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Ovation Awards favor Geffen Playhouse, Fountain Theatre

Equiv

Coming smack in the middle of Hollywood awards season, the Ovations can get lost in the mix of glitzy, celebrity-packed parties taking place around town this week. On Monday at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, L.A.'s theater community put on black tie and threw its own party to honor the best stage productions of the past season.

The 2009-10 Ovation Awards were dominated by the Geffen Playhouse and the Fountain Theatre, with five wins each. Center Theatre Group and the Rubicon Theatre Company in Ventura tied with three each. "Equivocation," Bill Cain's historic drama that was produced at the Geffen, won for best play at a large theater, while "Oedipus the King, Mama!," produced by the Troubadour Theater Company, received best musical at a large theater.

The Fountain Theatre in Hollywood took home the prize for best overall season, and its production of "The Ballad of Emmett Till," by Ifa Bayeza, took home the prize for best play at an intimate theater, tying with Rogue Machine's production of "Four Places" by Joel Drake Johnson. The Celebration Theatre's staging of "The Women of Brewster Place" won for best musical at an intimate theater.

Playwright L. Trey Wilson won the original-play award for "Something Happened" at the recently launched Pacific Stages. The Rubicon's musical "Daddy Long Legs" won the awards for John Caird's book and Paul Gordon's lyrics and music.

This year's acting awards saw a number of ties across multiple categories. The award for lead actor in a play went to Bruce French for "The Browning Version" at Pacific Resident Theatre, Alan Mandell for "No Man's Land" at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and Daniel Beaty for "Through the Night" at the Geffen. The award for lead actor in a musical went to Josh Grisetti for "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" at Reprise Theatre Company, Brendan Hunt for "Savin' Up for Saturday Night" at Sacred Fools and Robert J. Townsend for "The Story of My Life"by the Havok Theatre Company.

The award for lead actress in a musical went to Megan McGinnis for "Daddy Long Legs" at the Rubicon. The prize for lead actress in a drama went to Beth Grant for "Grace & Glorie" at the Colony Theatre Company and Anna Khaja for "Shaheed -- The Dream and Death of Benazir Bhutto" at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre.

Other notable acting winners include supporting turns by Harry Groener in "Equivocation"; Deirdre O'Connell in "The Wake" at the Kirk Douglas Theatre; David St. Louis in "Parade" at the Mark Taper Forum; and Sally Struthers in "Cinderella" at the Cabrillo Music Theatre.

The Ovation Awards, organized by the LA Stage Alliance, are decided on by a pool of about 250 locally based voters.

Here's the full list of the 2010 winners...

Production of a Play – Large Theatre:
"Equivocation" at the Geffen Playhouse

Production of a Musical – Large Theatre:
"Oedipus the King, Mama!" at the Troubadour Theater Company

Production of a Musical – Intimate Theatre:
"The Women of Brewster Place" at the Celebration Theatre
 
Production of a Play – Intimate Theatre:
"The Ballad of Emmett Till" at the Fountain Theatre
"Four Places" at Rogue Machine

Playwriting for an Original Play:
L. Trey Wilson, "Something Happened" at Paci?c Stages

Best Season:
Fountain Theatre for "The Ballad of Emmett Till," "Opus," "Shining City"

Director of a Musical:
Matt Walker, "Oedipus the King, Mama!" at the Troubadour Theater Company

Director of a Play:
Shirley Jo Finney, "The Ballad of Emmett Till" at the Fountain Theatre  

Book for an Original Musical:
John Caird, "Daddy Long Legs" at the Rubicon Theatre Company

Lyrics/Music for an Original Musical:
Paul Gordon, "Daddy Long Legs" at the  Rubicon Theatre Company

Lead Actor in a Musical:
Josh Grisetti, "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" at Reprise Theatre Company
Brendan Hunt, "Savin' Up for Saturday Night" at Sacred Fools Theatre Company
Robert J. Townsend, "The Story of My Life" at Havok Theatre Company

Lead Actor in a Play:
Bruce French, "The Browning Version" at Paci?c Resident Theatre
Alan Mandell, "No Man's Land" at Odyssey Theatre Ensemble
Daniel Beaty, "Through the Night" at the Geffen Playhouse

Lead Actress in a Musical:
Megan McGinnis, "Daddy Long Legs" at the Rubicon Theatre Company

Lead Actress in a Play:
Beth Grant, "Grace & Glorie" at the Colony Theatre Company
Anna Khaja, "SHAHEED - The Dream and Death of Benazir Bhutto" at Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre

Featured Actor in a Musical:
David St. Louis, "Parade" at Center Theatre Group: Mark Taper Forum
 
Featured Actor in a Play:
Harry Groener, "Equivocation" at the  Geffen Playhouse

Featured Actress in a Musical:
Sally Struthers, "Cinderella" at the Cabrillo Music Theatre

Featured Actress in a Play:
Deirdre O'Connell, "The Wake" at  Center Theatre Group: Kirk Douglas Theatre

Acting Ensemble:
the cast of "The Ballad of Emmett Till" at the Fountain Theatre

Music Direction:
John Glaudini, "Sweeney Todd" at  Musical Theatre West

Choreographer:
Lee Martino, "Carousel" at Reprise Theatre Company

Costume Design – Intimate Theatre:
Teresa Shea, "Project Wonderland" at the Bootleg Theater

Costume Design – Large Theatre:
Christopher Oram, "Parade" at Center Theatre Group: Mark Taper Forum
Snezana Petrovic, "Songs and Dances of Imaginary Lands" at Overtone Industries

Lighting Design – Intimate Theatre:
Jeremy Pivnick, "Oedipus el Rey" at the Theatre @ Boston Court

Lighting Design – Large Theatre:
Scott Zielinski, "Equivocation" at the Geffen Playhouse

Scenic Design – Intimate Theatre:
Brian Sidney Bembridge, "The Good Book of Pedantry and Wonder" at the Theatre @ Boston Court and Circle X Theatre Company
 
Scenic Design – Large Theatre:
Jeff McLaughlin, "Grace & Glorie" at the Colony Theatre Company

Sound Design – Intimate Theatre:
Peter Bayne, "Opus" at the Fountain Theatre

Sound Design – Large Theatre:
Lindsay Jones, "Through the Night" at the Geffen Playhouse

Ovation Honors for Video Design:
KC Wilkerson, "The Who's Tommy" at the Chance Theater

Ovation Honors for Music Composition for a Play:
Ego Plum, "Gogol Project" at the Bootleg Theater and Rogue Artists Ensemble

Ovation Honors for Puppet Design:
Lynn Jeffries, "Project Wonderland" at Bootleg Theater

Ovation Honors for Fight Choreography:
Edgar Landa, "Oedipus el Rey" at the Theatre @ Boston Court

-- David Ng

Photo: A scene from "Equivocation" at the Geffen Playhouse. Credit: Ring H. W. Chiu / For The Times

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