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Washington DC by Susan Berlin

Synetic Theater Wins Big at 2008 Helen Hayes Awards

Also see Susan's review of The Stephen Schwartz Project

Synetic Theater, the innovative movement-based troupe based in Arlington, Virginia, received five Helen Hayes Awards for its production of Macbeth at the 24th annual awards ceremony, April 28 at the Warner Theatre in Washington, DC. The awards are given to honor the best in Washington professional theater.

Macbeth earned awards for Outstanding Resident Play; outstanding director, resident play, Paata Tsikurishvili; outstanding choreography, Irina Tsikurishvili; Philip Fletcher, outstanding supporting actor, resident play, tied with Daniel Escobar for She Stoops to Comedy at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; and outstanding sound design, Irakli Kavsadze and Paata Tsikurishvili. Synetic's revival production of Hamlet ... the rest is silence, which previously received the 2003 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Resident Play, received the Canadian Embassy Award for Outstanding Ensemble.

The Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Resident Musical went to Reefer Madness: The Musical at the Studio Theatre 2ndStage. Its directors, Keith Alan Baker, assisted by Ryan Christie and Matthew Gardiner, tied for outstanding director, resident musical, with Eric Schaeffer for the Ford's Theatre production of Meet John Doe. Heidi Blickenstaff won outstanding lead actress, resident musical, for the latter production.

Signature Theatre in Arlington was honored for three of its musicals. The Witches of Eastwick received recognition for Marc Kudisch as outstanding lead actor, resident musical, and Karlah Hamilton, outstanding supporting actress, resident musical. Hamilton tied with E. Faye Butler, who won for the Signature production of Saving Aimee. Erik Liberman was named outstanding supporting actor, resident musical, for Signature's Merrily We Roll Along, which also won for Jon Kalbfleisch's musical direction. Kalbfleisch tied with Christopher Youstra, musical director for Titanic, The Musical, at Toby's Dinner Theatre in Columbia, Maryland.

Sarah Ruhl's play Dead Man's Cell Phone, which premiered at Washington's Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, received the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical, as well as awards for Neil Patel's set design and Colin K. Bills' lighting design. Woolly Mammoth's production of She Stoops to Comedy received acting awards for outstanding supporting actress, resident play, for Kate Eastwood Norris' double role - her second consecutive win in this category - and for Escobar.

Studio Theatre's production of Souvenir, A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, earned outstanding lead acting honors for Nancy Robinette - her fifth Helen Hayes win - and J. Fred Shiffman, his third award, as well as the outstanding costume design award for Reggie Ray.

The non-resident lead acting awards went to performers who had earlier received Tony Awards for their roles: Cherry Jones in Doubt, A Parable, at the National Theatre and Bill Irwin in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Kennedy Center. Caroline Stefanie Clay received the outstanding supporting performer, non-resident production, honor for Doubt, A Parable, and Avenue Q, The Broadway Musical, at the National Theatre, was recognized as Outstanding Non-Resident Production.

Sir Derek Jacobi received the Helen Hayes Tribute, sponsored by Jaylee Mead. Taffety Punk Theatre Company was honored with the first John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company. The Washington Post Award for Innovative Leadership in the Theatre Community recognized the alliance of Arena Stage, the Crystal City Business Improvement District, Vornado/Charles E. Smith, Marriott, and Arlington County Economic Development for developing Arena Stage's temporary theater space in the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, Virginia. Bob Davis and Henry Schalizki, supporters of Washington theater for almost 50 years, received the Governor's Award.

More information about the Helen Hayes Awards can be found at www.helenhayes.org.

Helen Hayes Awards Nominations and Winners (winners are in bold)

The Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical
Matt August, Andrew Gerle and Eddie Sugarman, Meet John Doe, Ford's Theatre
Steve Connell and Sekou (tha Misfit), The Word Begins, Signature Theatre
Moises Kaufman, 33 Variations, Arena Stage
Motti Lerner, Pangs of the Messiah, Theater J
Sarah Ruhl, Dead Man's Cell Phone, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Dana Yeaton, Redshirts, Round House Theatre
 

Outstanding Director, Resident Musical
Tie: Keith Alan Baker, Ryan Christie, and Matthew Gardiner, Reefer Madness: The Musical, Studio Theatre 2ndStage
Lawrence B. Munsey and Toby Orenstein, Titanic, The Musical, Toby's Dinner Theatre
Tie: Eric Schaeffer, Meet John Doe, Ford's Theatre
Eric Schaeffer, The Witches of Eastwick, Signature Theatre
Molly Smith, The Women of Brewster Place, Arena Stage
 

Outstanding Director, Resident Play
Timothy Douglas, Insurrection: Holding History, Theater Alliance
Pam MacKinnon, The Unmentionables, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Serge Seiden, Souvenir, A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, Studio Theatre
Shirley Serotsky, References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, Rorschach Theatre
Howard Shalwitz, She Stoops to Comedy, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Rebecca Bayla Taichman, Dead Man's Cell Phone, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Rebecca Bayla Taichman, The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare Theatre Company
Paata Tsikurishvili, Hamlet...the rest is silence, Synetic Theater
Paata Tsikurishvili, Macbeth, Synetic Theater
 

Outstanding Set Design, Resident Production
Marie Anne Chiment, I Am My Own Wife, Olney Theatre Center
James Kronzer, The Unmentionables, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Derek McLane, 33 Variations, Arena Stage
Neil Patel, Dead Man's Cell Phone, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Lee Savage, Richard III, Shakespeare Theatre Company
Anastasia Ryurikov Simes, Macbeth, Synetic Theater
Narelle Sissons, The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare Theatre Company
Robin Stapley, Crime and Punishment, Round House Theatre
 

Outstanding Lighting Design, Resident Production
Colin K. Bills, Dead Man's Cell Phone, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Colin K. Bills, Macbeth, Synetic Theater
Colin K. Bills, The Unmentionables, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
David Lander, 33 Variations, Arena Stage
Charlie Morrison, Richard III, Shakespeare Theatre Company
Rui Rita, Meet John Doe, Ford's Theatre
 

Outstanding Sound Design, Resident Production
Irakli Kavsadze and Paata Tsikurishvili, Macbeth, Synetic Theater
Jeremy Lee, The Studio, Signature Theatre
Matthew M. Nielson, Nest, Signature Theatre
Matthew M. Nielson, The Unmentionables, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Ryan Rumery, Vigils, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Gil Thompson, Souvenir, A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, Studio Theatre
 

Outstanding Musical Direction, Resident Production
Tie: Jon Kalbfleisch, Merrily We Roll Along, Signature Theatre
Jon Kalbfleisch, The Witches of Eastwick, Signature Theatre
Dan Kazemi, The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!), MetroStage
William Foster McDaniel, The Women of Brewster Place, Arena Stage
Tie: Christopher Youstra, Titanic, The Musical, Toby's Dinner Theatre
 

Outstanding Choreography, Resident Production
Karma Camp, The Witches of Eastwick, Signature Theatre
Christopher D'Amboise, The Studio, Signature Theatre
Matthew Gardiner, Reefer Madness: The Musical, Studio Theatre 2ndStage
Eric Lucas, Alone It Stands, The Keegan Theatre
Irina Tsikurishvili, Hamlet ... the rest is silence, Synetic Theater
Irina Tsikurishvili, Macbeth, Synetic Theater
Irina Tsikurishvili, The Fall of the House of Usher, Synetic Theater
 

Outstanding Costume Design, Resident Production
Murell Horton, Edward II, Shakespeare Theatre Company
Jennifer Moeller, Tamburlaine, Shakespeare Theatre Company
Reggie Ray, Souvenir, A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, Studio Theatre
Anastasia Ryurikov Simes, Macbeth, Synetic Theater
Paul Tazewell, Carnival!, The Kennedy Center
 

Outstanding Supporting Performer, Non-Resident Production
Justin Bohon, My Fair Lady, Kennedy Center
Caroline Stefanie Clay, Doubt, A Parable, National Theatre
Tim Jerome, My Fair Lady, Kennedy Center
Lisa Joyce, Doubt, A Parable, National Theatre
Timothy West, Coriolanus, Kennedy Center
 

Outstanding Supporting Actor, Resident Musical
Michael Arnold, Carnival!, Kennedy Center
Christopher Bloch, Christmas Carol 1941, Arena Stage
Joel Blum, Meet John Doe, Ford's Theatre
Ed Dixon, Saving Aimee, Signature Theatre
Erik Liberman, Merrily We Roll Along, Signature Theatre
Guy Paul, Meet John Doe, Ford's Theatre
 

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Musical
Tie: E. Faye Butler, Saving Aimee, Signature Theatre
Tie: Karlah Hamilton, The Witches of Eastwick, Signature Theatre

Monique L. Midgette, The Women of Brewster Place, Arena Stage
Tracy Lynn Olivera, Merrily We Roll Along, Signature Theatre
Lauren Williams, Into the Woods, Signature Theatre
 

Outstanding Supporting Actor, Resident Play
Tie: Daniel Escobar, She Stoops to Comedy, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Tie: Philip Fletcher, Macbeth, Synetic Theater

Rick Foucheux, Dead Man's Cell Phone, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Peter Macon, Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare Theatre Company
J. Fred Shiffman, Vigils, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Alexander Strain, Pangs of the Messiah, Theater J
 

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Play
Naomi Jacobson, The Unmentionables, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Susan Kellermann, 33 Variations, Arena Stage
Sarah Marshall, As You Like It, Folger Theatre
Kate Eastwood Norris, She Stoops to Comedy, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Salma Qarnain, Macbeth, Synetic Theater
Regina Marie Williams, Redshirts, Round House Theatre
 
Outstanding Lead Actor, Non-Resident Production
Daniel Beaty, Emergence-See!, Arena Stage
Christopher Cazenove, My Fair Lady, Kennedy Center
Bill Irwin, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Kennedy Center
Robert McClure, Avenue Q, The Broadway Musical, National Theatre
Chris McGarry, Doubt, A Parable, National Theatre
 

Outstanding Lead Actress, Non-Resident Production
Cherry Jones, Doubt, A Parable, National Theatre
Karen Kandel, Mabou Mines' Peter and Wendy, Arena Stage
Lisa O'Hare, My Fair Lady, Kennedy Center
Kelli Sawyer, Avenue Q, The Broadway Musical, National Theatre
Janet Suzman, Coriolanus, Kennedy Center
 

Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Musical
Will Gartshore, Merrily We Roll Along, Signature Theatre
Marc Kudisch, The Witches of Eastwick, Signature Theatre
Lawrence Redmond, Reefer Madness: The Musical, Studio Theatre 2ndStage
Bobby Smith, Reefer Madness: The Musical, Studio Theatre 2ndStage
Bobby Smith, The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!), MetroStage
Andrew Sonntag, Reefer Madness: The Musical, Studio Theatre 2ndStage
 

Outstanding Lead Actress, Resident Musical
Heidi Blickenstaff, Meet John Doe, Ford's Theatre
Carolee Carmello, Saving Aimee, Signature Theatre
Jessica Dukes, Spunk, Tribute Productions and African Continuum Theatre Company
Tina Fabrique, Ella, Arena Stage
Harriett D. Foy, The Women of Brewster Place, Arena Stage
Marva Hicks, The Women of Brewster Place, Arena Stage
Donna Migliaccio, The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!), MetroStage
 

The Canadian Embassy Award for Outstanding Ensemble, Resident Play or Musical
Alone It Stands, The Keegan Theatre
Hamlet ... the rest is silence, Synetic Theater
Insurrection: Holding History, Theater Alliance
Scenes from the Big Picture, Solas Nua
She Stoops to Comedy, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Vigils, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
The Word Begins, Signature Theatre
 

Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Play
James Brown-Orleans, My Children! My Africa!, Studio Theatre
Arnie Burton, I Am My Own Wife, Olney Theatre Center
Edward Gero, Shining City, Studio Theatre
Charles H. Hyman, The Unmentionables, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Christopher Innvar, The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare Theatre Company
Irakli Kavsadze, Macbeth, Synetic Theater
Michael Russotto, She Stoops to Comedy, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
J. Fred Shiffman, Souvenir, A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, Studio Theatre
 

Outstanding Lead Actress, Resident Play
Gabriela Fernandez Coffey, References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, Rorschach Theatre
Naomi Jacobson, Vigils, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Polly Noonan, Dead Man's Cell Phone, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Mary Beth Peil, 33 Variations, Arena Stage
Nancy Robinette, Souvenir, A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, Studio Theatre
Irina Tsikurishvili, Macbeth, Synetic Theater
 

Outstanding Non-Resident Production
Avenue Q, The Broadway Musical, The National Theatre
Doubt, A Parable, The National Theatre
Emergence-See!, Arena Stage
My Fair Lady, The Kennedy Center
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Kennedy Center
 

Outstanding Resident Musical
Into the Woods, Signature Theatre
Meet John Doe, Ford's Theatre
Reefer Madness: The Musical, The Studio Theatre 2ndStage
The Witches of Eastwick, Signature Theatre
The Women of Brewster Place, Arena Stage
Titanic, The Musical, Toby's Dinner Theatre
 

Outstanding Resident Play
Dead Man's Cell Phone, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Hamlet ... the rest is silence, Synetic Theater
Macbeth, Synetic Theater
Souvenir, A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins, The Studio Theatre
The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare Theatre Company
The Unmentionables, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
The Word Begins, Signature Theatre


-- Susan Berlin


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



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