Few Arguments on Awards

Honors, kudos, awards, oh my! Or if you don't feel like Dorothy fearfully facing the forests of Oz, you can ho-hum through this season of recognition for the 120 or so theatrical productions staged in the metro area.

      And that's not counting the 40-odd special events listed in the Theatre Arts Guild nomination packet. TAG may be a step behind the Colorado Theater Guild, which has already completed the nomination process, but Omaha compares well with the mountain state, which made 165 productions eligible compared with only 72 the year before.

      Not bad, considering it's our metro versus their entire state. We'll see how we compare when counting the number of theater companies that actually receive nominations. Sixteen nabbed nominations in Colorado.

      If nothing else, when others name winners, we're free to disagree. Unfortunately, I can't argue much with the first group of honorees, the top volunteers picked by the Omaha Community Playhouse.

      And I especially agree with the emphasis in their press release on “volunteers”--lest we forget how many donate so many hours for our theatrical pleasure.

      The Fonda-McGuire awards were no surprise, going to Kathy Wheeldon as Ann Landers in The Lady with All the Answers and Bill Hutson for his memorable title role in Tuesdays with Morrie. Of the four Mary Peckham awards for featured roles and the four Barbara Ford honors for supporting roles, two topped my list: Kirstin Kluver as Adelaide in Guys and Dolls and Chris Shonka as Mitch Albom in Tuesdays with Morrie.

      The Elaine Jabenis cameo awards also included two of my favorite performances, both of which seemed far more than cameos: Jennifer McGill as Annelle in Steel Magnolias and Rob Baker as an insanely manic Leo in A Thousand Clowns.

      Only those two old comedic warhorses, The Odd Couple and Nunsense, failed to win honors. That meant omitting a wildly funny Felix Ungar by Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek and a handful of outstanding nuns, led by Moira Mangiamelli.

      You get one shot only at seeing the Witching Hour treatment of Max Sparber's craziness, with the disastrous first concert of a wanna-be punk rock band. His NSFW Skirmish plays at 11 p.m. on Thursday June 30 at the Side Door Lounge. Performed earlier at the Great Plains Theater Conference, it was quickly scheduled again before star performer Amanda Miller leaves for grad school in Oklahoma. 

                                    --Warren Francke 

Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com.

posted at 07:05 pm
on Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

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