The expression "The award-winning 'Squonk'…" may well sound unlikely to anyone who read the reviews of that show's ill-fated Broadway bow last season, but it is now an accurate phrase. On Mon., Sept. 11, "Squonk" received a Hewes Award for excellence in theatrical design, beating out a half-dozen other nominees.
Actually, it was Steve O'Hearn, who designed the sets, puppets, and costumes for "Squonk," who was honored with the Hewes Award, bestowed for "Noteworthy Unusual Effects." David Gallo won the award for Scenic Design, based on his sets for "Jitney" and the Manhattan Theatre Club's production of "The Wild Party." William Ivey Long won for Costume Design, in recognition of his work on "Contact," "The Music Man," and "Swing!" Peter Kaczorowski won the Lighting Design Award for his illumination of "Contact," "The Music Man," and "Kiss Me, Kate." The winners were honored at a luncheon at JW's in the Marriott Marquis Hotel, and received both citations and cash awards.
Other nominees for Scenic Design were John Lee Beatty, Robert Brill, Michael Brown, Myung Hee Cho, Bob Crowley, Richard Foreman, Edward T. Gianfrancesco, David Jenkins, Eugene Lee, Thomas Lynch, Rob Odorisio, Neil Patel, and Robin Wagner. Costume Design nominees were Gabriel Berry, Jane Greenwood, Bob Crowley, Susan Hilferty, Basil du Maurier, and Martin Pakledinaz. Lighting Design nominees were Pat Collins, Natasha Katz, David Lander, Kenneth Posner, Rui Rita, Mimi Jordan Sherin, and Jennifer Tipton. Other designers in contention for Noteworthy Special Effects were the team who contributed video, sound, lighting, and animation of "Jet Lag"; the designers of "The Big Bang"; the designers of "Hypatia or The Divine Algebra"; sound designer Dan Moses Schreier, for "Dirty Blonde"; special effects designer Gregory Meeh, for "Voices in the Dark"; and William Ivey Long, for the tap-shoe bedroom slippers he created for "Swing!"
The Hewes Awards have, in their past, been called the Maharams and the American Theatre Wing Design Awards, but were officially renamed last year in honor of Henry Hewes, a theatre critic who helped organize the honors in 1964. This year's judges were Hewes, Mario Fratti, Mel Gussow, Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, and Joan Ungaro. Back Stage contributing writer Tish Dace chaired the judging committee.