The Critics Speak … and Speak … and Speak

Clybourne Park, Manchurian Candidate big winners

The Austin Critics Table marked its 25th year of recognizing outstanding achievements on the local arts scene with a squadron of new critics presenting awards, a city proclamation acknowledging the occasion that included a recipe for a martini, and lots of gracious, heartfelt speeches from the winners.

Actor Marc Pouhé toasting the Austin arts community (Photo by John Anderson)

Marathons are run in less time than it took the members of the Table to dispense the 38 awards – if the ceremony didn't actually cross the four-hour mark, it came perilously close – so the Cap City Comedy Club showroom was considerably less full when the final honors were bestowed on the outstanding theatre productions.

That said, the evening was not without its memorable moments, such as an operatic toast to Austin artists by Liz Cass (an award-winner for her performance in the chamber opera Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance), a full-blown aerobics workout by Independent Project winner Erica Nix, and the most hilariously profane speech ever made by an inductee to the Austin Arts Hall of Fame, from absent honoree Zell Miller III and delivered by his longtime stage manager Lindsey Ervi, in which Miller simultaneously thanked the critics for the honor and raked them across the coals for not recognizing his show Ballot Eats the Bullet, and then called out specific critics and artists by name for what they had done and failed to do. Some ears will still be scorched this morning. (The other inductees this year were choreographer Kate Warren and Flatbed Press co-founders Katherine Brimberry and Mark L. Smith.)

The city proclamation with the martini recipe was not a gag, like some of the other moments in the ceremony. It was arranged by Wyatt Brand head and awards ceremony co-producer David Wyatt, who read it to the crowd and announced that it would be read in Council chambers on Thu., June 8.

The Critics Table membership was expanded this year to include several online outlets, including Broadway World Austin, Central Texas Live Theatre, Conflict of Interest TX, Arts and Culture Texas, and Austin Entertainment Weekly. Of the 20 members of the group, 10 were present to hand out the honors.

Independent Project winner Erica Nix and her workout team (Photo by John Anderson)

Penfold Theatre's production of Clybourne Park and Austin Opera's staging of the new operatic adaptation of The Manchurian Candidate both took home four honors, and just behind them, with three awards apiece, were Hyde Park Theatre's production of Lungs, Theatre en Bloc's production of The Drowning Girls, and Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance. Below is the full list of winners.


Clybourne Park, Penfold Theatre
The Drowning Girls, Theatre en Bloc
The Great Society, Zach Theatre

Jenny Lavery, The Drowning Girls
Lily Wolff, Lungs

David Mark Cohen New Play Award
Christine Hoang, A Girl Named Sue
Lisa Thompson, Underground

Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe, Doctuh Mistuh Productions

Individual Performance
Liz Beckham, Clybourne Park/Lungs/Neva
Chase Brewer, Hand to God
Michael Joplin, Lungs
Amber Quick, One Man, Two Guvnors/Charlotte’s Web/The Herd

Jason Amato's work on Atlantis: A Puppet Opera was honored with an award for Lighting Design (Photo by Errich Petersen)


Chris Conard, The Totalitarians/The Drowning Girls
Desiderio Roybal, Clybourne Park/The Price/The Herd

Susan Branch Towne, One Man, Two Guvnors/The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

Jason Amato, Atlantis: A Puppet Opera
Patrick Anthony, A Perfect Robot/Old Times

Lowell Bartholomee, Clybourne Park/Fahrenheit 451

Greg Emetaz, The Manchurian Candidate


Las Cuatro Estaciones: A Story of Human Trees, Sharon Marroquin, produced by Latino Art Residency Project, Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center

Short Work
“Camille: A Story of Art and Love,” Jennifer Hart

Lisa Nicks, “Dear Johnny, in Response to Your Last Letter”

Alexa Capareda, “Tikling(bird)”/Loose Gravel
Amy Morrow, Hiraeth/“We’ve Been Here Before”/Save Our Spaces Second Line March

Dance Repertory Theatre, Momentum


The Manchurian Candidate, Austin Opera

Chamber Performance
I, Too: The Voices of Langston Hughes, Living Paper Song Project

Original Composition/Score
Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance, Graham Reynolds & Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol

Donnie Ray Albert, The Manchurian Candidate/I, Too: The Voices of Langston Hughes
Liz Cass, Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance
David Adam Moore, The Manchurian Candidate
Paul Sanchez, Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance/A Christmas Carol

Schumann Chamber Players

Deborah Roberts, winner of the 2017 award for Outstanding Artist (Photo by John Anderson)


Solo Gallery Exhibition
“Tammie Rubin: Before I Knew You, I Missed You,” de stijl | PODIUM FOR ART

Group Gallery Exhibition
“The First Horizons of Juno: Christina Coleman, Jane Hugentober, Candice Lin, Karen Lofgren, Christine Rebet, Alice Wang and Chantal Wnuk,” MASS Gallery

Independent Project
Workout! With Erica Nix, Erica Nix

Gallery, Body of Work
Museum of Human Achievement

Deborah Roberts

Jennifer Sherburn, winner of a special citation for 11:11 – Eleven Dances in Eleven Months (Photo by Devaki Knowles)


John Bustin Award for Conspicuous Versatility
Amy Downing

Deacon Crain Award for Outstanding Student Work
Emily Ott, St. Edward’s University
Madison Williams, St. Edward’s University

Revival of a Theatrical Work
Thr3e Zisters, Salvage Vanguard Theater

Bilingual or non-English-speaking Theatre
Luis Armando Ordaz Gutiérrez of Proyecto Teatro

Teaching by Example Award
Babs George and The Actor’s School

Stages of Perseverance Award
Theatre Synesthesia

“Sound and Vision” Award
Andrea Ariel & Andrea Ariel Dance Theatre

Touring Dance Performance
Rambunctious, Donald Byrd/Spectrum Dance & Aeolus Quartet, Texas Performing Arts

Sum of Moving Parts Award
Jennifer Sherburn and Natalie George Productions for 11:11: Eleven Dances in Eleven Months

Sandy Yamamoto, violin, for Beethoven: Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano./Schumann Chamber Players

Museum Exhibition
“Nina Katchadourian: Curiouser,” Blanton Museum of Art

Seeing Something, Saying Something Award
Jeanne Claire Van Ryzin

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Austin Critics Table Awards, Austin Critics Table, Austin Arts Hall of Fame, Mark L. Smith, Katherine Brimberry, Kate Warren, Zell Miller II, Penfold Theatre, Austin Opera, Liz Cass, Erica Nix

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