South Coast Repertory's staging of "Misalliance" and the Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum top the list of nominees being announced today in the race toward the 19th Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle annual awards. The current nominating body of the circle consists of 18 Southland print media theater critics.
"Misalliance" received six nominations, while the Taper divided 16 nominations among seven of its main stage and Taper, Too shows.
Of those 16, seven went to shows created by the Taper: "The Traveler" with two nominations, "Largo Desolato" with three and "The Game of Love and Chance" with two. Other Taper nominated shows were productions hosted rather than locally produced. These include "Roza" (from London and Baltimore Center Stage), "Burn This" (now on Broadway) and "Loot" and "Entertaining Mr. Sloane" (both from New York).
In all, 21 Los Angeles and Orange county productions share a total of 64 nominations. Exactly twice the number of large theaters are represented (14) than Equity Waiver houses (seven). Major productions accounted for 41 of the nominations and Waiver shows (meaning shows in theaters of 99 seats or less, where actors are largely unpaid) accounted for the other 23.
The Dr. Seuss-inspired Equity staging of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which had a rocky run at the Westwood Playhouse last fall (where it moved following its success in Solvang as part of last summer's PCPA Theaterfest), earned five nominations. So did two long-running Waiver shows: Martin Sherman's "Bent" which played for eight months at the Coast Playhouse and John Patrick Shanley's "Savage in Limbo" which played five months at the Cast.
Stages' "Camaralenta," the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble's "Master Class," the Los Angeles Theatre Center's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" (a co-production with San Francisco's American Conservatory Theatre) and South Coast's "Three Postcards" all came in with four nominations apiece.
The Pacific Theatre Ensemble's "Slaughterhouse on Tanner's Close" received three nominations, and the Pasadena Playhouse's immensely popular "Mail" (on its way to Broadway via the Kennedy Center) garnered just two in a surprise twist.
Most sorely overlooked: Milan Kundera's "Jacques and His Master," beautifully translated and directed by Simon Callow, which received only one nomination--for Timian Alsaker's costume design.
Memorable items fallen altogether through the cracks: "June 2" (Pacific Theatre Ensemble); "Time Flies When You're Alive" (Powerhouse); "Personality" and "Boys and Girls/Men and Women" (two sizzling Gina Wendkos projects at the Odyssey), and the imperfect but intriguing "Defying Gravity" (a Jane Anderson play at the Ensemble Studio Theatre).
Among others. In its desire to not diminish the number of awards available to American artists, the Circle (which limits its regular awards to no more than 30 in any given year) voted special awards to visiting productions presented by the first Los Angeles Festival.
These go to "Bopha!" (Earth Players and Market Theatre of South Africa); Canada's Le Cirque du Soleil (visiting Los Angeles for the third time--you'll find it at the Santa Monica Pier); Peter Brook's epic "The Mahabharata" and The Swedish Royal Dramatic Theater production of "Miss Julie," directed by Ingmar Bergman. A fifth special award was also voted to an American company that participated in the festival: The New York-based Wooster Group for its "The Road to Immortality: Part Two."
The awards will be presented March 28 at a sit-down dinner at the Sheraton Grande Hotel downtown. For tickets and information call Ticket Express at (213) 465-0070.
A complete list of nominations for distinguished achievement in theater in 1987 follows:
Production: "Burn This" (produced by Gordon Davidson, Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum); "Largo Desolato" (produced by Madeline Puzo and Davidson, Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum at the Taper, Too); "Loot" (produced by Davidson, Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum); "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" (presented by the American Conservatory Theatre and Los Angeles Theatre Center, Diane White and Bill Bushnell producers); "Master Class" (produced by Ron Sossi and Lucy Pollak, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble); "Misalliance" (produced by David Emmes and Martin Benson, South Coast Repertory); "Savage In Limbo" (produced by Ted Schmitt, Cast Theatre); "Slaughterhouse on Tanner's Close" (Pacific Theatre Ensemble in association with Moclair Productions).
Direction: Martin Benson ("Misalliance"); John C. Fletcher ("A Midsummer Night's Dream," Westwood Playhouse); David Marshall Grant ("Bent," Coast Playhouse); Richard Jordan ("Largo Desolato"); Marshall W. Mason ("Burn This"); Daniel O'Connor ("Slaughterhouse On Tanner's Close"); Norman Rene ("Three Postcards," South Coast Repertory); Roxanne Rogers ("Savage in Limbo"); Ron Sossi ("Master Class"); John Tillinger ("Loot"); Paul Verdier ("Camaralenta," Stages).