The 30th Annual 'LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards' Nominations Announced


Nominees for the 30th Annual LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards were announced on Tuesday, November 5, 2019, on @ This Stage. The ceremony will take place Monday, January 13, 2020, at the  Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

Center Theatre Group Leads With 20 nominations for their productions of Lackawanna Blues (5), and Linda Vista (4) at the Mark Taper Forum; Ain’t Too Proud (1) at the Ahmanson Theatre; and Dana H. (7), and Quack (2) at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, along with Best Season. Fountain Theatre follows with 19 nominations for their productions of "Cost of Living" (9), "Daniel’s Husband" (6), "Hype Man: A Break Beat Play" (3), and Best Season., Geffen Playhouse Garners 18 nominations for their productions of "Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol" (8), "Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole" (8), "Mysterious Circumstances" (2), and "Black Super Hero Magic Mama" (1)., La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts garnered 14 nominations for their productions of "Singin’ in the Rain" (11), "Beauty and the Beast" (2), and "A Night with Janis Joplin" (1), and tied with the Pasadena Playhouse who received 14 nominations for their productions of "Singin’ in the Rain" (11), "Beauty and the Beast" (2), and "A Night with Janis Joplin" (1). And Sophina Brown gets 10 nominations for her production of "August Wilson’s Two Trains Running."

Ovation Honors, which recognizes outstanding achievement in areas that are not among the standard list of nomination categories, have been awarded to Romero Moseley (Music Composition for a Play, Hype Man: A Break Beat Play at Fountain Theatre, and Dillon Nelson & Erin Walley (Puppet Design, Argonautika, A Noise Within.)

During the 2018–2019 voting season, 278 productions were registered for awards consideration by 124 producing organizations, and 3,838 individual artists were evaluated. This year’s 272 voters cast a total of 6,462 ballots.


The 30th Annual LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards Nominations


BEST SEASON

BOSTON COURT PASADENA
Everything That Never Happened
Ladies
The Judas Kiss

CENTER THEATRE GROUP
Dana H.
Lackawanna Blues
Linda Vista
Quack
Sweat
Valley of the Heart

FOUNTAIN THEATRE
Cost of Living
Daniel’s Husband
Hype Man: a Break Beat Play


BEST PRODUCTION OF A PLAY – Intimate Theatre

ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST
The Actors’ Gang Theater

AUGUST WILSON’S TWO TRAINS RUNNING
Sophina Brown

COST OF LIVING
Fountain Theatre

DANIEL’S HUSBAND
Fountain Theatre

EVERYTHING THAT NEVER HAPPENED
Boston Court Pasadena

THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE
Angela Nicholas

THE WOLVES
The Echo Theater Company


BEST PRODUCTION OF A PLAY – Large Theatre

CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Geffen Playhouse

DANA H.
Center Theatre Group

LACKAWANNA BLUES
Center Theatre Group

LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL
Garry Marshall Theatre

LINDA VISTA
Center Theatre Group


BEST PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL – Intimate Theatre

LIZZIE, THE MUSICAL
Chance Theater

THE LAST FIVE YEARS: A MULTISENSORY EXPERIENCE
After Hours Theatre Company

THE PRODUCERS
Celebration Theatre


BEST PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL – Large Theatre


BEST PRESENTED PRODUCTION


ACTING ENSEMBLE OF A PLAY

AUGUST WILSON’S TWO TRAINS RUNNING
Sophina Brown

COST OF LIVING
Fountain Theatre

DANIEL’S HUSBAND
Fountain Theatre

LINDA VISTA
Center Theatre Group

RADIANT VERMIN
Door Number 3 Theatre

THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE

Angela Nicholas

THE WOLVES
The Echo Theater Company


ACTING ENSEMBLE OF A MUSICAL

LIGHTS OUT: NAT “KING” COLE
Geffen Playhouse

LIZZIE, THE MUSICAL
Chance Theater

RAGTIME
Pasadena Playhouse

SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN

La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

WITNESS UGANDA
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts


CHOREOGRAPHY

EDGAR GODINEAUX & JARED GRIMES
LIGHTS OUT: NAT “KING” COLE
Geffen Playhouse

ABDUR-RAHIM JACKSON
WITNESS UGANDA
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

SPENCER LIFF
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

JEFFREY SCOTT PARSONS
DAMES AT SEA
Sierra Madre Playhouse

JOHN PENNINGTON
A PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
A Noise Within

STEPHANIE SHROYER
ARGONAUTIKA
A Noise Within

JOHN TODD
THE WORLD GOES ‘ROUND
Reprise 2.0


MUSIC DIRECTION

DARRYL ARCHIBALD
RAGTIME
Pasadena Playhouse

MATT GOULD
WITNESS UGANDA
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

KEITH HARRISON
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

JENNIFER LIN
THE LAST FIVE YEARS: A MULTISENSORY EXPERIENCE
After Hours Theatre Company

GERALD STERNBACH
THE WORLD GOES ‘ROUND
Reprise 2.0


BOOK FOR AN ORIGINAL MUSICAL

DENNIS HACKIN
BRONCO BILLY – THE MUSICAL
Skylight Theatre Company

DOUG HAVERTY
A CAROL CHRISTMAS
The Group Rep

FLORIAN KLEIN
SHOOTING STAR – A REVEALING NEW MUSICAL
Shooting Star Productions


LYRICS/COMPOSITION FOR AN ORIGINAL MUSICAL

MICHELE BROURMAN, CHIP ROSENBLOOM & JOHN TORRES
BRONCO BILLY – THE MUSICAL
Skylight Theatre Company

BRUCE KIMMEL
A CAROL CHRISTMAS

The Group Rep

ERIK RANSOM & THOMAS ZAUFKE
SHOOTING STAR – A REVEALING NEW MUSICAL
Shooting Star Productions


PLAYWRITING FOR AN ORIGINAL PLAY

MALCOLM BARRETT
BRAIN PROBLEMS
Ammunition Theatre Company

JAMI BRANDLI
BLISS (OR EMILY POST IS DEAD!)
Moving Arts

JONATHAN CAREN
CANYON
IAMA Theatre Company

ELIZA CLARK
QUACK
Center Theatre Group

NATE RUFUS EDELMAN
DESERT RATS
The Latino Theater Company

LUCAS HNATH
DANA H.
Center Theatre Group

ANNA MOENCH
MAN OF GOD
East West Players


DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

JOCELYN BROWN
LIZZIE, THE MUSICAL
Chance Theater

JOSEPH LEO BWARIE
THE ROOT BEER BANDITS
Garry Marshall Theatre

DAVID LEE
RAGTIME
Pasadena Playhouse

SPENCER LIFF
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

GRIFFIN MATTHEWS
WITNESS UGANDA
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts


DIRECTION OF A PLAY

MICHAEL ARDEN
CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Geffen Playhouse

ALANA DIETZE
THE WOLVES
The Echo Theater Company

WILL THOMAS MCFADDEN
ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST
The Actors’ Gang Theater

RUBEN SANTIAGO-HUDSON
LACKAWANNA BLUES
Center Theatre Group

MICHELE SHAY
AUGUST WILSON’S TWO TRAINS RUNNING
Sophina Brown

JOHN VREEKE
COST OF LIVING
Fountain Theatre

LES WATERS
DANA H.
Center Theatre Group


LEAD ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

CLIFTON DUNCAN
RAGTIME
Pasadena Playhouse

MARC GINSBURG
RAGTIME
Pasadena Playhouse

DULÉ HILL
LIGHTS OUT: NAT “KING” COLE
Geffen Playhouse

MICHAEL STARR
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

JAMIE TORCELLINI
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts


LEAD ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

KIMBERLY IMMANUEL
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

SARA KING
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

APRIL NIXON
THE COLOR PURPLE
Greenway Arts Alliance

MONIKA PEÑA
LIZZIE, THE MUSICAL
Chance Theater

SHANNON WARNE
RAGTIME
Pasadena Playhouse


LEAD ACTOR IN A PLAY

TIM CUMMINGS
DANIEL’S HUSBAND
Fountain Theatre

JEFFERSON MAYS
CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Geffen Playhouse

ROB NAGLE
THE JUDAS KISS
Boston Court Pasadena

RUBEN SANTIAGO-HUDSON
LACKAWANNA BLUES
Center Theatre Group

FELIX SOLIS
COST OF LIVING
Fountain Theatre

BOB TURTON
ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST
The Actors’ Gang Theater


LEAD ACTRESS IN A PLAY

CHERISE BOOTHE
AMERICAN SAGA – GUNSHOT MEDLEY: PART 1
Rogue Machine

DEIDRIE HENRY
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL
Garry Marshall Theatre

CASEY KRAMER
THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE
Angela Nicholas

MILDRED LANGFORD
AMERICAN SAGA – GUNSHOT MEDLEY: PART 1
Rogue Machine

ELLEN LAUREN
BACCHAE
The Getty Villa

ANGELA NICHOLAS
THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE
Angela Nicholas

DEIDRE O’CONNELL
DANA H.
Center Theatre Group

KATY SULLIVAN
COST OF LIVING
Fountain Theatre


FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

RICK BATALLA
JULIUS WEEZER
Troubadour Theater Company

JOSH GRISETTI
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

ADAM LENDERMON
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

DYLAN SAUNDERS
RAGTIME
Pasadena Playhouse

MICHAEL SHEPPERD
THE PRODUCERS
Celebration Theatre

PHILLIP TARATULA
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

DANIEL J. WATTS
LIGHTS OUT: NAT “KING” COLE
Geffen Playhouse


FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

LEDISI
WITNESS UGANDA
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

GISELA ADISA
LIGHTS OUT: NAT “KING” COLE
Geffen Playhouse

BRYCE CHARLES
RAGTIME
Pasadena Playhouse

AMBER IMAN
WITNESS UGANDA
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

JENNIFER KNOX
DAMES AT SEA
Sierra Madre Playhouse

RUBY LEWIS
LIGHTS OUT: NAT “KING” COLE
Geffen Playhouse

ZONYA LOVE
LIGHTS OUT: NAT “KING” COLE
Geffen Playhouse


FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY

TOBIAS FORREST
COST OF LIVING
Fountain Theatre

TIM HILDEBRAND
THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE
Angela Nicholas

WESLEY MANN
ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD
A Noise Within

ALEX MORRIS
AUGUST WILSON’S TWO TRAINS RUNNING
Sophina Brown

ROB NAGLE
THE LITTLE FOXES
Antaeus Theatre Company

MAURY STERLING
THE JOY WHEEL
Ruskin Group Theatre Co

ADOLPHUS WARD
AUGUST WILSON’S TWO TRAINS RUNNING
Sophina Brown


FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY

JENNY O’HARA
DANIEL’S HUSBAND
Fountain Theatre

NIJA OKORO
AUGUST WILSON’S TWO TRAINS RUNNING
Sophina Brown

XOCHITL ROMERO
COST OF LIVING
Fountain Theatre

JAQUITA TA’LE
TOO HEAVY FOR YOUR POCKET
Sacred Fools Theater Company

JOCELYN TOWNE
THE LITTLE FOXES
Antaeus Theatre Company

CORA VANDER BROEK
LINDA VISTA
Center Theatre Group

DENISE YOLÉN
SCRAPS
The Matrix Theatre Company


COSTUME DESIGN – Intimate Theatre

NAILA ALADDIN-SANDERS
TOO HEAVY FOR YOUR POCKET
Sacred Fools Theater Company

ALLISON DILLARD
BLISS (OR EMILY POST IS DEAD!)
Moving Arts

ELENA FLORES
SEÑOR PLUMMER’S FINAL FIESTA
Rogue Artists Ensemble

DIANNE GRAEBNER
THE JUDAS KISS
Boston Court Pasadena

TERRI LEWIS
THE LITTLE FOXES
Antaeus Theatre Company

RACHAEL LORENZETTI
LIZZIE, THE MUSICAL
Chance Theater

MYLETTE NORA
AUGUST WILSON’S TWO TRAINS RUNNING
Sophina Brown


COSTUME DESIGN – Large Theatre

KATE BERGH
RAGTIME
Pasadena Playhouse

JESSICA CHAMPAGNE-HANSEN
THE ROOT BEER BANDITS
Garry Marshall Theatre

JENNY FOLDENAUER
ARGONAUTIKA
A Noise Within

CARLTON JONES
WITNESS UGANDA
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

DANE LAFFREY
CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Geffen Playhouse

SHON LEBLANC
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN
La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

KAREN PERRY
BLACK SUPER HERO MAGIC MAMA
Geffen Playhouse


FIGHT DIRECTION

JEN ALBERT
SUCKERPUNCH
Coeurage Theatre Company

AARON AOKI & THOMAS ISAO MORINAKA
VIETGONE
East West Players

AHMED BEST
SCRAPS
The Matrix Theatre Company

MICHAEL CALACINO
ROPE
Actors Co-op

ANDY LOWE
MAN OF GOD
East West Players

MIKE MAHAFFEY
DEFINITION OF MAN
DConstruction Arts

JESSE JAMES THOMAS
TWO NOBLE KINSMEN
The Porters of Hellsgate


LIGHTING DESIGN – Intimate Theatre

CHU-HSUAN CHANG
HYPE MAN: A BREAK BEAT PLAY
Fountain Theatre

JENNIFER EDWARDS
DANIEL’S HUSBAND
Fountain Theatre

BRIAN GALE
AUGUST WILSON’S TWO TRAINS RUNNING
Sophina Brown

JOHN GAROFALO
COST OF LIVING
Fountain Theatre

JARED SAYEG
THE LITTLE FOXES
Antaeus Theatre Company

ANDREW SCHMEDAKE
THE LAST FIVE YEARS: A MULTISENSORY EXPERIENCE
After Hours Theatre Company

JAYMI SMITH
EVERYTHING THAT NEVER HAPPENED
Boston Court Pasadena


LIGHTING DESIGN – Large Theatre

ELIZABETH HARPER
MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES
Geffen Playhouse

THOMAS ONTIVEROS
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL
Garry Marshall Theatre

JARED SAYEG
RAGTIME
Pasadena Playhouse

JARED SAYEG
THE WORLD GOES ‘ROUND
Reprise 2.0

JENNIFER SCHRIEVER
LACKAWANNA BLUES
Center Theatre Group

BEN STANTON
CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Geffen Playhouse

PAUL TOBEN
DANA H.
Center Theatre Group


SCENIC DESIGN – Intimate Theatre

FRANCOIS-PIERRE COUTURE
EVERYTHING THAT NEVER HAPPENED
Boston Court Pasadena

JOEL DAAVID
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE
Dance On Productions, LLC

STEPHEN GIFFORD
THE PRODUCERS
Celebration Theatre

MATTHEW G. HILL
SEÑOR PLUMMER’S FINAL FIESTA
Rogue Artists Ensemble

JOHN IACOVELLI
AUGUST WILSON’S TWO TRAINS RUNNING
Sophina Brown

JOHN IACOVELLI
THE LITTLE FOXES
Antaeus Theatre Company

DEANNE MILLAIS
DANIEL’S HUSBAND
Fountain Theatre


SCENIC DESIGN – Large Theatre

BRETT J. BANAKIS
MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES
Geffen Playhouse

MIKE BILLINGS
HEISENBERG
Rubicon Theatre Company

ANDREW BOYCE
DANA H.
Center Theatre Group

TOM BUDERWITZ
RAGTIME
Pasadena Playhouse

DANE LAFFREY
CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Geffen Playhouse

DANE LAFFREY
QUACK
Center Theatre Group

TODD ROSENTHAL
LINDA VISTA
Center Theatre Group


SOUND DESIGN – Intimate Theatre

MALIK ALLEN
HYPE MAN: A BREAK BEAT PLAY
Fountain Theatre

JEFF GARDNER
AMERICAN SAGA – GUNSHOT MEDLEY: PART 1
Rogue Machine

JEFF GARDNER
AUGUST WILSON’S TWO TRAINS RUNNING
Sophina Brown

JEFF GARDNER
SCRAPS
The Matrix Theatre Company

ADAM MACIAS
ROPE
Actors Co-op

CHRISTOPHER MOSCATIELLO
RADIANT VERMIN
Door Number 3 Theatre

CRICKET MYERS
THE LAST FIVE YEARS: A MULTISENSORY EXPERIENCE
After Hours Theatre Company


SOUND DESIGN – Large Theatre

PHILIP ALLEN
LACKAWANNA BLUES
Center Theatre Group

PHILIP ALLEN
RAGTIME
Pasadena Playhouse

ROBERT ARTURO RAMIREZ
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR & GRILL
Garry Marshall Theatre

MIKHAIL FIKSEL
DANA H.
Center Theatre Group

HOWARD HO
MAN OF GOD
East West Players

ROBERT ORIOL
ARGONAUTIKA
A Noise Within

JOSHUA D. REID
CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Geffen Playhouse


VIDEO/PROJECTION DESIGN – Intimate Theatre

MATTHEW G. HILL
THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE
24th Street Theatre

DAVID MURAKAMI
BRONCO BILLY – THE MUSICAL
Skylight Theatre Company

DALLAS NICHOLS
SEÑOR PLUMMER’S FINAL FIESTA
Rogue Artists Ensemble

CIHAN SAHIN
ACCIDENTAL DEATH OF AN ANARCHIST
The Actors’ Gang Theater

NICHOLAS SANTIAGO
COST OF LIVING
Fountain Theatre


VIDEO/PROJECTION DESIGN – Large Theatre

HANA KIM
RAGTIME
Pasadena Playhouse

LUCY MACKINNON
CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Geffen Playhouse

YEE EUN NAM
THE MOTHER OF HENRY
The Latino Theater Company


OVATIONS HONORS RECIPIENTS


MUSIC COMPOSITION FOR A PLAY

ROMERO MOSLEY
HYPE MAN: A BREAK BEAT PLAY
Fountain Theatre


PUPPET DESIGN

DILLON NELSON & ERIN WALLEY
ARGONAUTIKA
A Noise Within


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.

Sponsors of this year’s Ovation Awards are DOMA Development Corporation; DOMA Theatre Company; Requiem Media Productions, LLC; SE7EN Waves Entertainment, LLC; Venture Hills Entertainment, LLC; UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television; F&D Scene Changes LTD; Ken Werther Publicity; Bakers Man Productions; Rosebrand; Zodiac Entertainment, LLC; Perpetua Holdings, LLC; Behind the Mask, Inc.; and Millennia Development, Inc.

LA STAGE Alliance is a nonprofit arts service organization dedicated to building awareness, appreciation, and support for the performing arts in greater Los Angeles. The LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards, founded in 1989, are the only peer-judged theatre awards in Los Angeles. Voters are LA theatre professionals who are chosen through a vigorous application process each year by the Ovation Rules Committee. More information can be found at www.ovationawards.com.

The 30th Annual LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards will be Monday, January 13, 2020, at the Theatre at Ace Hotel. Tickets on sale soon.

 


Novel Entertainments – Part 3

This is a three part series.

To read Part 1 of this series, which discusses the recent production of The Picture of Dorian Gray that was performed at the Pasadena Playhouse, please go to Novel Entertainments – Part 1.

To read Part 2 of this series, which discusses the recent productions Creation (Pictures for Dorian Gray) by the Gob SquadThe Woman in Black at the The Pasadena Playhouse, and The Turn of the Screw, by noted playwright-screenwriter Jeffry Hatcher, please visit Novel Entertainments - Part 2.

Intriguingly, The Actors' Gang has brought us a new production of Johnny Got His Gun, the 1938 award-winning anti-war novel from legendary screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo – Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, Roman Holiday (1953), Spartacus (1960), and Exodus (also 1960). Trumbo directed his own film adaptation of Johnny Got His Gun in 1971, and has himself become widely known through the recent biopic starring Bryan Cranston (2016).

The novel is an excruciating tragedy, a dark, anti-war satire about a patriotic young American in WW1 (it was published two days after the declaration of war in Europe, more than two years before the United States joined World War II). It's the story of Joe Bonham, a duty-bound volunteer, who enters the war to the rousing hoopla of “Over There” which repeats and repeats the Civil War rallying cry:

“Johnny, get your gun, get your gun, get your gun.
Johnny, show the Hun, you're a son-of-a-gun.
Hoist the flag and let her fly
Yankee Doodle, do or die.
Pack your little kit, show your grit, do your bit.
Yankee to the ranks from the towns and the tanks
Make your Mother proud of you
And the old red-white-and-blue.
Johnny, get your gun, get your gun, get your gun…”

“Johnny get your gun” became a slogan encouraging enlistment in the army in 1917 as American entered the War to End all War. Most recently the lyric was used by the rock band Ladyjack, as an ironic protest. But Trumbo's past tense use of the cry says it all: Johnny got his gun and see what that got him?

Joe – the “Johnny” who got his gun in the novel was, by a horrific artillery shell attack, rendered blind, deaf, and mute, even losing his arms or legs. In the book, trapped in what's left of his now limbless body, unable to communicate with the world around him, he recalls his earlier life and attempts to overcome the tremendous obstacles that stand between him and contact with the rest of humanity. After learning he can pound out Morse code with his head against the bed rail, the outer world's indifference to his consciousness forces him, in desperation to find a way out, to end his life.

Trumbo's film version succeeds because his adaptation lets us see and hear the doctors and nurses, so we understand that they're only keeping Joe alive to study the effects of such mutilation on a mangled human body. The doctors are convinced he's a vegetable, unable to feel pain, without memory or hope. Trumbo's elegant, heart-wrenching narrative, puts the lie to that medical diagnosis. It presents the reality of Joe's situation in stark black and white and his memories in color.

The Actors' Gang production, directed by artistic director, Tim Robbins, from an adaptation by Brandley Rand Smith, is in effect a solo performance, with eight actors functioning like a Greek chorus. They echo words and voices in Joe's mind's ear. They move choreographically, sometimes in military formations, sometimes as leaves blown on the wind, generally as remembered characters, but sometimes as mere impulses in Joe's memories. But unlike the novel, The Gang's script/production is really narrative drama brought to life as agitprop theater. It mimics rather than dramatizes – at least until that magic moment when a nurse with her finger spells out “Merry Christmas” on Joe's chest. Suddenly, he has real communication, his first since his war wounds rendered him what was then insensitively called “a basket case,” and the script springs to life, beginning to achieve what the novel does so profoundly – let us experience the horror of war.

What is ultimately so devastating in the book and the film is the continued indifference to Joe's inner needs and the service to which the world around Joe puts what's left of his body – his life, even when the nurse and a soldier discover his ability to communicate. They deny his own best interest with the same arrogance as the politicians and general who sent him into their useless war.

That the Actors' Gang, with all reverent homage to Trumbo's novelistic efforts, fails so completely as a stage work, is unfortunately an opportunity missed. What is lost in the Brechtian approach Robbins uses in staging the piece is the real drama. When Jow, four to five years into his post-War experience is finally able to communicate with the outside world, he is thwarted at every turn. Using his Morse code technique, he tells his caregiver he wants to be displayed around the nation as an emblem of the reality of war. “It's against army policy” is the excuse, drawn on his limbless, torso. But in the Gang's production, we never really grasp the outside world's take on Joe. Where the Dorian production gives us mostly exterior, this Johnny locks us into the interior. That the essentially human tragedy of the novel is lost in the staged political message is a dramatic miscalculation!

***

Last but certainly not least, Kenneth Ludwig's adaptation of Murder On The Orient Express at the La Mirada Theatre. It's based on that most famous of Agatha Christie's novels (whose play, The Mousetrap, is the only show in London that's been running longer than The Woman In Black (since 1952, 65 years). The Hercule Poirot mystery was first published as a novel in 1934 (originally, in the US, as a serial in The Saturday Evening Post under the title Murder in the Calais Coach). The story, (one of 33 in which Hercule Poirot is a character) was inspired by the Lindbergh baby kidnapping case of 1932 – at the time considered “the biggest story since the Resurrection.”

On his way from Istanbul to London on the swanky Express in the Calais Coach and its adjoining dining car, an American gangster is found murdered in his locked compartment with nine telltale knife wounds and a broken watch. As Poirot, at the begging of the train's general manager, sets out to identify the killer, the train gets stuck in an avalanche of snow.

So he does what the detectives in Agatha Christie novels always do – interview everyone with even the slightest access to the dead man, comparing everyone's statement for inconsistencies, oddities, and lies. He follows the clues, looking for a motive. He reconsiders the clues again and again, with an open mind, and fearless in the face of truth. The script and the novel follow the tried and true Christie formula.

But perhaps unique in Christie's work is the unexpected drama of Poirot agonizing over a criminal dilemma. That he comes down on the side of the angels is, perhaps, a tragedy of ethics? Certainly, it shatters his devotion to legal absolutism, and after more than two dozen novels, it forces him to face his so easy convictions, painfully reducing his certainty about his role in life. Welcome to humanity, Hercule! The recent TV adaptation (with David Suchet) and the two films versions (one with Albert Finney – the most recent with, and by, Kenneth Brannagh) emphasize this internal issue.

The tone of the Ludwig's adaptation used in the La Mirada production is lighter, playing the story for its humor and theatricality, not for the emotional reality. It's a matter of style. Playwright, Kenneth Ludwig, is a popular American stage-crafter (Lend Me A Tenor, Crazy for You, Moon Over Buffalo, and many others), with a string of awards and successes. He created this script for a 2017 presentation at The Old Globe (reportedly, at the request of the Agatha Christie estate). It is both efficient in the telling and entertaining in performance. This Poirot is charmingly effective as the driving force, and all characters are drawn with a comic precision that is probably more what novelist Christie had in mind. The emphasis on Poirot's internal agony is the fortunate product of our culture's craving for “relevance” and “profundity.” A sort of political correctness required for art today which in this case is to the advantage of the novel.

As this survey hopes to demonstrate, a well-written novel is a compelling journey into and through a fully integrated world. It's either an extended, totally immersive read you can pick up and put down and contemplate at will, or it's a page turner you can't.

But the theater is a very different art form. Each viewing is a one-time experience in a single sitting. The dramatis personae are right there in the same room, living through the series of happenings before your eyes and sharing it with us, the patrons?

That's what makes live theater so special. You're there when and where the adventure – emotional and intellectual – takes place. It exists only, as Shakespeare tells us, “in the two hours' traffic of the stage.”

Laugh, cry, groan, leave! It's over. It's memory.

And each time, a very novel experience.


Now Registered This Week on the Better Lemons Calendar - October 14 through October 28, 2018

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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Now registered this week on the Better Lemons Calendar August 20 to September 2, 2018

NEW! Shows and film festivals that have 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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Stage Raw Announces its 2018 Theater Awards Nominees

The 2018 Stage Raw Theater Awards celebrate excellence on the Los Angeles stages in venues of 99-seats or under. This fourth annual edition includes productions that opened between January 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018.
Stage Raw is a community funded professional journalism website that was created in response to the decline of arts coverage in local mainstream and alternative media.
A catered nominees reception and Stage Raw fundraiser party is being held at the The Skylight Theatre in Los Feliz, on Tuesday, July 24, 7 – 10 p.m. Tickets are $100 (which includes complimentary admission to the Theater Awards ceremony), in support of Stage Raw. All nominees are invited as complimentary guests of Stage Raw.
(Nominees include everybody whose name appears on the list below; all actors and understudies named in the program for all ensemble categories; all actors, understudies, directors, playwrights, stage managers, choreographers, designers and producers in the categories of Best Revival, Best Musical and Best Production; and in the category of Production Design: all producers, directors, and designers.)
The evening will include live music and performances by Burglars of Hamm; Cheray O'Neal; Padua Playwrights; and Kristina Wong.
At the nominees reception, there will also be a silent auction of drawings created for this event by Alan Mandell, Ken Sawyer, French Stewart, Vanessa Stewart, Richard Fancy, Jon Mullich, Jon Lawrence Rivera, Stephen Sachs, Simon Levy, Gary Grossman, Kristina Wong, Michael A. Shepperd, Ken Werther, David Elzer, Jaime Robledo, Leo Marks, Nike Doukas, Tom Jacobson, Kirsten Vansgness, David Melville, Jessica Hanna, Steven Stanley, Philip Littell, Mark Seldis, Katharine Noone, Tony Abatemarco, Ann Closs-Farley, Herbert Siguenza, Jules Aaron, and more.
The Awards ceremony is slated for Monday night, August 20, at Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles, hosted by Coeurage Theatre Company, directed by Jer Adrianne Lelliott, and celebrating the theme of “community.” Tickets are $30.
Tickets for both events can be found at Eventbrite.com/e/stage-raw-theater-awards-tickets-46961390784#tickets, or visit StageRaw.com and press the “2018 Theater Awards” tab.
The 2018 Nominees are:
FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY
Guillermo Cienfuegos, Rhinoceros, Pacific Resident Theater
Bjørn Johnson, King Hedley II, The Matrix Theatre
Bjørn Johnson, Red Speedo, Road Theatre Company
Bjørn Johnson, Stupid Kid, Road Theatre Company
Edgar Landa, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, After Hours Theatre Company
Doug Oliphant, Br'er Cotton, Zephyr Theatre
Jones (Welsh) Talmadge, Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny, Greenway Court Theatre
VIDEO/PROJECTION DESIGN
Omolara Abode, Lyrics From Lockdown, The Actors' Gang
Nicholas Acciani, 33 Variations, Actors Co-op
J. Walt Adamcyk and Hannah Beavers, Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny, Greenway Court Theatre
Benjamin Durham, This Land, Company of Angels
Corwin Evans, The Art Couple, Sacred Fools Theater Company
Hana Sooyeon Kim, Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Boops, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Hana Sooyeon Kim, With Love and a Major Organ, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Yee Eun Nam, Br'er Cotton, Zephyr Theatre
Tom Ontiveros, The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
SOUND DESIGN
Joseph V. Calarco, The Secret in the Wings, Coeurage Theatre Company
Jeff Gardner, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Antaeus Theatre Company
Jeff Gardner, The Hothouse, Antaeus Theatre Company
Jeff Gardner, Les Blancs, Rogue Machine Theatre
Jeff Gardner, Native Son, Antaeus Theatre Company
Christopher Moscatiello, The Devil's Wife, The Skylight Theatre
Christopher Moscatiello, Rhinoceros, Pacific Resident Theater
John Nobori, With Love and a Major Organ, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Robert A. Ramirez, Master Class, The Garry Marshall Theatre
John Zalewski, I Carry Your Heart, Bootleg Theatre
LIGHTING DESIGN
Brandon Baruch, The Secret in the Wings, Coeurage Theatre Company
John E.D. Bass, Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny, Greenway Court Theatre
Elizabeth Harper, The House In Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Elizabeth Harper and Rose Malone, With Love and a Major Organ, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Matt Richter, I'm Not A Comedian... I'm Lenny Bruce, Theatre 68
Pablo Santiago-Brandwein, Time Alone, Belle Reve Theatre Company
Andrew Schmedake, 33 Variations, Actors Co-op
Andrew Schmedake, Native Son, Antaeus Theatre Company
Andrew Schmedake, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, After Hours Theatre Company
COSTUME DESIGN
Wendell C. Carmichael, Les Blancs, Rogue Machine Theatre
Allison Dillard, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Celebration Theatre
Christine Cover Ferro, Rhinoceros, Pacific Resident Theater
Ashphord Jackoway, Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny, Greenway Court Theatre
Terri A. Lewis, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Antaeus Theatre Company
Linda Muggeridge, Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, Sacred Fools Theater
Michael Mullen, Fixed, Echo Theater Company
Lena Sands, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, After Hours Theatre Company
ORIGINAL MUSIC
Jeff Gardner, Les Blancs, Rogue Machine Theatre
Kangaroo Rat (Tim Desrosiers and Anna Bell), Rhinoceros, Pacific Resident Theater
Bernie Sirelson, Alysia Michelle James, and Elisa Rosin, Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny, Greenway Court Theatre
Surrija, The Secret in the Wings, Coeurage Theatre Company
CHOREOGRAPHY
Joel Daavid, Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, Sacred Fools Theater
Joyce Guy, Les Blancs, Rogue Machine Theatre
Carolyn Katz, Daedalus' Daughter, Bootleg Theater
Michael Marchak, Pacific Overtures, Chromolume Theatre
Jen Oundjian, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, After Hours Theatre Company
Roman Pantoja, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Celebration Theatre
Anne-Marie Talmadge, Alina Bolshakova, Leslie Charles Roy Jr., and the NMA Ensemble, Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny, Greenway Court Theatre
MUSICAL DIRECTION
Jake Anthony, The View Upstairs, Celebration Theatre
Gina Belafonte, Lyrics From Lockdown, The Actors' Gang
Jennifer Lin, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Celebration Theatre
Dylan Price, 33 Variations, Actors Co-op
Lyndon Pugeda, Honky Tonk Laundry, Hudson Mainstage Theatre
Dimitri Toscas, Master Class, The Gary Marshall Theatre
SET DESIGN
Nicholas Acciani, 33 Variations, Actors Co-op
Joel Daavid, Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, Sacred Fools Theater
Justin Huen, This Land, Company of Angels
John Iacovelli, Bled For The Household Truth, Rogue Machine Theatre
John Iacovelli, El Niño, Rogue Machine Theatre
John Iacovelli, King Hedley II, The Matrix Theatre
David Mauer, Rhinoceros, Pacific Resident Theater
Jeff McLaughlin, Stupid Kid, Road Theatre Company
Stephanie Kerley Schwartz, Les Blancs, Rogue Machine Theatre
Victoria Tam, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, After Hours Theatre Company
SOLO PERFORMANCE
Giovanni Adams, Love Is A Dirty Word, VS Theatre
Alex Alpharaoh, WET: A DACAmented Journey, Ensemble Studio Theatre L.A.
Bryonn Bain, Lyrics From Lockdown, The Actors' Gang
Keight Leighn, (A)partment 8, The ABC Project
Ronnie Marmo, I'm Not a Comedian, I'm Lenny Bruce, Theatre 68
Tina Preston, Don't You Ever Call My Anything But Mother, Open Fist Theatre Company
TWO PERSON PERFORMANCE
Martin Rayner & Martyn Stanbridge, Freud's Last Session, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble
Misty Cotton & Bets Malone, Honky Tonk Laundry, Hudson Mainstage Theatre
Tim Cummings & Brian Henderson, The House In Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Gary Patent & Dan Via, Plunge, Son of Semele Theater
James Eckhouse & Graham Sibley, Redline, IAMA Theatre Company
Alex Hernandez & Tonya Pinkins, Time Alone, Belle Reve Theatre Company
SUPPORTING MALE PERFORMANCE
Noel Arthur, Native Son, Antaeus Theatre Company
Ryan Brophy, Rotterdam, The Skylight Theatre
Eduardo Fernandez-Baumann, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, After Hours Theatre Company
Harry Groener, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Antaeus Theatre Company
Rob Nagle, Stupid Kid, Road Theatre Company
Jeris Poindexter, Runaway Home, The Fountain Theatre
Gabriel Romero, The Madres, The Skylight Theatre
Montae Russell, King Hedley II, The Matrix Theatre
Desean Kevin Terry, A Streetcar Named Desire, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Adolphus Ward, King Hedley II, The Matrix Theatre
MALE COMEDY PERFORMANCE
Josh Clark, The Hothouse, Antaeus Theatre Company
Drew Droege, Die, Mommie, Die!, Celebration Theatre
Alex Elliott-Funk, Supper, Theatre of NOTE
Alex Fernandez, Rhinoceros, Pacific Resident Theater
Leo Marks, The Hothouse, Antaeus Theatre Company
Roman Pantoja, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Celebration Theatre
Darrett Sanders, Supper, Theatre of NOTE
Joel Scher, Supper, Theatre of NOTE
LEADING MALE PERFORMANCE
Daniel Bess, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Antaeus Theatre Company
Benjamin Burdick, Bled For The Household Truth, Rogue Machine Theatre
Joe Hart, Stupid Kid, Road Theatre Company
Bruce Ladd, 33 Variations, Actors Co-op
Ben Martin, Walking To Buchenwald, Open Fist Theatre
Esau Pritchett, King Hedley II, The Matrix Theatre
Graham Sibley, Redline, IAMA Theatre Company
Adam Silver, Exit Strategy, The Los Angeles LGBT Center's Davidson/Valentini Theatre
Desean Kevin Terry, Les Blancs, Rogue Machine Theatre
SUPPORTING FEMALE PERFORMANCE
Dawn Didawick, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Antaeus Theatre Company
Emily Goss, Forever Bound, Atwater Village Theatre
Ella Joyce, King Hedley II, The Matrix Theatre
Ciera Payton, King Hedley II, The Matrix Theatre
Maya Lynne Robinson, Runaway Home, The Fountain Theatre
Maya Lynne Robinson, A Streetcar Named Desire, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Michaela Slezak,Lord of the Underworld's Home for Unwed Mothers, The Skylight Theatre
Cheryl Umaña, This Land, Company of Angels
Karen Malina White, Runaway Home, The Fountain Theatre
Christine Woods, Cult of Love, IAMA Theatre Company
FEMALE COMEDY PERFORMANCE
Anna Lamadrid, Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Boops, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Debra Jo Rupp, The Cake, Echo Theater Company
Paige Lindsey White, With Love and a Major Organ, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
LEADING FEMALE PERFORMANCE
Corryn Cummins, Lord of the Underworld's Home for Unwed Mothers, The Skylight Theatre
Carolyn Hennesy, Master Class, The Garry Marshall Theatre
Margarita Lamas, The Madres, The Skylight Theatre
Nan McNamara,33 Variations, Actors Co-op
Jaimi Paige, A Streetcar Named Desire, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Ashley Romans, Rotterdam, The Skylight Theatre
Camille Spirlin, Runaway Home, The Fountain Theatre
Heidi Sulzman, Bugaboo and The Silent One, The Lounge Theatre
Miranda Wynne, Rotterdam, The Skylight Theatre
ADAPTATION
Nambi E. Kelley, Native Son, Antaeus Theatre Company
Jones (Welsh) Talmadge, Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny, Greenway Court Theatre
Mary Zimmerman, The Secret in the Wings, Coeurage Theatre Company
PLAYWRITING
Giovanni Adams, Love Is A Dirty Word, VS. Theatre
Alex Alpharaoh, WET: A DACAmented Journey, Ensemble Studio Theatre L.A.
Bekah Brunstetter, The Cake, Echo Theater Company
Alessandro Camon, Time Alone, Belle Reve Theatre Company
Bernardo Cubría, The Giant Void In My Soul, Ammunition Theatre Company
Leslye Headland, Cult of Love, IAMA Theatre Company
Jeremy J. Kamps, Runaway Home, The Fountain Theatre
Dan O'Brien, The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Evangeline Ordaz, This Land, Company of Angels
Marja-Lewis Ryan, Bugaboo and the Silent One, The Lounge Theatre
PRODUCTION DESIGN
Caught, Think Tank Gallery
Daedalus' Daughter, Bootleg Theater
King Hedley II, The Matrix Theatre
Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, Sacred Fools Theater
Native Son, Antaeus Theatre Company
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, After Hours Theatre Company
Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny, Greenway Court Theatre
A Streetcar Named Desire, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
This Land, Company of Angels
Time Alone, Belle Reve Theatre Company
With Love and a Major Organ, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
COMEDY ENSEMBLE
Bad Jews, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble
The Cake, Echo Theater Company
Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Boops, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
El Niño, Rogue Machine Theatre
The Giant Void In My Soul, Ammunition Theatre Company
The Hothouse, Antaeus Theatre Company
Rhinoceros, Pacific Resident Theater
Supper, Theatre of NOTE
With Love and a Major Organ, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
ENSEMBLE
33 Variations, Actors Co-op
Exit Strategy, The Los Angeles LGBT Center's Davidson/Valentini Theatre
King Hedley II, The Matrix Theatre
Les Blancs, Rogue Machine Theatre
Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, Sacred Fools Theater
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, After Hours Theatre Company
Pacific Overtures, Chromolume Theatre
Paradise Lost: Reclaiming Destiny, Greenway Court Theatre
Runaway Home, The Fountain Theatre
The Secret in the Wings, Coeurage Theatre Company
COMEDY DIRECTION
Lindsay Allbaugh, Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Boops, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Jennifer Chambers, The Cake, Echo Theater Company
Guillermo Cienfuegos, Rhinoceros, Pacific Resident Theater
Lisa James, El Niño, Rogue Machine Theatre
Jessica Kubzansky, With Love and a Major Organ, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Dana Resnick, Bad Jews, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble
Felix Solís, The Giant Void In My Soul, Ammunition Theatre Company
DIRECTION
Andi Chapman, Native Son, Antaeus Theatre Company
Gregg T. Daniel, Les Blancs, Rogue Machine Theatre
Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, Caught, Think Tank Gallery
Carol Katz, Daedalus' Daughter, Bootleg Theater
Thomas James O'Leary, 33 Variations, Actors Co-op
Robert Mandel, Freud's Last Session, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble
Michael Michetti, A Streetcar Named Desire, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Jonathan Muñoz-Proulx, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, After Hours Theatre Company
Jaime Robledo, Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, Sacred Fools Theater
Michael A. Shepperd,Rotterdam, The Skylight Theatre
Annie Tippe, Cult of Love, IAMA Theatre Company
MUSICAL OF THE YEAR
Dessa Rose, Chromolume Theatre
Pacific Overtures, Chromolume Theatre
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Celebration Theatre
REVIVAL OF THE YEAR
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Antaeus Theatre Company
King Hedley II, The Matrix Theatre
Les Blancs, Rogue Machine Theatre
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, After Hours Theatre Company
Rhinoceros, Pacific Resident Theater
A Streetcar Named Desire, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR
Caught, Think Tank Gallery
The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage, Boston Court Performing Arts Center
Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, Sacred Fools Theater
Native Son, Antaeus Theatre Company
Rotterdam, The Skylight Theatre
Runaway Home, The Fountain Theatre
The Secret in the Wings, Coeurage Theatre Company
This Land, Company of Angels
Time Alone, Belle Reve Theatre Company
QUEEN OF THE ANGELS
Dolores Chavez
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Norman Lloyd