The Winners at the 29th Annual LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards


The 29th Annual LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards were presented on Monday, January 28, 2019, at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles where 36 awards were bestowed on theater productions, producers, directors, artists, and technicians.

Sixteen different Southern California theatre companies won thirty-six awards, including the Center Theatre Group for "Soft Power", Rogue Artists Ensemble and East West Players for "Kaidan Project: Walls Grow Thin," the Bootleg Theatre for "Theater Movement Bazaar's Grail Project," the Geffen Playhouse for "Ironbound," "Sell/Buy/Date," and "Skeleton Crew," the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts for "South Pacific" and "Ain't Misbehavin'," the Celebration Theatre  for "Priscilla Queen of the Desert,"  and  The Echo Theater Company  for "Cry it Out." A Noise Within received the Best Season Award  for "A Raisin in the Sun," "A Tale of Two Cities," "Henry V," "Mrs. Warren's Profession," "Noises Off," "The Madwoman of Chaillot."

Members of The Kilroys, hosts of the 29th Annual LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, Monday, January 28, 2019. Photo by Monique A. LeBleu.

The Ovation Honors, which recognizes outstanding achievement in areas that are not among the standard list of nomination categories, were awarded to Adrien Prevost (Music Composition for a Play, Kaidan Project: Walls Grow Thin, Rogue Artists Ensemble co-produced with East West Players) and Brian White, Sean Cawelti, Greg Ballora, Morgan Reban, Jack Pullman, and Christine Papalexis (Puppet Design, Kaidan Project: Walls Grow Thin, Rogue Artists Ensemble co-produced with East West Players).

The Center Theatre Group presented the 2018 Richard E. Sherwood Award to writer, comedian, and performance artist Kristina Wong, which also includes $10,000 endowed by the Sherwood family for innovative and adventurous artists.

Wong, who took the unique opportunity of this night to announce her candidacy for Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council Subdistrict 5 Resident Representative, said in acceptance, “In this line of work there's a very fine line between being a madwoman and a visionary. It is so validating to be recognized as the latter by this vibrant LA Theatre community that has made me the performance artist slash political candidate that I am today."

The Kilroys came with their message to the theater community at large to encourage the hiring and support of more women, trans, and non-binary artists in theater in order to achieve gender balance. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Paula Vogel, offered words of encouragement to the theater community as well, aligning with The Kilroys message of the evening with "The sooner produced, the sooner prolific."

This year's show, held at the glorious landmark United Artists 1927 movie palace that is now the Theatre at Ace Hotel, was directed by Artistic Director of Coeurage Theatre Company Jer Adrianne Lelliott, also featured live performances including by women's choral group Vox Femina.

The Ovation Awards is annually produced by LA STAGE Alliance, "a non-profit organization dedicated to building awareness, appreciation, and support for the performing arts in Los Angeles" and companies DOMA Theatre CompanyUCLA School of Theater, Film & Television, F&D Scene Changes Ltd., USC School of Dramatic Arts, Bakers Man Productions, Venture Hill Entertainment LLC, Seven Waves Entertainment LLC, Requiem Media Productions LLC, Variety, and Ken Werther Publicity sponsored the event.

Here's the complete list of winners. For more information visit LAStageAlliance.com

The awards show was broadcast live on YouTube and Facebook, in case you missed the show or would like to relive it.


Featured top photo: Rachel Myers accepts her Ovation Award for Scenic Design (Large Theatre) for "Skeleton Crew" (Geffen Playhouse) at 29th Annual LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards, Theatre at Ace Hotel, Downtown Los Angeles, Monday, January 28, 2019. Photo by Monique A. LeBleu.


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The 29th Annual LA STAGE ALLIANCE OVATION AWARDS is Monday, January 28, 2019

The 29th Annual LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards is Monday, January 28, 2019. The black-tie ceremony will be held at DTLA at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on Broadway at 7:30 p.m.

The Ovation Awards, created to recognize excellence in theatrical performance, production, and design in the Greater Los Angeles area, is the only peer-judged theatre awards in Los Angeles where nominees, their peers, and all L.A. theatre-lovers will join in the much-anticipated annual celebration of a year of excellence in Los Angeles theatre, issuing a wide variety of awards in categories that recognize the plethora of theatrical talent in Los Angeles and their art.

The 33 categories, listed from Best Production of a Play (Large) to Lead Actor in a Play, to Lead Actress in a Play to Fight Direction, along with Ovations Honors Winners. The awards season is September through August and concludes with a tabulation to determine the nominees in each of the categories, with several award winners from last year returning this year as nominees.

Center Theatre Group, who won three Ovation Awards last year for their productions, has a total of 18 nominations this year–with “Soft Power” receiving 12 nominations–including a nomination for Best Production of a Musical (Large Theater) for both “Soft Power” and “Spamilton.” Center Theatre Group is also nominated for Best Presented Production for “The Red Shoes.”

The East West Players, who won Best Production of a Musical (Large Theatre) for “Next to Normal” last year, has a total 13 different nomination this year in various categories, including for Best Production of a Play (Intimate Theater) for “Kaidan Project: Walls Grow Thin” co-produced with Rogue Artists Ensemble, who also is nominated for 8 productions co-produced along with the East West Players.

The Actors Co-Op, who earned Best Production of a Play (Intimate Theatre) for “33 Variations” last year, is nominated this year for Best Season for “The 39 Steps,” “The Man Who Came To Dinner,” “A Walk in the Woods,” “A Man for All Seasons,” and “Violet.” Rubicon Theatre Company who won Best Production of a Play (Large Theatre) last year for “Gulf View Drive,” has two nominations this year both for Jane Anderson, who is nominated for Playwriting for an Original Play, and Krystle Simmons, who is nominated for Lead Actress in a Play, for “The Baby Dance: Mixed.”

Harry Groener who won last year for Lead Actor in a Play is nominated again this year for Featured Actor in a Play for his work in Antaeus Theatre Company's “Three Days in the Country.” Andrew Schmedake, who won last year for Lighting Design (Intimate Theatre) for “33 Variations,” Actors Co-op, is nominated this year for his work both on Antaeus Theatre Company's “Native Son” and After Hours Theatre Company's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.” Corwin Evans, who won Video/Projection Design (Intimate Theater) last year for SoulArt's “Plasticity,” is nominated again this year for Sacred Fools Theater Company's “The Art Couple” in the same category.

L-R: Bryan Bellomo, Clayton Farris & Brendan Hunt in “The Art Couple.” Photo by Darrett Sanders, courtesy of Sacred Fools Theater Company.

 

There are some very prolific individual nominees this year as well, including Multi-Ovation Award-winning Lighting Designer Jared Sayeg who is nominated once again, this year, for Lighting Design (Large Theater) for his work in “Our Town,” Pasadena Playhouse. Jeff Gardner, who won Sound Design (Large Theatre) last year for Center Theatre Group / The Echo Theatre Company's “Dry Land,” is nominated again this year for A Noise Within's “A Raisin in the Sun” and for Sound Design (Intimate Theater,) he is nominated this year both for Antaeus Theatre Company's “Native Son” and “The Hothouse.” Michael Mullen, who won Costume Design (Intimate Theatre) for Theatre Planners' “Siamese Sex Show” last year, is nominated once again this year for his work both in Celebration Theatre's “Cabaret” and Theatre of NOTE's “Year of the Rooster.”

The LA. Stage Alliance just recently moved into the new home on 514 Spring Street in the heart of DTLA, late last year, on the fourth floor of the historic building and theatre that is owned by the City of Los Angeles and operated by the Latino Theatre Company. The landmark Greek-Revival with its iconic columns was constructed in 1916 and designed by John Parkinson, along with and G. Edwin Bergstrom, the former who also designed many of the city's other landmark buildings in the area in the early 20th Century. The building later became the home to the Los Angeles Theatre Center in 1985, keeping the original 50-by-100-foot stained glass ceiling, ornamental bronze cornices, and marble walls featured in its lobby.

A stunning landmark itself, The Theatre at Ace Hotel is located at 929 South Broadway, in Downtown Los Angeles. Valet Parking is available 24/7 and there are pay lots in the surrounding area.

UPDATED 1/28/19

Ticket sales are now closed.

The Ovation Awards can be watched LIVE at 7:30 p.m. here:

YOUTUBE:

https://t.co/cdbKOWssVf

FACEBOOK:

https://t.co/akHCItb0g3

Red carpet arrivals will begin at 6:00 p.m. and the curtain will rise at 7:30 p.m.


Ashton's Audio Interview: The cast of “VIETGONE” at East West Players

Vietgone spins a modern twist on the classic boy-meets-girl story: Quang and Tong are refugees fleeing the Vietnam War, who hook up and fall in love in a relocation camp in Arkansas. Bold and fearless, Vietgone takes audiences on a hilariously rip-roaring ride across 1970s America with a hot soundtrack that serves up hip-hop, sass, and revolution.*
Enjoy this interview with the cast of “VIETGONE” at East West Players, running until Nov 18th. You can listen to this interview while commuting, while waiting in line at the grocery store or at an audition, backstage and even front of the stage. For tickets and more info Click here.

*taken from the website


Now Registered This Week on the Better Lemons Calendar - October 29, 2018 through November 4

NEW! Theatrical shows, Musical Concerts, and Film Festivals registered on the Better Lemons calendar!
For more shows visit our Calendar. For shows with a LemonMeter rating, visit our LemonMeter page.

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THIS JAM-PACKED CRAZY WEEK, PART I: THINGS TO FIND TIME FOR (Non-Fringe)

Sometimes there's just too much happening.  Too much to write about in a week in this surprising city, which appears to be so predictable and obvious – 80 degrees and sunny, ho hum – but has so many places that few people seem to see. Are the places hidden? No. But people drive by every day, completely oblivious. Which is great, because now the Twisted Hipster gets to tell you about them.

So you, sitting in front of your 48” flat screen, diligently plowing through your Netflix queue while keeping an eye out for anything of interest on those premium channels – I'll start with you.

So here's my only HIPSTER LAMENT of the week – for that vaunted reboot of TWIN PEAKS by David Lynch and Mark Frost (Showtime).

Jake Wardle, James Marshall and David Lynch behind the scenes of Twin Peaks. Photo: Suzanne Tenner/SHOWTIME

There are many fascinating scenes and brilliant, troubling visuals in the first five episodes – but oh that silly narrative!  I don't require linear storytelling by any means – and I appreciate a good anti-narrative – but there's just no attempt to create genuine human beings or explore the darker recesses of human behavior.  Many of us were delighted by Season 1 of the series in 1991, with its sense of an infernal corruption lurking beneath the Normal Rockwell exteriors of small-town American life. But Season 2 descended into self-parody and melodrama, becoming quite a bore.  The 25 year hiatus has done nothing to help Lynch rediscover his movie-making mojo.  For example: Detective Dale Cooper has mysteriously returned to earth with no sense of self whatever.  He's just a blank slate.  As such, he walks into a Las Vegas Casino and hits 30 jackpots in a row, winning $425,000 – all of which means nothing to him.  Which is fine – nothing means anything to him now.  But such a feat would draw enormous amounts of publicity in any world that I'm aware of, and yet it doesn't create even a ripple here.  Even when he helps a sad old lady win two jackpots of her own - something she would certainly tell everyone about.  So what world are we in anyway?   Not one that will have any interest, I fear, for other than diehard fans of Lynch's self-indulgently nostalgiac convolutions.

Carrie Coon in the series finale of THE LEFTOVERS

On the other hand, a big HIPSTER TIP for the series finale of THE LEFTOVERS (HBO), "The Book of Nora."  Even if you've never watched a single episode before, even if you've never liked a single episode before, you still have to check this one out.  First, there's the magnificent acting work of Justin Theroux, Christopher Eccleston and, most of all, Carrie Coon, whose brilliance is almost beyond belief, given the very difficult journey she has been asked to take.  But it is precisely that journey, and the wondrous narrative gamble that it involves, which makes this one of the great final episodes of any series.  Kudos to series creators and final episode writers Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta.  You have dreamed up such a rich and strange version of the world in your series, and you have saved your best for last.

Oh, and BEST GROOVE OF THE WEEK: “Dirty Old Town” from David Byrne's Rei Momo. 

Yes it's from 1989 (the real one, not the Taylor Swift version), but it never gets old.  Then again, “The Call of the Wild” and “Loco de Amor” are pretty great cuts too.  Hell, just put on this CD in your car on the grayest of days, and the entire sky will light up in Technicolor.  But watch out – your feet are gonna be dancin' all over those pedals!

Moving on to matters of THEATER – which is exploding right now in Los Angeles, exploding with talent and purpose and fearlessness.  Here are two shows closing very soon which I urge you to see.  They are without doubt two of the best shows I've seen this year and I wish I had time to see them again before they close.

NEXT TO NORMAL by Bryan Yorkey and Tom Kitt at East-West Players has been extended until June 18 – see it.  If you've never this power-punch of a musical before, see it.  If you've seen it on Broadway or at the Ahmanson or anywhere else, then see it again.  Because Deedee Magno Hall and Iso Briones, as the most troubled and troubling mother-daughter relationship in any musical this side of Carrie, are that good.  So is the rest of the cast.  Director Nancy Keystone has done beautiful work with the actors and has broken down the beats gloriously.  This is not suitable for children, but it's perfect for any adult who has lived and loved and suffered in the modern world.  And there are some lovely rock ballads.

THE GARY PLAYS by Murray Mednick and directed by Guy Zimmerman are 6 related plays presented in 3 separate installments by the Open Fist Company at the Atwater Village Theatre, and it has been extended one week, to June 10.  So you have one more chance to see each installment: Part I is on Thursday at 8, Part II is on Friday at 8 and Part III is on Saturday at 2 pm.  The plays are a real anomaly in the American cannon – epic in length and scope, yet intimate in feeling.  Director Zimmerman describes them this way: “The series is uniquely the product of the LA theatre community – it could not have been created anywhere else.  And Gary, an unemployed actor struggling with grief and self-recrimination after his only son's murder, is an iconic LA character.”  There's so much more to it – and Jeff Lebeau's depiction of Gary in the first 3 plays is so remarkable, so memorable, he simply crawls into the character's skin.  For my money, Part II is the best evening of theater I can remember seeing in Los Angeles, it just buzzes with emotional intensity.  My only criticism is that it's almost too much to take in, like eating three rich meals in one sitting.  I almost fainted from all the artistic calories, but I wouldn't have missed it for anything.  Hope you don't either.  And kudos to Martha Demson and the Open Fist Company of actors for bringing it all to such vivid life.

Favorite line, spoken by Rod Menzies as Daddyo: “I'm an old hipster, and I know what's what.”  Yeah.