Celebrating San Francisco Theater – Awards announced

64 awards were handed out last night at a gala celebrating the best in San Francisco theater. Here's the list of winners. Plus some thoughts.

The Pianist of Willesden Lane
‘The Pianist of Willesden Lane’ at Berkeley Rep. Winner of 2013 BATCC award for sound design (Erik Carstensen).

The Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle (BATCC) have announced this year’s winners. At a gala last night in Oakland, 64 awards were handed out to theaters, both big and small across the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition special honorees at the award gala (now in its 38th year) included the African-American Shakespeare Company, Bill and Susi English of the San Francisco Playhouse, and Elly Lichenstein of Cinnabar. The list of winners is listed below, and can also be found on the BATCC web site.

Julius Ahn won best male performance in a musical for his standout–and very memorable–turn on the A.C.T. stage in Stuck Elevator (review).

San Francisco Playhouse scooped up seven awards in total including Bill English for set design (Storefront Church), and several awards for performances including Susi Damilano (Abigail’s Party), Gabriel Marin (The Mother F**cker With the Hat), and Monique Hafen (Camelot).

For touring shows, the nod went to SHN for the apparently eternal musical Anything Goes.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, which played last year at the Berkeley Rep, also scored well among critics, with Caroline Kaplan (Featured Female – Drama) and Sharon Lockwood (Principal Female – Drama), and Richard White (Stage Direction) all picking up awards.

ON SET WITH STARK INSIDER: DISCONNECT at SJ REP

San Jose Repertory Theatre, Ray of Light, Novato, NCTC, Impact, Cinnabar, Marin, Masquers, Aurora, Cutting Ball, 6th Street Playhouse, California Shakespeare Company, Novato, Ross Valley Players, Spreckels (6 awards total), Rhinoceros, TheatreWorks, Wily West, Word for Word and Custom Made were also among those represented at the podium.

After reviewing the list of winners, a few things came to mind.

Theater here in San Francisco is as diverse as ever.

We’ve got Broadway revivals (Du Barry Was a Lady at 42nd Street Moon is a current example). Incredibly interesting and creative new works (To Sleep and Dream). A deep, deep pool of talented actors. Edgy blackbox productions. And so many theaters to enjoy–despite the challenging environment for the arts–that it truly feels like being the proverbial kid in a candy shop.

Julius Ahn in STUCK ELEVATOR at A.C.T.
Julius Ahn won for his memorable performance in STUCK ELEVATOR at A.C.T.

Where’s Magic Theatre?

A surprising omission. No Magic this year. Zero awards. Something doesn’t seem right about that (though it did receive several noms for Buried Child). If you’ve seen Rod Gnapp in any number of his ground breaking performances there you’ll know what I’m talking about (he did win a BATCC award for his performance in Marin Theatre Company’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane). Along with Berkeley Rep, this is a theater that sticks with you, almost every time. And if you just can’t get enough full-frontal, then Magic is your bff.

BEHIND THE SCENES: STUCK ELEVATOR at A.C.T.

MORE STARK INSIDER: San Francisco Theater Guide (updated with more listings, reviews, videos!)

Bigger budgets don’t necessarily mean better productions.

Often, quite the opposite. Case in point: the most recent Superman movie. Want to see creativity unleashed? Give someone $100, 10 chairs, and a kiwi. The results might just astonish. Or not. Either way, I especially love the risk-taking element seen so frequently across theaters here. I think we’ll need more of it – in this age of  mobility, social media, multi-screens, attention spans are fleeting. In that respect I’d label this year’s list as “safe.” I’m not so sure Millennials are too interested in old revivals, or the same old touring shows. We may scoff, but that’s the future ticket buyer. What’s worked in the past likely won’t going forward. More money is not necessarily the answer… the answer may lie in the deconstruction of long-standing theater norms. What that entails exactly, I’m not so sure. Does anyone?

Disconnect Play at San Jose Rep
Yoon Bae’s detailed set design for DISCONNECT was one of the winners at this year’s Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle awards gala.

Cliche and trite, but in the end they’re all winners. Any work that makes it from the imagination to the stage is, to a large extent, already a success. That we get to bathe in the riches is a remarkable luxury. One that I hope endures.

SAN FRANCISCO THEATER AWARDS

Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle (BATCC) Award Winners for 2013

NOMINATION NOMINEE TITLE PRODUCER / COMPANY
Choreography Anjee Norgaard Closer Than Ever Masquers Playhouse
Choreography Lauren Rosi Into the Woods Ray of Light
Choreography Michella Snider Young Frankenstein Spreckels Theatre Company
Costume Design Mara Blumenfeld 1776 American Conservatory Theater
Costume Design Sheri lee Miller La Cage Aux Folles Cinnabar Theater
Costume Design Laura Hazlett In Friendship Word for Word
Ensemble Red Red 6th Street Playhouse
Ensemble The Whipping Man The Whipping Man Marin Theatre Company
Ensemble Young Frankenstein Young Frankenstein Spreckels Theatre Company
Entire Production In Friendship In Friendship Word for Word
Entire Production The Whipping Man The Whipping Man Marin Theatre Company
Entire Production Young Frankenstein Young Frankenstein Spreckels Theatre Company
Featured Actress in a Drama or Comedy Caroline Kaplan Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Featured Actress in a Drama or Comedy Luisa Frasconi As You Like It Impact Theatre
Featured Actress in a Drama or Comedy Mary Ann Rodgers Pack of Lies Ross Valley Players
Featured Actor in a Drama or Comedy Alexander Lenarsky As You Like It Impact Theatre
Featured Actor in a Drama or Comedy Ron Gnapp The Beauty Queen of Leenane Marin Theatre Company
Featured Actor in a Drama or Comedy Tom Bloom Dead Metaphor American Conservatory Theater
Featured Actress in a Musical Jennifer Stark Closer Than Ever Masquers Playhouse
Featured Actress in a Musical Mary Gannon Graham Young Frankenstein Spreckels Theatre Company
Featured Actress in a Musical Valentina Osinski La Cage Aux Folles Cinnabar Theater
Featured Actor in a Musical Brian Herndon Being Earnest TheatreWorks
Featured Actor in a Musical Jordon Bridges Next to Normal Custom Made Theatre Company
Featured Actor in a Musical Wilson Jermaine Heredia Camelot San Francisco Playhouse
Lighting Design Heather Basarab The Chairs Cutting Ball Theater
Lighting Design Lap Chi Chu Romeo and Juliet California Shakespeare Company
Lighting Design Maxx Kurzunski Next to Normal Custom Made Theatre Company
Lighting Design Stephanie Buchner The Arsonists Aurora Theatre
Music Direction David Moschler Into the Woods Ray of Light
Music Direction Pat King Closer Than Ever Masquers Playhouse
Music Direction Sandy and Richard Riccardi Young Frankenstein Spreckels Theatre Company
Original Musical music by Byron Au Yong, libretto by Aaron Jafferis Stuck Elevator American Conservatory Theater
Original Musical Tom Orr Dirty Little Showtunes New Conservatory Theatre Center
Original Script John Fisher To Sleep and Dream Theatre Rhinoceros
Original Script Morgan Ludlow Gorgeous Hussy: An Interview with Joan Crawford Wily West Productions
Principal Actress in a Drama or Comedy Maria Giere Marquis As You Like It Impact Theatre
Principal Actress in a Drama or Comedy Sharon Lockwood Vanya and Soina and Masha and Spike Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Principal Actress in a Drama or Comedy Susan Zelinsky Steel Magnolias Novato Theater Company
Principal Actress in a Drama or Comedy Susi Damilano Abigail’s Party San Francisco Playhouse
Principal Actor in a Drama or Comedy Danny Scheie Next Fall San Jose Repertory Theatre
Principal Actor in a Drama or Comedy Gabriel Marin The Mother F**ker With the Hat San Francisco Playhouse
Principal Actor in a Drama or Comedy Miyaka Cochrane As You Like It Impact Theatre
Principal Actor in a Musical Julius Ahn Stuck Elevator American Conservatory Theater
Principal Actor in a Musical Rob Broadhurst The Rocky Horror Show 6th Street Playhouse
Principal Actor in a Musical Tom Orr Dirty Little Showtunes New Conservatory Theatre Center
Principal Actress in a Musical Denise Elia-Yen Young Frankenstein Spreckels Theatre Company
Principal Actress in a Musical Julianne Lorenzen The Rocky Horror Show 6th Street Playhouse
Principal Actress in a Musical Monique Hafen Camelot San Francisco Playhouse
Set Design Bill English Storefront Church San Francisco Playhouse
Set Design Harry Reid Steel Magnolias Novato Theater Company
Set Design Yoon Bae Disconnect San Jose Repertory Theatre
Solo Performance David Strathairn Underneath the Lintel American Conservatory Theater
Sound Design Erik Carstensen The Pianist of Willesden Lane Berkeley Repertory Compan
Sound Design Liz Ryder Eurydice Custom Made Theatre Company
Sound Design Matt Stines The Arsonists Aurora Theatre
Sound Design Rick Lombardo The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus San Jose Repertory Theatre
Specialty: Fight Choreography Miguel Martinez Camelot San Francisco Playhouse
Specialty: Movement Daunielle Rasmussen, Movement Eurydice Custom Made Theatre Company
Specialty: Projection Design Erik Scanlon Projections Carrie, the Musical Ray of Light
Specialty: Projection Design Micah J. Stieglitz Camelot San Francisco Playhouse
Stage Direction Norman A. Hall Steel Magnolias Novato Theater Company
Stage Direction Richard E. T. White Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Stage Direction Sheri Lee Miller La Cage au Folles Cinnabar Theater
Touring Show Anything Goes Anything Goes SHN

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