Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BWW 2019 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)

Oh my! What a year! We've seen bad-ass gospel singers, lost Jewish plays, mythical towns of excretion and even an octopus wrestler or two. No, those aren't allusions to the crazy real-life theater going on in Washington D.C. but the crazy wonderful theater going on right here in the Seattle area. It was tough coming up with just one winner (or even just a few Honorable Mentions) but I managed to do it ... for the most part. Plus, some shows that more of you should have seen. (Yes, that's me nagging you all, Dear Readers, to check out more of the smaller or obscure theaters around here.) But what it all comes down to is, we're blessed here in the Northwest with an over-abundance of theatrical riches and I'm so fortunate to be able to share some of my favorites of the year with you with the BWW 2019 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks). So, let's get started, shall we?

Best Choreography
WINNER:
UJ Mangune - Head Over Heels - ArtsWest

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Alyza DelPan Monley - The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion - ArtsWest
Charlie Johnson - Urinetown - 5th Avenue Theatre / ACT
Trina Mills - The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee - Village Theatre

BWW 2019 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)
Nathaniel Tenenbaum, Sarah Rose Davis,
and Mari Nelson in Urinetown.
Photo credit: Jeff Carpenter

Best Costume Design
WINNER:
Melanie Taylor Burgess - Urinetown - 5th Avenue Theatre / ACT

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Beth Goldenberg - Indecent - Seattle Rep
Brynne McKeen - The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee - Village Theatre
Chelsea Cook - She Stoops to Conquer - Seattle Shakespeare Company

Best Lighting Design
WINNER:
Kevin Sleep - The Woman in Black - Seattle Rep

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Andrew D Smith - Pass Over - ACT
Robert Aguilar - Indecent - Seattle Rep
Ryan Dunn, Bryce Bartl-Geller, Broom Cupboard Studio - Feathers and Teeth - Washington Ensemble Theatre

Best Scenic Design
WINNER:
Pete Rush - Feathers and Teeth - Washington Ensemble Theatre

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Greg Carter - Take Me Out - Strawberry Theatre Workshop
Julia Hayes Welch - She Stoops to Conquer - Seattle Shakespeare Company
Skip Mercier - Romeo + Juliet - ACT

Best Sound Design
WINNER:
Sharath Patel - Pass Over - ACT

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Robertson Witmer - Romeo + Juliet - ACT
Ron Mead and Gareth Owen - The Woman in Black - Seattle Rep

BWW 2019 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)
The Cast of Indecent.
Photo credit: Bronwen Houck

Best Ensemble Cast Play or Musical
WINNER:
Indecent - Seattle Rep

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Head Over Heels - ArtsWest
Pass Over - ACT
Romeo + Juliet - ACT
Urinetown - 5th Avenue Theatre / ACT

Best Featured Performer in a Musical
WINNER:
Mari Nelson - Urinetown - 5th Avenue Theatre / ACT

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Allison Semmes - Shout Sister Shout! - Seattle Rep
Danielle Barnum - The Light in the Piazza - Showtunes
Eric Dobson - Head Over Heels - ArtsWest

Best Featured Performer in a Play - IT'S A TIE!!!
WINNERS:
Craig Peterson - Take Me Out - Strawberry Theatre Workshop
and
Monika Jolly - People of the Book - ACT

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Andi Alhadeff - Indecent - Seattle Rep
Avery Clark - Pass Over - ACT
Basil Harris - She Stoops to Conquer - Seattle Shakespeare Company

BWW 2019 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)
Carrie Compere in Shout Sister Shout!
Photo credit: Bronwen Houck

Best Leading Performer in a Musical
WINNER:

Carrie Compere - Shout Sister Shout! - Seattle Rep

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Alex Sturtevant - Head Over Heels - ArtsWest
Billie Wildrick - The Light in the Piazza - Showtunes
Corinna Lapid Munter - The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion - ArtsWest
Mikko Juan - Urinetown - 5th Avenue Theatre / ACT
Tori Gresham - The Spitfire Grill - Showtunes

Best Leading Performer in a Play
WINNER:
Ian Bond - American Junkie - Book-It

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Bradford Farwell - Indecent - Seattle Rep
Libby Barnard - Blackbird - White Rabbits Inc
Rachel Guyer-Mafune - Feathers and Teeth - Washington Ensemble Theatre

BWW 2019 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)
Carly Marie and Billie Wildrick in
The Light in the Piazza.
Photo credit: Chris Bennion

Best Musical Direction
WINNER:
Nathan Young - The Light in the Piazza - Showtunes

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Claire Marx - The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion - ArtsWest
R.J. Tancioco - The Spitfire Grill - Showtunes
R.J. Tancioco - Urinetown - 5th Avenue Theatre / ACT

Best Direction of Musical
WINNER:
Bill Berry - Urinetown - 5th Avenue Theatre / ACT

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Brandon Ivie - The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee - Village Theatre
Kelly Kitchens - The Light in the Piazza - Showtunes
Mathew Wright - Head Over Heels - ArtsWest
Jessica Spencer - The Spitfire Grill - Showtunes

Best Direction of Play
WINNER:
Tim Bond - Pass Over - ACT

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Greg Carter - Take Me Out - Strawberry Theatre Workshop
John Langs - Romeo + Juliet - ACT
Makaela Pollock - She Stoops to Conquer - Seattle Shakespeare Company
Sheila Daniels - Indecent - Seattle Rep

BWW 2019 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)
The Cast of
The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion.
Photo credit: John McLellan

Best NEW/ORIGINAL/ADAPTATION play/musical
WINNER:
Justin Huertas - The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion - ArtsWest

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Mark Siano, John Kranz, Jeff Schell, and Ryan Dobosh - Indy Jones and the Raiders of the Last Temple of the Doomed Ark - Seattle Public Theater
Opal Peachey, Anastasia Workman, & Billie Wildrick - The Champagne Widow - Café Nordo
Yussef El Guindi - People of the Book - ACT

Best Musical
WINNER:
Urinetown - 5th Avenue Theatre / ACT

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Shout Sister Shout! - Seattle Rep
The Last World Octopus Wrestling Champion - ArtsWest
The Light in the Piazza - Showtunes
The Spitfire Grill - Showtunes

BWW 2019 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)
The cast of Pass Over.
Photo credit: Chris Bennion

Best Play
WINNER:
Pass Over - ACT

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Indecent - Seattle Rep
Romeo + Juliet - ACT
Take Me Out - Strawberry Theatre Workshop

Theatre of the Year
WINNER:
Showtunes

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
ACT
Seattle Rep
Strawberry Theatre Workshop
Washington Ensemble Theatre

SPECIAL MENTIONS:

BWW 2019 Seattle Critic's Choice Awards (Jay's Picks)
The cast of Blackbird.
Photo credit: Joe Iano

The "Why Didn't More People See These F***ing AMAZING Shows?" Award
Blackbird - White Rabbits Inc at 18th and Union
Bonbon - Can Can
Feathers and Teeth - Washington Ensemble Theatre
Returning the Bones - Book-It
Small Craft Warnings/The Time of Your Life - The Williams Project
The Light in the Piazza - Showtunes
The Spitfire Grill - Showtunes




From This Author - Jay Irwin

         Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Jay has been a theater geek for years.  He attends as many shows as he can around the country and loves taking in new exciting... (read more about this author)


Review: CLOUD TECTONICS from Sound Theatre Company And EarthseedReview: CLOUD TECTONICS from Sound Theatre Company And Earthseed
September 25, 2022

Dear Readers, I am a sucker for both a sweet love story and even more so when we mix in a little magical realism. Movies like “Amelie” or plays like “O Lovely Glowworm, or Scenes of Great Beauty” are some of my favorites. So, something like Jose Rivera’s “Cloud Tectonics”, currently playing at 12th Avenue Arts from Sound Theatre Company and Earthseed, should be right up my alley. And while I find it a sweet little love story, I have to emphasize the “little”. There’s not a whole lot to it. But then, that works well since it's only an intermissionless 90 minutes.

Review: THE GRISWOLDS' BROADWAY VACATION at The 5th Avenue TheatreReview: THE GRISWOLDS' BROADWAY VACATION at The 5th Avenue Theatre
September 23, 2022

The Griswolds’ have been to Wally World, they’ve visited family for Christmas, and they’ve nearly destroyed Europe on their vacations. And now, they’ve loaded up the Wagon Queen Family Truckster and are hitting Broadway in the new musical at the 5th Avenue Theatre, “The Griswolds’ Broadway Vacation”. Are the Griswolds ready for Broadway? No. And by the Griswolds’ I mean the characters as well as this show. But just like the Griswolds the show does grow and with a little bit of work (or a lot of work) they and it just might make it on the Great White Way.

Review: CHOIR BOY at ACT TheatreReview: CHOIR BOY at ACT Theatre
September 22, 2022

Dear Readers, I’m going to set the “Way Back Machine” to 2011 where I was first introduced to the works of playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney as the Seattle Rep had produced his stunning “The Brothers Size”, a show that hit me so hard in the gut that I think about it to this day. And while I was still reeling from it in 2012, he presented his astounding “Choir Boy” at the Royal Court Theatre in London. Eventually it made its way to Broadway in 2019 to a huge outpouring of critical acclaim. Sadly, I missed that run but then ACT announced they would be bringing it to Seattle … in 2020. Yup, you guessed it. It didn’t happen then thanks to the pandemic. But now, thanks to the theatre gods, ACT, in conjunction with the 5th Avenue Theatre, have made good on their promise of presenting this amazing work and let me tell you, it was worth the wait.

Review: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at Village TheatreReview: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS at Village Theatre
September 18, 2022

Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s “Little Shop of Horrors” is arguably one of those near perfect musicals. I will argue with you on this from now until the plants take over the earth as it remains my absolute favorite. But it needs to be done right. That’s not to say it needs to be done the same way every time. One of the best productions I saw was a modern retelling set in a real skid row. But this B-movie sci-fi adaptation needs to have that humor, that crispness, and that bite to make it work. And while the current production from Village Theatre has some wonderful performances and voices, it suffers from a lack of pace and that crispness and bite to take it from a fun show to a killer one.

Review: WHERE WE BELONG at Seattle RepReview: WHERE WE BELONG at Seattle Rep
September 15, 2022

The history of colonization of indigenous lands in this country and other countries is a sensitive subject that many shy away from. But then to look at it from the viewpoint of those that have been displaced goes a long way to recognizing the issues and keep them from continuing. Madeline Sayet and her amazing play “Where We Belong”, currently playing at the Seattle Rep gives a wonderful insight into this topic and specifically her viewpoint and how it affected her and her Mohegan culture.