Presenter Joan Van Ark
Presenter Joan Van Ark
Reefer Madness was the big hit at the 31st annual Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards, taking the most (seven) of the awards presented in a festive ceremony on March 20 in the historic Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The Reefer group has become skilled at yelling whenever the musical's name is mentioned at awards ceremonies.

Divine intervention prevented host Maripat Donovan of Late Nite Catechism from attending as the fog descended in Denver, causing all flights from that city to be canceled; her alternate, Jane Morris, filled in and wowed the record crowd of 360. Presenters included Jane Carr, Joan van Ark, James and Nancy Gammon, Kathleen Garrett, and Barbara Perry. Entertainers included Heather Lee and Teri Ralston.

Jane Morris gets in the habit
Jane Morris gets in the habit
"This is our most successful Awards event ever," said LADCC President and TheaterMania Regional Editor Debbi K. Swanson. "We sold out, created two new special awards, and are thrilled with the two new sponsorships we received this year: TheaterMania for the event, and the National Repertory Theatre Foundation for our prestigious Margaret Harford Award. I think it's also very significant that smaller theaters have made such an impact in Los Angeles over the past few years, as evidenced this year by the fact that only seven nominations went to shows produced in larger venues. No one can dispute that L.A. is a true theater town."

Awards were presented to the following for excellence in theater in Los Angeles and Orange counties:

PRODUCTION:
The Cherry Orchard, Interact Theatre
Reefer Madness, Dead Old Man Productions at the Hudson Backstage Theatre

DIRECTION:
David Emmes, The Philanderer, South Coast Repertory Theatre
Andy Fickman, Reefer Madness
Matt Walker, Twelfth Dog Night, Falcon Theater

MUSICAL DIRECTION:
Nathan Wang and Dave Manning, Reefer Madness
Dan Wheetman, It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues, Geffen Playhouse

WRITING:
Laural Meade, Harry Thaw Hates Everybody, Los Angeles Theatre Center

MUSICAL SCORE:
Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney (lyrics & music), Reefer Madness

LEAD PERFORMANCE:
Pedro Balmaceda, Orphans, International City Theatre
Christian Campbell, Reefer Madness
Julia Campbell, Bitter Women, The Cast Theatre
Carolee Carmello, Bells Are Ringing, Reprise! at UCLA
Valerie Dillman, Lulu, Pacific Resident Theatre
Maripat Donovan, Late Night Catechism, Henry Fonda and Upstairs at the Coronet
Tracy Middendorf, Summer and Smoke, Fountain Theatre
Douglas Weston, The Philanderer, South Coast Repertory

FEATURED PERFORMANCE:
Jim J. Bullock, When Pigs Fly, Coronet Theatre
Francois Giroday, The Cherry Orchard, Interact Theatre
Blake Hammond, When Pigs Fly
Sara Zinsser, Bitter Women

SCENIC DESIGN:
Roy Christopher, Light Up The Sky, Pasadena Playhouse
Victoria Profitt, The Swan, Pacific Resident Theatre

LIGHTING DESIGN:
David Flad, The Angels of Lemnos, The Road Theatre
Kris Sandheinrich, Broadway, Actors' Gang

COSTUME DESIGN:
The late Howard Crabtree, When Pigs Fly, Coronet Theatre

SOUND DESIGN:
Jon Gottlieb and Phillip G. Allen, Cinderella, The Ahmanson
Chet Towle, Reefer Madness

CHOREOGRAPHY:
Matthew Bourne, Cinderella
Michael Goorjian, Reefer Madness

THE TED SCHMITT AWARD:
To Paul Mullin, Louis Slotin Sonata, Circle X Theatre at the Hollywood Court for the world premiere of an outstanding new play (award funded by A.S.K. Theatre Projects)

THE ANGSTROM AWARD:
To Michael Gilliam, for lifetime achievement in stage lighting (award funded by Angstrom Lighting)

BOB Z AWARD:
To Victoria Profitt for lifetime achievement in set design (award funded by the Fountain Theatre)

THE MARGARET HARFORD AWARD:
To The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum for sustained excellence in the theater (award funded by the National Repertory Theatre Foundation)

THE NATALIE SCHAFER AWARD:
To Audrey Rapoport for emerging comic actress (award funded by the Natalie Schafer Trust)

THE POLLY WARFIELD AWARD (new this year):
To Pacific Resident Theatre for an excellent season in a small to mid-size theater (award funded by TheaterMania.com)

THE RON LINK AWARD (new this year):
To Ron Sossi for consistent quality in directing (award funded by the LADCC)