Monday, August 30, 2010

Winning Tickets: Hairspray and The Seafarer win big at the Ostranders

Posted By on Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 5:13 PM

The 27th Annual Ostrander Awards show began at 7 p.m. on Sunday, August 29th with a live performance by the cast of Hank Williams: Lost Highway

Oh wait, that wasn't the Lost Highway cast. Sorry about that but my camera misfired and I missed the one number I wanted most to preserve. This group of actor-musicians fronted by Tim Greer transcended a messy script and put the lanky, cranky ghost of Hank Williams Sr. in front of some surprised and truly appreciative audiences. They might as well have been the real thing.

The fake Drifting Cowboys were followed by a monologue in which Janie McCrary the theater awards tireless organizer made many amusing if not always accurate comments. La Cage director Mitzi Hamilton wasn't the first Memphis director to cast Jonathan Christian in a drag role, silly goose. Way back in the 1990's a reluctant Christian, who was new to Memphis and worried that he might be typecast, signed on to play a grotesque yet strangely MILFy old gypsy woman in New Bridge Theatre Ensemble's production of Tennessee WIlliams' 10-Blocks on the Camino Real at TheatreWorks. Christian was brilliant although some of the credit has to go to a young visionary director whose name escapes me although I seem to recall that he became some kind of theater blogger for The Memphis Flyer, whatever that means.

McCrary—who didn't hurt my feelings at all with her drag dis— went on to describe the shoddy state of state of theater journalism in Memphis right there in front of her co-sponsors the Journalists. It wasn't the most elegant way to transition into into a pitch for ArtsMemphis' own stable of critics, and a website where readers can find reviews written by a show's producing angel. In fact, it was really kind of awkward but Janie's always a hoot and the weirdness passed quickly enough.

Enter Sister Myotis whose performance at last year's Ostranders was only a warm up for her big mainstream breakthrough as hostess for the Orpheum's High School Musical awards.

Well, like the sister asked, are you ready for some rewards?

SET DESIGN

Jimmy Humphries

Musical Comedy Murders of 1940

Playhouse on the Square

Yeah, I guess. It was a good looking epic piece of work. But every set this season seemed like an afterthought compared to TM's Dr. Jeckyll & Hyde.

COSTUMES

Andre Bruce Ward

La Cage Aux Folles

Theatre Memphis

Andre gets a hug
  • Andre gets a hug

Was there ever any doubt?

LIGHTING DESIGN

Diane Kinkennon

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


Theatre Memphis

An inventive design and a richly deserved award.

PROPS

Jerre Dye

Cicada

Voices of the South

Props to Jerre. This first production didn't seem quite finished to me but this show is going to have other lives. Count on it. Oh, and in case you haven't noticed, this was a big year for his company Voices of the South. And there's even more on the Horizon.

WIGS

Barbara Sanders

La Cage Aux Folles

Theatre Memphis

Duh

MAKEUP

Daniel Matthews

La Cage Aux Folles

Theatre Memphis

Double duh.

MUSIC DIRECTION

Marsha Neely

God’s Trombones

Hattiloo Theatre



Scenes from the Hattiloo's production of Willie & Esther

It's good to Hattiloo finally represented among the winners this season.

SOUND DESIGN

David Newsome

Cicada

Voices of the South

If Newsome's not the absolute best at what he does nobody else is stepping up.

Cast of 13 at the 2010 Ostranders

CHOREOGRAPHY

Shorey Walker/Jordan Nichols

Hairspray

DSC02114.JPG
  • Best Director of a Drama winner Bob Hetherington and Best Choreography winner Jordan Nichols

A nearly perfect show.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS - MUSICAL

Laura Stracko

Hairspray

Playhouse on the Square

DSC02109.JPG
  • Laura Stracko

This isn't from Hairspray, but just watch Stracko sing "My Death." Amazing.



SUPPORTING ACTOR - MUSICAL

Kent Fleshman

Pippin

Playhouse on the Square


Scenes from Pippin

I'd have to call this a real upset. Kent was a good but since the judges overlooked Randy Hartzog's fantastic performance in La Cage aux Folle, Matt Reed seemed like a shoe in as Hairspray's heroically dorky dad.

LEADING ACTRESS - MUSICAL

Courtney Oliver

Hairspray

Playhouse on the Square

If the award had gone to anybody else the river would run backward and nature would revolt universal. Oliver gave the performance of the year in a year that included a lot of great performances.

LEADING ACTOR - MUSICAL—A TIE

Tim Greer

Hank Williams: Lost Highway

Circuit Playhouse

Tim Greer as Hank WIlliams
  • Tim Greer as Hank WIlliams

And

Jonathan Christian

La Cage Aux Folles

Theatre Memphis

Justice was done here. Not elsewhere but here.

DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

Dave Landis

Hairspray

Playhouse on the Square

DSC02113.JPG
  • Jimmy Humphries, Dave Landis, Courtney Oliver

Possibly the best thing ever done by a director who regularly does very good things.

MUSICAL PRODUCTION

Hairspray

Playhouse on the Square

Sorry La Cage. In almost any other year you'd have crushed the competition.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS - DRAMA

Cecelia Wingate

Cicada

Voices of the South

Deserved, although I really thought this was one of Germantown Community Theatre's best chances for picking up an award.

SUPPORTING ACTOR - DRAMA

Tony Isbell

Buffalo Gal

Next Stage - Theatre Memphis

Tony Isbell
  • Tony Isbell

He was good as the Devil in the Seafarer but better as a Middle-aged spaz.

LEADING ACTRESS - DRAMA

Jude Knight

Souvenir

Next Stage - Theatre Memphis

I've had the great pleasure to witness many amazing performances. None of them filled me with pure delight like this very special performance by a very special actor at the top of her game.

LEADING ACTOR - DRAMA

Michael Gravois

The Seafarer

Circuit Playhouse

Whoa. Gravois was great, but I'm also calling this an upset. Bill Andrews channeled Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon and seemed to be a favorite to win. But Gravois made the most of a showy role and wowed the judges.

DIRECTION OF A DRAMA

Bob Hetherington

The Seafarer

Circuit Playhouse

I'd hoped to see Bennett Wood win for Souvenir, a show as unassuming as it was perfect. But I can't complain about the outcome. Both shows were outstanding.

DRAMATIC PRODUCTION

The Seafarer

Circuit Playhouse

Hopefully the cast, who played a lot of shows to very thin houses, feels at least a little vindicated.

ENSEMBLE CAST

Jekyll and Hyde

Theatre Memphis

The obvious choice.

FEATURED ROLE

Renee Kemper

Jacques Brel

Circuit Playhouse

She sang this. And it was every bit as gorgeous.

BEHIND THE SCENES AWARD

Sue Binnie

Theatre Memphis

I don't go back stage and I don't think the judges do either. And if they do I hope all the people changing clothes scream and call the coppers. I don't understand this award and that's all I have to say about that.

LARRY RILEY RISING STAR AWARD

Laura Stracko

Putting the O in standing O. What an exciting talent. She was also great in this hilarious and unrecognized show

EUGART YERIAN AWARD FOR LIFETIME SERVICE TO MEMPHIS THEATRE: OTIS SMITH

Otis Smith has been choreographing and teaching dance since the 1950's. His students include Jackie Nichols and Ken Zimmerman. At 76 he's still going strong.


BEST ORIGINAL SCRIPT

Phil Darius Wallace w/ Jerre Dye

Hold Fast

Voices of the South

Darius Wallace
  • Darius Wallace

BEST PRODUCTION OF AN ORIGINAL SCRIPT

Cicada

Voices of the South

2010 OSTRANDER WINNERS, COLLEGE & UNIVERSITY DIVISION

SET DESIGN

David Galloway

Hay Fever

University of Memphis

COSTUME DESIGN

Janice Lacek

Hay Fever

University of Memphis

LIGHTING DESIGN

Daniel Mueller

Dark of the Moon

University of Memphis

PROPS

Kathy Haaga

Shakuntala Reductia

McCoy Theatre - Rhodes College

SET DRESSING

David Galloway

Hay Fever

University of Memphis

SET DRESSING

Jay Innerarity

Hay Fever

University of Memphis

MUSIC DIRECTION

Brennan Villines

Blood Brothers

University of Memphis

SOUND DESIGN

Jennifer Northup

Dark of the Moon

University of Memphis

CHOREOGRAPHY / MOVEMENT

Heather Wilson

Dark of the Moon

University of Memphis

CHOREOGRAPHY / MOVEMENT

Holly Lau

Dark of the Moon

University of Memphis

SUPPORTING ACTOR - MUSICAL

Chris McCollum

Blood Brothers

University of Memphis

LEADING ACTOR - MUSICAL

Bruce Huffman

Blood Brothers

University of Memphis

SUPPORTING ACTRESS - DRAMA

Alicia Queen

The Elephant Man

McCoy Theatre - Rhodes College

SUPPORTING ACTOR - DRAMA

Chris McCollum

Dark of the Moon

University of Memphis

LEADING ACTRESS - DRAMA

Lee Bryant

Reckless

McCoy Theatre - Rhodes College

LEADING ACTOR - DRAMA

Ed Porter

The Elephant Man

McCoy Theatre - Rhodes College

ENSEMBLE ACTING

12 Angry Jurors

University of Memphis

CAMEO ROLE

Jason Gerhard

Dark of the Moon

University of Memphis

DIRECTION OF A DRAMA

Brandon Lawrence

12 Angry Jurors

University of Memphis

DRAMATIC PRODUCTION

12 Angry Jurors

University of Memphis

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