NORTH HOLLYWOOD — It was the Road Theatre Company's night Monday at the sixth annual Artistic Director Achievement Awards in the NoHo Arts District.
The North Hollywood theater company, which specializes in producing new American plays, took 11 of the 27 awards presented by the Valley Theatre League for outstanding achievement in local theater and tied for a 12th award.
The Road Theatre won for best original drama for "Hitler's Head" and for best revival and best ensemble cast for "Tainted Blood."
Individual winners from the company included Paul Perri, best dramatic actor in "Hitler's Head"; Michael Michetti, best director of a revival, "Tainted Blood"; Desma Murphy and Moira Moore, best set design and costume design, respectively, "Tainted Blood"; Taylor Gilbert and Ken Sawyer, best directors of an original drama, "Hitler's Head"; John Rafter Lee, best writer of an original drama, "Hitler's Head"; and Stephanie Losleben, best lighting design, "Tainted Blood."
Barry Thompson of "Hitler's Head" tied for best supporting actor with Edmund Gaynes for his performance in Two Roads Theatre's production of "Belmont Avenue Social Club."
Two Roads Theatre's production of "Fred Willard: Alone at Last with a Cast of Twelve" was honored as best original comedy. Two Roads' production of "Androcles and the Lion" won for best children's show. James Reynolds and Lissa Layng won for their lead performances in the Fremont Centre Theatre comedy "And Where She Stops Nobody Knows." Marcia Rodd won as best actress in a drama, the Whitefire Theatre's "Everyone's Friend."
Stuart Wolpert was honored as author of the best original comedy, "The Marrieds" at the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center. Anthony Taylor was named best stage manager for the same production.
Tom Seidman was honored as best director of an original comedy, "Desperate Characters" at the Actors Workout Studio.
"The Road Theatre Company pretty much ran away with all the important awards, justifiably so," said Edmund Gaynes, president of the Valley Theatre League. Both of the Road Theatre's two prize-winning plays were terrific, he said.
Actor Ted Lange, best known as bartender Isaac Washington on TV's "The Love Boat," was master of ceremonies for the event, held at the North Hollywood Masonic Temple.
Gaynes said the NoHo Arts District had made great strides this year toward the revitalization of its theater scene.
"The new Renegade American Theatre just reopened, I opened a two-theater complex--the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center--the Deaf West Theatre is opening a new theater on Lankershim in March (they're moving from their home in Hollywood) and Interact Theatre Company is also moving into NoHo," Gaynes said.
The Antaeus Theatre Company, an offshoot of the Mark Taper Forum, is remodeling a theater on Vineland Avenue, several other new theaters have opened in the district, and many more companies are looking for space in the area, he said.
Taylor Gilbert, artistic director of the Road Theatre Company, said Tuesday that she was still in shock from the troupe's showing.
As to the annual awards ceremony, she said, "It's a great event for theater in general and certainly for theater in the Valley."