Monday, August 30, 2010

Nominees for the 2010 Richmond Theatre Critics Circle Awards

The nominees have been chosen!

As with previous years, this list is going to make some people happy, others sad, and many confused. There is plenty of time for more commentary on all of that sometime soon. I’d like to extend my congratulations to everyone listed below but also let everyone else know that there were some very hard choices made to assemble this list. And a couple of categories where deadlocks could simply not be broken, which is why you'll see 7 nominees in the Best Actor in a Play category. Even so, several worthy people and productions were left off.

The participation of Dan Sherrier from the Hanover Herald-Progress and Rich Griset from Style broadened the collective perspective the RTCC brought to the process. But that still doesn’t make it perfect. We continue to strive to improve and be as inclusive and representative as we can. There were some really exceptional productions this year. These awards continue to be a vehicle for recognizing those while at the same time celebrating the breadth and depth of the entire Richmond theater scene.

The awards gala will be at the Empire Theatre again this year, 7pm on Sunday, Oct. 17th. Tickets are now available for $15 on the Barksdale and Theatre IV websites. Hope to see everyone there!

And the nominees are...

Best Musical
Rent (Firehouse Theatre Project)
Scrooge in Rouge (Richmond Triangle Players)
The Sound of Music (Barksdale)
Souvenir (Barksdale)
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Barksdale)

(“The Sound of Music” is referred to as “SOM” hereafter, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” as “Putnam”)

Best Direction (Musical)
John Glenn, Souvenir
Chase Kniffen, A Christmas Carol
Chase Kniffen, SOM
Steve Perigard, Putnam
Shon Stacy, Scrooge in Rouge

Best Actor (Musical)
Ford Flanagan, Putnam
Joe Inscoe, A Christmas Carol
Jonathan Spivey, Souvenir
Eric Stallings, Putnam
Durron Tyre, Rent

Best Actress (Musical)
Stacey Cabaj, SOM
Lauren Leinhaas-Cook, Scrooge in Rouge
Joy Newsome, Rent
Debra Wagoner, Souvenir
Aly Wepplo, Putnam

Best Supporting Actor (Musical)
Steve Bochen, Scrooge in Rouge
Michael Hawke, SOM
David Janeski, A Christmas Carol
Matt Shofner, Putnam
Antonio Tillman, Rent

Best Supporting Actress (Musical)
Jaci Camden, Rent
Kara Harmon, SOM
Audra Honaker, Putnam
Susan Sanford, SOM
Debra Wagoner, Putnam

Best Musical Direction
Sandy Dacus, SOM
Deborah Lynch, Scrooge in Rouge
Jason Marks, A Christmas Carol
Leilani Mork, Rent
R.L. Rowsey, Souvenir

Best Choreography
Willie Hilton, Black Nativity
Ana Ines King, Boleros for the Disenchanted
Maggie Marlin, Rent

Best Play
Boleros for the Disenchanted (Barksdale Theatre)
Fool for Love (Cadence Theatre Company)
Take Me Out (Richmond Triangle Players)
Shining City (Henley Street Theatre Company)
Servant of Two Masters (Henley Street Theatre Company)

(“Boleros for the Disenchanted” is referred to as “Boleros” hereafter. “Servant of Two Masters” as “SOTM.”)

Best Direction – Play
Julie Fulcher-Davis, Facing East
Bruce Miller, Boleros
James Ricks, SOTM
Scott Wichmann, Take Me Out
Bo Wilson, Shining City

Best Actor – Play
Matthew Bloch, Butterflies are Free
Ronnie Brown, Take Me Out
Jeffrey Cole, The Crucible
Matt Hackman, Take Me Out
Joe Inscoe, Shining City
Richard Koch, SOTM
Robert Zukerman, Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll

Best Actress – Play
Patricia Duran, Boleros
Kelly Kennedy, On Golden Pond
Cynde Liffick, Elizabeth Rex
Jennie Meharg, A Doll's House
Melissa Johnston Price, Facing East

Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Play
Gordon Bass, Fool for Love
Larry Cook, Shining City
Jimmy Glidden, Take Me Out
Joe Pabst, Is He Dead?
Eric Williams, Bus Stop

Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Play
Christina Billew, SOTM
Jacqueline Jones, New Century
Maggie Marlin, Boy's Life
Jody Strickler, Greetings
Carmen Zilles, Boleros

Best Ensemble Acting
A Doll's House, Henley Street Theatre
The Crucible, Sycamore Rouge
Jar the Floor, Sycamore Rouge
Crowns, AART / Barksdale
The Mystery of Irma Vep, Swift Creek Mill Theatre

Best Locally-Developed Work
A Christmas Carol (Theatre IV)
Full Plate Collection (Independent)
Jack in the Beanstalk (Theatre IV)
Song of Mulan (Theatre IV)

Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design
Lindy Bumgarner, The Crucible
Rebecca Cairns, SOTM
Rebecca Cairns & Ann Hoskins, Twelfth Night
Sarah Grady, SOM
Sue Griffin, Souvenir

Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design
Brittany Diliberto, The Crucible
Joe Doran, Mystery of Irma Vep
Lynne Hartman, Boleros
Lynne Hartman, SOM
David McLain, Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll

Outstanding Achievement in Set Design
Brian Barker, Boleros
Brian Barker, SOM
Eric Kinder, I'm Not Rappaport
Betsy Muller, Is He Dead?
Terrie and David Powers, On Golden Pond
Keith Saine, The Crucible

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design
Derek Dumais, SOM
Derek Dumais, Putnam
Julie Fulcher-Davis, Take Me Out
Steve Organ, Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll
Brett Zwerdling, SOTM

Liz Marks Memorial Award for Ongoing Contribution to Richmond Area Theater
Neil and Sara Belle November

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Alternative to Debbie Downer?

I realized today that coming back after not posting for nearly 3 weeks with a post that was a little sour was not exactly the way to entertain readers. Sorry about that. It's the danger of posting on the Monday after your birthday. You have that after-Birthday letdown intensified by the Monday after work crushed-by-the-machinery-of-life feeling. Note to self: don't start composing ANYTHING on a Monday evening.

I'm also curious: is there a snappy alliterative name for someone who is the opposite of a Debbie Downer? Ulysses Upper? Howard Happy? Helga Hopeful? Octavius Optimist? Hmmm...

I hope both of my readers haven't been scared off by my downer attitude and/or my lack of posting for several weeks. Because there will be some fun news coming up before too long. The opening of "The Fantasticks" marks the end of what the Richmond Theatre Critics Circle is calling the 2009-2010 season. So that means nominations for RTCC awards are due soon. It takes a while for that magic to happen so I can't say exactly when but expect something before Labor Day.

Speaking of "The Fantasticks," here is a link to my review. This will be the last review from me for a while so it was nice to be able to write a nice one. My mom accompanied me to the show and exclaimed afterwards that she was glad I was her son because I brought her out to see little gems like this production, something she wouldn't even have heard of otherwise. Theatre: still bringing families together...

For me, the show put me on notice to make note to go see whatever dance or theater performance Taylor Daniels is in next. What a lithe and agile dancer he is!

Also, I realize I haven't said anything detailed about "On Golden Pond" which closes this weekend. A more expansive post about that show has been percolating in my head for weeks. I'm hoping I might be able to download that on to virtual paper this week. We'll see...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I am one year older as of last weekend. This blog is filled with old information. The summer (and its heat) is getting old. The plays that are out there right now are old: "Fantasticks" is 50 years old and OGP is not only 30 years old but also mostly about old people. Oy.

I'm hoping the start of school and concurrent focus on the young and educatable will knock me out of this oldness funk. In the meantime, I guess one could think about the young lovers of "The Fantasticks" and find energy in their summer love. For more on the topic, check out John Porter's review of the Cadence Theatre Production and/or Susan Haubenstock's review. My review should be in this week's Style so I'll have a link to that soon. (A new link!)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Style times three

Style did that thing last week where they slip an online review out there at the end of the week. I didn’t notice Rich Griset’s critique of “Company of Angels” until today. In the print edition this week, you should be able to find reviews of Barksdale’s “On Golden Pond,” also by Griset, and a preview of this weekend’s “As You Like It” by Theatre in Battery Park. Three theater pieces in a week is a pretty nice profusion from Style and a timely response to all of the stage activity this summer. We’ll see if that carries over into the Fall…

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


Jason Mark’s appearance on Seth Rudetsky’s Chatterbox is now available online. This is a link to the entire show – Jason doesn’t show up until about 13:30. But it’s worth checking out another version of “Take Me or Leave Me” from Rent that starts the show. As good as Joy Newsome’s and Jaci Camdem’s? I’ll let you be the judge.

I love the “builds character” quip. Way to go, Jason! And if you want to follow Jason's New York adventures, be sure to check out his blog (soon to be added to the left-hand side of this blog).

Who could possibly keep up?

Clearly, Richmond did not get the memo that summer is supposed to be “down time” on the stage scene. Or perhaps theater companies have finally realized that a lot of the people that spend $10+ on movie tickets during the summer really just want to get out of the heat and would just as readily pay that (or a few dollars more) to see a play? Hm. Not sure about all of the motivations but there continues to be too much theater around here for me to keep up with even a fraction of it. “Midsummer” at Sycamore Rouge is ending up passing me by. “Pippin” at Dogwood Dell looks great and that’ll also fall by the wayside for me. And these are the free shows! Oy. Just because I can’t go doesn’t mean you shouldn’t so grab a lawn chair and get out there before it gets too late. I’m just glad I slipped in to “On Golden Pond” last weekend because it’s looking like it’ll be going the way of “Rent” and selling out a lot of the rest of its shows.

Opening this weekend, “As You Like It” will be the first offering from Theatre at Battery Park, also a free show and also with a great looking cast. I have hopes of getting out to my former stomping grounds on northside to take this one in…and hopes that temperatures might moderate from the forecasted upper 90s so that it’s not such a steamy evening.

While family obligations prevented me from trucking down 95 to Sycamore Rouge last weekend, they dovetailed perfectly with me going to see the workshop production of Julie Fulcher’s “Company of Angels.” One way or another I was NOT going to miss this show; I’m still kicking myself for letting one of the big events of last season – Bo Wilson’s home-grown musical “Mona’s Arrangements” – pass me by. One of the most exciting parts of this production has little to do with the show itself. As RTP’s Artistic Director John Knapp writes in the program, “RTP [is entering] a new realm in nurturing, through workshops, world premiere plays and musicals in what we promise to be an ongoing series.” Along with the Firehouse’s Festival of New Plays, this adds fuel to the growing fire of theatrical innovation and discovery in Richmond.

Of course, there’s also plenty to be excited about as far as “Company of Angels” goes. Ms. Fulcher has crafted some great songs in support of a fresh and innovative plotline. And, as the show’s director, she’s brought some great performances to the stage. This is a show that offers unexpected gifts almost constantly. Terri Moore and Scott Melton are a hoot from the very beginning and provide a solid foundation of vocal talent and comedic hijinks. They engage in a hilarious battle with Diva and her Divanettes, led by a big voice with an even bigger attitude, Chloe Williams, and supported by the energetic Andrew Etheridge, Georgi Hicks, and Leah Hicks. The Hicks girls are cute as a button with Leah in particular lighting up the stage with her animated expressions. Mr./Ms. Etheridge is just not-subtle enough in his/her pursuit of fellow angel, James.

I also loved the antic Jason Campbell as Robert (not Bob or Bobby!) But just when you think it’s all fun and games, Robyn O’Neill and Tyler Houchins (as Toby and Joey) are as honest and poignant as all get-out in their tear-jerking second-act scenes. Not every aspect of this show thrilled me but the vast majority of it did. And among the most subtle yet still delightful things was how Toby’s relationship with a female partner was kept in the background, it’s exact nature needing neither to be explicit nor hidden.

All in all, it is a very polished effort for a “workshop” and I will be intrigued and hopeful about its prospects for the future. Congrats to Julie and her whole crew!