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December 31, 2018:

33rd Annual Robby Award Nominations by Rob Stevens

The year 2018 is over and so is my reviewing of plays and musicals in Southern California for the past twelve months. As we prepare for what is ahead in 2019, it’s time to look back on all the good things we saw on local stages. It’s time to announce the nominees for the 33rd Annual Robby Awards. Pasadena’s A Noise Within led all producing entities receiving a total of 26 nominations for its productions. Hollywood’s Celebration Theatre collected 19 nominations for its two 2018 musical productions while Glendale’s Antaeus Theatre Company as well as Musical Theatre Guild and The Wallis in Beverly Hills all received 17 nominations. Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre gathered up 16 nominations for their slate of touring musicals.

As usual, musicals led the way in 2018 with two productions of Cabaret, produced by Celebration Theatre and by McCoy Rigby Entertainment, leading the pack with eleven nominations each. Celebration’s Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Actors Co-Op’s Violet each earned eight nominations. The Drama categories were led by Antaeus Theatre Company’s The Little Foxes with nine nominations while A Noise Within’s A Picture of Dorian Gray received eight. The Comedy categories were topped by two productions by A Noise Within—Noises Off with six and Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead with five nominations. Eight cabaret shows at three different venues also received nominations. From the 105 shows seen in 2018, here are the productions, performances and technical achievements that made a nominatable impression. Keep tuned for news of the annual Robby Award show probably at a theatre near year on a Monday night in February.


SPRING AWAKENING (photo by Gigi Greene Photography)

TERI RALSTON AWARD FOR BEST PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL
Cabaret, Celebration Theatre
Cabaret, McCoy Rigby Entertainment
Come From Away, Ahmanson Theatre
Honeymoon in Vegas, Musical Theatre Guild
Love Actually Live, Wallis Annenberg Center For the Performing Arts
Nice Work If You Can Get It, Musical Theatre West
On Your Feet!, Hollywood Pantages Theatre
Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Celebration
Spring Awakening, Me + You Productions
Violet, Actors Co-Op


CABARET at Celebration Theatre (photo by Matthew Brian Denman)

VIRGINIA CAPERS AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL
Christopher Ashley, Come From Away
Larry Carpenter, Cabaret, McCoy Rigby Entertainment
Anderson Davis, Love Actually Live
Jessica Hanna, Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Richard Israel, Violet, Actors Co-Op
Travis Kendrick, Spring Awakening
Michael Matthews, Cabaret, Celebration Theatre
Jerry Mitchell, On Your Feet!
Larry Raben, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Jon Lawrence Rivera, Honeymoon in Vegas


HIGH SOCIETY (photo by Alan Weston)

MICHAEL G. HAWKINS AWARD FOR BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Roger Befeler, High Society, Musical Theatre Guild
Will Collyer, Honeymoon in Vegas
Marc Ginsburg, High Society
Andrew Gleckler, Spring Awakening
Michael Kostroff, Zorba, Musical Theatre Guild
Mauricio Martinez, On Your Feet!
Alex Nee, Cabaret, Celebration Theatre
Gregory North, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 5-Star Theatricals
Brent Ramirez, All Shook Up, 3000 Miles Off Broadway & Studio C Performing Arts
Eric Sciotto, Nice Work If You Can Get It


DESSA ROSE (photo by James Esposito)

MICHELLE NICASTRO AWARD FOR BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Claire Adams, Violet
Eydie Alyson, Zorba
Abby Carlson, Dessa Rose, Chromolume Theatre
Kelley Dorney, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Ashley Fox Linton, Honeymoon in Vegas
Talisa Friedman, Cabaret, Celebration Theatre
Adrianna Hicks, The Color Purple The Musical, Hollywood Pantages Theatre
Asha Noel Iyer, Spring Awakening
Kelly Lester, Cabaret, McCoy Rigby Entertainment
Alyse Alan Louis, Soft Power, Ahmanson Theatre
Cassandra Marie Murphy, The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Christie Prades, On Your Feet!
Shaunte Tabb, Dessa Rose
Shannon Warne, High Society


HONEYMOON IN VEGAS (photo by Alan Weston)

GARY BEACH AWARD BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Thomas W. Ashworth, High Society
Jahmaul Bakare, Violet
Jason Graae, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Jack Laufer, Cabaret, McCoy Rigby Entertainment
Kasey Mahaffy, Man of La Mancha, A Noise Within
Christopher Maikish, Cabaret, Celebration Theatre
Thomas Adoue Polk, Spring Awakening
Morgan West, Violet
Christopher T. Wood, Dessa Rose
Robert Yacko, Honeymoon in Vegas


THE COLOR PURPLE THE MUSICAL (photo by Matthew Murray)

LISA ROBINSON AWARD FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Eileen Barnett, Zorba
Carrie Compere, The Color Purple The Musical
Laura Dickinson, All Shook Up
Kathy Fitzgerald, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Stephanie Fredricks, High Society
Erica Hanrahan-Ball, Cabaret, McCoy Rigby Entertainment
Tracy Lore, All Shook Up
Carla R. Stewart, The Color Purple The Musical
Nancy Ticotin, On Your Feet!
Lily Zager, Violet


ZORBA (photo by Alan Weston)

DOM SALINARO AWARD FOR BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Cheryl Baxter, Zorba
Peggy Hickey, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Lee Martino, Honeymoon in Vegas
Roman Pantoja, Priscilla Queen of the Desert
James Rocco, Yankee Doodle Dandy!
Janet Roston, Cabaret, Celebration Theatre
Dana Solimando, Cabaret, McCoy Rigby Entertainment
Sergio Trujillo, On Your Feet!


NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT (photo by Caught in the Moment Photography)

ELAN MCMAHAN AWARD FOR BEST MUSICAL DIRECTION
Dennis Castellano, Nice Work If You Can Get It
Brad Ellis, Zorba
Jennifer Lin, Priscilla Queen of the Desert
David O, Cabaret, McCoy Rigby Entertainment
Dan Redfeld, The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Taylor Stephenson, Violet
Jesse Vargas, Love Actually Live
Anthony Zediker, Cabaret, Celebration Theatre


COME FROM AWAY (photo by Matthew Murray)

JOHN RAITT AWARD FOR BEST MUSIC & LYRICS
Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Dessa Rose
Jason Robert Brown, Honeymoon in Vegas
Bruce Kimmel, A Carol Christmas, The Group Rep
Irene Sankoff and David Hein, Come From Away


THE CHOSEN (photo by Ed Krieger)

NAN MARTIN AWARD FOR BEST PRODUCTION OF A DRAMA
The Chosen, The Fountain Theatre
The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
Henry V, A Noise Within
The Little Foxes, Antaeus Theatre Company
Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
A Picture of Dorian Gray, A Noise Within
Plunge, Son of Semele Ensemble
The Woman Who Went to Space as a Man, Son of Semele Ensemble


A PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY (photo by Craig Schwartz)

MARTIN BENSON AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR OF A DRAMA
Julia Rodriguez-Elliott & Geoff Elliott, Henry V
Richard Eyre, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Maureen Huskey, The Woman Who Went to Space as a Man
Simon Levy, The Chosen
Matthew McCray, Plunge
Michael Michetti, A Picture of Dorian Gray
Emma Rice, The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk
Cameron Watson, The Little Foxes


FINKS (photo by John Perrin Flynn)

RAY STRICKLYN AWARD FOR BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Marc Antolin, The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk
Colin Bates, A Picture of Dorian Gray
Phil Crowley, A Walk in the Woods, Actors Co-Op
Rafael Goldstein, Henry V
Burt Grinstead, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Blanket Fort Entertainment
Dor Gvirtsman, The Chosen
Graham Hamilton, The Hothouse, Antaeus Theatre Company
Jeremy Irons, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Adam Peltier, Red Speedo, The Road Theatre Company
French Stewart, Finks, Rogue Machine


LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT (photo by Lawrence K. Ho)

SALLY KEMP AWARD FOR BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Saffron Burrows, Jackie Unveiled, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
Nan McNamara, A Walk in the Woods
Lesley Manville, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Daisy Maywood, The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk
Deborah Puette, The Little Foxes
Vanessa Claire Stewart, Finks


THE LITTLE FOXES (photo by Geoffrey Wade Photography)

RICHARD DOYLE AWARD FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA
Matthew Beard, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Alan Blumenfeld, The Chosen
Mike McShane, The Little Foxes
Rob Nagle, The Little Foxes
Frederick Stuart, A Picture of Dorian Gray
Peter Van Norden, The Hothouse


RED SPEEDO (photo by Brian M. Cole)

BELINDA BALASKI AWARD FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA
Kimberly Alexander, Red Speedo
Kristin Couture, The Little Foxes
Earnestine Phillips, Haiti. Theatricum Botanicum
Anna Stromberg, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
Jocelyn Towne, The Hothouse
Jocelyn Towne, The Little Foxes


SIGNIFICANT OTHER (phot by Chris Whitaker)

CAROLE COOK AWARD FOR BEST PRODUCTION OF A COMEDY
Bad Jews, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble
Noises Off, A Noise Within
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, A Noise Within
Significant Other, The Geffen Playhouse
Steambath, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble
Three Days in the Country, Anateus Theatre Company


THREE DAYS IN THE COUNTRY (photo by Geoffrey Wade Photography)

RON LINK AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR OF A COMEDY
Stephen Brackett, Significant Other
Geoff Elliott, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and Geoff Elliott, Noises Off
Andrew Paul, Three Days in the Country
Dana Resnick, Bad Jews
Ron Sossi, Steambath


ROSENKRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD (photo by Craig Schwartz)

TOM TROUPE AWARD FOR BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Elijah Alexander, Shrew!, South Coast Repertory
Rafael Goldstein, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Noah James, Bad Jews
Kasey Mahaffey, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Paul Rodriguez, Steambath


NOISES OFF (photo by Craig Schwartz)

LU LEONARD AWARD FOR BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Jeanette Deutsch, Bad Jews
Nike Doukas, Three Days in the Country
Susannah Rogers, Shrew!
Deborah Strang, Noises Off


STEAMBATH (photo by Enci Box)

ALBERT LORD AWARD FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Kasey Mahaffy, Noises Off
Wesley Mann, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
John Moskal, Steambath
Austin Rogers, Bad Jews
Armin Shimerman, Three Days in the Country


BAD JEWS (photo by Enci Box)

DEE CROXTON AWARD FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Lila Hood, Bad Jews
Sierra Jolene, Shrew!
Lily Knight, Three Days in the Country
Emily Kosloski, Noises Off


PLUNGE

MICHAEL DEVEREAUX AWARD FOR BEST PLAYWRITING
Lee Blessing, A Walk in the Woods
Joshua Harmon, Significant Other
Maureen Huskey, The Woman Who Went to Space as a Man
Tom Jacobson, Plunge
Daniel Jamieson, The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk
Michael Kearns, Bloodbound, Moon Mile Run
Michael Michetti, A Picture of Dorian Gray
Aaron Posner and Chaim Potok, The Chosen


CABARET at McCoy Rigby Entertainment (photo by Jason Niedle)

JOHN IACOVELLI AWARD FOR BEST SCENIC DESIGN
Nicholas Acciani, Violet
Sophie Clist, The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk
Bob Crowley, Disney Aladdin, Hollywood Pantages Theatre
Stephen Gifford, Cabaret, Celebration Theatre
Gary Guidinger, Steambath
Pete Hickok, Priscilla Queen of the Desert
John Iacovelli, Cabaret, McCoy Rigby Entertainment
John Iacovelli, The Little Foxes
Fred Kinney, Noises Off
Sibyl Wickersheimer, Significant Other


ON YOUR FEET (photo by Matthew Murray)

BEST PROJECTION DESIGN
Adam Flemming, Allegiance, East West Players
Darrel Maloney, On Your Feet!
Aaron Rhyne, Love Actually Live


THE WOMAN WHO WENT TO SPACE AS A MAN (photo by Son of Semele Ensemble)

PAULIE JENKINS AWARD FOR BEST LIGHTING DESIGN
Brandon Baruch, Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Ken Booth, Henry V
Martha Carter, Spring Awakening
Matthew Brian Denman, Cabaret, Celebration Theatre
Natasha Katz, School of Rock The Musical, Pantages Theatre
Rose Malone, A Picture of Dorian Gray
Kenneth Posner, On Your Feet!
Malcolm Rippeth, The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk
Steven Young, Cabaret, McCoy Rigby Entertainment


PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT (photo by Matthew Brian Denman)

GARLAND RIDDLE AWARD FOR BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Gregg Barnes, Disney Aladdin
Allison Dillard, Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Garry Lennon, A Picture of Dorian Gray
Terri A Lewis, The Little Foxes
David Kay Mickelson, Cabaret, McCoy Rigby
Michael Mullen, Cabaret, Celebration Theatre
Lena Sanda, The Woman Who Went to Space as a Man
Bobby Frederick Tilley, Significant Other
Susan Tsu, Shakespeare in Love, South Coast Repertory


HENRY V (photo by Craig Schwartz)

STEVE “CANYON” KENNEDY AWARD FOR BEST SOUND DESIGN
Josh Bessom, Cabaret, McCoy Rigby Entertainment
Martin Carillo, The Woman Who Went to Space as a Man
Rebecca Kessin, Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Cricket S. Myers, Cabaret, Celebration Theatre
Robert Oriol, A Picture of Dorian Gray
Robert Oriol, Henry V
Mick Potter, School of Rock The Musical
SCK Sound Design, On Your Feet!


LOVE ACTUALLY (Photo Credit: Lawrence K. Ho)

LIES AND LEGENDS AWARD FOR BEST ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE
Mathew Dunlop, Josh Allen Goldman, Dean Howell, Gordon Thomson, Bloodbound
Kevin Carolan, Harter Clingman, Nick Duckart, Chamblee Ferguson, Becky Gulsvig, Julie Johnson, Christine Toy Johnson, James Earl Jones II, Megan McGinnis, Andrew Samonsky, Danielle K. Thomas, Emily Walton, Come From Away
Tomasina Abate, Alex Csillag, Glory Curda, Olivia Kuper Harris, Kelley Jakle, Steve Kazee, Doug Kreeger, Sean Yves Lessard, Carrie Manolakos, Cairo McGee, Zak Resnick, Justin Matthew Sargent, Megan Shung, B. Slade, Rex Smith, Rumer Willis, Tom Zmuda, Love Actually Live
Melanie Field, Vella Lovell, Preston Martin, Keilly McQuail, John Garet Stoker, Concetta Tomei, Will Von Vogt, Significant Other

BILLY BARNES AWARD FOR BEST CABARET PERFORMANCE
Roger Befeler, Paige Befeler, Brad Ellis, Dianne Fraser, Kim Huber, Skye LaFontaine, Benny Lipson, Jack Lipson, Valerie Perri, Nita Whitaker, A Classic Broadway Mother’s Day, Rockwell Table & Stage
Jeffrey Scott Parsons, Elan McMahan, Comfy, Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal
Brittney Bertier, John Boswell, Mary Gordon Murray, Kerry O’Malley, Eric Petersen, Nick Sacks, Robert Yacko, Everybody Rise! A Resistance Cabaret, Rockwell Table & Stage
Richard Allen, Robert Collins, Marc Ginsburg, Bruce Kimmel, Hadley Belle Miller, Laura Wolfe, Pure Imagination, Kritzerland Upstairs at Vitello’s
Richard Allen, Daniel Thomas Bellusci, Grant Geissman, Bruce Kimmel, Damon Kirsche, Heather Lee, Andrea Marcovicci, Sami Statiman, Anything Goes-The Songs of Cole Porter, Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal
William Martinez, Signing the Song, Rockwell Table & Stage
Anna Grace Barlow, Matthew Bohrer, Courtney Bruce, Garrett Clayton, Lucas Coleman, Lesley McKinnell, Domonique Patton, Nohely Quiroz, The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Clueless, Rockwell Table & Stage
Richard Allen, Maggie Balleweg, Roger Befeler, Kim Huber, Autumn Jessel, Bruce Kimmel, Peyton Kirkner, Eric Petersen, Jenna Lea Rosen, Johnny Whitaker, Robert Yacko, The Songs That Got Away VIII, Kritzerland Upstairs at Vitello’s

SPECIAL AWARD FOR WIG DESIGN
Byron Batista, Priscilla Queen of the Desert

SPECIAL AWARD FOR FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY
Dane Oliver, Haiti

SPECIAL AWARD FOR THE RETURN OF GOOD POLITICAL SATIRE
Joe Keenan, EVERBODY RISE! A RESISTANCE CABARET

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