The First Annual Gypsy Rose Lee Awards Have Arrived

It was late last summer when I was approached to take part in the creation of a new venture: The First Annual Gypsy Rose Lee Awards; meant to be given out to theatrical productions (and the individual artists who participated in them) that stood out during the year 2011. The main difference between this set of awards and others that are given out locally — whether by the industry as in the Gregory Falls Awards, or an individual critic or newspaper — would be that the decision over which production received what award was made by a group of critics. In other words, these would be the equivalent of a Critic’s Circle Award.

I agreed, and after weeks of deliberation, the results came out last Friday (a full listing is included below).

It wasn’t an easy job, creating a new set of awards from scratch (all credit is due to Culture Mob’s Miryam Gordon, who spearheaded the endeavor). It took months of emails — some that were encouraging, others that were cajoling — and the entire process simply bolstered the fact that this vocation, this thing we critics do, is an entirely subjective process. The one immutable fact gleaned from the process is that we each value and expect something different out of Theater.

As such, the Gypsies (as I’m calling them from now on) is not the definitive statement for each critic who participated (for that, you’ll have to check the individual critic’s Best Of list, should they print one). Nearly every winner in these categories was debated strongly by the group (imagine a handful of critics in the same room debating things they hold opinions about), which is why the winners and the honorees should feel a certain amount of pride for being able to stand out and get the consensus from such an opinionated group.

Imperfect? Maybe, but name a good thing that isn’t. The list follows; please note that in some cases, we were unable to reach a consensus. These will be marked appropriately:

Excellence in Production of a Play:

Equity: The Brothers Size (Seattle Repertory Theatre). Also recognized: O Lovely Glowworm (Or Scenes of Great Beauty) (New Century Theatre Company).

Non-Equity: Sick (New City Theater). Also recognized: Live from the Last Night of My Life (Theater Schmeater).

Excellence in Production of a Musical:

Equity: Iron Curtain (Village Theatre).

Non-Equity: The Drowsy Chaperone (Seattle Musical Theatre).

Excellence in Direction of a Play:

Equity: Juliette Carrillo, The Brothers Size (Seattle Repertory Theatre). Also recognized: Valerie Curtis-Newton, All My Sons (Intiman Theatre).

Non-Equity: Karen Lund, Brownie Points (Taproot Theatre Company). Also recognized: Wayne Rawley, Live from the Last Night of My Life (Theater Schmeater).

Excellence in Direction of a Musical:

Equity: Steve Tomkins, Iron Curtain (Village Theatre).

Non-Equity: Brandon Ivie, The Drowsy Chaperone (Seattle Musical Theatre).

Excellence in Performance as a Lead Actor:

Equity: Michael Patten, O Lovely Glowworm (Or Scenes of Great Beauty) (New Century Theatre Company).

Non-Equity: Jaryl Draper, How I Learned To Drive (Stone Soup Theater).

Excellence in Performance as a Lead Actress:

Equity: Anne Allgood, Mary Stuart (ACT Theatre). Also recognized: Carolee Carmello, Saving Aimee (The 5th Avenue Theatre).

Non-Equity: Elizabeth Kenny, Sick (New City Theater).

Excellence in Performance as a Supporting Actor – any non-lead:

Equity: Todd Jefferson Moore, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Seattle Shakespeare Company). Also recognized: Joshua Carter, Mary Stuart (ACT Theatre).

Non-Equity: Aaron Lamb, An Ideal Husband (Taproot Theatre Company). Also recognized: Nick Edwards, Shipwrecked (ArtsWest).

Excellence in Performance as a Supporting Actress – any non-lead:

Equity: Bobbi Kotula, Iron Curtain (Village Theatre). Also recognized: Terri Weagant, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Seattle Shakespeare Company).

Non-Equity: Stacie Calkins, Hairspray (Seattle Musical Theatre).

Excellence in Performance as an Ensemble:

Equity: Cast of The Brothers Size (Seattle Repertory Theatre).

Non-Equity: Cast of Brownie Points (Taproot Theatre Company). Also recognized: Cast of A Lie of the Mind (Collektor).

Excellence in Set Design:

Equity: Roger Benington, O Lovely Glowworm (Or Scenes of Great Beauty) (New Century Theatre Company). Also recognized: Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams, The Brothers Size (Seattle Repertory Theatre).

Non-Equity: Mark Lund, Something’s Afoot (Taproot Theatre Company). Also recognized: Michael Mowery, Live from the Last Night of My Life (Theater Schmeater), Richard Schaefer, Arms and the Man (Seattle Public Theater).

Excellence in Costume Design:

Equity: Harmony Arnold, O Lovely Glowworm (Or Scenes of Great Beauty) (New Century Theatre Company). Also recognized: Catherine Hunt, In The Next Room, or The Vibrator Play (ACT Theatre).

Non-Equity: Deborah Sorenson, Pygmalion (Sound Theatre Company). Also recognized: John Allbritton, Hairspray (Seattle Musical Theatre).

Excellence in Lighting Design:

Equity: Geoff Korf, The Brothers Size (Seattle Repertory Theatre).

Non-Equity: Tess Malone, Duel of the Linguist Mages (Annex Theatre). Also recognized: Dave Hastings, Crooked (Theater Schmeater).

Excellence in Sound Design:

Equity: Matt Starritt, The Brothers Size (Seattle Repertory Theatre). Also recognized: Matt Starritt, The K of D (Seattle Repertory Theatre).

Non-Equity: Christopher Overstreet, Duel of the Linguist Mages (Annex Theatre). Also recognized: Larry A. Ryan, Live from the Last Night of My Life (Theater Schmeater).

Excellence in Musical Direction:

Equity: RJ Tancioco, Iron Curtain (Village Theatre).

Non-Equity: Josh Zimmerman, Hairspray (Seattle Musical Theatre).

Excellence in Choreography or Movement:

Equity: Sonia Dawkins, The Brothers Size (Seattle Repertory Theatre). Also recognized: Noah Racey, Guys & Dolls (The 5th Avenue Theatre).

Non-Equity: Lack of consensus.

Excellence in Local Playwriting: Elizabeth Kenny, Sick (New City Theater). Also recognized: Scotto Moore, Duel of the Linguist Mages (Annex Theatre).

Excellence in Local Composing: Lack of consensus.