Is it really a huge surprise that Azeotrope’s production of “Jesus Hopped The A Train” was the big winner in the 2012 Gypsy Rose Lee Awards, the 2nd annual theater awards from the Seattle Theater Writers group? “Jesus” claimed six Gypsy Awards, in the small theater category, winning Best Play; Best Director for company co-founder Desdemona Chiang; Best Actor for another Azeotrope co-founder, Richard Nguyen Sloniker; Best Supporting Actor for Dumi; Best Set Design for Deanne Zibello; and Best Local Composing for Christian “Lil’ Kriz” Beeber. The production also won accolades in last year’s Gregory Awards from Theater Puget Sound, and in the Seattle Times’ annual Footlight Awards in addition to rave reviews from audiences and critics. What’s even more remarkable, is that “Jesus” is only the second production from Azeotrope; their premiere production of “Red Light Winter” in 2011 also won numerous kudos.
Over on the Large Theater side, the big winner was Seattle Repertory’s production of “Or,” with wins for Best Direction for Allison Narver; Best Ensemble for the entire cast: Kirsten Potter, Basil Harris, and Montana von Fliss; and a win for Catherine Hunt for Best Costume Design. The Rep was also honored with awards for Best Set Design for Scott Bradley’s impressive set (and set change) for “Clybourne Park” and Best Music Direction for Jmichael for “Pullman Porter Blues”. And, ACT’s production of “The Pitmen Painters” won Best Production of a Play.
On the musical side, Village Theatre’s “The Producers” pretty much swept the large theater category with wins for Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical for Steve Tomkins, Best Supporting Actor for Nick DeSantis, and a win for Kristin Bohr Holland for Best Choreography. In the smaller theater category, Balagan’s production of “Spring Awakening” won for Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical (Eric Ankrim) and Best Musical Direction (Kimberly Dare). The quirky dance based “The Skriker” from Janice Findley Productions picked up the small theater choreography award for acclaimed local artist Pat Graney, and Best Lighting Design for Amiya Brown.
The other acting honors went to David Hogan for his unforgettable turn as the dog Enzo in Book-It Rep’s adaptation of the Seattle based novel, “The Art of Racing in the Rain”; Nike Imoru for her brilliantly sharp performance in upstart crow’s all female cast production of Shakespeare’s “Titus Andronicus” and two acting awards for Seattle Shakespeare Company’s production of Shaw’s “Pygmalion”: Jennifer Lee Taylor for her leading role of Eliza Doolittle and veteran Seattle actress Jeanne Paulsen for her supporting turn as Mrs. Higgins. Another acclaimed actress, Mary Ewald won Best Actress for a small theater for her almost solo turn in Beckett’s “Happy Days”, a production from New City Theater. Annex Theater’s all female cast for the hilariously smart women in prison spoof, “Kittens in a Cage” grabbed the Ensemble award for a small theater with recognition awarded to the entire cast: Francesca Mondelli, Katie Driscoll, Lisa Viertel, Laurel Ryan, Tracy Leigh, Erin Pike, and Erin Stewart, who can be currently seen in Balagan’s production of “Hedwig & The Angry Inch” at The Moore.
On the Design side, Katie Hegarty won Best Costume Design (Small Theater) for WET’s “The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls”, and the Sound Design awards went to Evan Mosher for his haunting work in Strawshop’s “The Bells, and to Michael White Hayes for his comic book bombast in Annex’s “Team of Heroes: Behind Closed Doors”. (Note: the next installment in the “Team of Heroes” series is coming this year!) Finally, the multi-hyphenatedly talented L.B. Morse won Best Lighting Design (Large) for his evocative work on Intiman’s “Hedda Gabler.
Local writer S.P. Miskowski won the very competitive Local Playwriting award for “Emerald City” a production from Live Girls! Theater.
Finally, the Seattle Theater Writers were pleased to announce they are awarding a Special Honorary Award to local actress, playwright, and producer Kathy Hsieh for her work in creating the long running theatrical serial, “Sex in Seattle”. From the STW announcement:
Seattle Theater Writers also are proud to announce a Special Award of Recognition for Ms. Kathy Hsieh for Excellence in Playwriting for her 10 plus years and roughly 40 hours of theatrical production time, either alone or with partners, on the long-running serial, Sex In Seattle, which culminated in Episode 20 in 2012.
Ms. Hsieh’s consistent vision was amusing, and also encapsulated divergent responses to the world from her four Asian-American female characters, as they all struggled with love and other relationships. We honor her achievement and her contribution to her company, SiS Productions, and our artistic community.
Congratulations to all the winners and all the nominees for a terrific year in Seattle theater! For more information on the Seattle Theater Writer’s group, please check out our Facebook page. Links to most theater reviews in Seattle publications and media outlets can be found there as well.
Here’s the complete listing of winners:
The 2012 Gypsy Rose Lee Award Winners are:
Excellence in Production of a Play
(Large Budget): The Pitmen Painters — ACT Theatre
(Small Budget): Jesus Hopped the A Train — Azeotrope
Excellence in Production of a Musical
(Large Budget): The Producers — Village Theatre
(Small Budget): Spring Awakening — Balagan Theatre
Excellence in Direction of a Play
(Large Budget): Allison Narver — Or, — Seattle Repertory Theatre
(Small Budget): Desdemona Chiang — Jesus Hopped the A Train — Azeotrope
Excellence in Direction of a Musical
(Large Budget): Steve Tomkins — The Producers — Village Theatre
(Small Budget): Eric Ankrim — Spring Awakening — Balagan Theatre
Excellence in Performance as a Lead Male Actor
(Large Budget): David Hogan — The Art of Racing in the Rain — Book-It Repertory
(Small Budget): Richard N. Sloniker — Jesus Hopped the A Train — Azeotrope
Excellence in Performance as a Lead Female Actor
(Large Budget): Jennifer Lee Taylor — Pygmalion — Seattle Shakespeare Company
(Small Budget): Mary Ewald — Happy Days — New City Theater
Excellence in Performance as a Supporting Male Actor — any non-lead
(Large Budget): Nick DeSantis — The Producers — Village Theatre
(Small Budget): Dumi — Jesus Hopped the A Train — Azeotrope
Excellence in Performance as a Supporting Female Actor — any non-lead
(Large Budget): Jeanne Paulsen — Pygmalion — Seattle Shakespeare Company
(Small Budget): Nike Imoru — Titus Andronicus — upstart crow
Excellence in Performance as an Ensemble
(Large Budget): Or, — Seattle Repertory Theatre (Kirsten Potter, Basil Harris, Montana von Fliss)
(Small Budget): Kittens in a Cage — Annex Theatre (Francesca Mondelli, Katie Driscoll, Lisa Viertel, Laurel Ryan, Tracy Leigh, Erin Pike, Erin Stewart)
Excellence in Set Design
(Large Budget): Scott Bradley — Clybourne Park — Seattle Repertory Theatre
(Small Budget): Deanna Zibello — Jesus Hopped the A Train — Azeotrope
Excellence in Costume Design
(Large Budget): Catherine Hunt — Or, — Seattle Repertory Theatre
(Small Budget): Katie Hegarty — The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls — WET
Excellence in Lighting Design
(Large Budget): L.B. Morse — Hedda Gabler — Intiman Theatre
(Small Budget): Amiya Brown — The Skriker — Janice Findley Productions
Excellence in Sound Design
(Large Budget): Evan Mosher — The Bells — Strawberry Theatre Workshop
(Small Budget): Michael White Hayes — Team of Heroes: Behind Closed Doors — Annex Theatre
Excellence in Musical Direction
(Large Budget): Jmichael — Pullman Porter Blues — Seattle Repertory Theatre
(Small Budget): Kimberly Dare — Spring Awakening — Balagan Theatre
Excellence in Choreography or Movement
(Large Budget): Kristin Bohr Holland — The Producers — Village Theatre
(Small Budget): Pat Graney — The Skriker — Janice Findley Productions
Excellence in Local Playwriting
S.P. Miskowski — Emerald City — Live Girls! Theater
Excellence in Local Composing
Christian “Lil Kriz” Beeber — Jesus Hopped the A Train — Azeotrope
About Seattle Theater Writers:
Founded in 2011 by Miryam Gordon and comprised of local writers and reviewers, Seattle Theater Writers is a group dedicated to raising public awareness of theater practitioners and the work produced by professional Equity and non-Equity theater organizations. Born from this mission are the annual Gypsy Rose Lee Awards, recognizing excellence in Seattle theater across 32 categories—the most comprehensive and inclusive local theater awards to date!