Best of Baltimore Theatre 2007: Community Theatre

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In 2007, the community theatres in Baltimore played host to dozens of major productions. Those theatres reviewed by Baltimore were: The Baltimore Playwrights Festival (including The Theatrical Mining Company, Uncommon Voices and the Chesapeake Arts Center), Catonsville Theatre Company, Cockpit-in-Court, Dundalk Community Theatre, Fells Point Corner Theatre, Laurel Mill Playhouse, Mobtown Players, Run of the Mill Theater, Spotlighters, Theatre Hopkins, Vagabond Players and Winters Lane Productions. We hope to add even more in 2008!  

The plays under consideration were, alphabetically: Almost Vermilion, Angels in America: Perestroika, Anna in the Tropics, Barbie: A Doll Her, Beau Jest, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, The Blessed Mothers of War, Blood Wedding, Broadway Bound, Burn This, CYA, Driving Miss Daisy, Epic Proportions, Fat Pig, The Foreigner (Cockpit-in-Court), The Foreigner (Laurel Mill Playhouse), Last Night at the Owl Bar, The Lion in Winter, Mary, Mary, The Mineola Twins, Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge, The Nerd, Nickel and Dimed, Perpendicular, The Pillowman, Rounding Third, Rudy Doo, Save Me, Servant of Two Masters, and Variations on Justice.  The musicals under consideration were, alphabetically: AIDA,  Annie Get Your Gun, Assassins, Disney's High School Musical, Falsettos, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, High Society, Into the Woods, The Last 5 Years, Listen to My Heart: The Songs of David Friedman, and Once on This Island.  Plays and musicals were considered separately in all categories, except Sound Design.  They were considered together.

So, how did I get my picks? Throughout the year, as I reviewed each show, I divided the outstanding elements of each show into the appropriate categories, and "graded" them from 0 to 100. I kept nothing that received a score of less than 80. The top scores in each category, except Outstanding Production, were chosen as my "Best of 2007". Outstanding Production was based on the top averages of each show (scores in all other categories were added up and divided by the number of entries per show). The "winners" are arranged alphabetically, not necessarily from top best to lowest best. I selected between 1 and 5 Winners/Honorable Mentions per category, depending on the scores, and numbers of possible winners. For example, there were more possible winners for Outstanding Supporting Actors, so I picked five, while there were many fewer lighting design possibilities, so I picked fewer.  Also, you'll note that there were several "ties".  That only speaks to the quality of this year's productions. 

Again, these are my personal picks for the best of the past year.

2007 Community Theatre Production Awards

Winners are in BOLD; the rest are Honorable Mention.  Congratulations to everyone involved on an excellent year of theatre.

 

Outstanding Production of a play, Comedy or Drama

  • The Lion in Winter, Spotlighters
    • Broadway Bound, Fells Point Corner Theatre
    • Epic Proportions, Vagabonds
    • Fat Pig, Spotlighters 

Outstanding Production of a Musical

  • Assassins, Spotlighters
    • Once on This Island, Winters Lane

 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play

  • Peter Kendall (Brian), The Blessed Mothers of War, Theatrical Mining Company/BPF
  • Shane Logue (Vic), Rudy Doo, Spotlighters/BPF
    • Randy Dunkle (Willum Cubbert), The Nerd, Spotlighters
    • Chris Graybill (Martin), Save Me, Fells Point Corner Theatre/BPF

 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical

  • Shane Logue (Lee Harvey Oswald), Assassins, Spotlighters
  • Chris Rudy (Troy Bolton), Disney's High School Musical, Winters Lane
  • Randy Dunkle (Jamie), The Last 5 Years, Vagabonds

 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play

  • Ashly Ruth Fishell (Truffaldino), Servant of Two Masters, Mobtown Players
  • Stephanie Ranno (Myra/Mryna), The Mineola Twins, Spotlighters
  • Erin Riley (Helen), Fat Pig, Spotlighters

 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical

  • Julia Lancione (Cathy), The Last 5 Years, Vagabonds
  • Shaunte Tabb (Ti Moune), Once on This Island, Winters Lane 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play

  • Jake English (Owen Musser), The Foreigner, Laurel Mill Playhouse
  • Zak Zeeks (Ellard Simms), The Foreigner, Laurel Mill Playhouse
    • Drew Gaver (Ellard Simms), The Foreigner, Cockpit-in-Court
    • Michael Leicht (Cheche), Anna in the Tropics, Fells Point Corner Theatre
    • Jan-David Soutar (Junior), Almost Vermilion, Theatrical Mining Company/BPF

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical

  • Stuart Goldstone (Dr. Mendel), Falsettos, Fells Point Corner Theatre
  • John Suchy (Senex), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Dundalk Community Theatre
    • Jesse Carey-Beaver (Ryan Evans), Disney's High School Musical, Winters Lane
    • Eyvo Johnson (Hysterium), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Dundalk Community Theatre

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play

  • Courtney Ryan (Jeannie), Fat Pig, Spotlighters
  • Jane Steffen (Conchita), Anna in the Tropics, Fells Point Corner Theatre
    • Nancy Flores (Death as a Beggar Woman), Blood Wedding, Run of the Mill
    • Natalie Chavez Leimkuhler (Various), Rudy Doo, Spotlighters/BPF

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical

  • Tammy Crisp (Lynette Squeaky Fromme), Assassins, Spotlighters
    • Julia Unitas (Dinah), High Society, Cockpit in Court
    • Cheryl Vourvoulas (Ms. Darbus), Disney's High School Musical, Winters Lane

 

Outstanding Ensemble Acting in a Play

  • The Cast of Blood Wedding, Run of the Mill
    • The Cast of Epic Proportions, Vagabonds

 

Outstanding Ensemble Acting in a Musical

  • The Cast of Once on This Island, Winters Lane
  • The Cast of The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Spotlighters 

Outstanding Direction of a Play

  • Jayme Kilburn, Rudy Doo, Spotlighters/BPF
    • Alexander D. Carney, Angels in America: Perestroika, Spotlighters
    • David D. Mitchell, Blood Wedding, Run of the Mill
    • Brad J. Ranno, The Mineola Twins, Spotlighters 

Outstanding Direction of a Musical

  • Robert W. Oppel, Assassins, Spotlighters
    • Lanor Long, Once on This Island, Winters Lane
    • Fuzz Roark, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Spotlighters 

Outstanding Choreography

  • David Gregory, Falsettos, Fells Point Corner Theatre
  • Lanor Lang & Jason M. Kimmel, Once on This Island, Winters Lane 

Outstanding Playwrighting

  • Sonja Kinzer, Almost Vermilion, Theatrical Mining Company/BPF
  • George Tilson, Rudy Doo, Spotlighters/BPF
    • Aldo Pantoja, La Muñeca, Single Carrot Theatre 

Outstanding Scenic Design of a Play

  • Sherrionne Brown and Roy Hammond, Mary, Mary, Spotlighters
    • Tony Colavito & Jay Demarco, Epic Proportions, Vagabonds
    • Marc W. Smith, Beau Jest, Dundalk Community Theatre

 

Outstanding Scenic Design of a Musical

  • Alex Campbell, Tim Grieb, Steffi Rubin, Julie Waite, Into the Woods, Laurel Mill Playhouse
    • Terri Raulie, Once on This Island, Winters Lane 

Outstanding Lighting Design of a Play

  • Fuzz Roark, The Lion in Winter, Spotlighters
    • Galen Lande, Angels in America: Perestroika, Spotlighters
    • Jessica Winfield, Blood Wedding, Run of the Mill

 

Outstanding Lighting Design of a Musical

  • Jason Aufdem-Brinke, Once on This Island, Winters Lane
    • Charles Danforth III, The Last 5 Years, Vagabonds
    • Terri Raulie, AIDA, Cockpit in Court 

Outstanding Sound Design of a Play or Musical

  • Fred Nelson, Angels in America: Perestroika, Spotlighters
    • J. Gavin Heck, Blood Wedding, Run of the Mill 

Outstanding Costume Design of a Play

  • Laura Ridgeway, Blood Wedding, Run of the Mill
    • Adele Russell, The Lion in Winter, Spotlighters
    • Nan Willis, Angels in America: Perestroika, Spotlighters 

Outstanding Costume Design of a Musical

  • Mark Briner, Once on This Island, Winters Lane
    • Nan Willis, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Spotlighters 

PHOTOS: Courtesy of each theatre.  TOP to BOTTOM: Best Play: The Lion in Winter; Best Actor: Peter Kendall in The Blessed Mothers of War and Shane Logue (center) in Rudy Doo; Best Musical and Best Actor: Shane Logue (left) in Assassins; Best Actor: Chris Rudy in Disney's High School Musical; Best Actress: Erin Riley in Fat Pig; Best Actor and Best Actress: Randy Dunkle and Julia Lancione in The Last 5 Years; Best Supporting Actor: Stuart Goldstone (front, center) in Falsettos; John Suchy in ... Forum; Best Supporting Actress: Jane Steffen in Anna in the Tropics; Best Supporting Actress: Tammy Crisp (right) in Assassins; Best Ensemble: The Cast of Blood Wedding; The Cast of The Great American Trailer Park Musical; Best Scenic Design: Laurel Mill Playhouse's Into the Woods; Best Actress, Best Ensemble, Best Choreography, Best Costume Design, Best Lighting: Winters Lane's Once on This Island.

Comments? Email me at jameshoward@broadwayworld.com .

 

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James was first bitten by the theatre bug at the tender young age of 11, when, at the last minute, he was called upon to replace a classmate who, 42nd STREET-like, broke his leg, in a play, of all things, about the skeletal system! It was a trip to New York with his high school drama teacher to see Angela Lansbury in MAME that sealed his fate. As an actor, favorite roles include Sheridan Whiteside in THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER, Potiphar in JOSEPH..., Col. Pickering in MY FAIR LADY, and Sancho Panza?s ass in MAN OF LA MANCHA. After spending a summer feeling very conflicted playing both an apostle AND a high priest in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, James' theatre career took a turn toward direction and design, including such varied productions as THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, LOST IN YONKERS, GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER and GRAND HOTEL, SIDE SHOW, THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD and SWEENEY TODD. James holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Towson University, with additional course work in journalism, dramaturgy, scenic design and stage direction. He is living proof that you can be a devout Sondheim fan AND love MAMMA MIA!


 
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