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Third Annual Stage Raw Theater Awards

A Report, and the Winners

PHOTOS FROM THE AWARDS ARE NOW UP

 

Vanessa Stewart and French Stewart (Photo by Tim Norris)

With co-host French Stewart playing resident anarchist, presenting all of the awards by first belittling each award category with ribald humor and interjecting some scatological jokes, his co-host/wife Vanessa Stewart played “straight man” at the Third Annual Stage Raw Awards Monday night at LATC. She often gazed at him incredulously in an Abbott and Costello routine, in an event that was equal parts mockery, rage and spirituality.

The glitches – no script at the podium at the top of the show, and other script snafus – were gracefully covered by the Stewarts’ often-improvised stand-up routines.  

The show, celebrating the best work of 2016 in theaters of 99-seats or less, was billed as a “wake” — for so many benefits lost in 2016, artistically and politically, setting the stage for possible remedies to come.

Hence, the almost anti-celebratory opening number, Stephen Foster’s “Hard Times (Come Again No More)” beautifully rendered by the Stewarts, and joined by a chorus (Monica Greene, Gregory Guy Gorden, Erin Holt, Amir Levi, Cj Merriman, and Andrew Joseph Perez) assembled by director Jaime Robledo.

In a similarly haunting tone, Claire Rifelj crooned Paul Simon’s aching “American Tune,” accompanied by No Static Trio + and dancer (Merriman).

But there was also raucousness – French Stewart bouncing as though on a pogo stick while singing “Just a Gigolo” backed up by Vanessa Stewart and yielding in verses to a saxophone and trumpet. Vanessa Stewart also sung her own triumphant rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s “I’m Still Here” – in the wake of an unsuccessful role as a plaintiff in a lawsuit against her stage union, and a torturous national election.

Alan Mandell performed a brief softshoe upon receiving the Most Promising Actor Award. (Mandell is about to turn 90.)

Publicist Jerry Charlson accepted his Queen of the Angels award from a wheelchair in the back of the hall, while the Lifetime Achievement Award went to the Victory Theatre Center’s Maria Gobetti and Tom Ormeny

The complete winners list is as follows:

 

FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY

Ahmed Best, BLUEBERRY TOAST (Echo Theater Company)

 

The Mandell softshoe — backed up by the emsemble (Photo by Tim Norris)

 

VIDEO/PROJECTION DESIGN

Matthew Hill, HANSEL AND GRETEL BLUEGRASS (24th Street Theatre)

 

SOUND DESIGN

John Farmanesh-Bocca & Adam Phalen, TEMPEST REDUX (Odyssey Theatre Ensemble)

 

LIGHTING DESIGN

Bosco Flanagan, TEMPEST REDUX (Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and New American Theatre)

 

COSTUME DESIGN

Jeffrey Schoenberg, CLOUD 9 (Antaeus Theatre Company)

 

ORIGINAL MUSIC

Noah Agruss, BARS AND MEASURES (The Theatre @ Boston Court)

 

CHOREOGRAPHY

Sophie Bortolussi, THE DAY SHALL DECLARE IT (Wilderness)

 

Claire Riflej sings “American Tune”, accompanied by No Statio Trio +. Music director Luis Reyes standing. (Photo by Tim Norris)

 

MUSICAL DIRECTION — TIE

Noah Agruss, BARS AND MEASURES (The Theatre @ Boston Court)

Bryan Blaskie, THE BOY FROM OZ (Celebration Theatre)

 

SET DESIGN

Nina Caussa, THE DAY SHALL DECLARE IT (Wilderness)

 

SOLO PERFORMANCE  — TIE    

Stacie Chaiken, THE DIG (Los Angeles Theatre Center

Pat Kinevane, UNDERNEATH (Odyssey Theatre Ensemble)      

 

TWO PERSON PERFORMANCE

Corey Dorris & Josh Zuckerman, DUTCH MASTERS (Rogue Machine Theatre)

 

MUSICAL PERFORMANCE  


Andrew Bongiorno, THE BOY FROM OZ (Celebration Theatre)    

 

SUPPORTING MALE PERFORMANCE

Tony Amendola, HEDDA GABLER (Antaeus Theatre Company)

 

MALE COMEDY PERFORMANCE                   

Bo Foxworth, CLOUD 9 (Antaeus Theatre Company)               

 

LEADING MALE PERFORMANCE

Matthew Elkins, POCATELLO (Rogue Machine Theatre)    

 

FEMALE COMEDY PERFORMANCE  — TIE  

Rebecca Gray, ONE OF THE NICE ONES (Echo Theater Company)    


Jacqueline Wright, BLUEBERRY TOAST (Echo Theater Company)

 

SUPPORTING FEMALE PERFORMANCE

Hannah Prichard, A SINGULAR THEY (The Blank Theatre)        

 

LEADING FEMALE PERFORMANCE                                        

Kate Morgan Chadwick, BED (Echo Theater Company)

 

ADAPTATION

John Farmanesh-Bocca, TEMPEST REDUX (Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and New American Theatre)

 

PLAYWRITING

Will Arbery, THE MONGOOSE (The Road Theatre)

 

PRODUCTION DESIGN

THE DAY SHALL DECLARE IT (Wilderness)

 

COMEDY ENSEMBLE

BLUEBERRY TOAST (Echo Theater Company)

 

ENSEMBLE

AMERYKA (Critical Mass Performance Group)

 

COMEDY DIRECTION                      

Dustin Wills, BLUEBERRY TOAST (Echo Theater Company)       

 

DIRECTION

John Farmanesh-Bocca, TEMPEST REDUX (Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and New American Theatre)   

 

MUSICAL OF THE YEAR

THE BOY FROM OZ (Celebration Theatre)

 

REVIVAL OF THE YEAR

CLOUD 9 (Antaeus Theatre Company)

 

PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR

AMERYKA (Critical Mass Performance Group)

 

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