San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Announces 2013 Craig Noel Awards - GENTLEMEN'S GUIDE, IN THE HEIGHTS & More!

A musical now playing on Broadway, a coproduction between two San Diego theaters, a musical staged with a local high school and two homegrown festivals were honored by the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Monday at its 2013 Craig Noel Awards.

The 12th annual awards program drew more than 500 San Diego theater industry members and supporters to the Museum of Contemporary Arts, San Diego, in La Jolla. The awards honor top achievements in professional theater and are named for the late Craig Noel, a National Medal of Arts recipient who was the first artistic director of San Diego's largest and oldest theater, The Old Globe, and is widely regarded as the founding father of San Diego's theater community.

Fourteen productions were honored with awards Monday evening.

Current Broadway hit "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" walked away with five awards for its world premiere production at The Old Globe, including Outstanding New Musical, Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical, Male (Jefferson Mays), Outstanding Direction of a Musical (Darko Tresnjak),

A theatrical adaptation of Toni Morrison's novel "The Bluest Eye" received awards for Outstanding Dramatic Production, Outstanding Ensemble, and Outstanding Direction of a Play (Delicia Turner Sonnenberg). "The Bluest Eye" was a co-production of Moxie Theatre and Mo'olelo Performing Arts Company.

San Diego Repertory Theatre won the Outstanding Resident Musical award for "In the Heights," produced with staff and students from the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts. The musical's choreographer Javier Velasco was also a winner.

Two theater festivals that debuted in 2013 were honored in the Outstanding Special Event category: the San Diego Fringe Festival and La Jolla Playhouse's Without Walls Festival.

Two other shows won multiple awards. La Jolla Playhouse's "Side Show" was honored for Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical, Female (shared by Erin Davie & Emily Padgett) and costume design (Paul Tazewell). San Diego Musical Theatre's "The Sound of Music" received awards for Outstanding Featured Performance in a Musical, Female (Victoria Strong) and musical direction (by Don LeMaster).

The San Diego Theatre Critics Circle presented a cash award to Ion Theatre (Don Braunagel Award for Outstanding Work by a Small Theater Company) for its 2013 season. The Outstanding Young Artist Award/Sandra Ellis Troy Scholarship was given to 10-year-old Abby DeSpain, for her performance in "Wait Until Dark," at New Village Arts Theatre.

For the first time the Actor of the Year award went to two artists. Linda Libby and Randall Dodge were each honored for an outstanding body of work in 2013.

Libby appeared in the musical, "Grey Gardens," for Ion Theatre and was nominated for her performances in Cygnet Theatre's production of the musical "Company," and its production of the play "The Importance of Being Earnest."

In 2013, Dodge appeared in two productions of "South Pacific" (for the Welk Theatre San Diego and for Moonlight Stage Productions) as well as in "The Wizard of Oz" (Moonlight Stage Productions), "Chicago" (Welk Theatre San Diego), "The Sound of Music" (San Diego Musical Theatre) and "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (The Old Globe).

Full list of 2013 Craig Noel Awards:

Outstanding Resident Musical

"In the Heights," San Diego Repertory Theatre

Outstanding New Musical

"A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder," The Old Globe

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