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December 28, 2017:

32nd Robby Award Nominations for Theatre Year 2017 by Rob Stevens

The 2017 Theatre Year as well as the calendar year is nearly over and done. This is the time of the year for most reviewers to come up with their list of the Best of the Year. In my case, it’s time to announce the nominees for the 32nd Annual Robby Awards. Center Theatre Group-Ahmanson Theatre led all producing entities with 32 nominations for their slate of four musicals, one ballet and one drama. South Coast Repertory garnered 28 nominations for six of their productions. Actors Co-Op led the 99 seat scene with 12 nominations while Antaeus Theatre Company collected eight. Seven various productions in the Hollywood Fringe Festival collected a total of 26 nominations.

As usual, given my overwhelming tendency to see them, musicals once again dominated the nominations. The Welk Resort Theatre’s final production, Kiss of the Spider Woman, tied A Noise Within’s dystopian version of Man of La Mancha with 10 nominations each. Actors Co-Op’s 33 Variations led all dramatic productions with eight nominations followed by South Coast Repertory’s Moby Dick with seven. Geffen Playhouse’s The Legend of Georgia McBride led all comedies with eight nominations while A Noise Within’s revival of Ah, Wilderness! claimed six. There were also five cabaret shows nominated in their own category from three different venues. Award recipients will be announced here online or at an awards show in late January/early February. Out of 132 shows reviewed during the year, the following are the productions, performances and technical achievements that really made a lasting impression.


Something Rotten! (photo by Jeremy Daniel)

TERI RALSTON AWARD FOR BEST MUSICAL
Black & White in Paris: A Cabaret Musical, E-Fusion Studios
The Book of Mormon, Hollywood Pantages Theatre
Bright Star, CTG-Ahmanson Theatre
Fun Home, CTG-Ahmanson Theatre
Jersey Boys, CTG-Ahmanson Theatre
Kiss of the Spider Woman, Welk ResortTheatre
Man of La Mancha, A Noise Within
Once on This Island, 3-D Theatricals
Psychosical: An Asylum Cabaret, 2Cents Theatre
Something Rotten!, CTG-Ahmanson Theatre


Bright Star (photo by Craig Schwartz)

BEST DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL
Walter Bobbie, Bright Star
Rufus Bonds, Jr., Once on This Island
Kristen Boule, Psychosical: An Asylum Cabaret
Sam Gold, Fun Home
Ray Limon, Kiss of the Spider Woman
Des McAnuff, Jersey Boys
Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker, The Book of Mormon
Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, Man of La Mancha
Kelby Thwaits, Black & White in Paris: A Cabaret Musical


Kiss of the Spider Woman (photo by Ken Jacques)

MICHAEL G. HAWKINS AWARD FOR BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Richard Bermudez, Kiss of the Spider Woman
Robert Creighton, Cagney, El Portal Theatre
Matthew Patrick Davis, Sugar, Musical Theatre Guild
Geoff Elliott, Man of La Mancha
Marc Ginsburg, Levi!, LACC Theatre Academy and Kritzerland Entertainment
Jesse Johnson, King of the Road, Laguna Playhouse
Stanton Morales, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Contempo Productions
Jeffrey Scott Parsons, Kiss of the Spider Woman
Robert Petkoff, Fun Home
Rustin Cole Sailors, Once, South Coast Repertory


Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (photo by Alan Weston)

MICHELLE NICASTRO AWARD FOR BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Sharon Catherine Brown, Hallelujah, Baby!, Musical Theatre Guild
Nicci Claspell, Dogfight, After Hours Theatre Company
Deborah Cox, The Bodyguard The Musical, Hollywood Pantages Theatre
Carmen Cusack, Bright Star
Caitlin Gallogly, The Scarlet Pimpernel
Kim Huber, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Musical Theatre Guild
Bets Malone, Honky Tonk Laundry, Honky Tony Productions
Cassandra Marie Murphy, Man of La Mancha
Natalie Nucci, Kiss of the Spider Woman
Leah Stewart, Once on This Island


Once On This Island (photo by Isaac James Creative)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Jeff Austin, Bright Star
Patrick Cummings, Bright Star
Matthew Dailey, Jersey Boys
Marc Ginsburg, The Scarlet Pimpernel
Tom Hewitt, Finding Neverland, Hollywood Pantages Theatre
Jeffrey Landman, Man of La Mancha
Adam Pascal, Something Rotten!
Erik Scott Romney, Young Frankenstein, 3-D Theatricals
A.J. Shively, Bright Star


Young Frankenstein (photo by CaughtintheMoment.com)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Alessandra Baldacchino, Fun Home
Eileen Barnett, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Misty Cotton, Honky Tonk Laundry
Carol Dennis, Hallelujah, Baby!
Chelle Denton, Monty Python’s Spamalot, 3-D Theatricals
Lisa Dyson, Kiss of the Spider Woman
Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Ashley Fox Linton, Young Frankenstein
Jasmin Richardson, The Bodyguard
Leanne Robinson, The Book of Mormon


The Red Shoes (photo by Johan Persson)

DOM SALINARO AWARD FOR BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Orlando Alexander, Black & White in Paris: A Cabaret Musical
Joshua Bergasse, Cagney
Matthew Bourne, The Red Shoes, CTG-Ahmanson Theatre
Ray Limon, Kiss of the Spider Woman
Yusuf Nasir, Once on This Island
Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!
Jennifer Oundjian, Dogfight
Maria Torres, Zoot Suit, CTG-Mark Taper Forum


Pyschosical: An Asylum Cabaret

BEST MUSICAL DIRECTION
Justin Gray, Kiss of the Spider Woman
Corey Hirsch, Once on This Island
David Lamoureux, Monty Python’s Spamalot
Taylor Peckham, Jersey Boys
Dr. Melissa Sky-Eagle, Man of La Mancha
Sandy Wang, Psychosical: An Asylum Cabarat
Elmo Zapp, Dogfight
Eric Zimmermann, Black & White in Paris: A Cabaret Musical

JOHN RAITT AWARD FOR BEST MUSIC & LYRICS
Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick, Something Rotten!
Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Bright Star
Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone, The Book of Mormon
Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, Levi!
Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, Fun Home
Laura Wiley, Buffy Kills Edward, Wiley Original Musicals
David Yazbek, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown


A Doll’s House, Part 2 (photo by Debora Robinson)

NAN MARTIN AWARD FOR BEST DRAMA
33 Variations, Actors Co-Op
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Antaeus Theatre Company
A Doll’s House, Part 2, South Coast Repertory
For Piano and Harpo, Falcon Theatre
The Interference, Rogue Machine
In the Valley of the Shadow, Rogue Machine
Moby Dick, South Coast Repertory
The Pride, The Wallis
The Secret in the Wings, Coeurage Theatre Company
A Steady Rain, John Kirby Studio


A Steady Rain (photo by Adam Ikaika)

MARTIN BENSON AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR OF A DRAMA
Michael Arden, The Pride
Shelley Butler, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Joseph V. Calarco, The Secret in the Wings
David Catlin, Moby Dick
Elina de Santos, In the Valley of the Shadow
John Kirby, A Steady Rain
Stefan Novinski, For Piano and Harpo
Thomas James O’Leary, 33 Variations
Cathy Thomas-Grant, The Interference
Cameron Watson, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof


Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (photo by Steven C Kemp)

BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Daniel Bess, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Neil Bledsoe, The Pride
Dan Castellaneta, For Piano and Harpo
R.J. DeBard, A Steady Rain
Joe Hart, Stupid Kid, Road Theatre Company
Josh Helman, Rules of Seconds, Latino Theater Company
Andy Hoff, A Steady Rain
Adam Langdon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, CTG-Ahmanson
Nick Molari, Bash, 3 Seat Productions
Augustus Prew, The Pride


33 Variations (photo by Lindsay Schnebly)

SALLY KEMP AWARD FOR BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Reiko Aylesworth, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Antaeus Theatre Company
Amy Brenneman, Rules of Seconds
Shannon Cochran, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Jessica Collins, The Pride
Taylor Gilbert, Stupid Kid
Emily Goss, A Tale of Two Cities, A Noise Within
Nan McNamara, 33 Variations
Linda Park, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Tonya Pinkins, Time Alone, Belle Reve Theatre Company
Debra Jo Rupp, The Cake, The Echo Theater Company


Rules of Seconds (photo by Grettel Cortes Photography)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA
John Allee, 33 Variations
JD Cullum, For Piano and Harpo
Christopher Donahue, Moby Dick
Matthew Elkins, Rules of Seconds
Jamie Harris, Rules of Seconds
Bruce Ladd, 33 Variations
Mike McShane, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Matthew Wilkas, The Pride


A Doll’s House, Part 2 (photo by Debora Robinson)

BARBARA BECKLEY AWARD FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Diana Angelina, Separate Tables, Theatre 40
Anne Gee Byrd, Les Blancs, Rogue Machine
Julia Fletcher, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Tamara Krinsky, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Lynn Milgrim, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Jennifer Pollono, Rules of Seconds
Treva Tegtmeier, 33 Variations
Virginia Vale, A Doll’s House, Part 2


The Legend of Georgia McBride (photo by Jeff Lorch Photography)

CAROLE COOK AWARD FOR BEST COMEDY
Ah, Wilderness!, A Noise Within
Heartbreak Help, Pop Up Playhouse
The Legend of Georgia McBride, Geffen Playhouse
The Monster Builder, South Coast Repertory
Resolving Hedda, The Victory Theatre Center
The Roommate, South Coast Repertory


Ah, Wilderness! (photo by Craig Schwartz)

RON LINK AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR OF A COMEDY
Martin Benson, The Roommate
Mike Donahue, The Legend of Georgia McBride
Maria Gobetti, Resolving Hedda
Art Manke, The Monster Builder
Steven Robman, Ah, Wilderness!
Stan Zimmerman, Heartbreak Help


The Monster Builder (photo by Debora Robinson)

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Mark Bramhall, Chapatti, Laguna Playhouse
Andrew Burnap, The Legend of Georgia McBride
Ben Feldman, The Siegel, South Coast Repertory
Matt Gall, Ah, Wilderness!
Patrick Page, Archduke, CTG-Mark Taper Forum
Danny Scheie, The Monster Builder


The Roommate (photo by Debora Robinson)

LU LEONARD AWARD FOR BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Kimberly Alexander, Resolving Hedda
Tessa Auberjonois, The Roommate
Linda Gehringer, The Roommate
Mamie Gummer, The Siegel
Annabella Price, Chapatti
Judith Scarpone, The Lyons, Road Theatre Company

ALBERT LORD AWARD FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY
John Allee, The Man Who Came To Dinner, Actors Co-Op
Matthew Arkin, The Siegel
Alan Blumenfeld, Ah, Wilderness!
Max Jenkins, Big Night, CTG-Kirk Douglas Theatre
James Handy, The Lyons
Wenzel Jones, The Man Who Came To Dinner
Matt McGrath, The Legend of Georgia McBride
Tom Ormeny, Resolving Hedda


The Siegel (photo by Debora Robinson)

DEE CROXTON AWARD FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Amy Aquino, The Siegel
Emily Goss, Ah, Wilderness!
Wendie Malick, Big Night
Joanne McGee, Archduke
Kitty Swink, Ah, Wilderness!
Catherine Urbanek, The Man Who Came To Dinner


The Interference

MICHAEL DEVEREAUX AWARD FOR BEST PLAYWRITING
Alexi Kaye Campbell, The Pride
Dan Castellaneta, For Piano and Harpo
Katherine Cortez, In the Valley of the Shadow
Amy Freed, The Monster Builder
Lucas Hnath, A Doll’s House, Part 2
Keith Huff, A Steady Rain
Moises Kaufman, 33 Variations
Jon Klein, Resolving Hedda
Neil LaBute, Bash
Matthew Lopez, The Legend of Georgia McBride
Lynda Radley, The Interference


Big Night (photo by Craig Schwartz)

BEST SCENIC DESIGN
Evan Bartoletti, Resolving Hedda
John Lee Beatty, Big Night
Thomas Buderwitz, The Monster Builder
Tony Fanning, Chasing Mem’ries, Geffen Playhouse
Fred Kinney, Man of La Mancha
Jeff McLaughlin, Stupid Kid
Jeff G. Rack, Separate Tables
Donyale Werle, The Legend of Georgia McBride


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (photo by Joan Marcus)

BEST PROJECTION DESIGN
Nicholas Acciani, 33 Variations
Christopher Ash, Our Great Tchaikovsky, The Wallis
Michael Clark, Jersey Boys
Duncan McLean, The Red Shoes
Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time


The Bodyguard (photo by Joan Marcus)

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN
Howell Binkley, Jersey Boys
Ken Booth, Man of La Mancha
Paule Constable, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Jennifer Edwards, Kiss of the Spider Woman
Josh Epstein, The Legend of Georgia McBride
Mark Henderson, The Bodyguard The Musical
William C. Kirkham, Moby Dick
Andrew Schmedake, Dogfight


Kiss of the Spider Woman (photo by Ken Jacques)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Angela Balogh Calin, Man of La Mancha
E.B Brooks, The Legend of Georgia McBride
Ann Closs-Farley, Zoot Suit
Morgan Gannes, Levi!
Nephi Garcia, Once on This island
Shon LeBlanc, The Man Who Came To Dinner
Janet Pitcher, Kiss of the Spider Woman
Sully Ratke, Moby Dick


Jersey Boys (photo by Jim Carmody)

BEST SOUND DESIGN
Richard Brooker, The Bodyguard The Musical
Joseph V. Calarco, The Secret in the Wings
Martin Carrillo, Man of La Mancha
Ian Dickinson for Autograph, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Paul Groothuis, The Red Shoes
Steve Canyon Kennedy, Jersey Boys
Katelynn Kutiper and Michael John McCarthy, The Interference
Rick Sims, Moby Dick


Heartbreak Help (photo by Adam Southard)

BEST ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE
Sherry Berg, Kim Dalton, Corinne Mestemacher, Cory Robison, Lauren Sperling, Casey Suddeth, Matthew Thomas, Buffy Kills Edward
Deb Lacusta, Gail Matthius, Phil Proctor, Jonathan Stark, For Piano and Harpo
Teresa Ganzel, Sarah Gilman, Melissa Peterman, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Heartbreak Help
Chris Bozzini, William Craig, Addyson E.L. Culpepper, Dakota Dickerson, Mallory Erwin, Jacquelyn Ferguson, Alexandria Garrett, Parker Johnson, Buddy Kennedy, Brittany King, Caroline Pitts, Brandon Ruiz, The Interference
Dylan Arnold, Larry Poindexter, Ethan Rains, Rachel Sorsa, Tania Verafield, Karen Malina White, In the Valley of the Shadow
Kate Bowman, Amber Bracken, Catt Christine, Katy Harvey, Danny Helms, Amanda Hootman, Jessica J’aime, Chris Lanehart, Juan Lozano, Reagan Osborne, Psychosical: An Asylum Cabaret
Eduardo Fernandez-Baumann, Audrey Flegel, Margaret Katch, Leslie Murphy, Katie Pelensky, Leon Russom, Sean Spann, Randolph Thompson, Eddie Vona, The Secret in the Wings

BILLY BARNES AWARD FOR BEST CABARET PERFORMANCE
Daniel Thomas Bellusci, David Burnham, Bruce Kimmel, Sharon McNight, Lauren Rubin, Hayley Shukiar, Sami Staitman, Robert Yacko, An Early Musical Halloween Show, Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal
Robyn Spangler, Something Cool, The Music of Billy Barnes, The Gardenia
Robyn Spangler, Riddle, Ronstadt and Robyn Spangler, Rockwell Table & Stage
Steven Brinberg, Simply Barbra, Rockwell Table & Stage
Roger Befeler, Kim Huber, Bruce Kimmel, Keri Safran, Nick Tubbs, Sarah Uriarte Berry, Mackenzie Wrap, A Styne Romance: The Songs of Jule Styne, Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal


Moby Dick (photo by Liz Lauren)

SPECIAL ROBBY AWARD
Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi, Aerial/Acrobatic Choreography, Moby Dick


The Red Shoes (photo by Johan Persson)

SPECIAL ROBBY AWARD
Terry Davies, Orchestrations, The Red Shoes

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