TheatreWorks Gets Top Kudos At Bay Area Critics Circle Awards
Represented by Founding Artistic Director Robert Kelley, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley took home a raft of awards at the 42nd Annual San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle (SFBATCC) Excellence in Theatre Awards Gala, held at the Victoria Theatre in San Francisco on March 26. Celebrating the best in Bay Area theatre in 2017, TheatreWorks captured seven awards including "Entire Production - Bay Area."
TheatreWorks' much lauded world premiere musical The Four Immigrants: An American Musical Manga was a favorite, collecting SFBATCC awards for Original Music (Min Kahng), Original Script (Min Kahng), Musical Direction (William Liberatore), Stage Direction (Leslie Martinson), and Entire Production - South Bay/Peninsula, as well as the overall Entire Production - Bay Area. Drawn from one of the first ever graphic novels and set to an infectious ragtime and vaudeville score by local composer/lyricist Min Kahng, the comic musical follows four Japanese immigrants in a world of possibility and prejudice: turn-of-the-twentieth-century San Francisco. The newly crowned best musical in the Bay Area was developed at TheatreWorks' Writers' Retreat and first workshopped at TheatreWorks' New Works Festival. The Four Immigrants made its world premiere as TheatreWorks' 2017/2018 season opener at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto in July 2017. SFBATCC members hailed the production "a great American musical for decades to come" (John Angell Grant, Palo Alto Daily Post), "a hit" (David John Chavez, Bay Area Plays), and "brilliant theatre" (Steve Murray, For All Events). A cast album has been recorded, and will be available soon.
TheatreWorks was also honored for actor Ron Campbell's stunning appearance in Around the World in 80 Days. Campbell's performance of more than 20 characters earned the award for "Featured Actor - Play." SFBATCC members declared "Campbell steals the show" (Doug Konecky, SF Theater Blog) and "he makes the banal task of stamping passports and other documents a total laugh riot" (Kedar Adour, TheatreWorld Internet Magazine).
The night also honored TheatreWorks actress Margo Hall with the 2017 Jerry Friedman Award. The award Hall received is named for the KGO Radio theatre critic who served the SFBATCC for more than 20 years. This lifetime achievement award is given to an individual who has furthered creativity and growth in Bay Area theatre throughout their career. Last year's Jerry Friedman Award was awarded to TheatreWorks' Founding Artistic Director Robert Kelley. Currently, Hall is performing in the TheatreWorks production of Skeleton Crew (a co-production with Marin Theatre Company), which is set to close April 1 at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto. The SFBATCC members praised Hall as union rep Faye as "nothing short of an award-worthy performance" (Eddie Reynolds, Theatre Eddys) and "the maternal heart of the play" (Patrick Thomas, Talkin' Broadway).
The San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle (SFBATCC) is an organization dedicated to promoting and serving theatres of all types and sizes in the greater San Francisco Bay Area region by recognizing excellence and outstanding achievement in the field. Active since 1976, the Circle consists of reviewers covering theatre in all nine Bay Area counties, across various media, who are voted into membership by existing members based on the quality and consistency of their reviews. The Circle hosts an annual awards ceremony each spring to celebrate superior theatre work in the previous year with the annual Excellence in Theatre Awards Gala.
With some 100,000 patrons per year, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has captured a national reputation for artistic innovation and integrity, often presenting Bay Area theatregoers with their first look at acclaimed musicals, comedies, and dramas, directed by award-winning local and guest directors, and performed by professional actors cast locally and from across the country.