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October 25, 2018 Comments (0) Views: 128 *Seattle Theaterland, Arts & Entertainment, Arts News, Award Worthy, Infotainment, News, Stage

Evil Puppets and Filipino Family Matriarchs Get Top Honors at 10th Annual Gregory Awards

Seattle Public Theater’s production of “Hand to God” & Intiman’s production of Sara Porkalob’s “Dragon Lady” Get Top Honors at Gregory Awards

Silhouette (Annex) and Hairspray (Village) Among Other Big Winners; Seattle Public Theater Named Theatre of the Year; Queer-Centric Fringe Favorites Deers (Annex) and Little Shop of Horrors (Reboot) Shine in People’s Choice Awards

 

 

Actor/Writer/Activist Sara Porkalob snagged two Gregory Awards for her autobiographical solo show DRAGON LADY

Actor/Writer/Activist Sara Porkalob snagged two Gregory Awards for her autobiographical solo show DRAGON LADY

The 10th annual Gregory Awards, produced by Theatre Puget Sound, were held Monday at McCaw Hall.  Nominees are decided by 80 or so nominators, with 10 seeing (and scoring) every eligible show; every TPS member is eligible to vote to determine the recipient from the slate of nominees.  Don Darryl Rivera, nationally acclaimed performer/composer/writer and the recipient of two Gregory Awards himself, was this year’s host, putting on a charming and funny show.

 

Seattle Public Theater had a huge year — nominated in almost every eligible category and bringing home six awards, including Theatre of the Year, and Best Production (Play) for Hand to God, which accounted for their remaining four awards: Actor (Play) (Ben Burris), Supporting Actor (Play) (Sunam Ellis), Ensemble, and Director (Kelly Kitchens).  

Ben Burris and Pal won Best Lead Actor at this year's Gregory Awards for his role in the dark comedy HAND TO GOD at Seattle Public Theater

Ben Burris and Pal won Best Lead Actor at this year’s Gregory Awards for his role in the dark comedy HAND TO GOD at Seattle Public Theater

Intiman Theatre’s production of Dragon Lady, written and performed by Sara Porkalob, was another big winner, for production (musical), actress (musical) (Sara Porkalob), and sound/music design (Erin Bednarz, Pete Irving and Matt Starritt).  

 

Village Theatre had a big season for nominations (14!), owing largely to its production of Hairspray.  It took home three awards: two for Hairspray — actress (musical) (Shaunyce Omar), and costume design (Alex Jaeger) — and one for choreography in Newsies (Katy Tabb).  

 

Big queer productions from Annex Theatre and Reboot Theatre Co. fared especially well in new plays and the People’s Choice Awards.  From Annex, Scotto Moore’s Silhouette — a sci-fi a Capella musical that included a large cast comprised largely of non-binary, trans, queer, and/or female performers — won the Gregory Award for Best New Play.  And Deers — a new play by Marcus Gorman which also featured a big cast comprised largely of non-binary, trans, queer, and/or female performers — took home the Best New Play honor in the People’s Choice Awards, as well as the People’s Choice for Best Ensemble.  Reboot Theatre Co. — which, as its name suggests, reboots classic shows — did a queer/trans/drag Little Shop of Horrors that won three People’s Choice Awards: Best Production (Musical), Director (Harry Turpin), and Performance (Musical) (Dani Hobbs), plus one Gregory Awards nomination (Vincent Milay for Supporting Actor (Musical)).

 

Two of the most impactful moments of the ceremony were acceptance speeches by two actors explaining the depth their families had brought to their specific roles.  Receiving the award for Supporting Actress (Musical), Shaunyce Omar, who played family matriarch and civil rights activist Motormouth Maybelle in Village Theatre’s production of Hairspray, spoke of inspiration from her own family and her father’s legacy as a warrior for civil rights.  (“He and so many Black people in the ‘60s stood on the front line and literally fought America — their own country — for basic civil rights.  I sang that song [“I Know Where I’ve Been”] every night for those folks that were beaten, with water hoses sprayed on them and police dogs attacking them, but they still stayed the course.  And I sang that song for my daddy, who was arrested for staging sit-ins in Athens, Georgia, when he was a teenager. It wasn’t just a musical for me, and it wasn’t just a song. It was very personal.”)  

 

Receiving the award for Actress (Musical), Sara Porkalob — creator and performer of Dragon Lady (which also won for Production – Musical, and Sound/Music Design) — called upon her “mixed Filipino, immigrant, poor, Black, queer, family” as inspiration.  Porkalob decried the harms the current administration is wreaking on trans people, immigrants, abuse survivors, Black people, and others, then challenged Seattle theatres to do better in taking a stand for those who are marginalized.  (“I say this because all art is political, and you can fight me on that. For it to be anything else is a privilege. We must support and share queer, trans, POC, disabled, bilingual, indigenous, intergenerational, immigrant, Black stories, because our city and our nation is wealthy with them.  They’ve existed for hundred of years and they’re the future.”)

 

And watching Sunam Ellis receive her award for Supporting Actress (Play) (Hand to God) — who was so overtaken I thought she might literally melt into the floor — was one of the ceremony’s sweetest moments.  

 

Two big awards announced in advance were also presented at the ceremony.  

 

Brothers Billy Seago and Howie Seago received the Gregory A. Falls Award for Sustained Achievement, which is named (along with the Gregory Awards) after the longtime UW Drama chair and founding Artistic Director of ACT, who is largely credited for Seattle’s theatre boom.  The Seago brothers were recognized for wide achievements in deaf, ASL, and hearing communities across the U.S.: Billy, as an actor, master storyteller and teacher; and Howie, as an actor, director, and company and program founder. The award was presented and received in American Sign Language (with interpretation in spoken English), and the deaf community came out with a large contingent in support.  In addition to the award to the Seagos, Howie Seago’s co-actor, Ryan Schlect, who is deaf, was nominated for Supporting Actor (Play) (in Sound Theatre’s bilingual ASL/spoken English production, ASL Midsummer Night’s Dream); and Joshua Castille, who is deaf, received the award with E.J. Cardona for Best Actor (Musical) (in the 5th Avenue’s production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame).  

 

Ruth Eitemiller was presented with the Melissa Hines Backstage Award, which honors those behind the scenes who generally receive no honor at curtain call.  Eitemiller was honored for stage management and production management at ACT, Book-It, 5th Avenue’s NextFest, and others, as well as her work at the recently departed New Century Theatre Company.  

 

The Awards ceremony was , of course, followed by free-flowing celebration, wide-ranging fashion statements, dancing, and booze — a great dose of camaraderie and cheer in a world that’s challenged in both these days.  

 

See the full list of nominees and recipients, plus the People’s Choice Awards winners, below.  Congrats to all nominees and recipients! As well as all the others who contributed their talents to an excellent season of local theatre.  

 

GREGORY AWARD NOMINEES & RECIPIENTS

The full list of those honored with a Gregory nomination this year, with award recipients noted in bold:


THEATRE OF THE YEAR
ACT Theatre
ArtsWest Playhouse & Gallery
RECIPIENT – Seattle Public Theater
Seattle Repertory Theatre
Village Theatre


PRODUCTION (PLAY)
FROST/NIXON Strawberry Theatre Workshop
RECIPIENT – HAND TO GOD Seattle Public Theater
IRONBOUND Seattle Public Theater
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY Book-It Repertory Theatre
TWO TRAINS RUNNING Seattle Repertory Theatre


PRODUCTION (MUSICAL)
RECIPIENT – DRAGON LADY Intiman Theatre
HAIRSPRAY Village Theatre
THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME The 5th Avenue Theatre
LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR AND GRILL ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery
RAGTIME The 5th Avenue Theatre

NEW PLAY
FAMILY MATTERS by Rachel Atkins (ReAct Theatre)
IBSEN IN CHICAGO by David Grimm (Seattle Repertory Theatre)
NITE SKOOL by Max Kirchner & The Libertinis (Annex Theatre)
THE SECRET AND IMPOSSIBLE LEAGUE OF THE NOOSPHERE IN THE BALTIMORE PLOT by Darian Lindle (Live Girls! Theater)
RECIPIENT – SILHOUETTE by Scotto Moore (Annex Theatre)

ACTOR (PLAY)
RECIPIENT – BEN BURRIS Hand To God (Seattle Public Theater)
TIM GOURAN Burn This (Theatre22)
RICHARD GRAY The Nance (ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery)
LAMAR LEGEND AN OCTOROON (ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery)
BRANDON J SIMMONS The Picture of Dorian Gray (Book-It Repertory Theatre)


ACTOR (MUSICAL)
NICHOLAS JAPAUL BERNARD Hedwig and the Angry Inch (ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery)
RECIPIENT – E.J. CARDONA & JOSHUA CASTILLE The Hunchback of Notre Dame (The 5th Avenue Theatre)
NICK DESANTIS Hairspray (Village Theatre)
DOUGLAS LYONS RAGTIME (The 5th Avenue Theatre)
CONNOR RUSSELL Ride The Cyclone (ACT Theatre/5th Avenue Theatre)


ACTRESS (PLAY)
SYLVIE DAVIDSON The Crucible (ACT Theatre)
KHANH DOAN King of the Yees (ACT Theatre)
RECIPIENT – AISHÉ KEITA I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (Book-It Repertory Theatre)
ALEXANDRA TAVARES Ironbound (Seattle Public Theater)
AMY THONE Frost/Nixon (Strawberry Theatre Workshop)


ACTRESS (MUSICAL)
KENDRA KASSEBAUM Ragtime (The 5th Avenue Theatre)
FELICIA LOUD Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill (ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery)
RECIPIENT – SARA PORKALOB Dragon Lady (Intiman Theatre)
CALLIE WILLIAMS Hairspray (Village Theatre)
DAN’YELLE WILLIAMSON The Hunchback of Notre Dame (The 5th Avenue Theatre)


SUPPORTING ACTOR (PLAY)
RECIPIENT – REGINALD ANDRÉ JACKSON Two Trains Running (Seattle Repertory Theatre)
Martyn G. Krouse Hand To God (Seattle Public Theater)
RYAN SCHLECHT ASL Midsummer Night’s Dream (Sound Theatre Company)
RAY TAGAVILLA King of the Yees (ACT Theatre)
RAJEEV VARMA Pride and Prejudice (Seattle Repertory Theatre)


SUPPORTING ACTOR (MUSICAL)
PETER CROOK Hairspray (Village Theatre)
RECIPIENT – LAMAR LEGEND Howl’s Moving Castle (Book-It Repertory Theatre)
VINCENT MILAY Little Shop of Horrors (Reboot Theatre Company)
BRANDON O’NEILL The Hunchback of Notre Dame (The 5th Avenue Theatre)
KEVIN VORTMANN Into The Woods (Village Theatre)


SUPPORTING ACTRESS (PLAY)
EMILY CHISHOLM Pride and Prejudice (Seattle Repertory Theatre)
RECIPIENT – SUNAM ELLIS Hand To God (Seattle Public Theater)
SARAH HARLETT Frost/Nixon (Strawberry Theatre Workshop)
JONELLE JORDAN The Government Inspector (Seattle Shakespeare Company)
KATE WITT Coriolanus: Fight Like a Bitch (Rebel Kat Productions)


SUPPORTING ACTRESS (MUSICAL)
ANDI ALHADEFF Ragtime (The 5th Avenue Theatre)
LISA ESTRIDGE Mamma Mia! (The 5th Avenue Theatre)
ROBYN HURDER Kiss Me, Kate (The 5th Avenue Theatre)
RECIPIENT – SHAUNYCE OMAR Hairspray (Village Theatre)
ALLISON STANDLEY Into The Woods (Village Theatre)


ENSEMBLE
FROST/NIXON  Strawberry Theatre Workshop
HAIRSPRAY  Village Theatre
RECIPIENT – HAND TO GOD  Seattle Public Theater
KING OF THE YEES  ACT Theatre
THE WOLVES  ACT Theatre


CHOREOGRAPHY
MICHELE LYNCH Kiss Me, Kate (The 5th Avenue Theatre)
CRYSTAL DAWN MUNKERS Hairspray (Village Theatre)
RECIPIENT – KATY TABB Disney’s Newsies (Village Theatre)


DIRECTOR
RECIPIENT – KELLY KITCHENS Hand To God (Seattle Public Theater)
JOHN LANGS The Crucible (ACT Theatre)
MALIKA OYETIMEIN I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (Book-It Repertory Theatre)
VICTOR PAPPAS The Picture of Dorian Gray (Book-It Repertory Theatre)
TIMOTHY MCCUEN PIGGEE & STEVE TOMKINS Hairspray (Village Theatre)


LIGHTING
MICHAEL GILLIAM Hairspray (Village Theatre)
THORN MICHAELS Ironbound (Seattle Public Theater)
RECIPIENT – TRISTAN ROBERSON Teh Internet Is Serious Business (Washington Ensemble Theatre)
DUANE SCHULER Ragtime (The 5th Avenue Theatre)
ANDREW D. SMITH The Picture of Dorian Gray (Book-It Repertory Theatre)


SCENIC DESIGN
RECIPIENT – CATHERINE CORNELL MAC BETH (Seattle Repertory Theatre)
ROBIN MACARTNEY You Can’t Take It With You (Sound Theatre Company)
CHRISTOPHER MUMAW Hand To God (Seattle Public Theater)
TRISTAN ROBERSON The Nether (Washington Ensemble Theatre)
PAUL THOMAS American Buffalo (Seattle Immersive Theatre)


COSTUME DESIGN
RECIPIENT – ALEX JAEGER Hairspray (Village Theatre)
KELSEY ROGERS The Nance (ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery)
PETE RUSH The Government Inspector (Seattle Shakespeare Company)
K.D. SCHILL I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (Book-It Repertory Theatre)
CHRISTINE TSCHIRGI King of the Yees (ACT Theatre)


SOUND/MUSIC DESIGN
RECIPIENT – ERIN BEDNARZ, PETE IRVING, MATT STARRITT Dragon Lady (Intiman)
BRENDAN PATRICK HOGAN Frost/Nixon (Strawberry Theatre Workshop)
EVAN MOSHER & ANNASTASIA WORKMAN Smoked! (Cafe Nordo)
SHARATH PATEL Ibsen In Chicago (Seattle Repertory Theatre)
ROBERTSON WITMER Hand To God (Seattle Public Theater)


GREGORY A. FALLS SUSTAINED ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Billy Seago & Howie Seago


MELISSA HINES BACKSTAGE IMPACT AWARD
Ruth Eitemiller

 


PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD RECIPIENTS


PRODUCTION (PLAY): ASL Midsummer Night’s Dream (Sound Theatre Company)
PRODUCTION (MUSICAL): Little Shop of Horrors (Reboot Theatre Company)
PRODUCTION (IMPROV): 8 to 6 (Jet City Improv)
NEW PLAY: Deers by Marcus Gorman (Annex Theatre)
ENSEMBLE: Deers (Annex Theatre)
DIRECTOR: Harry Turpin, Little Shop of Horrors (Reboot Theatre Company)
DESIGNER: Julia Hayes Welch
PERFORMANCE (PLAY): Tony Magaña Jr., Welcome to Arroyo’s (Theater Schmeater)
PERFORMANCE (PLAY): Pilar O’Connell, The Nether (Washington Ensemble Theatre)
PERFORMANCE (MUSICAL): Dani Hobbs, Little Shop of Horrors (Reboot Theatre Company)
PERFORMANCE (MUSICAL): Gabriel Ponce, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Edmonds Driftwood Players)
THEATRE: Edmonds Driftwood Players

 

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