Aug 15, 2012 — After an initial round of balloting which ended last night, Audience Choice voters selected six shows and performances from Arena Stage, five from Keegan and Signature, and four from Shakespeare Theatre Company, among others, to go on to the final Audience Choice Awards vote, which begins today.
Imagination Stage swept six of the ten finalist positions for family shows, and among operas, the Washington National Opera dominated as expected, but Teatro de la Luna, In Series, and Clarice Smith emerged among the finalists as well.
The three top vote-getters in the initial round of voters made it to the finals. Where there was a tie for third place, four nominees moved to the final round.
Audience Choice Award voters selected Arena’s The Normal Heart and Red, along with Signature’s Really Really – a world premiere when it played here – as the area’s three Favorite Plays during the 2011-2012 season. Ed Gero, who played Mark Rothko in Arena’s Red, was among the three finalists for Favorite Actor in the play, along with Josh Sticklin, in Keegan’s one-actor Cuchullain, and Steven Epp, Truffaldino in Shakespeare’s The Servant of Two Masters.
Because of a tie in the voting, four Favorite Actresses in a Play made it to the final round. They were Helen Carey, who played the drug-bedeviled Mary Tyrone in Arena’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night; Francesca Faridany as Nina, the self-willed protagonist who (now it can be told) secretly had a baby with her doctor because of a strain of insanity in her husband’s family in another O’Neill classic, Strange Interlude; Vanessa Lock, the fragile Annette in Signature’s God of Carnage, a tale of suburban parents turned cannibal; and Holly Twyford as Sarah, a war journalist recovering from terrible injuries and resolved to go back in Studio’s Time Stands Still.
On the musicals side, Audience Choice voters selected Ford’s 1776, Signature’s Hairspray and Keegan’s Spring Awakening as their favorites. Actresses from Hairspray and Spring Awakening also won the approval of Audience Choice voters, choosing both Carolyn Cole, who played the indomitable young Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray and Ali Hoxie, who played a bewildered young woman who did not even know how babies were made until she became pregnant in Spring Awakening, as finalists for Favorite Actress in a Musical. Audience Choice members also selected Erin Weaver, who played a goddess who came to earth to help a schmoe in Signature’s Xanadu as a finalist in that category.
Another member of the Spring Awakening cast, Paul Scanlan as the dim, desperate Moritz, made it into the finals as Favorite Actor in a Musical, along with Euan Morton, who played the doomed Leo Frank in the Fords Theater and Theater J joint production of Parade, and Burke Moses, as “Professor” Harold Hill, the fast-talking protagonist of Arena’s The Music Man.
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Equivocation, which played last winter at Arena Stage, and two touring musical productions – Billy Elliot and Les Misérables – which played at the Kennedy Center received voter approval as their three favorite Non-Resident Productions. Two actors in one-actor dramas – John Hurt, who played Krapp in Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape at Shakespeare’s Lansburgh Theatre, and Holland Taylor, who played the late Governor Ann Richards in Ann at the Kennedy Center – were selected by voters as finalists as Favorite Performers in a Non-Resident production, along with Adam Grabau, who played multiple roles including Sir Lancelot in Monty Python’s Spamalot (Warner Theatre).
Voters selected three shows from Imagination Stage – Dr. Dolittle; The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe; and P. Nokio, along with Adventure Theatre’s If You Give a Moose a Muffin as Favorite Family Show finalists. Because of a tie, four shows made it to the final round of voting. Actors encumbering the title role in these shows also made it to the finals as Favorite Actor in a Family Show: Rob McQuay as Dr. Dolittle; Michael Russotto as the Moose; and Psalmayne 24 as P. Nokio.
Another cast member from The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, Justine Moral (Lucy) made it to the final round as Favorite Actress in a Family Show, along with Felicia Curry, who was Lilly in Adventure Theatre’s Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, and Tia Shearer, who played Trixie in the Kennedy Center’s Knuffle Bunny.
To raise the stakes a little, the actors and actresses who win in the plays, musicals, and family shows categories will each receive two complimentary tickets to local theater productions, thanks to the generosity of area theaters. Studio is donating tickets to Invisible Man; Shakespeare is offering tickets to The Government Inspector; Signature will give tickets to The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; Arena will donate tickets to One Night with Janis Joplin; Folger is offering The Conference of the Birds; and Woolly Mammoth will give tickets to The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity.
DCTS’s opera enthusiasts selected two Washington National Opera productions – Tosca and Lucia di Lammermoor among their favorite operas of 2011-2012, along with Miss Havisham’s Fire, which played at the Clarice Smith Center. Because of a tie, there are four finalists for favorite actresses in an opera: Sarah Coburn, Lucia from Lucia di Lammermoor and Patricia Racette, Floria Tosca from Tosca, as well as Elizabeth Futral, who played Fiordiligi in WNO’s Cosi fan tutte and Laura Virella, Luisa in Teatro de la Luna’s Luisa Fernanda.
Luisa Fernanda’s Jose Sacin, who played a peasant and a farmer, and Lucia di Lammermoor’s Saimir Pirgu, who played Edgardo, were selected by voters as finalists for Favorite Actor in an Opera, along with Peter Burroughs, who played the barber in In Series’ El Barberillo.
One play and one musical finalist – Arena’s The Normal Heart and Keegan’s Spring Awakening – made it to the final round as favorite ensembles, as well as Shakespeare Theatre Company’s A Servant of Two Masters.
All people eligible to vote in the first round will receive a ballot for the final round, which closes 11pm on August 22. Anyone who has not yet registered may sign up to receive a ballot for the final-round vote. All information is here.
Over eight hundred people voted in the first round, DC Theatre Scene editor Lorraine Treanor revealed, making it the biggest vote total since 2010. “We had some extremely close votes,” she said. “In some instances, only one vote separated a third and fourth place finisher and in other cases, as you will see, there was a tie. So we hope everyone who has seen the finalist performances, will cast their vote. It will definitely count.”