Press Release

The 28th Annual LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards, celebrating theatrical excellence and achievement throughout Los Angeles, were presented on Monday, January 29, at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in downtown LA.

Thirty-five awards were bestowed upon 19 different Southern California theatre companies. The most honored companies of the year were Geffen Playhouse (The Legend of Georgia McBride, Actually); East West Players (Next to Normal); Actors Co-op (33 Variations); The Echo Theater Company (Dry Land [shared with Center Theatre Group], The Cake, Blueberry Toast); Center Theatre Group (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Archduke, Dry Land [shared with The Echo Theater Company]); and Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (The Encounter, For the Record: Scorsese – American Crime Requiem). Rogue Machine received the Best Season Award (Dutch Masters, Les Blancs, Still Life, The Super Variety Match Bonus Round!).

Ovation Honors, which recognize outstanding achievement in areas that are not among the standard list of nomination categories, were awarded to Noah Agruss (Music Composition for a Play, Bars and Measures at The Theatre @ Boston Court); Ahmed Best (Fight Choreography, The Echo Theater Company’s Blueberry Toast); and Joe Seely (Puppet Design, Wicked Lit 2016, Unbound Productions).

Additionally, Center Theatre Group presented the 2017 Sherwood Award for innovative and adventurous artists to Hana Kim. This award is endowed by the Sherwood family and is accompanied by $10,000 to further Kim’s artistic work.

The ceremony was hosted by Kirsten Vangsness, and this year’s presenters included theatre notables (in alphabetical order) Malcolm Barrett, Alexandra Billings, Nathan Birnbaum, Melody Butiu, Crystal Diaz, Sheldon Epps, Larissa Fasthorse, Sam Harris, Russell Hornsby, Diarra Kilpatrick, Justin Kirk, Reggie Lee, Pam MacKinnon, Kelly Miller, Mitch O’Farrell, Rose Portillo, Armin Shimerman, J.K. Simmons, Miranda Wright, and Zakiya Young. Musical numbers were performed by Alexandra Billings, Melody Butiu, and Zakiya Young.

Founded in 1989, the LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards are the only peer-judged theatre awards in Los Angeles. Voters are Los Angeles theatre professionals who are chosen each year through an application process by the Ovation Rules Committee. This year’s Ovation Awards eligibility period ran from August 29, 2016 through August 27, 2017.

Since 1975, LA STAGE Alliance has been dedicated to building awareness, appreciation, and support for the performing arts in Greater Los Angeles. All of its initiatives aim to serve and strengthen the sector — both at individual and community levels — providing resources that facilitate audience engagement, collaborative marketing, community building, and professional development.

Sponsors for this year’s Ovation Awards ceremony were Bakers Man Productions, Butcher Bird Studios, CBS, F&D Scene Changes Ltd., Footlights, KCET, Peter Konerko Photography, Malibu Family Wines, Ovation TV, Rose Brand, TheaterMania, Theatre Corner, UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television, USC School of Dramatic Arts, Variety, Venture Hill Entertainment, and Ken Werther Publicity.

WINNERS

Best Season

Rogue Machine

LES BLANCS STILL LIFE
THE SUPER VARIETY MATCH BONUS ROUND!

Best Production of a Play (Intimate Theatre)

33 VARIATIONS

Actors Co-op

Best Production of a Play (Large Theatre)

GULF VIEW DRIVE

Rubicon Theatre Company

Best Production of a Musical (Intimate Theatre)

WHEN JAZZ HAD THE BLUES

CEK Productions

Best Production of a Musical (Large Theatre)

NEXT TO NORMAL

East West Players

Best Presented Production 

THE ENCOUNTER

Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Acting Ensemble of a Play

MA RAINEY‘S BLACK BOTTOM Center Theatre Group

Acting Ensemble of a Musical

FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE

Ebony Repertory Theatre

Choreography

PAUL MCGILL

THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE

Geffen Playhouse

Music Direction

JESSE VARGAS

FOR THE RECORD: SCORSESE – AMERICAN CRIME
REQUIEM

Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Book for an Original Musical 

CAROLE KOSOFF

WHEN JAZZ HAD THE BLUES

CEK Productions

Lyrics/Composition for an Original Musical

MICHAEL SHAW FISHER

SKULLDUGGERY: THE MUSICAL PREQUEL TO HAMLET

Sacred Fools Theater Company

Playwriting for an Original Play 

ANNA ZIEGLER

ACTUALLY

Geffen Playhouse

Direction of a Musical 

NANCY KEYSTONE NEXT TO NORMAL

East West Players

Direction of a Play

THOMAS JAMES O‘LEARY

33 VARIATIONS

Actors Co-op

Lead Actor in a Musical 

B. SLADE as Stacks

FOR THE RECORD: SCORSESE – AMERICAN CRIME
REQUIEM

Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Lead Actress in a Musical 

DEEDEE MAGNO HALL as Diana NEXT TO NORMAL

East West Players

Lead Actor in a Play 

HARRY GROENER as Big Daddy

CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF

Antaeus Theatre Company

Lead Actress in a Play

DEBRA JO RUPP as Della

THE CAKE

The Echo Theater Company

Featured Actor in a Musical

ROGELIO DOUGLAS JR. as Four Eyed Moe

FIVE GUYS NAMED MOE

Ebony Repertory Theatre

Featured Actress in a Musical 

ISA BRIONES as Natalie NEXT TO NORMAL

East West Players

Featured Actor in a Play 

ADOLPHUS WARD as Stool Pigeon

AUGUST WILSON‘S KING HEDLEY II

Sophina Brown

Featured Actress in a Play

ELLA JOYCE as Ruby

AUGUST WILSON‘S KING HEDLEY II

Sophina Brown

Lighting Design (Intimate Theatre)

ANDREW SCHMEDAKE

33 VARIATIONS

Actors Co-op

Lighting Design (Large Theatre)

JOSH EPSTEIN

THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE

Geffen Playhouse

Scenic Design (Intimate Theatre)

NICHOLAS ACCIANI

33 VARIATIONS

Actors Co-op

Scenic Design (Large Theatre)

TIM MACKABEE

ARCHDUKE

Center Theatre Group

Sound Design (Intimate Theatre)

JOSEPH SLAWINSKI

BURNERS

Moving Arts

Sound Design (Large Theatre)

JEFF GARDNER

DRY LAND

Center Theatre Group / The Echo Theatre Company

Costume Design (Intimate Theatre)

MICHAEL MULLEN

SIAMESE SEX SHOW

Theatre Planners

Costume Design (Large Theatre)

E.B. BROOKS

THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE

Geffen Playhouse

Video Projection Design 

CORWIN EVANS PLASTICITY

SoulArt

Music Composition for a Play 

NOAH AGRUSS

BARS AND MEASURES

The Theatre @ Boston Court

Fight Choreography 

AHMED BEST

BLUEBERRY TOAST

The Echo Theater Company

Puppet Design

JOE SEELY

WICKED LIT 2016

Unbound Productions

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