L.A. Drama Critics Circle Awards led by 'Cloud 9,' 'The Boy From Oz'

The feminist classic “Cloud 9,” the musical comedy “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,” singer-songwriter Peter Allen’s musical “The Boy From Oz” and a Pulitzer Prize-winning play about the perils of cultural assimilation, “Disgraced,” won top honors Monday night from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle.

Those four productions — from Antaeus Theatre Company, the Ahmanson Theatre, the Celebration Theatre and Mark Taper Forum, respectively — each won a plaque for best production.

“Cloud 9,” the Antaeus production of the Caryl Churchill play set in British Colonial Africa and 1970s London, led the pack, receiving a total of eight awards including featured performance (JD Cullum and Bo Foxworth), ensemble performance, direction (Casey Stangl), costumes (A. Jeffrey Schoenberg) and wigs, hair and makeup (Jessica Mills).

Two additional awards were handed out for ensemble performance: “Casa Valentina” (Pasadena Playhouse) and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum).

The critics circle consists of 21 people, including Times contributors Margaret Gray and David C. Nichols. The complete list of honorees:

Production

  • A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre
  • Cloud 9,” Antaeus Theatre Company
  • Disgraced,” Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum
  • The Boy From Oz,” Celebration Theatre

McCulloh Award for Revival (plays written between 1920 and 1991)

  • Cloud 9," Antaeus Theatre Company.
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum

Lead performance

  • Andrew Bongiorno in The Boy From Oz,” Celebration Theatre
  • Ginna Carter in The Eccentricities of a Nightingale,” Pacific Resident Theatre
  • Hari Dhillon in Disgraced,” Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum

Featured performance

  • JD Cullum in Cloud 9,” Antaeus Theatre Company
  • Bo Foxworth in Cloud 9,” Antaeus Theatre Company
  • Bess Motta in The Boy From Oz,Celebration Theatre

Ensemble performance

  • Casa Valentina,” the Pasadena Playhouse
  • Cloud 9,” Antaeus Theatre Company
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum

Solo performance

  • Deborah Puette, Captain of the Bible Quiz Team,” Rogue Machine Theatre

Direction

  • Michael A. Shepperd, The Boy From Oz,” Celebration Theatre
  • Casey Stangl, “Cloud 9,” Antaeus Theatre Company
  • Darko Tresnjak, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre.

Writing

  • Ayad Akhtar, “Disgraced,” Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum
  • Erik Patterson, “One of the Nice Ones,” Echo Theater Company

Musical score

  • Steven Lutvak and Robert L. Freedman, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,” Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre

Music direction

  • Bryan Blaskie, “The Boy From Oz,” Celebration Theatre

Choreography

  • Janet Roston, “The Boy From Oz,” Celebration Theatre

Set design

  • Alexander Dodge, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,” Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre

CGI/video design

  • Brad Peterson and David Gallo, “Empire the Musical,” La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts

Lighting design

  • Rui Rita and Jake DeGroot, “Fly,” Pasadena Playhouse

Costume design

  • Kate Bergh, “Casa Valentina,” Pasadena Playhouse
  • A. Jeffrey Schoenberg, Cloud 9,” Antaeus Theatre Company

Sound design

  • Eric Snodgrass, The Boy From Oz,” Celebration Theatre

Specialty: fight choreography

  • Jen Albert, “Punch and Judy,The School of Night, Ruby Theater at the Complex

Specialty: wigs, hair and makeup

  • Rick Geyer, “Casa Valentina,” Pasadena Playhouse
  • Jessica Mills, Cloud 9,” Antaeus Theatre Company

2016 Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence in theater

  • Antaeus Theatre Company

2016 Polly Warfield Award for an excellent season in a small to mid-size theatre

  • Rogue Machine Theatre

2016 Ted Schmitt Award for the world premiere of an outstanding new play

  • Aliza Goldstein for A Singular They,” originally produced by the Blank Theatre

2016 Kinetic Lighting Award for outstanding achievement in theatrical design

  • Jared A. Sayeg

2016 Joel Hirschhorn Award for outstanding achievement in musical theatre

  • Cabrillo Music Theatre

2016 Milton Katsela Award for career or special achievement in direction

  • Maria Gobetti

2016 Gordon Davidson Award for distinguished contribution to the Los Angeles theatrical community

  • Pro99

jessica.gelt@latimes.com

@jessicagelt

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