1998-99 B. Iden Payne Award Winners
The year's best work on Austin stages.
Let's not pretend that this is an objective report. I served on the Nominating Committee, I was a nominee (as was my wife), I chaired the committee that put together this year's ceremony, and I emceed the dad-gum thing for, I think, the ninth time. However, I think I can at least say that the roughly three-hour ceremony came off without a disaster. And that the featured entertainment which included Boyd Vance and Scott Schroeder performing a duet of "Wilkommen" from Cabaret; Tamara Beland and Lyova Rosanoff of Esther's Follies performing an ode to self-pleasure; Jeff Ellinger performing a mock Shakespearean soliloquy; Mick D'Arcy and Jo Beth Henderson relating a brief history of VORTEX Repertory Company in song; Lowell Bartholomee, Kara Bliss, John Howrey, and Shirley Reynolds singing "Old Friends" from Merrily We Roll Along; and Rob Nash performing an excerpt from Junior Blues were well-received.
The evening was most rewarding for two companies: VORTEX, which shared in honors for five awards, plus a Nominating Committee Special Award for its production of The X & Y Trilogy; and Zilker Theatre Productions, which saw its production of Big River win five awards a big comeback for the Summer Musical after several seasons of living in the shadow of two local musical powerhouses, Austin Musical Theatre and the Zachary Scott Theatre Center. The evening also saw a trio of double winners: actress Sharron Bower, honored for her work in AMT's Fiddler on the Roof and UT's Misalliance; actor Martin Burke, recognized for his work in Zach's Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika and Sneck Up!'s Twelfth Night; and departing ACoT Executive Director Ann Ciccolella for her direction of Austin Theatreworks' Tales From Shakespeare and First Stage's My Children! My Africa!
Outstanding Production of a Play for ChildrenMachinal (Vortex Summer Youth Theatre)
Outstanding Director of a Play for ChildrenAnn Ciccolella (Tales From Shakespeare)
Outstanding Actor in a Play for ChildrenMichael Stuart (Jeeves, Igor, the Monster, Pigman vs. Frankenstein)
Outstanding Actress in a Play for ChildrenDora Lanier (Mrs. Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank)
Outstanding Production of a MusicalBig River (Zilker Theatre Productions)
Outstanding Director of a MusicalRod Caspers (Big River)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a MusicalMike Bradecich (Big River)
Outstanding Lead Actress in a MusicalFelicia Dinwiddie (Ain't Misbehavin' )
Outstanding Featured Actor in a MusicalScott Schroeder (Big River)
Outstanding Featured Actress in a MusicalSharron Bower (Fiddler on the Roof)
Outstanding Production of a PlayTwelfth Night (Sneck Up! Productions & Vortex Repertory Company)
Outstanding Director of a PlayAnn Ciccolella (My Children, My Africa!)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a PlayMartin Burke (Angels in America: Part 2, Perestroika)
Outstanding Lead Actress in a PlayHelen Merino (My Children, My Africa!)
Outstanding Featured Actor in a PlayMartin Burke (Twelfth Night)
Outstanding Featured Actress in a PlaySharron Bower (Misalliance)
Outstanding Set DesignChristopher McCollum (Gypsy)
J. Richard Smith (Big River)
Outstanding Lighting DesignTony Tucci (Gypsy)
Outstanding Sound DesignChad Salvata (Machinal)
Outstanding Costume DesignBrian Gaston & Winter Street Design Studio of Houston (Liu, the Dragon King)
Outstanding Music DirectorFred Barton & Allen Robertson (Fiddler on the Roof)
Outstanding ChoreographerScott Thompson & Richard Byron (Gypsy)
Outstanding Original ScriptRob Nash (Sophomore Slump)
Nominating Committee Special AwardsAlpha Omega Award to VORTEX Repertory Company, for its support of The X & Y Trilogy, an epic series of cynbernetic operas, from their first productions to a staging of all three at the Paramount Theatre;
Quintessential Austin Production Award for Refraction Arts Project's staging of The Visit, for its integration of theatrical elements from masks and puppetry to original music and bravura acting to an environmental presentation in an outdoor setting that mark a kind of theatre in sync with the city's adventuresome character;
O Brave New World Award to both Salvage Vanguard Theater and Rude Mechanicals, for their ventures, in previous years but especially in this season, into new theatrical territory, discovering subjects, artists, and methods of theatrical expression that expand our sense of the possibilities in our art, its continued relevance in our world, and its meaning in our lives.