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L.A. Drama Critics Circle names its (many, many) winners

March 16, 2009 | 10:33 pm

Tene Carter Miller, left, and Rodney Gardiner in 'Gem of the Ocean' at the Fountain TheatreIt's here. The moment so many have been waiting for: The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle has announced its award winners for 2008. The big ceremony took place tonight at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood.

Regular readers of Culture Monster will recall that when we last checked in with the LADCC for the nominations announcement last month, we marveled at the generosity of the group -- which consists of 16 reviewers from various print and online outlets (including two freelance reviewers for the Los Angeles Times). After all, how many organizations can you name that include 10 -- yes, ten -- nominees in a single category? They certainly give new meaning to "it's an honor just to be nominated."

And their largess continues. Take the category of lead performance. They couldn't just name one winner, they picked six. Three of the five nominees in the director category were named winners. And a trio of shows took the honors for best production (or would that be "one of the best productions"?).

For those dying to know, the "best productions" are: "Anything" at the Lillian Theatre, "Gem of the Ocean," above, at the Fountain Theatre and "Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara" at Sacred Fools and Matrix theaters. The rest of the many, many winners can be found on the jump.

-- Lisa Fung

The award recipients for the 2008 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards are as follows:

Production

• "Anything," Elephant Theatre Company at the Lillian Theatre
• "Gem of the Ocean," Fountain Theatre
• "Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara," Sacred Fools Theater Company at Sacred Fools and at the Matrix Theatre

McCulloh Award for Revival
(For shows between 1920 and 1980)

• "Of Mice and Men," Theatre Banshee

Direction

• Jeremy Aldridge, "Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara," Sacred Fools Theater Company at Sacred Fools and at the Matrix Theatre
• Ben Bradley, "Gem of the Ocean," Fountain Theatre
• David Fofi, "Anything," Elephant Theatre Company at the Lillian Theatre

Writing

• Athol Fugard, "Victory," the Fountain Theatre

Writing (Adaptation)

• Sean T. Cawelti with Miles Taber and the Rogues, "The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch," Rogue Artists Ensemble at Bootleg Theater

Music Direction

• Dennis Kaye, "Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara," Sacred Fools Theater Company at Sacred Fools and at the Matrix Theatre

Choreography

• Andy Blankenbuehler, "9 to 5: The Musical," Center Theatre Group at the Ahmanson Theatre
• Lee Martino, "Kiss of the Spider Woman," Havok Theatre Company at Bootleg Theatre

Musical Score

• Michael Friedman, "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson," Center Theatre Group at the Kirk Douglas Theatre
• Dolly Parton, "9 to 5: The Musical," Center Theatre Group at the Ahmanson Theatre

Lead Performance

• Sean Branney, "Of Mice and Men," Theatre Banshee
• Jake Broder, "Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara," Sacred Fools Theater Company at Sacred Fools and at the Matrix Theatre
• Ellen Geer, "Long Day’s Journey Into Night," Theatricum Botanicum
• John Glover, "Secrets of the Trade," Black Dahlia Theatre
• Louis Jacobs, "Anything," Elephant Theatre Company at the Lillian Theatre
• Judy Kaye, "Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," Center Theatre Group at the Ahmanson Theatre

Featured Performance

• JD Cullum, "Don Juan," A Noise Within
• Beth Kennedy, "As U2 Like It," Troubadour Theater Company at the Falcon Theatre
• Sharon Lawrence, "Orson’s Shadow," Pasadena Playhouse
• Adolphus Ward, "Gem of the Ocean," Fountain Theatre

Ensemble Performance

• "Assassins," West Coast Ensemble at the El Centro Theatre

Set Design

• Laura Fine Hawkes, "Snake in the Grass," Salem K Theatre Company at the Matrix Theatre

Lighting Design

• Steven Young, "Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story," Havok Theatre Company at the Hudson Backstage Theatre

Costume Design

• Shigeru Yaji, "An Italian Straw Hat: A Vaudeville," South Coast Repertory

Sound Design

• Ken Rich, "The Common Air," SoulArt and Elephant C.A.F.E at Theatre Asylum

Solo Performance

• Nilaja Sun, "No Child…," Center Theatre Group at the Kirk Douglas Theatre

CGI/Video

• Brian White, "The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch," Rogue Artists Ensemble at Bootleg Theater

Puppet and Mask Design

• Joyce Hutter and Patrick Rubio, "The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch," Rogue Artists Ensemble at Bootleg Theater

Fight Choreography

• Ned Mochel, "On an Average Day," VS. Theatre Company at the Elephant Theatre Lab

Special Awards
The Ted Schmitt Award for the world premiere of an outstanding new play was awarded to EM Lewis for "Song of Extinction."  The award was accompanied by an offer to publish and a $1,000 check funded by Samuel French Inc.

The Polly Warfield Award for an excellent season in a small to mid-size theater was awarded to Sacred Fools Theater Company.  The award was accompanied by a $500 check, funded by the Nederlander Organization.

The Angstrom Award for career achievement in lighting design was awarded to Lisa D. Katz.  The award was accompanied by a $1,000 check, funded by Angstrom Lighting.

The Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence in theater was awarded to the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company.  The award was accompanied by a $500 check from Camelot Artists.

The Joel Hirschhorn Award for outstanding achievement in musical theatre will be awarded to Nick DeGruccio.  The award was accompanied by a $500 check from David Elzer/DEMAND PR.

Photo: Tene Carter Miller, left, and Rodney Gardiner in "Gem of the Ocean" at the Fountain Theatre. Credit: Ed Krieger

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