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'Ragtime' Sets a Record for Ovation Nominations

Theater: U.S. premiere at the Shubert leads with 16 nods; Actors' Gang leads small theaters with 11.


"Ragtime" and "Show Boat"--two big musicals from the same producer, Livent--ran away with the most nominations for the 1996-97 Ovation Awards, announced Wednesday morning at the Wyndham Bel Age Hotel in West Hollywood by the sponsoring organization, Theatre LA.

The U.S. premiere of "Ragtime" at the Shubert Theatre picked up 16 nominations--the most any show has received in the four years of competitive Ovations. The revival of "Show Boat" at the Ahmanson Theatre won 12 nods.

Another Ahmanson show, "The Heiress," netted eight nominations, which helped the Ahmanson series accumulate a total of 22. Together with 11 nominations for shows at the Mark Taper Forum--the Ahmanson's sister theater within the Center Theatre Group--the CTG collected 33 of the 130 nominations--the most for any single producer or presenter.

"Euphoria," an Actors' Gang musical about addictive substances, nabbed eight nominations, propelling the Gang's total to 11--the most for any of L.A.'s smaller theaters. Tracy Young received Ovation nominations for writing and directing "Euphoria," as well as a third for adapting "Candide" into "Candude" for Cornerstone Theater. No other individual received as many.

Right behind the Actors' Gang was the Colony Studio Theatre with 10 nominations, including six for its revival of "Our Country's Good." Also garnering six nominations each were an India-flavored version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" that played the Stella Adler Theatre and the Company of Angels revival of "David's Mother." Cornerstone received a total of six nominations for "Candude" and "Malliere."

Altogether, 16 productions that played in 10 mid-sized or larger houses received 69 nominations, while 23 shows in 18 theaters with below-100 seats got 61. A total of 250 shows that ran between Sept. 1, 1996, and Aug. 31, 1997, qualified for the competition.

The Ovations will be presented Nov. 17 at the Shubert Theatre in Century City, with Ovation nominee John Rubinstein (for "Ragtime") co-hosting with Joanna Gleason for the second year in a row. Stephen Sondheim and Gilbert Cates will receive special awards.

The nominees:

* Play/Larger: "Valley Song," Mark Taper Forum; "Love! Valour! Compassion!," Geffen Playhouse; "Having Our Say," Mark Taper Forum; "Arcadia," Mark Taper Forum; "The Heiress," Ahmanson Theatre

* Play/Smaller: "Don't Buck With Me!," Tamarind Theatre; "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Stella Adler Theatre; "David's Mother," Company of Angels; "I Remember Mapa," Mark Taper Forum at Taper Too; "Fortinbras," Courtney H. Burr III at the Howard Fine Theatre

* Musical/Larger: "Forever Plaid," Canon Theatre; "Show Boat," Ahmanson Theatre; "Once on This Island," McCoy/Rigby at La Mirada Theatre; "Ragtime," Shubert Theatre; "The Tin Pan Alley Rag," Pasadena Playhouse

* Musical/Smaller: "She Loves Me," Actors Co-op; "Euphoria," Actors' Gang; "Candude," Cornerstone Theater at the L.A. Public Library; "Putting It Together," Colony Studio Theatre; "The All Night Strut," Tiffany Theater

* Writing of a World Premiere: Mark Saltzman, "The Tin Pan Alley Rag"; Alec Mapa, "I Remember Mapa"; Kathy Buckley, "Don't Buck With Me!"; Mark Lee, "An American Romance"; Tracy Young, "Euphoria"

* New Translation/Adaptation: Tracy Young, "Candude"; Robert Cornthwaite, "So It Is . . . If So It Seems to You"; Alison Carey, "Malliere"; Arthur Hanket, "Genet: Language of the Wall"; Kenneth Albers, "Saint Joan," Deaf West Theatre.

* Director/Musical: Harold Prince, "Show Boat"; Tracy Young, "Euphoria"; Nick DeGruccio, "Putting It Together"; Frank Galati, "Ragtime"; Stuart Ross, "Forever Plaid"

* Director/Play: Joe Mantello, "Love! Valour! Compassion!"; Bill Rauch, "Malliere"; Michael Michetti, "A Midsummer Night's Dream"; Gerald Gutierrez, "The Heiress"; Howard Fine, "Fortinbras"

* Leading Actor/Play: Athol Fugard, "Valley Song"; Bill Campbell, "Fortinbras"; Ian McKellen, "A Knight Out in Los Angeles," Los Angeles Theatre Center; Tom Slovick, "David's Mother"; Alec Mapa, "I Remember Mapa"

* Leading Actress/Play: LisaGay Hamilton, "Valley Song"; Cherry Jones, "The Heiress"; the late Frances Foster, "Having Our Say"; Suanne Spoke, "David's Mother"; Molly Bryant, "Plastica Fantastica"

* Leading Actor/Musical: Reece Holland, "Crazy for You"; Ned Beatty, "Show Boat"; Brian Stokes Mitchell, "Ragtime"; David Noron~a, "The Tin Pan Alley Rag"; John Rubinstein, "Ragtime"

* Leading Actress/Musical: Page Leong, "Candude"; Treva Tegtmeier, "She Loves Me"; Barbara Passolt, "Putting It Together"; Marcia Mitzman Gaven, "Ragtime"; Michelle Duffy, "Putting It Together"

* Featured Actor/Play: Tom Knickerbocker, "David's Mother"; Eddie Jones, "The Root"; Shelley Malil, "A Midsummer Night's Dream"; Shishir Kurup, "Malliere"; Derek Smith, "Sylvia"

* Featured Actress/Play: Frances Sternhagen, "The Heiress"; Francesca Roberts, "David's Mother"; Bonita Friedericy, "Our Country's Good"; Judy Kain, "David's Mother"; Lisa Beezley, "Our Country's Good"

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