The Ambie Awards
by Brian Sands & Patrick Shannon
The Seventh Annual Ambie Awards Feb. 1 at Le Chat Noir
The Seventh Annual Ambie Awards for Excellence in Theater will be presented at Le Chat Noir on Monday, February 1, sponsored by Ambush Mag. Bar service will begin at 6:30pm, doors open at 7pm, and the ceremony will begin at 7:30pm. There is a $20 suggested donation ($5 for nominees/performers/presenters), more if you’re feeling generous—monies raised will benefit NOCCA High School’s Theater Department, a wonderful incubator of talent.
In addition to the major categories, whose nominees are listed in below, we shall continue the tradition of acknowledging some special achievements that don’t fall into any of the standard categories with our tongue-in-cheek Glammie Awards. Some of the categories to be presented are Most Diabolical Laugh, Outstanding One Act Play, Best Ghost, Quickest Nudity, Special Achievement Award for Doing Theater in Unexpected Places, Best Transsexual Performance by a Non-transsexual, Most Non-Traditional Casting, and Best Audience Response.
Also, Hottest Man in a Jockstrap, Best Maid, Most Fabulous First Name, Best Ad Libs, Most Alcohol Consumed on Stage, Best Chest, Best Lisp (Betht Lithp), Meanest Villain, Most Deadpan Chorus Boys, Best Pleasuring Oneself Onstage and many more.
The evening will feature musical numbers from many of the nominated shows including A...my name is Alice, The Apple Tree and Livin’ Janis. The Ambies is the season’s most inclusive award presentation as we recognize outstanding work in Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard and St. Tammany Parishes, as well as the area’s universities, high schools and youth theater.
Le Chat Noir is located at 715 St. Charles Avenue. Reservations are strongly suggested; call 504.581.5812 after January 25 to make them, though all are welcome to come and hang out at Le Chat’s bar. There’ll be no charge (tho donations to NOCCA will be appreciated).
2009 saw heartbreaking tragedy, word-defying comedy, nail-biting drama...and not all of it was at the Superdome!
Rather, with over a hundred productions from the National World War II Museum to Westwego, from the wilds of City Park to a beauty salon in Slidell, we were kept extremely busy this past year as the theatrical community—actors, writers, directors, designers, technicians—in the greater New Orleans area continued to amaze, impress and make the nominating process incredibly difficult.
In recognition of the outstanding work done in the past twelve months, we are delighted to announce the nominees for the Seventh Annual Ambie Awards. It is a measure of the vibrancy of our local theater scene that no fewer than 59 productions have been honored with at least one nomination. As always, the Ambies are totally subjective, occasionally arbitrary, inclusive only of the shows we saw (sorry to all others) and not at all validated by Price Waterhouse. Congratulations to all our nominees who have trod the boards in our wonderfully surreal metropolis with steadfast dedication, bodacious imagination and boundless talent.
We hope that all nominees will be able to attend. Please spread the word and wish a hearty "Break a leg!" to all whose names appear below:
Uniquest Theatrical Experience: Jim Fitzmorris’ Cabinet of Wonders, Le Chat Noir; My First Time, fourfront theatre; A Purrfect Evening: The Songs of Eartha Kitt, Anais St. John; The Uprising, Le Chat Noir/Southern Rep; Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads, Le Chat Noir
Best Production of a Musical: A...my name is Alice, Cutting Edge Productions; The Apple Tree, NOCCA; Honk!, JPAS Summer Youth Musical Theatre (East Bank); South Pacific, Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre; THE SWEETEST SOUNDS The Music of Richard Rodgers, NOCCA; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, forefront theatre
Best Production of a Drama: The Glass Menagerie, Marigny Theatre & To Do Productions; I Am My Own Wife, Southern Rep & All Kinds of Theatre; Loup Garou, ArtSpot Productions & Mondo Bizarro; The Piano Lesson, Anthony Bean Community Theater; The Skin of Our Teeth, NOCCA; Some Girl(s), Actor’s Theatre of New Orleans
Best Production of a Comedy: The Comedy of Errors, Shakespeare Festival at Tulane; Mr. Marmalade, The NOLA Project; Pterodactyls, Cutting Edge Productions; Sick, Southern Rep; Silent Night of the Lambs!, Running With Scissors; We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!, The Cripple Creek Theatre Company
Best Original Work: Livin’ Janis, Dorian Rush/Le Chat Noir; Loup Garou, Raymond "Moose" Jackson/ArtSpot Productions & Mondo Bizarro; Short Takes, Mary Louise Wilson/All Kinds of Theatre; Soul of the City, Jim Fitzmorris & John D. Fitzmorris, Jr./Tulane Dept. Of Theatre; Taste, Gabrielle Reisman/The NOLA Project; Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads, Jeffery Roberson, Jacques Lamarre, Ricky Graham, Brooks Braselman/Le Chat Noir
Best Director of a Musical: AJ Allegra, The Apple Tree; Blake Coheley, THE SWEETEST SOUNDS The Music of Richard Rodgers; Jonne Dendinger, A...my name is Alice; David W. Hoover, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; Diane Lala, South Pacific; Frannie Rosenberg, Honk! (East Bank)
Best Director of a Play: Lorenzo Gonzalez, The Comedy of Errors; Jason Kirkpatrick & Janet Shea, The Skin of Our Teeth (NOCCA); Gary Mendoza, Pterodactyls; Buzz Podewell, Soul of the City; Kathy Randels, Loup Garou; Carl Walker, I Am My Own Wife
Best Actor in a Musical: Christopher E. Carey, South Pacific; Keith Claverie, All Shook Up; Kasey Marino, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas; David Murray, Honk! (East Bank); Jeffery Roberson, Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads; Jamie Wax, Damn Yankees
Best Actress in a Musical: Elizabeth Argus, South Pacific; Jenna Ibieta, Honk! (East Bank); Idella Johnson, Aida; Leslie Limberg, All Shook Up; Fran Love, The Women of Brewster Place; Dorian Rush, Livin’ Janis
Best Actor in a Play: Rus Blackwell, Shotgun; Brad Caldwell, Hand Over Fist; Bob Edes, Jr., I Am My Own Wife; Jason George, Jerker; Stephfon Guidry, The Piano Lesson; Nick Slie, Loup Garou
Best Actress in a Play: Donna Duplantier, Shotgun; Adella Gauthier, Bourbon at the Border; Pat McGuire Hill, A Raisin in the Sun; Lyla Hay Owen, The Glass Menagerie; Jennifer Pagan, We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!; Stacy Taliancich, Wait Until Dark
Best Featured Actor in a Musical: Joseph Arrigo, Honk! (East Bank); Roland "Butch" Caire, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do; Brian Peterson, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; George J. Sanchez, Damn Yankees; Dane Rhodes, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas; Shad Willingham, South Pacific
Best Featured Actress in a Musical: Becky Allen, A...my name is Alice; Elizabeth Donner, Honk! (West Bank); Michaela Harrison, The Women of Brewster Place; Heidi P. Junius, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas; Leslie Limberg, Aida; Lisa Picone, Songs for a New World
Best Featured Actor in a Play: A.J. Allegra, Mr. Marmalade; Kenneth Brown, Jr., Shotgun; Bob Edes, Jr., Valley of the Dolls; Harold X. Evans, The Piano Lesson; Thomas Hellmers, The Member of the Wedding; Sam Henry, Pterodactyls
Best Featured Actress in a Play: Samantha Beaulieu, A Raisin in the Sun; Trina Beck, King Lear; Sarah Fontenelle, Some Girl(s); Liz Mills, The Glass Menagerie; Sarah Jordan Stout, The Scene; Jessie Terrebonne, The Little Dog Laughed
Best Ensemble: A...my name is Alice (Becky Allen, Tara Brewer, Dana Deris Fatic, Francine Finley, Leslie Limberg); bobrauschenbergamerica (James Bartelle, Tyler D’Aquilla, Stephen Foley, Helen Jaksch, Alex Lemonier, Richard Mayer, Matthew Morris, Meredith Mullins, Carol Sutton); Pterodactyls (CC Falcon, Sam Henry, David Jacobs, Alex Lemonier, Jane McNulty); Silent Night of the Lambs! (Wesley Callaway, Jack Long, Brian Peterson, Lisa Picone, Dorian Rush); Soul of the City (Averis Anderson, Kirk "KB" Bush, Dave Davis, Shannon March, Kameron Moore-Mitchell, Ben Piemont, Zack Serota, Billie Stirewalt, Jennie Stumpf, Sarah Yeboah); Taste (A.J. Allegra, James Bartelle, Claire Gresham, Angela Papale, Richard Alexander Pomes, James Yeargain)
Best Costume Design: Cecile Casey Covert, Varla Jean and the Mushroomheads; Linda Fried, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas; Kelly James-Penot, Honk!; Valerie Johnson, Silent Night of the Lambs!; Veronica Russell, Camelot; Charlotte Svenson, The Apple Tree
Best Lighting Design: Jonathan Foucheaux, Aida; Su Gonczy, My First Time; Darcy Jamison, The Trojan Women; Lorena Murry, Wait Until Dark; Selena Poznak, After the War; Dan Zimmer, The Skin of Our Teeth (NOCCA)
Best Set Design: Jeff Becker, The Skin of Our Teeth (NOCCA); Kevin Griffith, Verses from Jordan; Geoffrey Hall, Shotgun; David Raphel, I Am My Own Wife; Chad Talkington, A Raisin in the Sun; Stephen Thurber, Flaming Guns of the Purple Sage
Best Choreography: Tara Brewer, The Apple Tree; Jauné Buisson, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas; Blake Coheley, THE SWEETEST SOUNDS The Music of Richard Rodgers; Kelly Fouchi, All Shook Up; Frannie Rosenberg, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee; Christie Zimmerman, Honk! (East Bank)
Best Music Director: Joel Britton, The Women of Brewster Place; William Bowling, Major Archibald Swelling’s Salvation Salve Medicine Show; Jonne Dendinger, A...my name is Alice; Alan Payne, Honk! (East Bank); C. Leonard Raybon, South Pacific; Jefferson Turner, Let Freedom Swing!
Best Sound Design: A.J. Allegra, True West; Richard Read, Valley of the Dolls; Marty Sachs, Betty’s Summer Vacation; Eric Shimelonis, Shotgun; Mike Singleton, Opus; Christopher W. Wright, We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!
Best Original Music: Noah Adams, The Father Clock; William Bowling, Major Archibald Swelling’s Salvation Salve Medicine Show; Barbara & Whit Connah, Loup Garou; Eric Shimelonis, Shotgun; Joshua Smith, Not Not Not Not Not Enough Oxygen; James Walsh, The Trojan Women
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