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

NOMINATIONNOMINEETITLEPRODUCER / COMPANY
ChoreographyAnjee NorgaardCloser Than EverMasquers Playhouse
ChoreographyLauren RosiInto the WoodsRay of Light
ChoreographyMichella SniderYoung FrankensteinSpreckels Theatre Company
Costume DesignMara Blumenfeld1776American Conservatory Theater
Costume DesignSheri lee MillerLa Cage Aux FollesCinnabar Theater
Costume DesignLaura HazlettIn FriendshipWord for Word
EnsembleRedRed6th Street Playhouse
EnsembleThe Whipping ManThe Whipping ManMarin Theatre Company
EnsembleYoung FrankensteinYoung FrankensteinSpreckels Theatre Company
Entire ProductionIn FriendshipIn FriendshipWord for Word
Entire ProductionThe Whipping ManThe Whipping ManMarin Theatre Company
Entire ProductionYoung FrankensteinYoung FrankensteinSpreckels Theatre Company
Featured Actress in a Drama or ComedyCaroline KaplanVanya and Sonia and Masha and SpikeBerkeley Repertory Theatre
Featured Actress in a Drama or ComedyLuisa FrasconiAs You Like ItImpact Theatre
Featured Actress in a Drama or ComedyMary Ann RodgersPack of LiesRoss Valley Players
Featured Actor in a Drama or ComedyAlexander LenarskyAs You Like ItImpact Theatre
Featured Actor in a Drama or ComedyRon GnappThe Beauty Queen of LeenaneMarin Theatre Company
Featured Actor in a Drama or ComedyTom BloomDead MetaphorAmerican Conservatory Theater
Featured Actress in a MusicalJennifer StarkCloser Than EverMasquers Playhouse
Featured Actress in a MusicalMary Gannon GrahamYoung FrankensteinSpreckels Theatre Company
Featured Actress in a MusicalValentina OsinskiLa Cage Aux FollesCinnabar Theater
Featured Actor in a MusicalBrian HerndonBeing EarnestTheatreWorks
Featured Actor in a MusicalJordon BridgesNext to NormalCustom Made Theatre Company
Featured Actor in a MusicalWilson Jermaine HerediaCamelotSan Francisco Playhouse
Lighting DesignHeather BasarabThe ChairsCutting Ball Theater
Lighting DesignLap Chi ChuRomeo and JulietCalifornia Shakespeare Company
Lighting DesignMaxx KurzunskiNext to NormalCustom Made Theatre Company
Lighting DesignStephanie BuchnerThe ArsonistsAurora Theatre
Music DirectionDavid MoschlerInto the WoodsRay of Light
Music DirectionPat KingCloser Than EverMasquers Playhouse
Music DirectionSandy and Richard RiccardiYoung FrankensteinSpreckels Theatre Company
Original Musicalmusic by Byron Au Yong, libretto by Aaron JafferisStuck ElevatorAmerican Conservatory Theater
Original MusicalTom OrrDirty Little ShowtunesNew Conservatory Theatre Center
Original ScriptJohn FisherTo Sleep and DreamTheatre Rhinoceros
Original ScriptMorgan LudlowGorgeous Hussy: An Interview with Joan CrawfordWily West Productions
Principal Actress in a Drama or ComedyMaria Giere MarquisAs You Like ItImpact Theatre
Principal Actress in a Drama or ComedySharon LockwoodVanya and Soina and Masha and SpikeBerkeley Repertory Theatre
Principal Actress in a Drama or ComedySusan ZelinskySteel MagnoliasNovato Theater Company
Principal Actress in a Drama or ComedySusi DamilanoAbigail’s PartySan Francisco Playhouse
Principal Actor in a Drama or ComedyDanny ScheieNext FallSan Jose Repertory Theatre
Principal Actor in a Drama or ComedyGabriel MarinThe Mother F**ker With the HatSan Francisco Playhouse
Principal Actor in a Drama or ComedyMiyaka CochraneAs You Like ItImpact Theatre
Principal Actor in a MusicalJulius AhnStuck ElevatorAmerican Conservatory Theater
Principal Actor in a MusicalRob BroadhurstThe Rocky Horror Show6th Street Playhouse
Principal Actor in a MusicalTom OrrDirty Little ShowtunesNew Conservatory Theatre Center
Principal Actress in a MusicalDenise Elia-YenYoung FrankensteinSpreckels Theatre Company
Principal Actress in a MusicalJulianne LorenzenThe Rocky Horror Show6th Street Playhouse
Principal Actress in a MusicalMonique HafenCamelotSan Francisco Playhouse
Set DesignBill EnglishStorefront ChurchSan Francisco Playhouse
Set DesignHarry ReidSteel MagnoliasNovato Theater Company
Set DesignYoon BaeDisconnectSan Jose Repertory Theatre
Solo PerformanceDavid StrathairnUnderneath the LintelAmerican Conservatory Theater
Sound DesignErik CarstensenThe Pianist of Willesden LaneBerkeley Repertory Compan
Sound DesignLiz RyderEurydiceCustom Made Theatre Company
Sound DesignMatt StinesThe ArsonistsAurora Theatre
Sound DesignRick LombardoThe Tragical History of Doctor FaustusSan Jose Repertory Theatre
Specialty: Fight ChoreographyMiguel MartinezCamelotSan Francisco Playhouse
Specialty: MovementDaunielle Rasmussen, MovementEurydiceCustom Made Theatre Company
Specialty: Projection DesignErik Scanlon ProjectionsCarrie, the MusicalRay of Light
Specialty: Projection DesignMicah J. StieglitzCamelotSan Francisco Playhouse
Stage DirectionNorman A. HallSteel MagnoliasNovato Theater Company
Stage DirectionRichard E. T. WhiteVanya and Sonia and Masha and SpikeBerkeley Repertory Theatre
Stage DirectionSheri Lee MillerLa Cage au FollesCinnabar Theater
Touring ShowAnything GoesAnything GoesSHN
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