Well, Monday night was a good night for North Bay theater people.
At the 39th annual San Francisco Bay Area Theater Critics Awards, a batch of Sonoma County theaters were honored, with some very talented actors, directors and theater artists walking the steps up to claim awards for their work in 2014.
Winners included Denise Elia-Yen for her snappy portrayal of Annie Oakley in Spreckel’s Performing arts Center’s brilliantly presented production of “Annie Get Your Gun.” Other North Bay actresses who picked up awards included Abbey Lee, honored for her outrageous portrayal of an oversexed gangster’s moll in “Victor/Victoria,” and Rebekkah Pearson for playing the title role in “Thoroughly Modern Mille,” both of those shows at 6th Street Playhouse. 6th Street saw a few more of its artists win awards: Anthony Guzman and Evan Attwood both picked up wins for “Thoroughly Modern Mille,” and for the same show Joseph Favalora was honored for his choreography.
And back to Spreckels, Mary Gannon Graham was awarded for her splendidly goofy turn as a wacky modern day witch in “Bell, Book and Candle,” and Jeff Coté picked up a win for the title role in Gene Abravaya’s “The Book of Matthew (Liebowitz).” Oh, and Janis Wilson won for musical direction of “Annie get Your Gun.”
Main Stage West, in Sebastopol, also saw a few wins, beginning with singer-songwriter Si Kahn, for best original music for his show “Mother Jones in Heaven.” Also honored were Tyler Costin for his fine work in “Vanya and Sonja and Masha and Spike,” and for Albert Casselhoff, for his sound design on “T.I.C. (Trenchcoat in Common).”
And for Cinnabar Theater, the love continued with wins for Mary Chun, for her musical direction of last year’s “Fiddler on the Roof,” with the entire cast of “Of Mice and Men” winning for best ensemble.
And speaking of love, local actor, writer, director Dezi Gallegos, who’s just nineteen, picked up a special award, the first ever Annette Lust Award, given to young theater artists who show incredible promise and potential.
His acceptance speech, promising to find the next young dreamer and help them follow their passions, had the audience crying and cheering.
That’s just a few of the winners in the North Bay. For the full list, go to the Cristics Circle website at S-F-B-A-T-C-C dot.org, standing, of course, for San Francisco Bay Area Theater Critics Circle.
And while we’re celebrating the art of theater, let me just mention two upcoming shows about the art of theater, in one form or another. Opening this weekend, down in San Rafael, is a little thing called “[Title of Show], in brackets.” It’s a musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical, and when they invite two talented women to join them, it becomes a show about four people creating a musical about four people creating a musical, and then there are songs. Songs about writing songs.
As it so happens, the cast of four were ALL nominated for awards Monday night, for previous works, and two of them, including the aforementioned Abbey Lee.
It runs March 13-28 at Belrose theater, presented by Marin Onstage, marinonstage.com.
The show sounds like a blast, as does “Deathtrap,” opening in a couple of weeks at Spreckels performing arts Center. It’s the story of dueling playwrights who might just be trying to kill each other.
It runs March 20 through April 5.
Who knows, maybe next year these shows will be picking up awards of their own. And either way, as was recently stated, theater awards are just a party game. Getting to make theater, that’s the real party.
I’m David Templeton, Second Row Center, for KRCB.