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Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Playbill #2 for 2007, the WATCH Awards

By • Mar 7th, 2007 • Category: ShowBizRadio

Listen to the ShowBizRadio Playbill March 7, 2007 [MP3 18:05 5.2MB], where we talk about the WATCH awards, our Perfect Storm weekend, and other sections of ShowBizRadio.

Laura: We’re going to talk about some things that have been going on, the WATCH awards we attended on Sunday evening and the busy weekend we had and therefore we’re a little bit behind on our reviews. But our goal this week is to catch up.

Mike: This past weekend was a super busy weekend. One of those perfect storms, where everything happens all at once. Friday night we traveled up to Annapolis. We saw our first show with the Colonial Players, Jekyll and Hyde.

Laura: We interviewed Mike Gidos, who is the treasurer of the Colonial Players. That interview is available right now, so go take a look at it.

Mike: The review for Jekyll and Hyde, which is a wonderful show, is also available. You need to make plans to go up to Annapolis in the next month.

Laura: Go have some seafood.

Mike: On Saturday morning we had rehearsal for our church’s Easter program. So if you’ve seen me lately you can tell I’m growing a beard. I am playing a 50 year old Jewish potter. The director asked all the men who were playing Jewish characters to grow their beards out. I’m really fuzzy right now. It’s starting to itch and drive me crazy. If you’ve got a beard give me some hints on how not to make it itch so much.

Laura: And I play one of the followers of Jesus. My name is Hava.

Mike: After we had our rehearsal we went over to Young People’s Theatre in Woodbridge. We saw the youth of the Young People’s Theatre perform Cheaper by the Dozen.

Laura: That review will hopefully be up on Wednesday. That was a cute show. Those are a lot of fun. It didn’t rain so they could be heard really well.

Mike: After that we had a matinee performance at the Springfield Community Theatre for You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown which we were shadowing. We will be talking more about that later this week in a discussion exclusively on that subject.

Laura: We have two more people that we interviewed at that performance. We’ll have those up by the end of the week as well. So come back and check out those interviews.

Mike: And then to finish out our long day on Saturday, We saw Providence Players production of Good Help is so Hard to Murder. That review will be up on Thursday of this week.

Laura: Sunday afternoon we packed up and went over to Vpstart Crow in Manassas Virginia for their performance of Much Ado about Nothing. After that we stayed and recorded the talkback session that went on, it was really interesting.

Mike: The talk back was simply the cast and crew talking about the show, answering questions from the audience. Vpstart Crow does that for all their performances. More theaters should do that because it really helps educate people on how theater works and gets them interested.

Laura: After that to finish up the evening we traveled to The Birchmere to see the WATCH awards and had a really good time.

Mike: The WATCH awards was for 2006 perfomances by community theaters in the area that are members of WATCH.

Laura: WATCH is the Washington Area Theater Community Honors.

Mike: The ceremony was sold out. We did advertise on the back of the playbill. Hopefully some people who are coming to the site now heard about us there. That was a big thing for us. We spent the last few weeks cleaning up the website and tweaking things. We didn’t get everything done that needs to get done. So if you see anything funny with the website definitely us know.

We saw almost all the shows that were nominated this year. We did miss several of the ones that were in the Fall since I was in the Time of Your Life. We did miss several nominated shows. Most of the winners we actually agreed with. The Time of Your Life at Providence Players, was nominated for four different awards. We didn’t win any of them, but it was an honor to be nominated.

Laura: You just had to say that didn’t you?

Mike: I just had to say that. I wasn’t nominated. John Cosia as Kit Carson for Outstanding performance as a Featured Actor in a Play. The set was nominated for Set Construction, Set Design, and Set Decoration and Set Dressing. They lost out to the various pieces at Port Tobacco Players which was pretty good. Those were pretty good shows down there.

Lets talk about the ceremony. Mike Baker, Jr. was the Master of Ceremonies. He did a fine job. I think some of the jokes he told last year, they sounded oddly familiar. Got to stay fresh somehow. That’s probably tricky to do. An awards ceremony about community theater every year for six or seven years now.

We saw Seussical performed by Port Tobacco Players. They did a good job with that. They were nominated for best musical.

Laura: Had a strong contingent.

Mike: There were a lot of Port Tobacco people there. Two of their shows were nominated for tons of awards. They were both big cast shows, Suessical and A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream. They were both great shows, and they won lots of awards.

Laura: The other musicals that were nominated for best musical all had songs performed. They included, “Everybody’s Got the Right” from Assassins at Kensington Ats Theatre. “Run, Freedon, Run” from Urinetown, Kensington Arts Theatre. Then “Poor Wondering One” performed by Laura Weymeyer with Pirates of Penzance, The Arlington Players. Then you had, “Tell Me It’s Not True” Blood Brothers at Elden Street Players.

Mike: It was really interesting that Andy Izqueirdo was in three of the five nominated pieces.

Laura: Just as soon as he got sitting down and comfortable he had to jump up, go backstage and change to he could go on and perform.

Mike: The presenter that stole the show tonight was Ryan Talbot. He was nominated last year for portraying Tommy at age 4 in the Who’s Tommy at the Little Theatre of Alexandria. Ryan read the nominations for the Oustanding Lead Actor in a Play and did a great job. Outstanding Achievement in Special Effects was the only tie for the evening. Keith Linville and John Merrit for A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream. And Russ Weyland, Bob Gray and Ken and Patti Crowley for Blithe Spirit at LTA.

Laura: We saw both of those, they were both really good shows.

Mike: Really good show. Good effects.

Laura: Our reviews are on the website for that.

Mike: Outstanding acheivement in Set Painting Julianna Bogdan, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was a gorgeous set. That’s one thing WATCH should encourage their theaters to do would be to submit photographs of the sets. I know they can’t put them in the playbill, but they should be able to put it on their website to show all five or six of the sets. There are 108 shows this coming year, 2007. I think someone in each show on the cast or crew has a camera and can take a picture of the set. They don’t need full 35mm ten mega pixel pictures, but they need to take a picture of the set. Then give the photograph or the jpeg file to WATCH. And then the ones that are nominated for things like set painting or set design or set dressing or props. Show us some of the props. Most people don’t get to go to every single show. You and I go to three to five shows a week and we only saw about 75% of the shows that were nominated this year. It would be kind of cool if people could actually see what is going on.

Laura: The show that we shadowed, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Watching the set come togther was really interesting. It started as just a bare floor. then over time you saw it build up. The monkey bars get painted and the dog house get painted and everything. When it was finally finished it came together really well. It looked good. It would be neat to see kind of the process of that. We did take some pictures and those are available on our website as well.

Mike: So if Springfield were to be nominated for best set design or set painting, it would be kind of cool to see that and compare it to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat which we saw tonight at Port Tobacco Players, just so people can compare. Most people are not going to see all five or six nominated shows. It would be good to have that available.

Ok, lets move on. Outstanding Stage Combat Choreography, Tom Witherspoon, Noises Off – Arlington Players.

Laura: We did see that show. That was really good to see that. There was some serious stage choreography going on in that one.

Mike: That’s why it won, obviously. Outstanding performance of a featured actor in a play Terry Spann as Willie Johnson, Miss Evers’ Boys – Hard Bargain Players. That was a great show. It had two nominated actors for featured actor. That’s competition against yourself. That’s kind of interesting. You have one really good actor it kind of pulls everybody else up and they all work harder. Obviously that’s what happened and Tery Spann won that.

Outstanding Hair Design Sheila R. Hyman, Seussical – Port Tobacco Players. It’s kind of interesting that the shows that have won a lot of these awards the two years that we’ve been to the WATCH awards have been the fantasy type shows. This year it was Port Tobacco’s Suessical. Last year a lot of the awards went to Reston’s Beauty and The Beast. It’s interesting that the things that let you be more creative win the awards. If you do a regular play it’s going to be harder to win an award for hair design. It’s hair. It’s just a person.

Outstanding Set Construction was won by John Merritt, C.J. Gardiner & Mike Merritt, A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Port Tobacco Players. That was an incredible set. The cast was climbing the walls. They were climbing trees. There were hidden entrances. There were places for the fairies to hide down in the grass in the tree roots. It was incredible. The hand holds that they climbed up on you couldn’t see until they used them and then once they were done using them their foot would move off and you couldn’t see the handholds anymore. It was very impressive.

Laura: Outstanding Properties. The winner was Sue Belmore, John Merritt & Joe Stine, Seussical – Port Tobacco Players.

Mike: We saw that show and someone that we were sitting with asked us what were the props like. I couldn’t remember.

Laura: I just remember they were colorful, big, oversized.

Mike: These props have to go someplace. I guess they can’t hang around for a whole year. So again maybe photographs would be cool. Take some pictures of some of the props that they used and make them available so we can get some ideas of what these things looked like. Outstanding Makeup Design, Sheila R. Hyman, Seussical – Port Tobacco Players.

Laura: And then Outstanding Performance as a Lead Actor in a Musical, Andy Izquierdo as Mickey with Blood Brothers Elden Street Players. That was a fantastic show. That was one of our standout shows for the year.

Mike: That was actually our very first stand out show.

Laura: Our inaugural stand out show.

Mike: Notice again that Josh Doyle’s Eddie was also nominated. You have two superb actors helping each other, supporting each other. And they both get nominated for an award. That’s pretty good.

Laura: Then we had outstanding Achievement in Set Decoration and Set Dressing. The winner was Karen Kleyle, John Merritt & Rachel Wallace, A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Port Tobacco Players.

Mike: We saw four of those five shows. Don’t know about Bus Stop. We missed that one. The other shows, I think that was the right decision. Even though my show, The Time of your Life was in there, but it was a good thing to lose to. A Mid Summer’s Night’s Dream was incredible.

Laura: Outstanding lead actor in a play Darius Suziedelis as “Bobby Reyburn,” Coyote on a Fence – Silver Spring Stage. That was a good show.

Mike: That was a fantastic show. If we had had our stand out show designation at that point we would have named that as a stand out show.

Laura: That was pretty interesting.

Mike: Outstanding lead actress in a musical the winner was Anita Miller as “Mrs. Johnstone,” Blood Brothers – Elden Street Players.

Laura: Outstanding show. She did a great job. Outstanding Set Design. The winner was was John Merritt, A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Port Tobacco Players.

Mike: That was such a tough category. I really thought Noises Off would win that from the Arlington Players, Jared Davis. That was the show where they actually rotated the entire set on wheels during the second intermission. Everybody was just sitting watching it. Just rotating the set got applause. I knew it would be at least nominated. I really thought it might win, because that took real engineering and design to rotate the set.

Laura: It was two complete sets.

Mike: It was two complete sets that were both usable on the same platform. That was an incredible set.

Laura: Outstanding Musical, the winner was Blood Brothers, Elden Street Players. Again, a fantastic show. I think it got a standing ovation the night we were there and probably every night because it was just incredible.

Mike: It was incredible. The Outstanding Play winner was Coyote on a Fence at Silver Spring Stage. It was a superb show. So for the five shows that were nominated for Outstanding Musical we saw four of the five. I would have picked Blood Brothers. Yeah, easy to say now I realize. For the Outstanding play we saw all five shows and I would have said Coyote on a Fence. I would have gotten those right. Next year I’m going to go public with my two guesses for the Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Play.

The full list of winners is available.

Laura: So tune in in 2008.

Mike: Maybe we can give away prizes. We can make a contest out of it. Have people send in their guesses and whoever guesses right, we’ll give them something. We’ll have to figure that out.

Laura: So stay tuned.

Mike: Stay tuned. The WATCH Awards last night at the Birchmere was sold out. Keep working hard on those shows. I know you all do. I know we appreciate the work that goes into these shows. The other thing to say was there were three new theaters introduced at the WATCH awards last night. We interviewed people from two of those theaters.

Laura: Colonial Players and Laurel Mill Playhouse. We have those interviews up on our website as well. Take a look those. Some really interesting stuff. A lot of interesting history with those theaters.

Mike: We tried to interview 2nd Flight Productions and couldn’t hook up our schedules. Hopfully this week or sometime next week we can get together with someone from 2nd Flight and do an introduction to them.

Laura: Go Hokies.

Mike: We’re Hokies, too so that’s kind of cool.

Laura: Well, I think that’s about it for now. We’ll get busy with our reviews and get those up on our website as soon as we can.

Mike: We’ve got a bunch of shows coming up this week as well. Easter is about five weeks out. That week there aren’t any shows. Right after that, though there are a ton. Shows starting to open up this week. You can check out the schedules on ShowBizRadio.net/schedule/. See what’s playing and choose the shows you want to go see.

Laura: We also have some auditions coming up for shows everywhere for the May/June time. Check that out at ShowBizRadio.net/auditions/.

Mike: Another feature on our website is a block where you can advertise your upcoming show. That is something you do have to pay for. I think it is pretty reasonably priced. We do get around 10,000 people a month to visit the site. Half a month right now allows your ads to be seen by about 5,000 to 6,000 people. That’s not bad at all.

Laura: Exposure is a good thing.

Mike: Exposure is a good thing, a part of the marketing. Helps support us. Not enough to live off of, but it helps to pay for gas to see all these shows.

Laura: So if you’re in the DC area and a show’s going on, have your director or producer or the publicity person contact us. Our contact information is available on our website. We’d love to come out and do an interview so we can have that as kind of a separate piece from the review of the show when we go out there.

Mike: What we’re trying to do is just encourage live theater in the DC region. We are focusing more on community theater and the smaller professional theaters. We wouldn’t mind doing the bigger theaters I guess, but there’s already lots of places out there that do that. Potomac Stages, DC Theater Reviews, the Washington Post, and others. The community theaters seem to get a short shrift. So that’s what were going to focus on mostly.

Laura: And now, on with the show.

This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/1880.

started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

2 Responses »

  1. Hi Laura and Mike.

    Great article!

    I was at the WATCH awards and it was such a BLAST.

    Just wanted to remind you of what the props were for ‘Seussical’:

    Everything visually about the show was taken straight from the Dr. Seuss books. Which made it a lot of fun. It’s almost a compliment that you can’t remember the props, because they blended in so well with the set as being virtually “authentic” Dr. Seuss illustrations.

    Props included were the fish in Mcgulligan’s pool, the instruments in Who-Ville, the hunters’ guns in the shape of elephant trunks, the egg at the end that actually hatched an elephant bird, the dustspeck carrying Who-Ville, , bandages of all kinds for when the Who’s had a rough landing, the TV screen brought out during ‘Biggest Blame Fool’ and microphone for interviews with the jungle creatures, the book on “How to Raise a Child,” all the poles and flags for the child military, the tail on Gertrude that kept growing, the hot steaming of beezlenut oil, and that’s not even beginning to include all the props the Cat himself used numerous props everytime he was onstage.

    Whew! It was fun remembering that again! It was true what Joe Stine and John Merritt were saying about the numerous pages of props listed for this show.

    It’s great that it really must have blended in so well. We’d like to think that we did Dr. Seuss proud.

    Maureen Campbell – Sour Kangaroo

  2. Hi Maureen, Thanks so much for sharing that with all of us. I remember now some of them. They definitely did blend in well. If you or anyone has any photos, we’d be glad to share them. It was very Seuss-ish. Mike