Elsa Wolthausen
Elsa Wolthausen
If the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards are the most prestigious of the local theater honors, the L.A. Weekly Awards are known for their irreverent joy.

The L.A. Weekly Theater Awards honor productions in houses of 99 seats or less. This year's 21st annual ceremony was appropriately held at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, where the bathrooms are located in the former bank's former vault. (Some of the locking mechanisms are still in the wall to remind you....)

The lovable theater and TV veteran Charlotte Rae and the wildly funny Chris Wells co-hosted the evening, which featured ties in several categories. But a good portion of the night's entertainment was offered in the lobby. The bar was open, and people streamed out of the theater to get their suds or their juice of the grape (once they'd received their awards, of course) and to log onto TheaterMania to type in their comments. Performers love to perform, whether on stage or screen or computer screen. And anyone who had a production coming up or a new space to promote was handing out postcards and press releases to those willing to accept them.

Polly Warfield
Polly Warfield
The eclectic group of presenters and performers had people talking in the lobby. Avery Schreiber--now, there's a blast from the past! Do you remember his comedic partner in crime? Once the partner of George Carlin, as a matter of fact? Okay, enough hints: Jack Burns. Burns & Schreiber, remember?

Michael Learned--who recently appeared in What the Butler Saw at A Noise Within--presented Ellen Geer with the Career Achievement Award. John Spencer--from the best show on TV, The West Wing--chatted with lots of folks. The one and only Sally Kirkland was there, too.

Now, if this city would just do something about the disgusting parking facilities on Spring Street. Come on L.A.! While the Disney Hall and new cathedral are under construction, pay attention to caring for our existing cultural centers. Will you?

Following is a list of the nominees and winners in each category, with comments by some of the happy winners:

***********************************************

PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR:
The Greeks, Odyssey Theater Ensemble
Harry Thaw Hates Everybody, Indecent Exposure Theater Co. at L.A. Theater Center
No Orchids for Miss Blandish, Evidence Room at the Ivy Substation
Resa Fantastiskt Mystisk, Burglars of Hamm/Ghost Road Company at Theater of NOTE

And the winner is...
The Greeks

Comments:
Ron Sossi: "It's so terrific to be honored for a centuries old series of Greek dramas, running for six hours. It speaks to the growing enthusiasm and sophistication of an audience that is quickly becoming the aficionados the country's most exciting theatre scene."

***********************************************

REVIVAL PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR (OF A 20TH-CENTURY WORK):
The Adding Machine, Sacred Fools Theater Company at the Heliotrope Theater
Dutchman, Authentic Company at Theater at the Improv
The Illusion, Namaste Theater Company at the Actors' Gang Theater
Terminal, Non-Prophet Hatching Company at Theatre/Theater

And the winner is...
The Adding Machine

Comments:
Keller: "Sacred Fools was lucky enough to be asked to co-host the awards with LA Weekly this year, leaving me and the rest of the company far too busy to conceive of actually winning. Thanks so much to everyone, cast and crew, and especially to my wife. I wish Danielle was here..."

***********************************************

MUSICAL OF THE YEAR:
How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Colony Studio Theater
Marry Me a Little, Celebration Theater
Medea: The Musical!, Hudson Mainstage Theater
Reefer Madness!, Hudson Backstage Theater
Too Old for the Chorus, Celebration Theater

And the winner is...
Medea: The Musical! (Jon Zimmerman/John Fisher)

Comments:
Zimmerman: "It was a wonderful honor to win this award. I'd like to thank John Fisher, the writer, and the cast and crew. Now, it's on to New York."

Fisher: "What he said!"

***********************************************

LEADING FEMALE PERFORMANCE:
Michele Farr, The Cherry Orchard, Interact Theater Company
Ames Ingham, No Orchids for Miss Blandish, Evidence Room at the Ivy Substation
Bernadette Sullivan, Scenes From an Execution, Zoo District

And the winner is...
Bernadette Sullivan

Comments:
Sullivan: "Zoo district is an amazingly supportive family... and fertile, too. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. To papa Art, artist and guide. I feel truly blessed."

***********************************************

LEADING MALE PERFORMANCE:
Loren Bass, Othello, Pasadena Shakespeare Company
Leland Crooke, 900 Oneonta, Odyssey Theater Ensemble
Richard Fancy, The Master Builder, Pacific Resident Theater
Craig Mathers, The Adding Machine, Sacred Fools at the Heliotrope Theater

And the winner is...
Loren Bass

Comments:
Bass: "Since arriving in this town, people in the industry have warned me that doing too much Shakespeare in not a good thing for one's career. So I guess actually winning an award for doing Shakespeare probably means I'll never work in this town again. I'm glad to go out on a high note."

***********************************************


SUPPORTING FEMALE PERFORMANCE:
Beth Hogan, The Greeks, Odyssey Theater Ensemble
Juanita Jennings, Ninth Wave, Black Artists' Network Dev. Inc. at the Lillian Theater
Mimi Lieber, The Greeks, Odyssey Theater Ensemble
Joan Maurer, My Sister in This House, Hole Brain Prod. at McCadden Place
Marilyn McIntyre, The Cherry Orchard, Interact Theater Company

And the winner is...
Beth Hogan

***********************************************

SUPPORTING MALE PERFORMANCE:
Jon Cryer, 900 Oneonta, Odyssey Theater Ensemble
Jeff Goldman, The Adding Machine, Sacred Fools at the Heliotrope Theater
Jay Karnes, The Cherry Orchard, Interact Theater Company

And the winner is:
Jon Cryer

***********************************************

COMEDY PERFORMANCE, MALE:
Nicholas Gilhool, Medea: The Musical!, Hudson Mainstage Theater
Daniel J. Parker, Harry Thaw..., Indecent Exposure at L.A. Theater Center
F. William Parker, Van Gogh's Ear, Fremont Center Theater
Bob Simon, The Rocky Horror Show, Tiffany Theater
Chris Wells, Harry Thaw..., Indecent Exposure at L.A. Theater Center

And the winner is...
Nicholas Gilhool / Chris Wells

Comments:
Gilhool: "How cool is this. I won an award! Thank you. I'm writing this with my own hands. I won an award, did I mention that. Thank you to the people who gave it to me. And to all the people who've helped me along the way. Yea!"

Wells: "I am so proud and pleasantly surprised to be the recipient of the LA Weekly Award. Harry Thaw... is an awesome piece of theatre, and it was a thrill to be a part of it every night. Thanks to LA weekly and most especially to Laural Meade, the writer and director. Kick ass, L.A. theatre!"

***********************************************

COMEDY PERFORMANCE, FEMALE:
Anneh B. Gabriel, Harry Thaw..., Indecent Exposure at L.A Theater Center
Rebecca O'Brien, Grantwritings, Theater Neo at Hudson Avenue Theater
Kimberly Rae, Grantwritings, Theater Neo at Hudson Avenue Theater
Ann Randolph, Eight Ways To Meet Your Neighbor, Buzzworks/Tamarind
Susan Rubin, Harry Thaw..., Indecent Exposure at L.A. Theater Center
Elsa Wolthausen, Medea, the Musical!, Hudson Mainstage Theater

And the winner is...
Elsa Wolthausen

Comments:
Wolthausen: "i am so happy. i want to call my boyfriend. putting this show up took a lot of work and a lot of energy. it's nice to know somebody liked it. thanks to mom and dad for all of their amazing loving support. xxoooxoxox"

***********************************************

ONE-ACT PERFORMANCE, MALE:
Jeff Boland, Bible Stories, Celebration Theater
Brian Cox, St. Nicholas, Matrix Theater
Steve White, Dutchman, Authentic Company at the Theater at the Improv

And the winner is...
Steve White

Comments:
White: "Thank you world and L.A. Weekly for this wonderful award. If you are not familiar with the play Dutchman, go out and get it. It's a wonderful play and withstands time. Thank you Leroi Jones for the words and thank you Larry Moss for the Lift. Peace out Steve White."

***********************************************

ONE-ACT PERFORMANCE, FEMALE:
Shannon O'Hurley, Show and Tell, Circle X Theater Company at Stages Theater
April White, Dutchman, Authentic Company at the Theater at the Improv
Marian Woods, Bible Stories, Celebration Theater

And the winner is...
April White

Comments:
White: "Thank you all at the LA Weekly for the support for Dutchman. To Steve White and Bjorn Johnson for the support and love that you brought to my life in forming a Triad as we white knuckled such courageous words by Amiri Baraka, and reminding me that I could when I felt I couldn't. For teaching me the dark places that lived deep in Lula were safe to bring forth in your presence."

***********************************************


PLAYWRITING:
John Fisher, Medea: The Musical!, Hudson Mainstage Theater
Larry Dean Harris, Bible Stories, Celebration Theater
Wendy Kesselman, My Sister in This House, Hole Brain Prod.
Tom Scanlon, The Superhumans, Moving Arts
Wesley Walker, The Conception, Oxblood Theater Company
John Fisher, Louis Slotin Sonata, Circle X Theater Company

And the winner is...
John Fisher

Comments:
Fisher: "It's totally great that this award has a cash component. And a very nice plaque. Charles Ludlam said, 'If you're going to tell the truth, you'd better make them laugh.' I don't know if we told the truth or made them laugh, but he was a great man and I love him. Thank you to Elsa Wolthausen, Jane Paik, Jon Zimmerman, Nicholas Gilhool, Reagan Vasher, Angie Lele, and, as always, Michael Sherrod Flores. And thanks to the wonderful, fabulous LA Weekly."

***********************************************

ONE-ACT PLAYWRITING:
Beth Bigler, Boy, Blank Theater Company at the 2nd Stage
Alyson Croft, Cellophane City, Blue Sphere Alliance at the Lex Theater
Sandra Tsing Loh, Aliens in America, Tiffany Theater
Sharon Yablon, The First Good Day, Oxblood Theater Company at Glaxa Studios

And the winner is...
Alyson Croft

Comments:
Croft: "Thank you Anthony Barnao for taking the chance on a first time writer. To quote the late Margaret Sanger, 'It is a woman's duty to stare the world in the face with a go to hell look in her eye, to speak and act in defiance of convention.' These are words my characters, also myself, try to live by. Peace."

***********************************************

DIRECTION:
Michael Arabian, Streamers, Hudson Backstage Theater
Bart DeLorenzo, No Orchids for Miss Blandish, Evidence Room at the Ivy Substation
Lauren Hollingsworth, The Adding Machine, Sacred Fools Theater Company at the Heliotrope Theater
Scott Rabinowitz, Burning Chrome, Sacred Fools at the Heliotrope Theater
Wesley Walker, The Conception, Oxblood Theater Company at Glaxa Studios

And the winner is...
Bart DeLorenzo/Wesley Walker

Comments:
DeLorenzo: "I'd like to thank you, especially the LA Weekly, for transforming the profile of my company over the past couple of years. Our theater almost folded and I feel that the LA Weekly was a major force in keeping us alive. And I'd of course like to thank the most rocking company in LA, the Evidence Room.

Walker: "Thank you so very much. We at Oxblood are tremendously grateful for the LA Weekly's support. We want L.A. theater to give other theater hubs a run for the money."

***********************************************

COMEDY DIRECTION:
Matt Almos, The Superhumans, Moving Arts
Patrick Murphy, Exit the King, Actors' Gang
Alexander Yannis Stephano, Want's Unwished Work, Sacred Fools at Heliotrope Theater
Rainn Wilson, The New Bozena, Hudson Mainstage Theater

And the winner is...
Rainn Wilson

Comments:
Wilson: "This is so awesome. I won an award and now, about eight minutes later, I'm on the internet. I want to thank the internet. I want to thank Arnold Palmer for creating such a terrific beverage. But most of all I want to thank Chad Lowe."

***********************************************

ONE-ACT DIRECTION:
Jessica Kubzansky, Boy, Blank Theater Company at the 2nd Stage
Bjørn Johnson, Dutchman, Authentic Company at the Theater at the Improv
Bill Penton, Renaissance Geek, Gascon Center Theater/Zephyr Theater

And the winner is...
Bjørn Johnson

Comments:
Johnson: "I'm thrilled that a play by Leroy Jones, 35 years later, is recognized by the LA Weekly. I'm also so psyched that this thing grew the way it did. It started out as a labor of love, growing out of our class with Larry Moss, an incredible teacher and coach and inspiration. We started working on it just for our artistic growth, and then soon realized that we HAD to do it for the public. The other incredible experience was doing the show for students from inner-city high schools who were brought to the show through the generosity of the Magic Johnson Foundation."

***********************************************

ENSEMBLE:
The Conception, Oxblood Theater Company at Glaxa Studios
The House of Bernarda Alba, Deaf West Theater Company at the Ventura Court Theater
The Illusion, Namaste Theater Company at the Actors' Gang Theater
The Rocky Horror Show, Tiffany Theater
Terminal, Non-Prophet Hatching Company at Theatre/Theater

And the winner is...
Deaf West Theater Company

***********************************************

COMEDY ENSEMBLE:
Eight Ways To Meet Your Neighbor, Buzzworks at the Tamarind Theater
Kabbalah, Blue Sphere Alliance at the Lex Theater
The New Bozena, Hudson Mainstage Theater
The Superhumans, Moving Arts
Want's Unwished Work, Sacred Fools at the Heliotrope Theater

And the winner is...
Eight Ways To Meet Your Neighbor, Buzzworks

Comments:
Andrea Beutner: "Our theater company is based in Minnesota and it feels great to be so accepted here in L.A. Thank you LA Weekly!"

Kevin McCauley: "Thanks to my parents, Tim and Amy!"

Ann Randolph: "Thanks to my mom and dad! Also, to Kevin McCauley's great writing!"

***********************************************

SOLO PERFORMANCE:
Steven Berkoff, Shakespeare's Villains, Odyssey Theater
Louis Mustillo, Bartenders, Theatre/ Theater
Paul Stroili, Renaissance Geek, Gascon Center Theater/Zephyr Theater

And the winner is...
Steven Berkoff

***********************************************


PRODUCTION DESIGN:
Burning Chrome, Sacred Fools Theater Company at the Heliotrope Theater
The Living, Colony Studio Theater
Reefer Madness!, Hudson Backstage Theater
Tagteam Lovefest 2000, Actors' Gang

And the winner is...
Reefer Madness!

Comments:
Andy Fickman/Dick Magnanti/John David Paul/Jason Grandpre/Chet Towle: "We want to thank everyone who spent all those hours bringing our visions to reality, for without them nothing from thin air would become real. To the crew--we love you!!!"

***********************************************

COSTUME DESIGN:
M.E. Dunn, Want's Unwished Work, Sacred Fools at the Heliotrope Theater
Audrey Eisner, The Swan, Pacific Resident Theater
Todd Oldham, The Rocky Horror Show, Tiffany Theater
Robert A. Prior/Teresa Shea, Voluptuous Madness, Fabulous Monsters at Highways
Salvatore Salamone, Tagteam Lovefest 2000, Actors' Gang
A. Jeffrey Schoenberg, The Living, Colony Studio Theater
Kharen Zeunert, The Illusion, Namaste Theater Company at the Actors' Gang Theater

And the winner is...
Robert A. Prior/Teresa Shea

Comments:
Shea: "Mounds of thanks to LA Weekly for their support of all of us Fabulous Monsters! This award goes to all who made Voluptuous Madness happen."

***********************************************

LIGHTING DESIGN:
Ken Booth, The Rocky Horror Show, Tiffany Theater
Aaron Francis/Norman Gilmore, Burning Chrome, Sacred Fools at Heliotrope Theater
Matthew O. O'Donnell, The Living, Colony Studio Theater
David Robkin, Will Strip for Food, Glaxa Studios/Tamarind Theater
Rand Ryan, The House of Bernarda Alba, Deaf West at Ventura Court Theater
Ron Scarborough, The Conception, Oxblood Theater Company at Glaxa Studios
John Zamora, My Sister in This House, Hole Brain Prod. at McCadden Place

And the winner is...
Ron Scarborough

Comments:
Scarborough: "Thanks to the LA Weekly for bringing the L.A. theatrical community together. And to my very good friend Paul Mackley and his Wolfskill Theater. And to my latest friends, the Oxblood Ensemble."

***********************************************

SET DESIGN:
Jason Adams, Flow My Tears..., Evidence Room at the Ivy Substation
David Ledger, My Sister in This House, Hole Brain at McCadden Place Theater
Robert A. Prior, A Fairy Tale, Actors' Gang
Douglas Ridgeway, Properties of Silence, About Productions at 2100 Square Feet
Kris Sandheinrich, The Illusion, Namaste Theater Co. at Actors' Gang Theater

And the winner is...
Robert A. Prior

Comments:
Prior: "It's a great party. I'm very grateful to the Weekly and to everyone I collaborated with this year. Thank you."

***********************************************

MAKEUP:
Circle X Theater Company, Louis Slotin Sonata
Colony Studio Theater, The Living
Marie Del Prete, Ugly's First World, Actors' Gang
Sacred Fools Theater Company, The Adding Machine

And the winner is...
Marie Del Prete

***********************************************

SOUND DESIGN:
Erik Bleuer/Sera Gamblek, Will Strip for Food, Glaxa Studios/Tamarind Theater
Ruth Judkowitz, The Living, Colony Studio Theater
Peter Stenshoel, Dutchman, Authentic Company at the Theater at the Improv
John Zalewski, Flow My Tears..., Evidence Room at Ivy Substation
John Zalewski, No Orchids for Miss Blandish, Evidence Room at Ivy Substation
Brian Benison, The Superhumans, Moving Arts
Steve Goodie, The Memorandum, Odyssey Theater Ensemble

And the winner is...
John Zalewski

***********************************************

ORIGINAL MUSIC:
Golden State Klezmers, Kabbalah, Blue Sphere Alliance at the Lex Theater
Julie Adler, Properties of Silence, About Productions at 2100 Square Feet
Jef Bek, Scenes From an Execution, Zoo District
Steve Jankowski, My Sister in This House, Hole Brain at McCadden Place
Simon Hugi/Theo Welch, Voluptuous Madness, Fabulous Monsters at Highways

And the winner is...
Jef Bek/Golden State Klezmers

Comments:
Bek: "Thank you so much to the L.A. Weekly and Steven Leigh Morris, Zoo District. Hey, invite me to more of these parties: jefbek@mindspring.com. Thanks!!"

Golden State Klezmers: "It was a pleasure playing music for such a talented cast. We would like to thank our director Stuart Gordon for giving us the opportunity to participate."

***********************************************

CAREER ACHIEVEMENT:
Ellen Geer

***********************************************

QUEEN OF THE ANGELS AWARD:
Polly Warfield

Comments:
Warfield: "Queen of the Angels! How about that? For one who has never been Queen of the May, it is pretty overwhelming, and I am grateful, thrilled and touched. It's rather amazing to be so richly honored for doing something one loves to do. A theater maniac--I suppose that's what you could call me. It's a wonderful evening here at Los Angeles Theatre Center and, as usual, L.A. Weekly has done itself proud."