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He Says: Be More and More Chill on Broadway, Please.

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The theatre is buzzing with excitement before the show even begins. When it opened last fall at Pershing Square Signature Center, there were stories of money being saved from after-school jobs and allowances just so these teenagers from all over the country could get themselves to New York City to see Be More Chill live and in person.  No wonder, it’s a young and feisty High School musical, something akin to Mean Girls mixed with the Sci-Fi out of this world Little Shop of Horrors, with a dash of outsider angst Dear Evan Hansen layered on top of its catchy fun soundtrack.  With super festive music and lyrics by Joe Iconis (Broadway Bounty Hunter) and a comically strong book by Joe Tracz (Poster Boy) based on the novel by Ned Vizzini, the crowd is still as stoked as you can imagine. Everyone is instructed to “deactivate” and set their phones to ‘silent & enjoy’. They can all barely contain themselves in their seats, and the fever is catching (especially after the wildly successful off-Broadway run), as they and I wait for that first chord to reverberate through the theatre.

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George Salazar. Photo Credit: © 2019 Maria Baranova.

It hasn’t slipped a bit since transferring to the Lyceum Theatre, generally getting a sharper and sparkler upgrade that was needed to make the big time leap. But essentially, it all comes down to “Micheal In the Bathroom“. The celebrated song, sung with a supreme comical and emotional depth by the delicious and Award winning George Salazar (off-Broadway’s The Lightning Thieftick, tick… BOOM!) made it big on YouTube long before the show debuted last year. The video music sensation, garnered thousands of views, standing at 3,617,922 today and growing, and delivers the teenage angst that resonates far outside the simple recording.  I’m still pretty convinced that I’m not really the demographic nor the standard youthful YouTube viewer who floats around the video library source looking and searching for the trending and exciting new songs out there. And I guess that also means I might be missing out on solid stuff like this. Who knew? But because of this video and the original Cast Recording existing out there online, the buzz that is floating around the current staging of the musical, Be More Chill, couldn’t be bigger and more electric. And as guided with ADD enthusiastic energy by both the formidable Stephen Brackett, the director of the powerful The Mad Ones at 59E59/Prospect Theater, and choreographed by the talented Chase Brock (Public’s First Daughter Suite), it deserves every bit of the hyper hype it has accumulated.

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The Cast of Be More Chill. Photo Credit: © 2019 Maria Baranova.

These fans are definitely given the pill of ‘not disappointed’ with this production, as the music and the upgraded projected graphics shout out a thrilling electronic welcome, thanks to the strong music direction of Emily Marshall (Broadway’s Mean Girls), and orchestrations/music supervision by Charlie Rosen (Prince of Broadway). The highly effective scenic design by Beowulf Boritt (Come From Away), frames the piece to computer-like perfection, with spot-on lighting by Tyler Micoleau (The Band’s Visit), solid sound designer Ryan Rumery (“CIty of Gold“), and amazing and exciting projection designs by Alex Basco Koch (Barrow Street’s Buyer & Cellar).

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Jason SweetTooth Williams, Will Roland, and George Salazar. Credit: © 2019 Maria Baranova.

The opening has a “Hello Baltimore”/Hairspray feeling that transitions beautifully towards something bigger than just a good morning. “More Than Survive” is Jeremy’s anthem and mantra as he slumps towards another uncomfortable day at the generic Mean Girls High School. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a Janice or a Damien to help him navigate the halls where he is, most definitely, not the cool guy, but the one who’s left out. It’s such a meta-theatrical moment as the lead role is performed expertly by the oh-so-perfect Will Roland (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt“). His singing, although infused with maybe a bit too many quirky gimmicks, wonderfully captures the essence of being uncomfortable all day long. He’ll never be the Robert DeNiro of this tale, but in the real Broadway world, it is quite obviously the opposite.  After years of playing the obnoxiously hilarious cousin to (Dear) Evan Hansen opposite Ben Platt (who I can’t wait to see in concert next week at The Beacon), Roland is now the star of his own loser story, and even though he sings solidly about being said loser, Roland is most definitely not, as there is no other way to see his performance in Be More Chill other than thoroughly entertaining and star-making. The exact same thing, times a thousand, can be said of side-kick Salazar as his best buddy in this “Two-Player Game“. Those two together carry the momentum forward with an authentic bond and clear charm that resonates beyond Zombie Slaying.

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Stephanie Hsu. Photo Credit: © 2019 Maria Baranova.

Jeremy doesn’t want to be a hero, at least that is what he says, but he does want to get to know Christine Canigula, played with epic energy by the magnificent Stephanie Hsu (Broadway’s SpongeBob Squarepants). She hyper-energetically rules the stage, playing with her quirks to the heroic heights, especially during her fantastically witty number, “I Love Play Rehearsal“. She makes the moment and her character impossible not to love, admire, and adore. She’s “passionate, a lot“, so it makes sense Jeremy jumps in when high school bad boy Rich, played by the multi-layered Gerald Canonico (Broadway’s Groundhog Day) offers up “The Squip Song“. With hopes of a new tomorrow in his geeky head, Jeremy quickly makes his way to Payless to gulp down the outlandish offer enthusiastically, and “then, then, then, he got a squip“, direct from Japan and in the dedicated alcohol-intolerant format of the wonderfully smooth-talking ninja-confident Jason Tam (Broadway’s If/Then, Lysistrata Jones).  In beautifully Matrix-like costumes forever being enhanced by designer Bobby Frederick Tilley II (2ST’s All New People), the Squip magically and chemically becomes Jeremy’s “Upgrade” teaching him how to “Be More Chill” and talk to girls like the cool-girl second banana Brooke, played dynamically by the very funny Lauren Marcus (Barrington’s Company). “Do you want to ride?“, she asks most emphatically, but her BFF, Chloe, played with a crisp and ridiculous Regina George veneer by the delightfully over-the-top Katlyn Carlson (off-Broadway’s The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin) is a bit more complicated in the bedroom, mainly because of the solidly funny turn of Britton Smith (Broadway’s Shuffle Along) as the delightfully stereotyped cool dude, Jake Dillinger.  There’s also a surprise turn by the powerhouse Tiffany Mann (TNG’s Jerry Springer the Opera) as tossed around Jenna, who, with her two oddly attached girlfriends, bring down the house with the wickedly perfect cheerleader song, “The Smartphone Hour (Rick Set A Fire)“.

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Tiffany Mann (center) and the Cast of Be More Chill. Credit: © 2019 Maria Baranova.

Even with the fire and the hormones raging, it’s all pretty fun albeit straight-forward high school material, at least morality-wise, played out professionally and with a furry white grin. Even with the premise being so out-there and diabolically unique, the story connects, particularly with the young and enthusiastic crowd in attendance. Jeremy just needs a secondary reboot to figure out just what is the most important thing in life, especially high school life. What he really needs is a big gulp of ‘Best Friend devotion’ and a Dad “so strong“, played to perfection by Jason Sweettooth Williams (Signature/La Jolla’s Freaky Friday). Dad finally figures out that he has to pull it all together (and on) for his son’s survival and he needs Michael to help him out. The solidly funny duet, “The Pants Song” made it all come together for me.  This, I could now see, is ‘the loser’ story that so many in high school know all too well.  It’s told with a much less serious or raw emotionality than the hit, Dear Evan Hansen, but has heart to spare. This touching and humorous song and musical delivers something just as thrilling.  It’s definitely lighter in touch and style, with a bit more comedic and sci-fi drive, but that wink and a smile still tweaked on my heart strings just as realistically. There’s “never been a better time in history to be a loser“, says Be More Chill, and the cast and creative team certainly know what they are talking about.  This funny and charming show delivers the goods, and with the crowd cheering these characters on at every turn, Be More Chill seems destined to be a survivor out there in the big scary world of Broadway.  “O-M-G- Chlo, answer me, Woah, wait until I tell you what I heard!“ can be heard by those obviously new theatre junkies being formatted as we all stand in line for the bathroom. Happily Michael isn’t the one inside, holding us all up.

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BE MORE CHILL 
Music & Lyrics by Joe Iconis, Book by Joe Tracz
Directed by Stephen Brackett Choreographed by Chase Brock Now Playing at the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway
Pictured: Stephanie Hsu and Will Roland. Photo Credit: © 2019 Maria Baranova

For more, go to frontmezzjunkies.com

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my last...so far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

Broadway

The  78th Annual Theatre World Awards And You Are There

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The historic 78th Annual Theatre World Awards Ceremony was held on Monday evening, June 10, 2024 at the Marquis Theatre.

The event was hosted by well-known theater journalist, Peter Filichia.

Ali Louis Bourzgui

Winners of the 2024 Theatre World Awards were honored The Who’s Tommy‘s Ali Louis Bourzgui

 Oh, Mary!‘s Cole Escola

 The Outsiders‘ Brody Grant was given his award by Daphne Rubin Vega

Michael Imperioli and wife

 An Enemy of the People‘s Michael Imperioli

Phillip Johnson Richardson

The Wiz‘s Phillip Johnson Richardson

Nichelle Lewis

Nichelle Lewis, Phillip Johnson Richardson

and Nichelle Lewis

 Patriots‘ Will Keen

 Mary Jane‘s Rachel McAdams

Hell’s Kitchen‘s Maleah Joi Moon was given his award by Kristin Chenoweth

Casey Likes

Tom Pecinka

and Stereophonic‘s Tom Pecinka

Sarah Pidgeon

Sarah Pidgeon

Chris Stack.

and Chris Stack.

A.J. Shively

Also receiving honors were A.J. Shively, who has won the Dorothy Loudon Award for his work in Irish Rep’s Philadelphia, Here I Come

Len Cariou

Len Cariou, winning the John Willis Award for Lifetime Achievement

Peter Filichia

and arts writer Peter Filichia, this year’s Special Award honoree.

There to honor them were

Maria Friedman

André De Shields

A great night was had by all.

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Broadway

Drama Desk Awards Backstage In The Press Room

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T2C was backstage at the Drama Desk Awards last night. Here is a look at the action.

First in the room:

Kara Young

Celia Keenan-Bolger

Celia Keenan-Bolger and Jessica Lange

Jessica Lange

Sarah Paulson

The Cast of Stereophonic-Will Brill, Sarah Pidgeon, Juliana Canfield, Andrew R. Butler, Tom Pecinka, Chris Stack and Eli Gelb

Nikiya Mathis

JR Goodman, Ray Wetmore and Camille Labarre

Nikki M. James

Patrick Page

Enver Chakartash

Paul Tazewell

Cole Escola

How to Dance in Ohio cast members that includes-Liz Weber, Jeremy Wein, Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt, Nicole D’Angelo and Becky Leifman

Paul Tate dePoo

Avran Mlotek, Motl Didner, Dominick Balletta and Zalem Miotek

Jane Cox

Brian MacDevitt

Brian MacDevitt and Jane Cox

Isabella Byrd

Ryan Rumery

Walter Trarbach, Cody Spencer and Kai Harada

David Yazbek

Itamar Moses

Lady Irene Gandy

Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick

Matthew Broderick

Nathan Lane

Will Butler

Marco Paguia

Shaina Taub

Justin Peck

Daniel Aukin

Jessica Stone

Corbin Bleu and Sarah Hyland

Andre Bishop and James Lapine

Keisha Lewis

Maleah Joi Moon, Brian d’Arcy James and Kelli O’Hara

Maleah Joi Moon

Keisha Lewis and Maleah Joi Moon

Kelli O’Hara

Brian d’Arcy James

Peter Nigrini

Carole Rothman and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

Amy Herzog

David Adjmi

Adam Greenfield, David Adjmi

Sarah Hyland and Debra Messing

 

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Broadway

The 2024 Winner’s Of The Drama Desk Awards The Red Carpet

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The 2024 Annual Drama Desk Awards were announced last night at NYU Skirball Center. Tony Award Winners Sutton Foster and Aaron Tveit hosted the ceremony.

Sutton Foster and Aaron Tveit

Aaron Tveit

Sutton Foster

T2C was on the red carpet.

Andrew Durand

Jeff Kuperman and Rick Kuperman

William Jackson Harper

Shaina Taub

Peter Nigrini

Kecia Lewis

Celia Keenan-Bolger

Jocelyn Bioh

Laura Benanti

Jesse Robb and Shana Carroll

Jessica Lange

Camille Labarre, Ray Wetmore and JR Goodman

Michael Starobin, Andrea Grody and Shaina Taub

Will Brill

Sarah Paulson

Richard Ridge

Sarah Hyland

Maleah Joi Moon

Patrick Paige

Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields, Maleah Joi Moon

Brian D’Arcy James

Will Keen

Michael Stuhlbarg, Will Keen

Mary Louise Burke

Isabella Byrd

Justin Peck

Kara Young

Marco Paguia

Miss New York Rachelle diStasio

Josh Breckenridge

Lorin Latarro

Ricky Ubeda

Glauco Araujo

Dorian Harewood and Nancy Harewood

Mark Williams

Brody Grant

The Cast of Stereophonic-Andrew R. Butler, Will Brill, Tom Pecinka, Juliana Canfield, Eli Gelb, Chris Stack and Sarah Pidgeon

Paige Davis and Patrick Page

James Monroe Iglehart

Sarah Pidgeon

Nikiya Mathis

Montego Glover

Cole Escola

Tom Pecinka

Chris Stack

Leslie Kritzer

Miriam Silverman

Andrew R. Butler

Pat Swinney Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment with Juliana Canfield

Juliana Canfield

Enver Chakartash

Robert Pickens and Katie Geil

Will Butler

David Adjmi

Daisy Prince

Debra Messing

Lena Hall

Debra Messing

Nikki M. James

Michael Stuhlbarg

Paul Tazewell

Camille A. Brown

Marin Ireland

How To Dance in Ohio-Liz Weber, Jeremy Wein, Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt, Nicole D’Angelo and Becky Leifman

Jacob Karr

Dylis Croman and Robert Montano

Eli Gelb

Walter Trarbach

Steven Valentine

Peter Charney and Brendan George

Rebecca Frecknall

Lady Irene Gandy

Timo Andres

 

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Broadway

Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth

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The Broadway League’s Black to Broadway initiative announces the performers for this year’s Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth concert taking place in Times Square on Wednesday, June 19th from 11:00am – 12:30pm (rain or shine).

Michael James Scott

Michael James Scott will host. Flagstar Bank will be this year’s presenting sponsor.

Phylicia Rashad

The 2024 Juneteenth Legacy Award will be presented to two-time Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad, a versatile performer, director, educator, and humanitarian who has delighted generations of audiences through her work in beloved roles both in theatre and on screen. As an actress, Ms. Rashad has won two Tony Awards, for A Raisin in the Sun (2004 Best Actress in a Play) and Skeleton Crew (2022 Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play). She was also a 2005 Best Actress in a Play nominee for Gem of the Ocean. As a producer, Ms. Rashad recently received a Best Revival of a Play nomination for Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch.

The fourth annual Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth concert features more than 35 performers from the following 17 Broadway shows: Aladdin; & Juliet; Back to the Future: The Musical; Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club; Chicago; Harry Potter and the Cursed Child; The Heart of Rock and Roll; Hell’s Kitchen; Illinoise; The Lion King; MJ; Moulin Rouge! The Musical;The Notebook; Suffs; Water for Elephants; The Who’s Tommy; The Wiz; and the return of the kids of Young Gifted and Broadway. All performances will be accompanied by live music thanks to The Music Performance Trust Fund and the Film Funds. American Sign Language interpretation will be provided.

The exciting line-up of Broadway stars set to perform includes: Blu Allen, Donovan Louis Bazemore, Jace Bentley, Ronnie S. Bowman Jr., Maya Boyd, Tsilala Brock, Max Chambers, Taylor Colleton, Jay Copeland, Lorna Courtney, Charity Angél Dawson, Mariama Diop, Desmond Sean Ellington, Will Ervin Jr., Jerome Hermann-Hardeman, Dorian Harewood, Jackson Hayes, Najah Hetsberger, Afra Hines, Manny Houston, Jaylen Lyndon Hunter, Bre Jackson, Polanco Jones Jr., John-Michael Lyles, Mehret Marsh, Deja McNair, Alex Newell, Veronica Otim, Cristina Rae, Jelani Remy, William Rhem Jr., Albert Rhodes Jr., Walter Russell III, Antoine L. Smith, Nia Thompson, Lamont Walker II, Rachel Webb, NaTasha Yvette Williams, and Hailee Kaleem Wright.

Joining The Broadway League in partnership for Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth are Black Theatre United (BTU), Black Theatre Coalition (BTC), The New York Times, and the Times Square Alliance. Black Theatre United has curated a selection of Black-owned restaurants to take part in the celebration by selling food and treats to attendees. Kokomo, LaMode BK, and Brooklyn Sweet Spot will be on-site with a selection of delicious options to add to the festivity.

Flagstar Bank is the 2024 presenting sponsor of Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth. Other sponsors include: The Music Performance Trust Fund and Film Funds; the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment; Audience Rewards; Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS; Broadway.com; M·A·C Cosmetics; TodayTix; Playbill; The Araca Group; and Open Jar Studios.

The creative and production teams of Broadway Celebrates Juneteenth include Director and Writer Steve H. Broadnax III, Music Director Rashad McPherson, Executive Producers Brian Anthony Moreland and Aaliytha Stevens, Stage Manager Monet Thibou, and General Manager Devon Miller of Foresight Theatrical.

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The 2024 Winner’s Of The Drama Desk Awards With Interviews

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Photo Aaron Tveit and Sutton Foster Photo by Genevieve Rafter Keddy

The 2024 Drama Desk Awards were a star-studded ceremony at NYU Skirball Center co-hosted by Sutton Foster and Aaron Tveit. This is the only major NYC theater awards for which Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off-Broadway productions are considered in the same categories. Two recipients in each of the gender-free performance categories were announced and in some categories not only were their ties but three winners selected.

The winners are:

Outstanding Play: Stereophonic, by David Adjmi, Playwrights Horizons

Outstanding Musical: Dead Outlaw

Outstanding Revival of a Play: Appropriate, Second Stage Theater

Outstanding Revival of a Musical: I Can Get It for You Wholesale, Classic Stage Company


Outstanding Lead Performance in a Play:
Jessica Lange, Mother Play, Second Stage Theater

and Sarah Paulson, Appropriate, Second Stage Theater

Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical: Brian d’Arcy James, Days of Wine and Roses, Atlantic Theater Company, Maleah Joi Moon, Hell’s Kitchen and Kelli O’Hara, Days of Wine and Roses, Atlantic Theater Company


Outstanding Featured Performance in a Play:
Celia Keenan-Bolger, Mother Play, Second Stage Theater and Kara Young, Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch

Outstanding Featured Performance in a Musical: Kecia Lewis, Hell’s Kitchen and Bebe Neuwirth, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club


Outstanding Direction of a Play:
Daniel Aukin, Stereophonic, Playwrights Horizons


Outstanding Direction of a Musical:
Jessica Stone, Water for Elephants

Outstanding Choreography: Justin Peck, Illinoise, Park Avenue Armory


Outstanding Music:
Shaina Taub, Suffs

Outstanding Lyrics: David Yazbek and Erik Della Penna, Dead Outlaw

Outstanding Book of a Musical: Itamar Moses, Dead Outlaw

Outstanding Orchestrations: Marco Paguia, Buena Vista Social Club, Atlantic Theater Company


Outstanding Music in a Play:
Will Butler, Stereophonic, Playwrights Horizons

Outstanding Revue: Amid Falling Walls, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

Outstanding Scenic Design of a Play: David Zinn, Stereophonic, Playwrights Horizons

Outstanding Scenic Design of a Musical: Paul Tate DePoo III, The Great Gatsby (includes projections)


Outstanding Costume Design of a Play:
Enver Chakartash, Stereophonic, Playwrights Horizons


Outstanding Costume Design of a Musical:
Paul Tazewell, Suffs

Outstanding Lighting Design of a Play: Jane Cox, Appropriate, Second Stage Theater


Outstanding Lighting Design of a Musical:
Brian MacDevitt and Hana S. Kim (projections), The Outsiders

Outstanding Projection and Video Design: Peter Nigrini,Hell’s Kitc

Outstanding Sound Design of a Play: Ryan Rumery, Stereophonic, Playwrights Horizons


Outstanding Sound Design of a Musical:
Nick Lidster for Autograph, Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club, Cody Spencer, The Outsiders and Walter Trarbach, Water for Elephants


Outstanding Wig and Hair:
Nikiya Mathis, Jaja’s African Hair Braiding, Manhattan Theatre Club


Outstanding Solo Performance:
Patrick Page, All the Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Invented the Villain

Unique Theatrical Experience: Grenfell: in the words of survivors, St. Ann’s Warehouse, National Theatre, and KPPL Productions

Outstanding Fight Choreography: Cha Ramos, Water for Elephants

Outstanding Adaptation: An Enemy of the People, by Amy Herzog


Outstanding Puppetry:
Ray Wetmore, JR Goodman, and Camille Labarre, Water for Elephants

SPECIAL AWARDS

Ensemble Award

The cast of Stereophonic – Will Brill, Andrew R. Butler, Juliana Canfield, Eli Gelb, Tom Pecinka, Sarah Pidgeon, and Chris Stack – who execute David Adjmi’s hypernaturalistic text with extraordinary care and precision, while also performing Will Butler’s music with the freshness and life that makes us believe we are witnessing, first-hand, the creation of a new American classic.


‘Sam Norkin Off-Broadway Award

Cole Escola, who both wrote and stars in one of this season’s biggest hits Off Broadway, Oh, Mary! Following in the long legacy of queer artists who write themselves into American history, Escola’s new “gay fantasia on national themes” is a hilarious reminder of why we must continue to interrogate our past.

ADDITIONAL SPECIAL AWARDS

How to Dance in Ohio Authentic Autistic Representation Team – Sammi Cannold, Nicole D’Angelo, Becky Leifman, Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt, Liz Weber, and Jeremy Wein  – for their steadfast support of autistic theatermakers, and their strides toward true accessibility for neurodiverse individuals both on and offstage.


Lighting designer Isabella Byrd, whose self-described technique as a “darkness designer” has earned her a cache of nominations and awards in the United States and abroad. During this season, Byrd illuminated two Broadway shows done in the round, An Enemy of the People and Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club. Off Broadway, her spotlight on quiet, small-scale stories both enchanted us in Primary Trust and mesmerized us in Infinite Life, with a parking-lot sky that marked the passage of time.


Lady Irene Gandy, for career achievement. A press agent extraordinaire for over five decades, Lady Irene has always demonstrated her passion, dedication, and love for theater. A Broadway producer and Sardi’s honoree, she is a zealous advocate for inclusion, diversity, and equity in the arts.

 

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