Payne Pleasures 1999
B. Iden Payne Awards, honoring excellence in local stage work from August 1998 through July 1999. A total of 40 productions from 24 companies won nominations in 23 categories covering musicals, non-musical plays, and productions for children. Leading the way was the Zilker Theatre Productions staging of Big River (12 nominations, including Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Director of a Musical for Rod Caspers, and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical nods to Mike Bradecich for his Huck Finn and Virdell Williams Jr. for his Jim). Garnering 10 nominations apiece were the Austin Musical Theatre production of Gypsy (nominated for Outstanding Musical, with nods to Scott Byron and Richard Thompson for their direction and choreography) and the Sneck Up!/VORTEX production of Twelfth Night (nominated for Outstanding Play, with nods to all six performers and lighting designer Jason Amato), and the Zachary Scott Theatre Center's staging of the second half of its epic Angels in America production, Part Two: Perestroika, won nine nominations (for Outstanding Play, Outstanding Director of a Play for Dave Steakley, and nominations for four of the show's actors). Among shows for children, the VORTEX Repertory Company Summer Youth Theatre production of Machinal and the kidsActing revival of Bugs!won six nominations each, with both nominated in the categories of Outstanding Production and Outstanding Direction. Ballots have been mailed to the ACoT membership, which will vote on the nominations. These awards, as well as a few special awards for service to and support of the Austin theatre community, will be presented during a ceremony honoring the 25th anniversary of ACoT's founding on Monday, September 13, 7pm, at the State Theater, 719 Congress. For info, call 499-8388.
(By the way, for anyone sensitive to conflict-of-interest issues, this item ought to set those red lights flashing and klaxons blasting. For the record, I am the Arts editor for the Chronicle; I served on the Nominations Committee for the Payne Awards and took part in the voting on the current nominations; I directed, helped design, and acted in Twelfth Night, which received multiple nominations (three with my name on 'em!); I am hosting the Payne Awards ceremony, as I have nine times previously, but this year I am also heading up the committee that puts that ceremony together. And oh yes, I'm sleeping with one of the other nominees. I mention this not so much in the interest of ethical journalistic disclosure but to see if I can't spark a little outrage for the "Postmarks" section. Do you know how long it's been since the Arts section has generated any juicy controversy in the letters to the editor? It's depressing.)
Additional note on the ACoT scene: The nominations were announced at the umbrella organization's meeting Monday, at which board elections were also held. The membership must feel like it's in a good groove, because all four board members who ran for re-election were voted back in. Congratulations to Royce Gehrels, Deborah Hamilton-Lynne, Krag Nordyke, and Allyson Pease. One spot on the board remains unfilled -- the spot vacated by retiring board member Jana Lindsey -- so if you're keen to serve Austin theatre, get in touch with the ACoT office: 499-8388.