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February 10, 2015:

2014 Robby Award Winners Announced by Rob Stevens

South Coast Repertory’s The Light in the Piazza and the Center Theatre Group’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, each with four awards, were the big winners at the 29th Annual Robby Awards held Monday February 9, 2015 at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. Piazza tied with Deaf West Theatre’s Spring Awakening for Best Musical Production and also took awards for Best Actress in a Musical for Patti Cohenour, Best Music and Lyrics for Adam Guettel and Best Costume Design for Leah Piehl. Vanya took home the awards for Best Comedy Production, Best Playwriting for Christopher Durang as well as Best Actress and Supporting Actor in a Comedy for Christine Ebersole and David Hull, respectively. Best Drama Production of the year went to the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s production of The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia? which also won a Best Actress in a Drama award for Ann Noble. (A complete list of winners can be found below.)

The show began with the long awaited reprise of the “Robby Theme Song,” originally written by Billy Barnes in 1995. Eileen Barnett and Michael G. Hawkins were joined on the number by the Robby musical director/accompanist Wayne Moore. The show, the first since 2004, was hosted by the merry pranksters Jo Anne Worley and Jason Graae, whose comic antics kept the audience laughing throughout. Many comedy numbers were aimed at roasting Robby producer and sole voter, Rob Stevens. Heather Lee, Tracy Lore, Sharon McKnight, Hawkins & Maggie Roswell and Robert Yacko all got big laughs with their songs. Teri Bibb, Will Collyer, Kim Huber and John Massey & Sami Staitman performed numbers they originally sang in some of the evening’s nominees for Best Musical Production. Eileen Barnett sang another Billy Barnes song written early in his career about Marilyn Monroe. Bibb and Huber joined Kirsten Chandler in a show-stopping rendition of “Meadowlark” from The Baker’s Wife. All the performers helped in presenting the evening’s awards along with Priscilla Barnes, Linda Hart, Linda Purl, Joan Van Ark, Ann Walker and Stephanie Zimbalist. Robby Living Legend and oft-times hostess Carole Cook had the audience in stitches telling tales of the history of the Robby Awards and her friend, the late Lu Leonard. Jodi Carlisle presented director Jules Aaron with this year’s Robby Living Legend Award. Unfortunately there were not that many winners present to accept the awards as many live outside the Los Angeles area. Fortunately there were not that many winners present and that made the show run fairly quick coming it at a running time of two hours and thirty-five minutes, which might be a new record for an awards show with 29 awards. A dessert and wine reception was held after the show.

2014 Robby Award Winners

Virginia Capers Award for Best Musical Production (Tie)
The Light in the Piazza, South Coast Repertory
Spring Awakening, Deaf West Theatre
Best Director of a Musical
Michael Arden, Spring Awakening
Best Actor in a Musical
James Barbour, Les Miserables, McCoy Rigby Entertainment
Michelle Nicastro Award for Best Actress in a Musical
Patti Cohenour, The Light in the Piazza
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical
John Massey, Li’l Abner, LACC Theatre Academy
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical
Kimberly Hessler, Les Miserables
Billy Barnes Award for Best Music and Lyrics
Adam Guettel, The Light in the Piazza
Best Musical Direction
Jared Stein, Spring Awakening
Dom Salinaro Award for Best Choreography
Kelly Todd, Lysistrata Jones, Chance Theatre
Nan Martin Award for Best Drama Production
The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia, Los Angeles GLBT Center
Martin Benson Award for Best Director of a Drama
Casey Stangl, The Curse of Oedipus, The Antaeus Company
Best Actor in a Drama
Tony Abatemarco, Trying, International City Theatre
Best Actress in a Drama
Ann Noble, The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama
Dane Oliver, Equivocation, Theatricum Botanicum
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama
Linda Park, Top Girls, The Antaeus Company
Michael Devereaux Award for Best Playwriting
Christopher Durang, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Center Theatre Group-Mark Taper Forum
Carole Cook Award for Best Comedy Production
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Ron Link Award for Best Director of a Comedy
Art Manke, Fallen Angels, The Laguna Playhouse
Best Actor in a Comedy
David Engel, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, The Laguna Playhouse
Lu Leonard Award for Best Actress in a Comedy
Christine Ebersole, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Albert Lord Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy
David Hull, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Dee Croxton Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy (Tie)
Mary Pat Green, Fallen Angels
Angela Lansbury, Blithe Spirit, Center Theatre Group-Ahmanson Theatre
Best Scenic Design
Alexander Dodge, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, La Jolla Playhouse
Best Lighting Design
Lisa D. Katz, Floyd Collins, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
Best Costume Design
Leah Piehl, The Light in the Piazza
Best Sound Design
Jeff Gardner, The Curse of Oedipus
Best Ensemble Performance
Sherry Mandujano, Keith Montanez, Emily Morris and Scott Weston, Songs for a New World, A Cuppa Tea Theatre Company
John Raitt Award for Best Cabaret/Concert Performance
David Burnham, Valerie Perri and Mark Vogel, Together Again for the First Time, Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal
Robby Living Legend Award
Director Jules Aaron
Special Award
Sacra/Profana Choral Ensemble, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

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