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On Theater: Community, college theaters prosper in 2018

On Theater: Community, college theaters prosper in 2018
Melissa Montanez and Kim Peterson starred in the 2018 production of "Sister Act" at Costa Mesa Playhouse. (Photo by Michael Serna)

Operating in the shadow of four larger, professional-caliber theaters, local community and college playhouses also enjoyed a bountiful year in 2018.

Here are the most impressive offerings from the nonprofessional realm:

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Costa Mesa Playhouse

Best production: “Sister Act,” directed by David A. Blair

Runners-up: “Next to Normal,” directed by Jason Holland, and “The Christians,” directed by Michael Serna

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Best performances: Peter Hilton in “The Christians” and Elizabeth A. Bouton in “Next to Normal”

Runners-up: Melissa Montanez in “Sister Act” and Leianna Weaver in “Next to Normal”

Nancy Higley and Craig Sullivan in the Newport Theatre Arts Center’s production of “The Amorous Ambassador.”
Nancy Higley and Craig Sullivan in the Newport Theatre Arts Center’s production of “The Amorous Ambassador.” (Photo courtesy of the Newport Theatre Arts Center)

Newport Theatre Arts Center

Best production: “The Amorous Ambassador,” directed by Bob Fetes

Runners-up: “Lend Me a Tenor,” directed by Gigi Fusco Meese, and “The Spitfire Grill,” directed by Phyllis Gitlin

Best performances: Bob Fetes in “Lend Me a Tenor” and Michelle Bendetti in “The Octette Bridge Club”

Runners-up: Harriet Whitmyer in “The Hollow,” Glenda Wright in “The Spitfire Grill” and Craig Sullivan in “The Amorous Ambassador”

The cast of Westminster Community Playhouse’s “Other Desert Cities,” directed by Lenore Stjerne, was one of the highlights of 2018.
The cast of Westminster Community Playhouse’s “Other Desert Cities,” directed by Lenore Stjerne, was one of the highlights of 2018. (Photo courtesy of Westminster Community Playhouse)

Westminster Community Playhouse

Best production: “Other Desert Cities,” directed by Lenore Stjerne

Runner-up: “Fiddler on the Roof,” directed by Patricia Miller

Best performances: Jesse Seann Atkinson in “Dial M for Murder” and Cassidy McMillan in “Other Desert Cities”

Runners-up: Bradley Miller in “Fiddler on the Roof,” Justine DeAngelo in “Dial M for Murder” and John Parker in “Other Desert Cities”

Gabrielle Incremona, Ethan Boyle, Allison Bassett, Andreas Schmidt, Alyssa Chan-Evangelista, Erick Paul, Heather Christensen and Cornelius Lindsey perform in Vanguard University’s “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” in Costa Mesa.
Gabrielle Incremona, Ethan Boyle, Allison Bassett, Andreas Schmidt, Alyssa Chan-Evangelista, Erick Paul, Heather Christensen and Cornelius Lindsey perform in Vanguard University’s “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” in Costa Mesa. (Photo by Celeste Filadelfia)

Vanguard University

Best Production: “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” directed by Vanda Eggington

Runner-up: “Lord of the Flies,” directed by Susan Berkompas

Best performances: Zach Guevin in “Lord of the Flies” and Noelle Roth in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”

Runners-up: Erick Paul in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” and Robert Ball for “Lord of the Flies”

Tennessee Williams's “The Glass Menagerie” at Golden West College.
Tennessee Williams's “The Glass Menagerie” at Golden West College. (Photo courtesy of Golden West College)

Golden West College

Best production: “The Glass Menagerie,” directed by Tom Amen

Runner-up: “Dracula,” directed by Tom Amen

Best performances: Patrick Peterson in “Dracula” and Matthew Cobb in “The Glass Menagerie”

Runners-up: Scott Keister and Katherine Heflin, both for “Dracula”

One more set of accolades remains — the unveiling of the Daily Pilot’s man and woman of the year in theater. These worthies will be announced in next week’s column.

Tom Titus reviews local theater. This is the second in a series of three columns reviewing local theater in 2018.

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