LATC Takes Top Drama Honors : Stage: Downtown center’s production of ‘The Illusion’ leads with six Drama Critics Circle Awards. Smaller theaters also make a strong showing.


Los Angeles Theatre Center won the most honors and small theaters also did well in the 1990 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards announced Tuesday.

LATC captured eight awards-- its most ever. The downtown theater, which is being purchased by the city of Los Angeles, had won three awards during each of the last four years.

Six of LATC’s awards this year were for “The Illusion,” the most for any one production. LATC’s stagings of “The Crucible” and “The Hip-Hop Waltz of Eurydice” each took one award.


“The Illusion” shared honors as “Outstanding Production” with two shows produced under Actors’ Equity’s 99-Seat Plan: Pacific Theatre Ensemble’s “The Beggar’s Opera” and “Present Laughter” at the Melrose Theatre. Seven smaller theater productions won a total of 13 awards.

The 22-year-old Circle awards, voted on by 18 critics from Los Angeles and Orange County publications, are generally considered the Southland’s most prestigious honors covering the spectrum of theater in the area.

Surprisingly, the Center Theatre Group, last year’s big winner with 12 awards, received only two awards out of 12 nominations this year, plus a special award to producer Edward Parone and the Mark Taper Forum for its “50/60 Vision” series.

Following “The Illusion” on the list of most awards for specific shows were “The Beggar’s Opera” with five, South Coast Repertory’s “Holy Days” with four and “Present Laughter” with three.

South Coast placed second on the list of theaters’ total awards. In addition to the “Holy Days” honors, South Coast garnered an award for Shigeru Yaji’s costumes for “Man and Superman” and the Ted Schmitt Award for Howard Korder’s “Search and Destroy.”

The awards will be presented at a luncheon ceremony at Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City on April 7. The event is open to the public, but reservations are required. Information: (818) 766-4265 or (818) 506-6083.


The winners:

* Production: “The Beggar’s Opera,” produced by Mary Seward-McKeon for the Pacific Theatre Ensemble; “The Illusion,” produced by Bill Bushnell, Diane White and Robert Lear for Los Angeles Theatre Center; “Present Laughter,” produced by Bill Haller and Sandra Kline at the Melrose Theatre.

* Direction: Martin Benson, “Holy Days,” South Coast Repertory; Lisa James, “Palladium Is Moving,” Court Theatre; Richard Kline, “Present Laughter”; Stephanie Shroyer, “The Beggar’s Opera.”

* Writing: Athol Fugard, “My Children! My Africa!,” Henry Fonda Theatre.

* Lead Performance: Richard Doyle, “Holy Days”; Charles S. Dutton, “The Piano Lesson,” Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre at the Doolittle; Ian Ogilvy, “Present Laughter”; Jeanne Paulsen, “Holy Days”; Brock Peters, “My Children! My Africa!”; Gordana Rashovich, “A Shayna Maidel,” Tiffany Theatre.

* Featured Performance: John Fleck, “The Illusion”; Nathan Lane, “The Lisbon Traviata,” Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum.

* Ensemble Performance: “The Beggar’s Opera.”

* Creation Performance: Sheri Glaser, “Family Secrets,” Heliotrope Theatre.

* Scenic Design: D Martyn Bookwalter, “The Crucible,” Los Angeles Theatre Center; Steve Markus, Kevin McKeon and Kurt Wahlner, “The Beggar’s Opera”; Douglas D. Smith, “The Illusion.”

* Lighting Design: Tom Ruzika, “Holy Days”; Douglas D. Smith, “The Illusion.”

* Costume Design: John Brandt, Lori Martin, Sarah Zinsser and Betsy Berenson, “The Beggar’s Opera”; Marianna Elliott, “The Illusion”; Shigeru Yaji, “Man and Superman.”


* Mask Design: Xander Berkeley, “The Good Woman of Setzuan,” Actors Gang at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble.

* Sound Design: Jon Gottlieb, “The Illusion.”

* Music and Lyrics: Brian Shucker, “Babes,” Cast Theatre.

* Make-up Design: Elena Maluchin Breckenridge, “The Hip-Hop Waltz of Eurydice,” Los AngelesTheatre Center.

* Margaret Harford Award: Colony Studio Theatre.

* Ted Schmitt Award: Playwright Howard Korder for “Search and Destroy” at South Coast Repertory.

* Special Awards: Peter Sellars and the L.A. Festival; Edward Parone and the Mark Taper Forum for “50/60 Vision.”