Nominees have been announced for this year's Helen Hayes Awards, which honor the work of theater artists in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area — and a few surprising names are absent from the list.
In 2013 D.C. theaters boasted several headlining stars who were bested by less conspicuous performers. Academy Award winner Estelle Parsons (Bonnie and Clyde) and two-time Tony winner Stephen Spinella (Angels in America), both of whom starred in the Arena Stage production of Eric Coble's The Velocity of Autumn, were omitted from this year's list of nominees. Because the play's Broadway future was not set at the time of the D.C. production, the two actors were eligible in the performance categories for resident plays (as opposed to the categories slated for visiting productions). The play itself was passed over as well. Parsons and Spinella will reprise their performances at Broadway's Booth Theatre beginning April 1.
Also overlooked in the performance categories were Academy Award winner and Broadway alum Christine Lahti (God of Carnage) for her D.C. theater debut in Pride in the Falls of Autrey Mill at Signature Theatre, Cosby Show star Malcolm-Jamal Warner for his performance in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner at Arena Stage, and Richard Schiff (The West Wing) for his featured role in Eugene O'Neill's Hughie at Shakespeare Theatre Company. Broadway veteran Patrick Page (A Time to Kill) did, however, receive a nod for his performance in Coriolanus at Shakespeare Theatre Company.
David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross at the Round House Theatre and Stephen Sondheim's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at Shakespeare Theatre Company were two of the highest-scoring productions of the season, each earning seven nominations. Hello, Dolly! at Ford's Theatre followed close behind with six nominations, tying with the touring production of The Book of Mormon, which led the pack in the visiting-productions categories.
If/Then, written by Tony-winning team Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal) and starring Tony Award winner Idina Menzel (Wicked), had its pre-Broadway tryout at D.C.'s National Theatre this past fall, but was not eligible for awards as a visiting production. The Broadway mounting is set to begin performances at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on March 5.