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Center Theatre Group Is Critics’ Choice

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Center Theatre Group Is Critics’ Choice

The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle added to the list of accolades racked up by the Center Theatre Group during the city’s drama awards season on Monday.

The CTG led the pack of Ovation Award winners last November, when the city’s largest theater company took home 10 competitive plaques for its three venues at the 44th annual LADCC ceremony at the Los Angeles Theater Center. “Waiting for Godot” at the Mark Taper garnered awards in every category it was nominated in while the Ahmanson’s “War Horse” was honored for production, lighting design, and puppetry.

The LADCC’s 2012 awards also recognized locally cultivated productions, including Celebration Theatre’s “Justin Love.”

Actor French Stewart—who starred in the winner for CGI/Video Design, “Stoneface: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Buster Keaton”—opened the show with a piano-backed monologue.

“Sometimes being an L.A. theater actor is going to see your horrible actor friend in a horrible show in which they are horrible,” he said. “It’s hard to figure out what vague compliment to give them.”

The show’s theme was “Theatre Everywhere,” which LADCC President David C. Nichols said was meant to highlight the city’s theatrical advantages.

Because of the plethora of small community theaters, he told Backstage, “We are the one theater city where you can do the thing that no one else will take a chance on.”

Still, some fan favorites, including Atwater Village Theatre’s “Bad Apples,” a rock musical that follows three characters inspired by the three National Guard soldiers behind the atrocities at Abu Ghraib prison, were nominated but shut out of the awards. Nichols said the nominations, which go to Los Angeles and Orange County productions, translated into critical recognition.  

“It is a small coterie of critics covering literally, I’m not exaggerating, the widest swath of potential outlets in the nation going for what is outstanding,” he said. “If people don’t receive an award, getting nominated was already an award. Beyond that it’s just a simple question of mathematics.”

A full list of the winners is below.

Production: “Justin Love”; “War Horse”; “The Book of Mormon”; “Cyrano”

McCulloh Award for Revival: “Waiting for Godot”

Ensemble Performance: “In the Red and Brown Water”; “The New Electric Ballroom”; “The Savannah Disputation”; “Waiting for Godot”

Lead Performance: Troy Kotsur, “Cyrano”; Christine Lakin, “Silence! The Musical”; Alan Mandell, “Waiting for Godot”

Featured Performance: Larry Bates and Ellis E. Williams, “Jitney”; Michael A. Newcomer, “The Bungler”

Solo Performance: John Hurt, “Krapp’s Last Tape”

Direction: Michael Arabian, “Waiting for Godot”; Shirley Jo Finney, “In the Red and Brown Water”; Simon Levy, “Cyrano”

Writing: Danai Gurira, “The Convert.”

Adaptation: Stephen Sachs, “Cyrano.”

Choreography: Christopher Gattelli, “Silence! The Musical”; Bill T. Jones, “Fela!”

Musical Score: Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez, “The Book of Mormon”; Lori Scarlett and David Manning, “Justin Love”; Jon Kaplan & Al Kaplan, “Silence! The Musical”

Musical Direction: Gregory Nabours, “The Color Purple”; Stephen Oremus, “The Book of Mormon”

CGI/Video Design: Anthony Backman and Ben Rock, “Stoneface: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Buster Keaton”

Set Design: John Iacovelli, “Waiting for Godot”

Costume Design: Ellen McCartney, “The Treatment”; Leah Piehl, “Intimate Apparel”

Lighting Design: Paule Constable and Karen Spahn, “War Horse”

Sound Design: Ben Williams, “Gatz”

Specialty Awards:
Adrian Kohler with Basil Jones and Handspring Puppet Company for “War Horse”; David McCormick and Kelly Todd for the fight choreography of “West Side Story”

Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence: Celebration Theatre

Polly Warfield Award for an outstanding season in a small- to mid-sized theatre: The Fountain Theatre

Joel Hirschhorn Award for outstanding achievement in musical theatre: David O.

Bob Z Award for career achievement in set design: Stephen Gifford

The Ted Schmitt Award for the world premiere of an outstanding new play will be presented to Evelina Fernández for “A Mexican Trilogy,” whose world premiere took place at the awards venue, the Los Angeles Theatre Center. The award is accompanied by an offer to publish from Samuel French, Inc.

Milton Katselas Award for career or special achievement in direction: Elina de Santos

For an Excellent Season: Center Theatre Group

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