Talkin' Broadway HomePast ColumnsAbout the Author

Washington DC by Tracy Lyon

Washington's 2003 Helen Hayes Awards Honors Mitchell, Baranski, and Hammerly

The Washington theater community rewarded its own last night at the 19th Annual Helen Hayes Awards. The ceremony took place in the Concert Hall of the John F. Kennedy Center and was presented by a number of DC favorites. Headed up by Jane Pesci-Townsend and Marty Lodge, the presenters included E. Faye Butler, Brian Childers, Desiré DuBose, Doug Eskew, Bill Grimmett, Jason Kravits, Donna Migliaccio, Howard Shalwitz, Mia Whang and Halo Wines. The fluid "tag team" style of presentation was not the ordinary awards show fare. However, the very efficient method made for an interesting night that was filled with emotion, laughter and more than a few surprises.

One of those surprises was Rob Berman's (Sunday in the Park With George) win over Jonathan Tunick (Company) in the category of Outstanding Musical Direction. Yet another surprise was Rick Hammerly's win of the Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Musical Award for his portrayal of Hedwig in Signature Theatre's production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Mr. Hammerly delivered a rousing acceptance speech that will not be soon forgotten. Stating that it was, " ... so nice to be out without a wig on ... ," Hammerly went on to recognize other members of the arts community with his own award called the Charo Award. As he listed the names of these "recipients" he led the audience in an energetic chorus of "coochee, coochee."

Even though Hammerly beat out Broadway vets John Barrowman (Company), Raúl Esparza (Sunday in the Park With George), and Brian Stokes Mitchell (Sweeney Todd) not all of them went home empty handed. Tony winner Brian Stokes Mitchell garnered the Outstanding Lead Actor, Non-Resident Production Award for his starring role in Man of La Mancha. His Sweeney Todd co-star, Christine Baranski, won the Outstanding Lead Actress, Resident Musical Award.

The most joyous acceptance of the evening was from Lori Tan Chinn (South Pacific), who showed up to enthusiastically accept her award for Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Musical despite suffering with a bout of laryngitis. Jon Cohn (The Taste of Fire), who can currently be seen in Olney Theatre's production of The Miser picked up the award for Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Play and thanked his high school drama teacher who was sitting in the audience. Another veteran of the Washington theater scene, Nancy Robinette, was honored with the Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Play Award for her work in Shakespeare Theatre's production of The Little Foxes.

A new award was added to the lineup this year. The Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Musical was created in honor of the late playwright and husband of Helen Hayes. Presented by James MacArthur, the son of Charles MacArthur and Helen Hayes, the award was given to Arena Stage's acclaimed production of Polk County. Additionally, the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play went to Round House Theatre's Shakespeare, Moses, and Joe Papp.

As in years past, two corporately sponsored awards were distributed. The KPMG Award for Distinguished Service to the Washington Theatre Community went to Lockheed Martin for their support of venues such as The Studio Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Bethesda Academy of Performing Arts and the Strathmore Arts Center, among others.

The Kennedy Center's Michael Kaiser was the recipient of The Washington Post Award for Innovative Leadership in the Theatre Community. The honor was bestowed on Mr. Kaiser for his role in the creation of the Sondheim Celebration and its impact on Washington theater.

There was more than one tie at this year's awards ceremony. James Kronzer (Shakespeare, Moses, and Joe Papp) and Hugh Landwehr (The Little Foxes) both took home trophies for Outstanding Set Design, Resident Production. Also, Toby Orenstein (Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical) and Christopher Ashley (Sweeney Todd) received the Outstanding Director, Resident Musical Award with Sweeney Todd also winning Outstanding Resident Musical. Synetic Theater, who received three Helen Hayes Awards, walked off with the Outstanding Play Award for their take on Hamlet.

The Helen Hayes Awards sponsors programs that include the Canadian/Washington Partnership and the Washington Theatre Legacy Project. Information about these programs or the awards ceremony may be found by logging on to www.helenhayes.org.

Complete List of Winners

Outstanding Sound Design, Resident Production
Mark K. Anduss
Tiny Alice
Washington Shakespeare Company

Outstanding Costume Design, Resident Production
Jelena Vukmirovic and Marie Schneggenburger
Mississippi Pinocchio
Theater of the First Amendment

Outstanding Lighting Design, Resident Production
Howell Binkley
Sweeney Todd
The Kennedy Center

Outstanding Set Design, Resident Production (tie)
James Kronzer
Shakespeare, Moses, and Joe Papp
Round House Theatre
Hugh Landwehr
The Little Foxes
The Shakespeare Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Performer, Non-Resident Production
Kelli Fournier
Aida
The Kennedy Center

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Musical
Lori Tan Chinn
South Pacific
Arena Stage

Outstanding Supporting Actor, Resident Musical
Ted L. Levy
Hot Mikado
Ford's Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Actor, Resident Play
Michael Ray Escamilla
Recent Tragic Events
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Play
Nancy Robinette
The Little Foxes
The Shakespeare Theatre

Outstanding Lead Actor, Non-Resident Production
Brian Stokes Mitchell
Man of La Mancha
The National Theatre

Outstanding Lead Actress, Non-Resident Production
Sarah Jones
Surface Transit
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

Outstanding Lead Actress, Resident Musical
Christine Baranski
Sweeney Todd
The Kennedy Center

Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Musical
Rick Hammerly
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Signature Theatre

Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Play
Jon Cohn
The Taste of Fire
Charter Theatre

Outstanding Lead Actress, Resident Play
Holly Twyford
The Shape of Things
The Studio Theatre

Outstanding Musical Direction, Resident Production
Rob Berman
Sunday in the Park With George
The Kennedy Center

Outstanding Choreography, Resident Production
Irina Tsikurishvili
Hamlet
Synetic Theater

Outstanding Director, Resident Musical (tie)
Christopher Ashley
Sweeney Todd
The Kennedy Center
Toby Orenstein
Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical
Toby's Dinner Theatre

Outstanding Director, Resident Play
Paata Tsikurishvili
Hamlet
Synetic Theater

Outstanding Non-Resident Production
Lypsinka! The Boxed Set
The Studio Theatre

The Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Musical
Polk County
Written by Zora Neale Hurston & Dorothy Waring
Adapted by Kyle Donnelly & Cathy Madison
Music composed, adapted and directed by Stephen Wade
Arena Stage

The Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play
Shakespeare, Moses, and Joe Papp
Written by Ernie Joselovitz
Round House Theatre

Outstanding Resident Musical
Sweeney Todd
The Kennedy Center

Outstanding Resident Play
Hamlet
Synetic Theater


-- Tracy Lyon


Also see the Current Theatre Season Calendar for D.C.



Terms of Service

[ © 1997 - 2014 www.TalkinBroadway.com, Inc. ]