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The Old Globe Wins Most of Critics' Awards

October 24, 1988|NANCY CHURNIN

SAN DIEGO — The Old Globe Theatre swept the fifth annual San Diego Critics Circle Awards Sunday, picking up 10 of 15 awards including one for best road show.

Five of the Globe's awards went to "Coriolanus," John Hirsch's provocative retelling of Shakespeare's play in the shadow of Contragate and the upcoming elections. But after winning for best director (Hirsch), best actor (Byron Jennings), best supporting actor (Dakin Matthews) best lighting (Kent Dorsey) and best sound (Michael Holten and Conrad Susa),it was nosed out by the San Diego Repertory Theatre's "Red Noses" for best production.

"Red Noses," a West Coast premiere by British playwright Peter Barnes, tells the darkly funny tale of a medieval comedy troupe during the time of the Black Death.

The Old Globe awards reflect a year of exceptional critical and popular success for a theater that last year split the honors with the La Jolla Playhouse and San Diego Rep.

Two other winning Globe shows are now playing Off-Broadway: A. R. Gurney's "The Cocktail Hour," now at the Promenade Theatre, won for Best New Play and "Suds," now at the Criterion Stage Left, won a Best Choreography award for Javier Velasco. "Joe Turner's Come and Gone," which won for Best Road Show, traveled from the Old Globe to Broadway where it won an Antoinette Perry award--for L. Scott Caldwell as Best Supporting Actress--before closing.

But there were surprises.

Neil Simon's world premiere of "Rumors," which will leave its Old Globe venue Oct. 29 to prepare for its Broadway opening in November, was passed over in every category, as was Romulus Linney's "Heathen Valley," which won the American Theatre Critics award for best new regional play before opening at the San Diego Rep this year.

The La Jolla Playhouse and the San Diego Rep, which produced less than half as many shows this nominating season as the Globe, picked up two honors apiece. The Gaslamp Quarter Theatre claimed one.

In another upset, the La Jolla Playhouse's much heralded musical extravaganza, "80 Days," seized the award for Best Musical--a new category--but "Red Noses" took the honors for Best New Score. The critics passed on San Diego's longest running musical, "Six Women With Brain Death or Expiring Minds Want to Know," which will celebrate its first birthday Oct. 28.

Three of the four acting awards went to the Old Globe for "Coriolanus" and "Tea," in which Shuko Akune was named Best Supporting Actress for her poignant performance as a Japanese war bride. Rosina Widdowson-Reynolds claimed the Best Actress award for her witty portrayal of a classic Noel Coward heroine in the Gaslamp Quarter Theatre production of "Private Lives."

The San Diego Critics Circle also presented two special awards: one to Scripteasers for providing playwrights with an open forum for script evaluation and staged readings, and the other to William Eaton, public relations director for the Old Globe. Both were commended for 40 years of service to the San Diego theater community.

A complete listing of award winners:

Best Director: John Hirsch, "Coriolanus," Old Globe.

Best Actress: Rosina Widdowson-Reynolds, "Private Lives," Gaslamp Quarter Theatre.

Best Supporting Actress: Shuko Akune, "Tea," Old Globe.

Best Actor: Byron Jennings, "Coriolanus," Old Globe.

Best Supporting Actor: Dakin Matthews, "Coriolanus," Old Globe.

Best Choreography: Javier Velasco, "Suds," Old Globe.

Best Scenic Design: John Arnone, "Lulu," La Jolla Playhouse.

Best Costumes: Robert Wojewodski, "Love's Labour's Lost," Old Globe.

Best Lighting: Kent Dorsey, "Coriolanus," Old Globe.

Best Sound Design: Michael Holten and Conrad Susa, "Coriolanus," Old Globe.

Best New Score: Gina Leishman, "Red Noses," San Diego Rep.

Best New Play: "The Cocktail Hour," A. R. Gurney, Old Globe.

Best Production: "Red Noses," San Diego Rep.

Best Road Show: "Joe Turner's Come and Gone," Old Globe.

Best Musical: "80 Days," La Jolla Playhouse.

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