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Winners of 2018 LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards Announced

East West Players and Rubicon Theatre Company took top prizes at this year's ceremony.

Erik Odom, Sharon Sharth, Lily Nicksay, and Clarinda Ross in a scene from Gulf View Drive, winner of Best Production of a Play (Large Theatre) at the 2018 LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards.
(© Jeanne Tanner)

Rubicon Theatre Company's Gulf View Drive and East West Players' Next to Normal took top prizes last night — Best Production of a Play (Large Theater) and Best Production of a Musical (Large Theater), respectively — at LA Stage Alliance's 2018 Ovation Awards.

Honoring theatrical excellence and achievement in Los Angeles, the awards were presented at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown L.A. In all, 35 awards were given to 19 different Southern California theater companies, with the Geffen Playhouse (The Legend of Georgia McBride, Actually), East West Players (Next to Normal), and Actors Co-op (33 Variations) among the top-awarded companies.

The ceremony was hosted by Criminal Minds star Kirsten Vangsness, and this year's presenters included Malcolm Barrett, Alexandra Billings, Nathan Birnbaum, Melody Butiu, Crystal Diaz, Sheldon Epps, Larissa Fasthorse, Sam Harris, Russell Hornsby, Diarra Kilpatrick, Justin Kirk, Reggie Lee, Pam MacKinnon, Kelly Miller, Mitch O'Farrell, Rose Portillo, Armin Shimerman, J.K. Simmons, Miranda Wright, and Zakiya Young. Musical numbers were performed by Alexandra Billings, Melody Butiu, and Zakiya Young.

The complete list of winners is as follows:

Best Season
Rogue Machine

Best Production of a Play (Intimate Theatre)
33 Variations
Actors Co-op

Best Production of a Play (Large Theatre)
Gulf View Drive
Rubicon Theatre Company

Best Production of a Musical (Intimate Theatre)
When Jazz Had the Blues
CEK Productions

Best Production of a Musical (Large Theatre)
Next to Normal
East West Players

Best Presented Production
The Encounter
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Acting Ensemble of a Play
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Center Theater Group

Acting Ensemble of a Musical
Five Guys Named Moe
Ebony Repertory Theatre

Choreography
Paul McGill, The Legend of Georgia McBride
Geffen Playhouse

Music Direction
Jesse Vargas, For the Record: Scorcese - American Crime Requiem
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Book for an Original Musical
Carole Kosoff, When Jazz Had the Blues
CEK Productions

Lyrics/Composition for an Original Musical
Michael Shaw Fisher, Skullduggery: The Musical Prequel to Hamlet
Sacred Fools Theater Company

Playwriting for an Original Play
Anna Ziegler, Actually
Geffen Playhouse

Direction of a Musical
Nancy Keystone, Next to Normal
East West Players

Direction of a Play
Thomas James O'Leary, 33 Variations
Actors Co-op

Lead Actor in a Musical
B. Slade as Stacks, For the Record: Scorcese - American Crime Requiem
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Lead Actress in a Musical
Deedee Magno Hall as Diana, Next to Normal
East West Players

Lead Actor in a Play
Harry Groener as Big Daddy, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Antaeus Theatre Company

Lead Actress in a Play
Debra Jo Rupp as Della, The Cake
The Echo Theater Company

Featured Actor in a Musical
Rogelio Douglas Jr. as Four Eyed Moe, Five Guys Named Moe
Ebony Repertory Theatre

Featured Actress in a Musical
Isa Briones as Natalie, Next to Normal
East West Players

Featured Actor in a Play
Adolphus Ward as Stool Pigeon, August Wilson's King Hedley II
Sophina Brown

Featured Actress in a Play
Ella Joyce as Ruby, August Wilson's King Hedley II
Sophina Brown

Lighting Design (Intimate Theatre)
Andrew Schmedake, 33 Variations
Actors Co-op

Lighting Design (Large Theatre)
Josh Epstein, The Legend of Georgia McBride
Geffen Playhouse

Scenic Design (Intimate Theatre)
Nicholas Acciani, 33 Variations
Actors Co-op

Scenic Design (Large Theatre)
Tim Mackabee, Archduke
Center Theatre Group

Sound Design (Intimate Theatre)
Joseph Slawinski, Burners
Moving Arts

Sound Design (LargeTheatre)
Jeff Gardner, Dry Land
Center Theatre Group/The Echo Theatre Company

Costume Design (Intimate Theatre)
Michael Mullen, Siamese Sex Show
Theatre Planners

Costume Design (LargeTheatre)
E.B. Brooks, The Legend of Georgia McBride
Geffen Playhouse

Video/Projection Design
Corwin Evans, Plasticity
SoulArt

Ovation Honor for Music Composition for a Play
Noah Agruss, Bars and Measures
The Theatre @ Boston Court

Ovation Honor for Fight Choreography
Ahmed Best, Blueberry Toast
The Echo Theater Company

Ovation Honor for Puppet Design
Joe Seely, Wicked Lit 2016
Unbound Productions

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