Every year, members of the Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum (which this time numbered a record 10 critics participating) gather in an East Dallas house and hash out the best in local theater during the preceding season. It’s usually a spirited debate with tears and blood and regretful recriminations, but this year it went very smoothly. Too smoothly, if you ask me. (I suspect Al Qaeda had a hand in it.) One reason might have been that there were a lot of good shows to agree upon, leading to an astonishing number of awards — more than usual. It was also a strong year for actresses.
For the first time in a long while, the winners’ list was led by the Dallas Theater Center, which took 11 citations (plus a special award) for seven shows, including all three “Beauty Plays:” Reasons to Be Pretty, Fat Pig and The Shape of Things.
Coming up behind was Fort Worth’s Circle Theatre, which took seven awards across three shows (Bach at Leipzig, which just closed, Opus and Something Intangible), and young Upstart Productions, which won six awards for its two shows of the season (Talk Radio and subUrbia). Gay theater troupe Uptown Players took one, for actress Wendy Welch in Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits.
A lot of gay themed shows and out members of the community took honors, including Lyric Stage’s world premiere musical The Road to Qatar!, actors Regan Adair and Elias Taylorson, and three of the four touring production winners (Spring Awakening, Xanadu and The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac).
The critics also announced a new award for emerging artist, presented to actor Joey Folsom for his exceptional season.
The complete list of winners appears after the jump.
DALLAS-FORT WORTH THEATER CRITICS FORUM AWARD WINNERS 2009-10 (Sept. 1, 2009–Aug. 31, 2010).
Robin Armstrong, Bach at Leipzig (Circle Theatre); Andy Baldwin, Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 (Theatre Arlington); Sharon Benge, Master Harold … and the Boys (African American Repertory Theater); Cheryl Denson, Funny Girl (Lyric Stage); Katherine Owens, Port Twilight (Undermain Theatre); Tom Parr IV, Alice in Wonderland (White Rock Pollution); Alan Shorter, Opus (Circle Theatre); Stan Wojewodski Jr., Endgame (Undermain Theatre).
New Play or Musical
The Road to Qatar! by Stephen Cole and David Krane (Lyric Stage); Long Way Go Down by Zayd Dohrn (Kitchen Dog Theater); Crystal City 1969 by David Lozano and Raul Trevino (Cara Mia Theatre Co.).
Regan Adair, Reasons to be Pretty (Dallas Theater Center), Fat Pig (Dallas Theater Center) and Something Intangible (Circle Theatre); Jonathan Brooks, Port Twilight; Jeremy Dumont, Funny Girl; Chamblee Ferguson, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Dallas Theater Center); Joey Folsom, for his season: Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (Broken Gears Project Theatre), Talk Radio (Upstart Productions) and subUrbia (Upstart Productions); Sean Hennigan, Death of a Salesman (Dallas Theater Center) and A Christmas Carol (Dallas Theater Center); Chuck Huber, Sherlock Holmes in the Crucifer of Blood (Theatre Three); Elias Taylorson, Talk Radio; Steven Walters, Fat Pig and The Shape of Things (Dallas Theater Center).
Pam Dougherty, The Full Monty (WaterTower Theatre) and Grey Gardens (WaterTower Theatre); Kristin Dausch, Funny Girl; Marianne Galloway, Rabbit Hole (Contemporary Theatre of Dallas); Liz Mikel, Black Pearl Sings! (WaterTower Theatre) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Trisha Miller, Much Ado About Nothing (Trinity Shakespeare Festival); Jennifer Powers, It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman (Dallas Theater Center); Cara Statham Serber, It’s a Bird… It’s a Plane… It’s Superman; Diana Sheehan, Grey Gardens; Sally Nystuen Vahle, Death of a Salesman; Wendy Welch, Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits (Uptown Players)
Endgame; Bach at Leipzig; Opus; subUrbia.
Design team of Port Twilight; Robin Armstrong, for fight choreography and costume design, Bach at Leipzig; Bryan Wofford, for set design, Boom (Kitchen Dog Theater) and Long Way Go Down (Kitchen Dog Theater); Cindy Ernst and Zachary Broadhurst, for set design, subUrbia; Scott and Joel Bayer, for set design, Talk Radio;Jeffrey Schmidt, for his season of design at Theatre Three, Echo Theatre and the Drama Club; Design team of Sherlock Holmes in the Crucifer of Blood.
August: Osage County; The Be(a)st of Taylor Mac; Spring Awakening; Xanadu.
Emerging Artist Award
For the Dallas Theater Center’s production of Neil LaBute’s The Beauty Plays, for innovation, ensemble acting (by Regan Adair, Aleisha Force, Steven Walters, Abbey Siegworth, Lee Trull, Christina Vela), direction (Joel Ferrell, Matthew Grey, Kevin Moriarty) and the audience talk-backs.
Writer/performer/teacher/producer Fred Curchack, for being a renaissance theater artist
Alexandra Bonifield, CriticalRant.com and Arts+Culture
Martha Heimberg, Turtle Creek News
Arnold Wayne Jones, Dallas Voice
Elaine Liner, Dallas Observer
Mark Lowry, TheaterJones.com and Arts+Culture
David Novinski, FrontRow
Punch Shaw, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Perry Stewart, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Lawson Taitte, Dallas Morning News
Joy Tipping, Dallas Morning News
[Note correction of appropriate credit for set design to Talk Radio]