A play about the comic and tragic life of actor Buster Keaton, "Stoneface" was the big winner at the 34th Annual L.A. Weekly Theater Awards on Monday night. The show, honoring the best in Los Angeles theaters housing 99 or fewer seats, was hosted by the comic troupe Lost Moon Radio and held at The Avalon Club in Hollywood. The awards are voted on by critics for the L.A. Weekly, headed by theater editor and critic Steven Leigh Morris.
"Stoneface," presented last year at Sacred Fools Theater, went on to win five awards, including best director, best ensemble, best production design and best video/projection design. The show starred French Stewart as Keaton and was written by Stewart's wife, Vanessa Claire Stewart, a contributor to Backstage. It was recently announced that the show will be moving to the 600-plus-seat Pasadena Playhouse as part of their 2013-14 season.
Also a big winner was musical of the year "The Color Purple," presented by Celebration Theatre, which also snagged honors for Micheal Matthews for direction of a musical and Gregory Nabours for musical direction. "Deathtrap," produced by L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's Davidson/Valenti Theatre, was named best revival. The playwriting award went to Steve Yockey for "Very Still & Hard to See."
A complete list of winners follows.
PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR
"Stoneface," Sacred Fools Theatre Company
REVIVAL PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR (of a 20th- or 21st-century work)
"Deathtrap," L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center's Davidson/Valenti Theatre
MUSICAL OF THE YEAR
"The Color Purple," Celebration Theatre
Jaime Robledo, "Stoneface," Sacred Fools Theater Company
DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL
Michael Matthews, "The Color Purple," Celebration Theatre
Jenelle Riley, "A Kind of Love Story," Sacred Fools Theater Company
Dan Spurgeon, "Turn of the Screw," the Visceral Company at Underground Theater
Gregory Nabours, "The Color Purple"
"Silence! The Musical"
FEMALE MUSICAL PERFORMANCE
Alet Taylor, "Justin Love," Celebration Theatre
MALE MUSICAL PERFORMANCE (TIE)
James Black, "Bad Apples"
Davis Gaines, "Silence! The Musical"
LEADING FEMALE PERFORMANCE (TIE)
Sarah Gise, "The Belle of Belfast"
Diarra Kilpatrick, "In the Red and Brown Water"
LEADING MALE PERFORMANCE
Rafael Goldstein, "Hamlet"
SUPPORTING FEMALE PERFORMANCE
Grace Eboigbe, "Hearts Like Fists"
SUPPORTING MALE PERFORMANCE
Tim Cummings, "The New Electric Ballroom"
"Turn of the Screw," Amelia Gotham and Nich Kauffman
Ilia Volok, "Diary of a Madman," Coeurage Theatre Company and A Perfect World Productions at Actors Circle Theatre
FEMALE COMEDY PERFORMANCE
Shannon Holt, "The Government Inspector"
MALE COMEDY PERFORMANCE
Adam Haas Hunter, "The Government Inspector"
Steve Yockey, "Very Still & Hard to See"
QUEEN OF THE ANGELS
Richard Alger, "The Treatment"
Tim Swiss, "Very Still & Hard to See"
Vicki Conrad, "The Learned Ladies"
SET DESIGN (TIE)
Nick Benacerraf, "The City"
David Mauer and Hazel Kuang, "Dirty Filthy Love Story"
John Zalewski, "Death of a Salesgirl"
Marina Magalhães, "Patty: The Revival"
VIDEO/PROJECTION DESIGN (TIE)
Adam Flemming/Dan Lund, "Death of a Salesgirl"
Ben Rock and Anthony Backman, "Stoneface"
Beth Thornley and Rob Cairns, "Bad Apples"
Peter Bayne, composer, "In the Red and Brown Water"
Andrew Amani, fight choreography, "Hearts Like Fists"