladramacriticscircle.com. Inquiries to: 2016criticsawards@gmail.com.

 

The awards will be hosted by Jake Broder, accomplished actor, writer, musician, and composer whose original music for Miravel, a play he also wrote and starred in at Sacred Fools Theater, has been nominated as one of the year’s outstanding scores. Broder co-wrote the acclaimed musical bio Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara, and originated the role of “Louis Prima.” Musical director Corey Hirsch, recipient of a 2014 LADCC award for A Man of No Importance and one of the busiest musical directors on the local scene, will appear for the third consecutive year.

The evening’s theme will be “OUR THEATER IS UNIQUE.” We will be mindful of the ways in which the theatrical art in general, and local theater in particular, are like no other art forms.

One or more plaques will be presented in each of 18 categories. Two of those achievements have already been voted plaques. For Writing (Adaptation), Luis Alfaro will be honored for Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles, produced at The Getty Villa by J. Paul Getty Museum and The Theatre @ Boston Court. The McCulloh Award for Revival—for a production of a play originally written between 1920 and 1980—will be presented to Anna Christie, produced by Odyssey Theatre Ensemble at the Odyssey Theatre. In addition, six special awards will also be presented through the sponsorship of organizations to which the LADCC is most grateful.

The LADCC special award recipients are as follows:

The Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence in theatre goes to Deaf West Theater Company. The award is accompanied by an honorarium, sponsor to be announced, and will be presented by Circle member Sharon Perlmutter.

The Ted Schmitt Award for the world premiere of an outstanding new play goes to Qui Nguyen for Vietgone, originally produced by South Coast Repertory. The award is accompanied by an offer to publish by Samuel French, Inc., and will be presented by Circle member and event producer Bob Verini.

The Polly Warfield Award for an excellent season in a small to mid-size theatre goes to International City Theatre. The award is accompanied by an honorarium funded by the Nederlander Organization, and will be presented by Circle member Shirle Gottlieb.

The Kinetic Lighting Award for outstanding achievement in theatrical design goes to projections designer Jason H. Thompson. The award is accompanied by an honorarium funded by Kinetic Lighting, and will be presented by Circle President Margaret Gray.

The Joel Hirschhorn Award for outstanding achievement in musical theatre goes to director-choreographer Janet Miller. The award is accompanied by an honorarium, sponsor to be announced, and will be presented by Circle member David C. Nichols.

The Milton Katselas Award for career or special achievement in direction goes to Michael Matthews. The award is accompanied by an honorarium funded by the Beverly Hills Playhouse, and will be presented by Circle Vice President Jonas Schwartz-Owen.

 

The nominees for the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards for theatrical excellence in 2015 are as follows:

Production

·       André & Dorine, Kulunka Teatro at Los Angeles Theatre Center.

·       Bootycandy, Celebration Theatre at The Lex.

·       Enron, The Production Company at The Lex.

·       Fences, International City Theatre.

·       Hit the Wall, The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center and Sixth Avenue at The Los Angeles       LGBT Center.

·       Luna Gale, Goodman Theatre’s World Premiere Production, Center Theatre Group at Kirk Douglas Theatre.

·       Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum and The Theatre @ Boston Court at Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater at the Getty Villa.

·       The Gospel at Colonus, Ebony Repertory Theatre at Nate Holden Performing Arts Center.

 

McCulloh Award for Revival (plays written between 1920 and 1980)

·       Anna Christie, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble at Odyssey Theatre.

Lead Performance

·       Angela Bullock in Watching O.J., Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA at Atwater Village Theatre Complex.

·       Jason Dechert in Picnic, Antaeus Theatre Company.

·       Mary Beth Fisher in Luna Gale, Goodman Theatre’s World Premiere Production, Center Theatre Group at Kirk Douglas Theatre.

·       Matthew Hancock in Hit the Wall, The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center and Sixth Avenue at The Los Angeles LGBT Center.

·       Ted Heyck in God’s Man in Texas, A Guest Production at The Blank Theatre’s 2nd Stage.

·       Lily Knight in A Small Fire, The Echo Theater Company @ Atwater Village Theatre.

·       Troy Kotsur in American Buffalo, Cal State L.A. Department of Music, Theatre and Dance and Deaf West Theatre at State Playhouse.

·       Emily Lopez in Carrie the Musical, Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman, The Transfer Group, Michael T. Cohen/Robin Reinach, Kraige Block and Joe Everett Michaels, in association with La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts and The Los Angeles Theatre.

·       Zoe Perry in Anna Christie, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble at Odyssey Theatre.

·       Tiffany Royale in The Best of Enemies, The Colony Theatre.

·       Michael A. Shepperd in Fences, International City Theatre.

·       Jimmi Simpson in Trevor, Circle X Theatre Co. at Atwater Village Theatre.

·       Jeff Skowron in Into the Woods, Oregon Shakespeare Festival at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

·       Sabina Zuniga Varela in Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum and The Theatre @ Boston Court at Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater at the Getty Villa.

Featured Performance

·       Richard Fancy in Awake and Sing!, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble at Odyssey Theatre.

·       Charlotte Gulezian in Hit the Wall, The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center and Sixth Avenue at The Los Angeles LGBT Center.

·       Charlie Hofheimer in Bent, Center Theatre Group at Mark Taper Forum.

·       Tracie Lockwood in A Permanent Image, Rogue Machine Theatre at Theatre/Theater.

·       Elyse Mirto in Figaro, A Noise Within.

·       Martin Rayner in Oedipus Machina, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and KOAN at Odyssey Theatre.

·       Bryce Ryness in Matilda the Musical, Royal Shakespeare Company and the Dodgers, Center Theatre Group at Ahmanson Theatre.

·       Michael A. Shepperd in Bootycandy, Celebration Theatre at The Lex.

Ensemble Performance

·       André & Dorine, Kulunka Teatro at Los Angeles Theatre Center.

·       Bootycandy, Celebration Theatre at The Lex.

·       Hit the Wall, The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center and Sixth Avenue at The Los Angeles LGBT Center.

·       Luna Gale, Goodman Theatre’s World Premiere Production, Center Theatre Group at Kirk Douglas Theatre.

·       Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum and The Theatre @ Boston Court at Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater at the Getty Villa.

Solo Performance

 

·       Orson Bean in Safe at Home: An Evening With Orson Bean, Pacific Resident Theatre.

·       Monica Piper in Not That Jewish, Jewish Women’s Theatre at The Braid.

·       John Douglas Thompson in Satchmo at the Waldorf, The Long Wharf Theatre and Shakespeare & Company Production at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

 

Direction

·       Jessica Kubzansky, Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum and The Theatre @ Boston Court at Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater at the Getty Villa.

·       Jaime Robledo, Astro Boy and the God of Comics, Sacred Fools Theatre Company at Sacred Fools Theatre.

·       Kim Rubinstein, Anna Christie, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble at Odyssey Theatre.

·       Ken Sawyer, Hit the Wall, The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center and Sixth Avenue at The Los Angeles LGBT Center.

·       August Viverito, Enron, The Production Company at The Lex.

Writing

·       Rebecca Gilman, Luna Gale, Goodman Theatre’s World Premiere Production, Center Theatre Group at Kirk Douglas Theatre.

·       Nick Jones, Trevor, Circle X Theatre Co. at Atwater Village Theatre.

·       Robert O’Hara, Bootycandy, Celebration Theatre at The Lex.

·       Lucy Prebble, Enron, The Production Company at The Lex.

·       Micah Schraft, A Dog’s House, IAMA Theatre Company at Elephant Theatre.

Writing (Adaptation)

·       Luis Alfaro, Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum and The Theatre @ Boston Court at Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater at the Getty Villa.

Musical Score

·       Stu Barker, Tristan & Yseult, Kneehigh at South Coast Repertory.

·       Jake Broder, Miravel, Sacred Fools Theater Company at Sacred Fools Theater.

·       Tim Minchin, Matilda the Musical, Royal Shakespeare Company and the Dodgers, Center Theatre Group at Ahmanson Theatre.

·       Anna Waronker and Charlotte Coffey, Hit the Wall, The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center and Sixth Avenue at The Los Angeles LGBT Center.

 

Music Direction

·       Stu Barker, Tristan & Yseult, Kneehigh at South Coast Repertory.

·       Brian P. Kennedy, Carrie the Musical, Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman, The Transfer Group, Michael T. Cohen/Robin Reinach, Kraige Block and Joe Everett Michaels, in association with La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts and The Los Angeles Theatre.

·       Abdul Hamid Royal, The Gospel at Colonus, Ebony Repertory Theatre at Nate Holden Performing Arts Center.

·       Julie Wolf, Girlfriend, The Actors Theatre of Louisville Production, Center Theatre Group at Kirk Douglas Theatre.

 

Choreography

·       Christopher Gattelli, Newsies, Disney Theatrical Productions under the direction of Thomas Schumacher at Hollywood Pantages Theatre.

·       Josh Rhodes, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Robyn Goodman, Jill Furman, Stephen Koos, Edward Walson, Venetian Glass Productions, The Araca Group, Carola Productions, Roy Furman, Peter May/Sanford Robertson, James Spry, Eric Schmidt, and Blanket Fort Productions, Center Theatre Group at Ahmanson Theatre.

·       Dana Solimando, Billy Elliot, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts & McCoy Rigby Entertainment at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts.

·       Angela Todaro, American Idiot, DOMA Theatre Company at The MET Theatre.

 

Set Design

·       Tom Buderwitz, The Whipping Man, South Coast Repertory and The Pasadena Playhouse.

·       Mimi Lien, Appropriate, Center Theatre Group at Mark Taper Forum.

·       Don Llewellyn, Fences, International City Theatre.

·       Bill Mitchell, Tristan & Yseult, Kneehigh at South Coast Repertory.

Lighting Design

·       Martin Labrecque, Kurios—Cabinet of Curiosities, Cirque du Soleil at Dodger Stadium.

·       Tom Ontiveros, My Barking Dog, The Theatre @ Boston Court.

·       Matt Richter, Hit the Wall, The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner Cultural Arts Center and Sixth Avenue at The Los Angeles LGBT Center.

·       Malcolm Rippeth, Tristan & Yseult, Kneehigh at South Coast Repertory.

Costume Design

·       Angela Balogh Calin, Figaro, A Noise Within.

·       Jessica Ford, These Paper Bullets!, Geffen Playhouse in association with Atlantic Theater Company presents the Yale Repertory Theatre Production at Geffen Playhouse.

·       Philippe Guillotel, Kurios—Cabinet of Curiosities, Cirque du Soleil at Dodger Stadium.

·       Wade Laboissonniere, Waterfall, The Pasadena Playhouse in association with The 5th Avenue Theatre at The Pasadena Playhouse.

·       William Ivey Long, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Robyn Goodman, Jill Furman, Stephen Koos, Edward Walson, Venetian Glass Productions, The Araca Group, Carola Productions, Roy Furman, Peter May/Sanford Robertson, James Spry, Eric Schmidt, and Blanket Fort Productions, Center Theatre Group at Ahmanson Theatre.

Sound Design

·       Gregory Clarke, Tristan & Yseult, Kneehigh at South Coast Repertory.

·       Bruno Louchouarn, Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum and The Theatre @ Boston Court at Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman Theater at the Getty Villa.

·       Jaime Robledo, Astro Boy and the God of Comics, Sacred Fools Theatre Company at Sacred Fools Theatre.

·       John Zalewski, My Barking Dog, The Theatre @ Boston Court.

 

CGI/Video

·       Anthony Backman and Jim Pierce, Astro Boy and the God of Comics, Sacred Fools Theatre Company at Sacred Fools Theatre.

·       Nicholas Santiago, A Permanent Image, Rogue Machine Theatre at Theatre/Theater.

 

Specialty

·       Gieselle Blair, Figaro, A Noise Within. (Hair, wigs, and makeup)

·       Garbiñe Insausti, André & Dorine, Kulunka Teatro at The Los Angeles Theatre Center. (Masks)

·       Aviva Pressman, Astro Boy and the God of Comics, Sacred Fools Theatre Company at Sacred Fools Theatre. (Live art direction)

·       Jim Steinmeyer, Carrie the Musical, Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman, The Transfer Group, Michael T. Cohen/Robin Reinach, Kraige Block and Joe Everett Michaels, in association with La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts and The Los Angeles Theatre. (Illusion design)

 

 

Every effort has been made to ascertain proper credits for our nominees. We regret any errors or omissions. Any that come to our attention will be corrected on our LADCC website, in the event program, and (when applicable) on a recipient’s awards plaque.

 

The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle was founded in 1969.  It is dedicated to excellence in theatrical criticism, and to the encouragement and improvement of theatre in Greater Los Angeles. The 2015 membership consisted of:

Pauline Adamek, ArtsBeatLA.com, Stage Raw

Paul Birchall, Stage Raw, Stage and Cinema

Shirle Gottlieb, Gazette Newspapers, StageHappenings.com

Margaret Gray, Los Angeles Times

Hoyt Hilsman, The Huffington Post

Deborah Klugman, LA Weekly, ArtsBeatLA.com, Stage Raw

Jenny Lower, Stage Raw, LA Weekly

Jon Magaril, CurtainUp.com

Dany Margolies, ArtsInLA.com, LANG (Los Angeles News Group)

Myron Meisel, Stage Raw

Terry Morgan, TalkinBroadway.com

Steven Leigh Morris, LA Weekly, Stage Raw

David C. Nichols, Los Angeles Times

Sharon Perlmutter, TalkinBroadway.com

Melinda Schupmann, ShowMag.com, ArtsinLA.com

Jonas Schwartz-Owen, Theatermania.com, ArtsinLA.com

Madeleine Shaner, Park La Brea News & Beverly Press

Don Shirley, LA Observed

Les Spindle, Frontiers, EDGE LA

Bob Verini, Variety, ArtsinLA.com, Stage Raw

Neal Weaver, Stage Raw, ArtsinLA.com

 

Citations by production:

Hit the Wall (Los Angeles LGBT Center) 7

Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles (Getty Villa) 6

Tristan & Yseult (South Coast Repertory) 5

Astro Boy and the God of Comics (Sacred Fools) 4

Bootycandy (Celebration Theatre) 4

Luna Gale (Kirk Douglas Theatre) 4

André & Dorine (Los Angeles Theatre Center) 3

Anna Christie (Odyssey Theatre) 3

Carrie the Musical (La Mirada Center for the Performing Arts and Los Angeles Theatre) 3

Enron (The MET Theatre) 3

Fences (International City Theatre) 3

Figaro (A Noise Within) 3

A Permanent Image (Rogue Machine) 2

Kurios—Cabinet of Curiosities (Dodger Stadium) 2

Matilda the Musical (Ahmanson Theatre) 2

My Barking Dog (The Theatre @ Boston Court) 2

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Ahmanson Theatre) 2

The Gospel at Colonus (Nate Holden Performing Arts Center) 2

Trevor (Atwater Village Theatre) 2

A Dog’s House (Elephant Theatre) 1

American Buffalo (Cal State L.A.) 1

American Idiot (MET Theatre) 1

A Small Fire (Echo Theatre) 1

Appropriate (Mark Taper Forum) 1

Awake and Sing! (Odyssey Theatre) 1

Bent (Mark Taper Forum) 1

Billy Elliot (La Mirada Center for the Performing Arts) 1

Girlfriend (Kirk Douglas Theatre) 1

God’s Man in Texas (Blank Theatre) 1

Into the Woods (Wallis Annenberg Center) 1

Miravel (Sacred Fools Theatre) 1

Newsies (Hollywood Pantages) 1

Not That Jewish (The Braid) 1

Oedipus Machina (Odyssey Theatre) 1

Picnic (Antaeus) 1

Safe at Home: An Evening With Orson Bean (Pacific Resident Theatre) 1

Satchmo at the Waldorf (Wallis Annenberg Center) 1

The Best Of Enemies (Colony Theatre) 1

These Paper Bullets! (Geffen Playhouse) 1

The Whipping Man (South Coast Repertory/Pasadena Playhouse) 1

Vietgone (South Coast Repertory) 1—The Ted Schmitt Award

Watching O.J. (Atwater Village Theatre) 1

Waterfall (Pasadena Playhouse) 1