Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2011 Big Easy Theater Awards

Master of Ceremonies Bryan Batt, right, with partner Tom Cianfichi

Last night the New Orleans theater community honored its own at the 2011 Big Easy Theater Awards. It was a grand night as the awards ceremony hosted by Broadway and screen actor Bryan Batt returned to Harrah's Casino after a one-year hiatus. More importantly, it signaled the separation again of the theatre awards from the music awards that honor local musicians. Those ceremonies will be held next month at Harrah's. Top honors for Best Musical went to Le Petit Théåtre du Vieux Carre's "Hairspray," many of whose performers were underage and could not attend the ceremonies held at Harrah's Theater because it is in the adults-only gaming hall. Best Drama honors went to "Frozen," produced by the Crescent Theatre Collective, while Theatre 13 snagged the Best Comedy award with their frenetic paced "The 39 Steps." The Honorary Theater Awards Chairman was Dennis Assaf, the artistic and executive director of the Jefferson Performing Arts Society. John O'Neal, the founder of Free Southern Theater and Junebug Productions was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award in Theater for his nearly five decades worth of accomplishments in local and national theater Varla Jean Merman (aka Jeff Roberson) received the 2011 Theater Entertainer of the Year Award, accepting in a taped message designed to appear as a live feed from Skype. Su Gonczy, the dedicated lighting director and girl Friday at Le Chat Noir, who helped guide the show's technical direction, was honored with the first "Standing Ovation Award," designed to honor those behind the scenes who contribute so much to the theater scene. Quite rightly, she received two standing ovations before and after her acceptance speech. The glitzy affair included several performances by members of nominated productions including "The Producers," "Grey Gardens," "Hairspray," "Mame" and "The Threepenny Opera." For a complete listing of all winners, click here.

No comments: