by Joel Markowitz
Feb 25 — The 2008 Helen Hayes Awards nominations were announced by President and CEO Linda Levy Grossman tonight at the Gallery of The National Theatre. She told a standing room only crowd that 189 productions met the eligibility requirements for the Awards, and a record 149 nominated artists and productions were named in 24 categories.
Their productions are often silent, but Synetic Theatre’s numerous nominations rang out loud and clear for their productions of Hamlet..The Rest is Silence, The Fall of The House of Usher and Macbeth. Synetic choreographer Irina Tsikurishvili received 3 separate nominations for her choreography.
Eric Schaeffer and Signature Theatre continued their annual collection of nominations for their Sondheim productions of Into The Woods and Merrily We Roll Along, for The Witches of Eastwick, and for the Eric Schaeffer-directed Ford’s Theatre production of Meet John Doe. Racking up many nominations were The Women of Brewster Place at Arena Stage and the Kennedy Center’s My Fair Lady.
But for this musicals lover, a huge grin and loud “YES!” followed the announcements that two of my favorite musicals – Reefer Madness at Studio Theatre and Titanic at Toby’s- The Dinner Theatre of Columbia were included in the Best Resident Musical category.
And in the Resident musical acting categories, it was no surprise that Bobby Smith and Donna Migliaccio were nominated for their outrageously hysterical performances in Metro Stage’s The Musicals of Musicals-the Musical! , Will Gartshore for Merrily We Roll Along, Marc Kudisch as the Devil himself for The Witches of Eastwick, as well as Carolee Carmello for Saving Amy, Tina Fabrique who burned up the Arena Stage in Ella, and Heidi Blickenstaff for her blazing performance in Meet John Doe.
What was a pleasant surprise, for which I am still grinning was that Andrew Sonntag and Larry Redmond were nominated for their hilarious performances in Reefer Madness, and that Matthew Gardiner’s manic choreography was also nominated. Two of my personal favorites were recognized for their fine work – Tracy Lynn Olivera for Merrily We Roll Along at Signature Theatre and Karen Kandel for Peter and Wendy at Arena Stage. I was so happy when my two favorite plays of last year were recognized with numerous nominations – Souvenir at Studio Theatre and 33 Variations at Arena Stage. How nice to see Theater Alliance, Rorschach Theatre, Keegan Theatre, Theater J, Solas Nua and Woolly Mammoth Theatre be recognized for their for their outstanding productions of Insurrection: Holding History, References to Salvador Dali Makes Me Hot, Alone it Stands, Pangs of The Messiah, Scenes from the Big Picture, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, The Unmentionables, and She Stoops To Comedy.
The complete listing of categories and nominees is posted on the Helen Hayes Awards website.
We’ll have reactions from the nominees coming in April, leading up to the exciting and glamorous Helen Hayes Awards night April 28th at the Warner Theatre.