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<em>The Big Meal</em>&nbsp;at WaterTower Theatre

All the Critics Love U

Here are the winners of the 2015-16 Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum awards.



published Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Photo: Lowell Sargeant
WingSpan Theatre Company's production of Samuel Beckett's Play at the Festival of Independent Theatres

 

Dallas — Things change. For arts journalists, the changes are getting scarier. This year's annual meeting of the Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum was about half the size of previous years—just six to sit around Martha Heimberg's dining room table in her gorgeous Junius Heights home. A big part of that is because media organizations have severely cut theater coverage in the past year, which means buh-bye critics. Some critics have ventured into theater work (acting, directing, playwriting), posing a conundrum.

So we found ourselves redefining what the term, for the purposes of this group, means.

Here's hoping it doesn't lead to an even smaller slam—that's the collective noun for critics, we decided years agoin the future, because we, like you theatermakers, like having varied voices out there. Here's what we came up with to describe our organization, who we are and what we do:

Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum is an organization of professional, paid critics that recognizes outstanding theatrical contributions in North Texas. Members see 50 or more productions per season (Sept. 1-Aug. 31) and are not practicing theater artists.

With that in mind, we still had plenty to argue about. As usual, something I loved may not have been by others, and vice-versa. All agreed that WaterTower Theatre had one of its best seasons in years, for instance, but weren't of the same mind on the best shows and performances. The Big Meal was the one we all adored.

With a smaller group, veto power was stronger. But we did agree on many things, such as our love for Bootycandy at Stage West (closing this weekend) and how much Dallas Children's Theater's The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane made us bawl. I was thrilled that one of my favorite new groups, The Tribe, received a New Play honor for Ruben Carrazana's Stacy Has a Thing for Black Guys. (Sadly, looks like the Tribe is already leaving us, but they're doing it in style, tonight.)

It was a strong year for actresses—we chose more of them than their male counterparts—although one actor gets a distinction that we're not sure has ever happened: An award for playing the same role in two different productions of the same play: Brandon Potter as Richard III at Shakespeare Dallas and Shakespeare in the Bar. Another name, Garret Storms, makes it in three categories: directing, acting and design/creative contribution.

For touring shows, AT&T Performing Arts Center had a great year with the big national tours and the smaller Off-Broadway on Flora series. Here's hoping they keep bringing in shows like Ghost Quartet and Bitter Honey to keep things interesting.

Dallas Theater Center led with 12 awards for six of its shows. Three organizations had six each: ATTPAC, Stage West and Undermain Theatre. Those were followed by Cara Mía Theatre Company (5), Kitchen Dog Theater (5), Lyric Stage (4) and WaterTower Theatre (4).

We don't choose one winner per category, but rather as many as we think deserve the honor. Shows that opened between Sept. 1, 2015 and Aug. 31, 2016 were eligible for consideration. Dallas Theater Center's current production Constellations, which had opening night on Aug. 31, squeaked in under the wire—and netted a few honors. 

This year's participating critics:

  • Nancy Churnin, Dallas Morning News
  • Martha Heimberg, TheaterJones.com and Dallas Weekly
  • Arnold Wayne Jones, Dallas Voice
  • Mark Lowry, TheaterJones.com and Fort Worth Star-Telegram
  • Punch Shaw, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
  • Lindsey Wilson, CultureMap

And this year's winners are:

 

Photo: Karen Almond
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane at Dallas Children's Theater

 

 OUTSTANDING DIRECTION 

 

Akín Babatundé, Bootycandy, Stage West and The Mountaintop, Dallas Theater Center

Emily Scott Banks, The Big Meal, WaterTower Theatre

David Lozano, Blood Wedding, Cara Mía Theatre Company

Katherine Owens, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Undermain Theatre

Artie Olaisen, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Dallas Children’s Theater

Len Pfluger, Grand Hotel, Lyric Stage

Susan Sargeant, Play, WingSpan Theatre Company

Ryan Mathieu Smith, Trainspotting, L.I.P. Service

Garret Storms, The Nether, Stage West

Regina Washington, Harriet Jacobs, African American Repertory Theater

 

 

Photo: Jeffrey Schmidt
Faust presented by the Drama Club

 

 OUTSTANDING NEW PLAY OR MUSICAL 

 

Clarkston by Samuel D. Hunter, Dallas Theater Center

Deferred Action by David Lozano and Lee Trull, Cara Mía Theatre Company and Dallas Theater Center

Faust by Michael Federico, Lydia Mackay and Jeffrey Schmidt, The Drama Club

Stacy Has a Thing for Black Guys by Ruben Carrazana, The Tribe

Temple Spirit by Susan Felder, Echo Theatre

 

 

Photo: Ryan Jensen
Dave Malloy's Ghost Quartet came to LIFE in Deep Ellum on ATTPAC's Off-Broadway on Flora series

 

 OUTSTANDING TOURING PRODUCTION 

 

Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs, AT&T Performing Arts Center Off-Broadway on Flora Series

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, AT&T Performing Arts Center Broadway Series

Eric Bogosian’s Bitter Honey: The Best of 100 (Monologues), AT&T Performing Arts Center Off-Broadway on Flora Series

Cabaret, AT&T Performing Arts Center Broadway Series

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, AT&T Performing Arts Center Broadway Series

Ghost Quartet, AT&T Performing Arts Center Off-Broadway on Flora Series

The Sound of Music, Dallas Summer Musicals and Performing Arts Fort Worth

 

 

Photo: Karen Almond
Hassan El-Amin and Tiana Johnson in The Mountaintop at Dallas Theater Center

 

 OUSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR 

 

Christopher J. Deaton, Grand Hotel, Lyric Stage

Bruce DuBose, The Night Alive, Undermain Theatre

Hassan El-Amin, A Christmas Carol, Dallas Theater Center and The Mountaintop, Dallas Theater Center

Ivan Jasso, Deferred Action, Cara Mía Theatre Company and Dallas Theater Center

Jason Leyva, The Whale, L.I.P. Service

Barry Nash, I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard, Kitchen Dog Theater

Alex Organ, Constellations, Dallas Theater Center

Brandon Potter, Richard III, Shakespeare Dallas and Shakespeare in the Bar

Garret Storms, The Big Meal, WaterTower Theatre

Terry Vandivort, The Fantasticks, Theatre Three

 

 

Photo: Adolfo Cantú Villarreal/TZOM Films
Frida Espinosa-Muller, right, in Blood Wedding at Cara Mía Theatre Company (with Stephanie Jasso)

 

 OUSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS 

 

Emily Scott Banks, Jacob Marley’s A Christmas Carol, Stage West

Jessica Cavanagh, Outside Mullingar, WaterTower Theatre

Amber Devlin, Picnic, Theatre Three

Frida Espinosa-Muller, Blood Wedding, Cara Mía Theatre Company and Deferred Action, Cara Mía Theatre Company and Dallas Theater Center

Tiana Johnson, The Mountaintop, Dallas Theater Center

Jenny Ledel, I’m Gonna Pray for You So Hard, Kitchen Dog Theater

Denise Lee, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, Jubilee Theatre

Janelle Lutz, End of the Rainbow, Uptown Players and Miracle on 34th Street, Dallas Children’s Theater

Karen Parrish, Blackberry Winter, Kitchen Dog Theater

Allison Pistorius, Constellations, Dallas Theater Center

Joanna Schellenberg, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Undermain Theatre

Diane Worman, The Thrush and the Woodpecker, Kitchen Dog Theater

 

 

Photo: Buddy Myers
Bootycandy at Stage West

 

 OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ENSEMBLE 

 

The Big Meal, WaterTower Theatre

Bootycandy, Stage West

Faust, The Drama Club

Grand Hotel, Lyric Stage

Long Day’s Journey into Night, Undermain Theatre

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Dallas Children’s Theater

The Nether, Stage West

Play, WingSpan Theatre Company

The Toxic Avenger, Uptown Players

Under the Skin, Circle Theatre

 

 

Photo: The Striped Heart
Animal vs. Machine from PrismCo

 

 OUTSTANDING DESIGN / CREATIVE CONTRIBUTION 

 

Jeffrey Colangelo, fight choreography, Christina Valentine, fight assistant, and Bobby Garcia, martial arts consultant, Animal vs. Machine, PrismCo

Design team, Faust, The Drama Club

Design team, Jonah, Undermain Theatre

Jay Dias, musical direction and orchestration restoration, Anything Goes, Lyric Stage

John M. Flores, sound design, The Thrush and the Woodpecker, Kitchen Dog Theater

Richard Gwozdz, orchestral conducting, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Artes de la Rosa

Kyle Igneczi, puppet design and direction, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, Amphibian Stage Productions

Benjamin Lutz and Dillon White, video design, Trainspotting, L.I.P. Service

Lynn Mauldin and Rebekka Koepke, properties design, The Adventures of Flo and Greg, Echo Theatre

Scott Osborne, set design, The Fantasticks, Theatre Three

Karen Perry, costume design, Dreamgirls, Dallas Theater Center

Gil Pritchett, musical direction, Harriet Jacobs, African American Repertory Theater

Ryan Rumery, original music and sound design, Constellations, Dallas Theater Center

Garret Storms and Nate Davis, set design, The Nether, Stage West

 

Photo: Robert Hart/TheaterJones
Rose Pearson and Bill Newberry, co-founders of Circle Theatre

 

 SPECIAL CITATIONS 

 

Rose Pearson, co-founder of Circle Theatre, for a lifetime of visionary leadership of professional theater in Fort Worth and support of female theater artists.

Kurt Kleinmann, for his creation of Pegasus Theatre’s Living Black & White productions and 30 years as bumbling noir detective Harry Hunsacker.

Dallas Children’s Theater for providing sensory friendly performances for kids with special needs. Thanks For Reading





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All the Critics Love U
Here are the winners of the 2015-16 Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum awards.
by Mark Lowry

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