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LA Weekly Theater Awards: 'Song of Extinction' named production of the year

March 31, 2009 | 12:27 pm

Song of Extinction Moving Arts at Inside the Ford’s production of EM Lewis’  “Song of Extinction,” a drama exploring the delicate relationship between an alienated high school biology teacher who carries the burden of being a Cambodian refugee who survived the killing fields and his troubled student, has won the LA Weekly Theater Award for production of the year for 2008.

The annual awards were presented Monday night at the El Rey Theatre.

Also honored in major categories were the Actors' Gang for its revival production of "Klub," Sacred Fools Theatre/Matrix Theatre for "Louis and Keely: Live at the Sahara" (Musical of the Year) and Jon Lawrence Rivera for his direction of "Sea Change" at the Gay and Lesbian Center. A full list of winners can be found at the Weekly's theater blog.

This year's awards were bittersweet for LA Weekly critic-at-large Steven Leigh Morris, whose position as theater critic and editor was eliminated in January. Morris continues to perform essentially the same duties as before on a freelance basis, but he said in an interview today that he had to reassure the crowd in his remarks at the awards ceremony that he was still on the theater beat. He said that he had been receiving many "loving e-mails of regret" about the loss of his job.

Still, Morris said that it was difficult to focus on celebrating theater because of last week's news that the alternative publication L.A. City Beat was folding, eliminating another critical voice on the theater scene, the "inestimable" Don Shirley, a former Times staff writer. "Yet another voice has been muted ... how are theaters going to get their work talked about in a public way?" Morris asked.    

— Diane Haithman

Photo: Darrell Kunitomi and Lori Yeghiayan in "Song of Extinction."  Credit: Jay Lawton