2007 B. Iden Payne Awards
Take a bow, nominees
What do a gay New York baseball star, a vain British matinee idol, and a hillbilly Hamlet have in common? Beyond being interesting role models for the 21st century, they're also leading characters in the shows receiving the most B. Iden Payne Award nominations this year. Taking top honors in the running for the Austin Circle of Theaters' annual dramatic awards are Take Me Out, Richard Greenberg's look at the upheaval caused by a star slugger abruptly coming out of the closet; Present Laughter, the vintage Noël Coward comedy about the daily chaos in the home of a famous (and famously self-absorbed) stage actor – both produced by the Zachary Scott Theatre Center – and Refraction Arts' premiere of The Assumption, a loose adaptation of Hamlet by way of The Dukes of Hazzard. Take Me Out's eight noms include ones for Production of a Drama; director Dave Steakley; actors Jody Reynard, Martin Burke, and Zach Thompson; lighting designer Jason Amato; sound designer Craig Brock; and fight choreographer Tina Gramann. Present Laughter is nominated for Production of a Comedy with recognition for actors Jamie Goodwin, Helen Merino, and Elizabeth Doss; set designer Cliff Simon; costume designer Susan Branch; and musical director Austin Haller. The Assumption's lucky seven are for Production of Music Theater; directors Sonnet Blanton and Julia M. Smith; Smith's choreography; the original script by Blanton, Ron Berry, Rebecca Beegle, Jeffery Mills, Chase Staggs, and Cyndi Williams; Staggs' set design; and performances by Berry and Adriene Mishler.
Overall, 62 productions mounted from September 2006 to August 2007 received nominations. Six went to the Mermaid Theatre Company-Austin Shakespeare Festival co-production of As You Like It, recognized for comedy production, Guy Roberts' direction, Jill Blackwood's acting and musical direction, and Aaron Alexander's acting and fight choreography. Five each went to Second Youth Family Theatre's The Page and the Caterpillar (Production of a Play for Youth, Leslie Hollingsworth's direction, and acting by Kirk German, Joe Hartman, and Julianna Wright); Rubber Repertory's premiere of At Home With Dick 2 (musical production, direction by Matt Hislope and Josh Meyer, and original script, original score, and performance by Dick Price); City Theatre's The Boys Next Door (comedy production, Andy Berkovsky's direction, and acting by Wray Crawford, Charles Stites, and Travis Tinnin); Hyde Park Theatre's The Pillowman (comedy production, Ken Webster's direction, Paul Davis' set design, and acting by Jude Hickey and Kenneth Wayne Bradley); Zach's revival of The Rocky Horror Show (musical production, Robin Lewis' choreography, and acting by Leslie Hollingsworth, Larissa Wolcott, and the late Joe York); and the Zach Performing Arts School's staging of Disney's High School Musical (Production of a Play for Youth, Dave Steakley's direction, and acting by Amy Downing, Sean Maddox, and Kelli Schultz).
The awards, determined by a vote of the ACoT membership, will be presented during a ceremony at which actress/singer/arts advocate Karen Kuykendall will receive the 2007 Special Recognition Award, given annually by the ACoT Board to an individual who has made exceptional contributions to Austin theatre. The 33rd B. Iden Payne Theater Industry Awards will be held Sunday, Oct. 21, 6pm, in Jones Auditorium of the Ragsdale Center on the St. Edward's University campus. For more information, call 454-TIXS or visit www.acotonline.org.