LA/NY Actor and Author Tim Cummings Honored with 3rd L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award
LA & NY-based actor and author Tim Cummings was honored with his third Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle (LADCC) Award on Monday, March 19th 2018 for his leading performance in The House in Scarsdale: A Memoir for the Stage, written by award-winning playwright, poet, and former Guggenheim fellow, Dan O'Brien.
The play received a critically-acclaimed world-premiere at The Theater @ Boston Court in Pasadena, May/June of 2017, directed by Michael Michetti. It was originally developed and work-shopped at Center Theater Group in 2016.
In the two-person play, Cummings portrayed the alter-ego of the lead character, named "Dan" (played by Ovation-nominated actor Brian Henderson) a stand-in for the real playwright, who is on a mission to uncover the mysteries that may or may not lie at the heart of his family's labyrinthine past. Having to portray 20 characters in 90 minutes with no costume changes, props, or set, Cummings solely utilized his voice and body to transmorph into waspy uncles and regal old step-grandmothers, icy aunts and flamboyant psychics, Dan's idiosyncratic brother, an alpha detective, and even his wife.
In her review in The Los Angeles Times, theater critic Margaret Gray stated:
"A virtuosic performer, Cummings transforms himself, using only his body and his voice, into all of the men and women O'Brien encounters in his lonely, exasperating journey...These portraits aren't necessarily flattering, but they aren't lampoons either: Cummings brings to each a palpable and unique humanity. His characters may all wear the same baggy cardigan and grizzled beard, but each of them is living a full, independent life. They say things only they would say. Meeting them is continuously surprising, disarming and mystifying, and the best realized of them stick in the memory the way real people do."
KCRW's 'Opening The Curtain' relayed:
"The reason to go to see The House in Scarsdale is to watch the actor, Tim Cummings, bring everyone who isn't Dan to life. There's something wonderfully odd about all his portrayals. He manages to capture a profound physicality for each of the different characters. Something that reveals their essence without descending into mimicry or caricature. The simple flip of a wife's angry hair, or the way his fingers massage an imaginary earring of an aunt, or the pot-bellied stoop of a troubled brother - subtle, unmistakable details that bring that character to life and also magically keep them at a distance because they're incomplete. Not incomplete through a lack of craft or observation, but incomplete like a memory. In a lesser actor's hands this is the kind of performance that would upstage the play itself and be talked about as a tour-de-force. Mr. Cummings is smarter than that. He keeps everything a little distant and doesn't do all of the work for us in the audience."
Cummings' previously won Best Lead Actor at the 45th Annual LADCC Ceremony for his portrayal of Ned Weeks in Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart at The Fountain Theater, directed by Simon Levy. That production also received the McCullough Award for Best Revival. It was produced by Stephen Sachs and Deborah Lawlor and ran to sold-out houses from September--December 2013.
Prior to that, Cummings received a Best Ensemble award for his work in Tony-winning playwright Enda Walsh's Irish comedy-drama, The New Electric Ballroom, mounted at Rogue Machine Theater in the summer of 2012, directed by John Perrin Flynn. He also received the LA Weekly award for Best Supporting Actor for that performance.
Said Cummings, "I'm honored. The members of the Critics Circle have watched me grow on the stages of LA for a decade, and I appreciate the continued recognition from this panel of professional critics. It's flattering. I'm fortunate. It's 3-for-3. I feel like the Meryl Streep of the LADCC!"
Cummings is slated to graduate from Antioch University's lauded Creative Writing program in June 2018 with an MFA in Writing for Young People. As part of his required Field Study, he published a collection of writing by the teenagers of the Ojai Playwrights Conference Youth Workshop, where he has worked as Associate Director under Program Leader and Conference co-founder, Kim Maxwell.
That book, titled ANTHOLOGY: The Ojai Playwrights Conference Youth Workshop 2006-2016 can be purchased by visiting the book's website: https://www.anthologyopcyw.org/
Other recent publications include Lunch Ticket, F(r)iction, Meow Meow Pow Pow, and The Los Angeles Review of Books.