Friday, August 10, 2007

Critic's Choice awards cite best in South Sound theater

Published in The News Tribune, August 10, 2007

Once again I offer my Critic's Choice selections for the best community theater in South Puget Sound. My selections are purely a matter of personal opinion based on performances I have reviewed in this column during the 2006-2007 theater season.

Best actor in a musical (male): Jeff Kingsbury in "Scrooge: The Musical" at Capital Playhouse.

Best actor in a musical (female): Stacie Pinkney Calkins as Effie White in "Dreamgirls" at Tacoma Little Theatre. Honorable mention: Leishen Moore as Sonia Walsk in "They're Playing Our Song" at Tacoma Musical Playhouse.

Best direction of a musical or comedy: Alan Bryce for "A Flea in Her Ear" at Centerstage.

Best musical: "Beauty and the Beast" at Tacoma Musical Playhouse. Special mention has to go to Encore! Theater for the punk musical "Angry Housewives."

Best dramatic actor (male): Scott C. Brown as Antonio Salieri in "Amadeus" at Lakewood Playhouse.

Best dramatic actor (female): Kendra Phillips as Anne Frank in "The Diary of Anne Frank" at Lakewood Playhouse. Honorable mention to Debbie Gallinatti as the blind woman, Susy, in "Wait Until Dark" at Tacoma Little Theatre.

Best direction of a drama: Don Welch for the harrowing post-9/11 drama "A Hole in the Sky" at South Puget Sound Community College. The timing blocking in this production was perfect, and was aided by amazing light and sound effects by, respectively, Jonathan Worden and Eric Martin.

Best drama: "A Hole in the Sky" at South Puget Sound Community College.

Best comic actor (male): Jason Haws as Bottom in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at Harlequin Productions. I must also give a nod of approval to Dave Wingert as Preacher Larry Finney in "Blue Plate Special" at Centerstage.

Best comic actor (female): This honor goes to Ingrid Pharris, not for one performance, but for scene-stealing comedy in a number of supporting roles, most notably as Catherine the maid in Theater Artists Olympia's "Boston Marriage" and as Bianca in TAO's "The Taming of the Shrew."

Best comedy: "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at Harlequin Productions. Everything about this one was superb, from sets and lighting to acting, directing and music.

Best supporting actor: Steve Nuehring as Big Daddy in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" at Olympia Little Theater. Honorable mention has to go to David Jensen as the rough and charming club owner Lewd Fingers in "Angry Housewives" at Encore! Theater.

Best child actor: Once again this honor goes to Grant Troyer, this time for a more grown-up role as the punk teenager in Encore! Theater's "Angry Housewives."

Special mentions: Finally, there were so many outstanding performances this season that I simply have to mention a few deserving of special praise. Among these are TAO's "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," Brian Jansen's comic turn in "Take Me Out" at Olympia Little Theater, Geoffrey Simmons in "Ain't Misbehavin'" at Capital Playhouse (reviving the role he played so amazingly at Tacoma Little Theatre last year), the final curtain in Tacoma Musical Playhouse's "The Full Monty," Josh Anderson's Melvin P. Thorpe in "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" at Capital Playhouse, the brilliant staging of "Amadeus" at Lakewood Playhouse and the amazing fight scenes in Harlequin Productions' "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

Wow! What a year it's been.

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