Many gay professionals recognized — big surprise
Every year, over fried chicken and bitter fights, the members of the Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum meet in a handsome East Dallas manse to hash out the best and worst of the previous year’s theater. We leave the worst for the dustbin, and announce our awards for the best instead.
As usual, gay theater professionals figured prominently in the final awards tally.
B.J. Cleveland became this year’s only double recipient: For his direction of The House of Blue Leaves (whose star, Ted Wold, was also cited) and a special citation for his years of service to Theatre Arlington, from which he stepped down earlier this summer as artistic director. Dallas Theater Center artistic director Kevin Moriarty received special credit for reinstating the resident acting company any the DTC, and for his ongoing presence in the community.
Robin Armstrong was singled out for directing two plays, including the gay-themed Vincent River, which also netted a nod for actress Sue Birch. Gay directors Doug Miller and Rene Moreno also were recognized for their work on Click Clack Moo (Miller) and The Seafarer and This Is Our Youth (Moreno).
Dallas Voice 2009 Reader Voice Award-winner Diane Box-Worman won for her performances in Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? and John Patrick Shanley’s Defiance.
The only award for the gay-centric Uptown Players went to John de los Santos for his cheeky boy-band choreography for Altar Boyz, which just finished up its run. Awards stalwart Bruce Coleman, who writes, directors, designs and occasionally performs, received accolades for his costume design for Trysts in Toledo; Aaron Patrick Turner also won for his costumes for The Neverending Story. Terry Dobson shared a musical direction award for Lost in the Stars.
All in all, 45 productions were recognized. Undermain Theatre’s The Black Monk was the single show to win the most awards (four); it is still playing. Theatre Three received the most awards — seven — for four of its shows. Four of Kitchen Dog Theater and African American Repertory Theater’s shows were also recognized, KDT receiving five awards and AART four. AART’s co-founder, Irma P. Hall, also received a special citation for her lifetime achievement.
Here’s a complete list of winners:
DIRECTION: Jac Alder, Lost in the Stars (Theatre Three); Robin Armstrong, Incorruptible (Circle Theatre) and Vincent River (Theatre Britain); B.J. Cleveland, The House of Blue Leaves (Theatre Arlington); Ellen Locy and Pam Myers-Morgan, The Nibroc Trilogy (Echo Theatre); Doug Miller, Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type (Dallas Children’s Theater); Rene Moreno, The Seafarer (Stage West) and This Is Our Youth (Upstart Productions); Katherine Owens, The Black Monk (Undermain Theatre); Ed Smith, The Bluest Eye (Jubilee Theatre); Christina Vela and Jonathan Taylor, The Pillowman (Kitchen Dog Theater); T.J. Walsh, Defiance (Theatre Three) and Twelfth Night (Trinity Shakespeare Festival).
NEW PLAY OR MUSICAL: Death! The Musical by Scott Eckert (Pocket Sandwich Theatre); The Good Negro by Tracey Scott Wilson (Dallas Theater Center); Hello Human Female by Matt Lyle (Audacity Theatre Lab); Under a Texas Canopy by Ellsworth Schave (One Thirty Productions).
TOURING PRODUCTION: A Chorus Line (Dallas Summer Musicals); The Play about the Coach (Rocketship Productions through WaterTower Theatre’s Out of the Loop Fringe Festival); Rent (Dallas Summer Musicals).
ACTOR: Jonathan Brooks, The Black Monk; David Coffee, Twelfth Night; Michael Federico, Jihad Jones and the Kalashnikov Babes (Kitchen Dog Theater); Vince McGill, for his season with African American Repertory Theater: Rain, Seven Guitars and A Soldier’s Play; Jerry Russell, The Seafarer and On Golden Pond (Contemporary Theatre of Dallas); Lee Trull, The Pillowman; Drew Wall, for his season: Defiance (Theatre Three), A Skull in Connemara (Second Thought Theatre) and This Is Our Youth; Ted Wold, The House of Blue Leaves.
ACTRESS: Sue Birch, Vincent River; Diane Box-Worman, Defiance and The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? (Kitchen Dog Theater); Catherine DuBord, Some Girl(s) (Second Thought Theatre); Emily Gray, for Romeo & Juliet (Trinity Shakespeare Theatre), The Norman Conquests (Stage West) and Seagulls (WingSpan Theatre Co.); Julie Johnson, Always, Patsy Cline (Casa Manana); Regina Washington, Neat (African American Repertory Theater); Wendy Welch, The Light in the Piazza (Theatre Three); Kimberly Whalen, The Light in the Piazza and West Side Story (Lyric Stage).
ENSEMBLE: As Thousands Cheer (Lyric Stage); The Nibroc Trilogy; Topdog/Underdog (Upstarts Productions); A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant (Circle Theatre).
CREATIVE CONTRIBUTION: Altar Boyz (Uptown Players), for John de los Santos’ choreography; The Black Monk, for John Arnone’s set design and Bruce DuBose’s music and sound design; The Coppertone series (Balanced Almond), for Matthew Posey’s puppet design; The Last Meeting of the Knights of the White Magnolia (Contemporary Theatre of Dallas), for John S. Davies’ makeup design; Lost in the Stars, for Vonda Bowling and Terry Dobson’s musical direction; The Neverending Story (Dallas Children’s Theater) for Aaron Patrick Turner’s costume design; The Old Woman in the Wood (The Drama Club), for Jeffrey Schmidt’s production designs; Titus Andronicus (Kitchen Dog Theater), for Cameron Cobb’s gore and violence design; Trinity Shakespeare Festival’s design team, for its season; Trysts in Toledo, for Bruce Coleman’s costume design.
SPECIAL CITATIONS: B.J. Cleveland, for his achievements during his 27-year association with Theatre Arlington (15 as artistic director), and for his unstoppable energy; Irma P. Hall, co-founder of the African American Repertory Theater, for her lifetime contribution to North Texas theater; and Kevin Moriarty, artistic director of the Dallas Theater Center, for reintroducing a resident acting ensemble to the DTC, and for his spirit of community building.
Participating critics: Joan Arbery, D magazine and Renegade Bus; Alexandra Bonfield, Dallas Examiner, Renegade Bus, Critical Rants & Raves; Martha Heimberg, Turtle Creek News; Arnold Wayne Jones, Dallas Voice; Elaine Liner, Dallas Observer and TheaterJones; Mark Lowry, TheaterJones and THE magazine; Punch Shaw, Fort Worth Star-Telegram; and Lawson Taitte and Joy Tipping, The Dallas Morning News.