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...