What the Tonys are to Broadway, the Abbey Awards are to the Westminster Community Theater, which recently wrapped up its 50th anniversary season by honoring two shows that are older than the playhouse itself.
Sunday night, WCT handed out its annual Abbeys. "The Pajama Game" and "The Philadelphia Story" dominated the field, winning eight and six of the 16 total trophies up for grabs, respectively, with one honor being shared by two actresses in a tie vote.
Although "Pajama Game" won more awards, "Philadelphia Story," directed by Kirk Larson, copped the prize as best show of the season. The stars of "Pajama Game" — Brian Pirnat and Diana Baker Bowler — took home the Abbeys for best actor and actress in a musical.
The deadlock occurred in the best actress in a play category. Voters were evenly divided between Liza Rios as Suzy in "Wait Until Dark" and Elizabeth Bouton Summerer as Tracy in "Philadelphia Story." Best actor in a play honors went to Drew Fitzsimmons, who played Dexter in "Philadelphia Story."
Karl Schott and Dawn Vasco, who played Hines and Gladys in "Pajama Game," won the plaudits for best supporting actor and actress in a musical, while Clint Collins and Katie Sullivan copped the male and female musical cameo prizes for the same show.
Natalie Beisner of "Cheaters" broke through the Pajama-Philadelphia barrier to claim the Abbey for best supporting actress in a play. The top supporting actor in a play award went to Tom Hardy for "Philadelphia Story."
Best male and female cameo in a play honors went to Tom Mynar and Valerie Lohman, both from "Philadelphia Story." The winners for male and female ensemble performers in a musical were Ivar Vasco and Melissa Cole, both from "Pajama Game."
The lights at the Westminster Community Theater will go up again July 15 when the playhouse's 51st season gets underway with Michael Cristofer's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama "The Shadow Box."
TOM TITUS reviews local theater for the Independent.