2015 League of Cincinnati Theatres Awards

On Monday evening, the League of Cincinnati Theatres recognized the outstanding achievements of their member companies. Honored shows received the most accolades from the League panelists during the 2014-2015 season. 

Below is the transcript of the awards, provided by Joshua Steele and the League.

Dale Hodges as Daisy Wertham & Reggie Willis as Hoke. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Dale Hodges as Daisy Wertham & Reggie Willis as Hoke. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

The Carnegie’s excellent DRIVING MISS DAISY seemed hard to beat, but WEST SIDE STORY with its passionate and vibrant magic, just topped it. The ensemble understood the beauty and power of this timeless classic, highlighted by the captivating and charismatic Layan Elwazani as Anita, and Jay Goodlett’s exciting reinvention of the original choreography despite the limited space of the Carnegie. LCT is proud to honor The Carnegie’s production of WEST SIDE STORY.

Ryan Garrett, Katie Langham & Owen Alderson. Photo by Richard E. Hess.

Ryan Garrett, Katie Langham & Owen Alderson. Photo by Richard E. Hess.

CCM Drama’s production of Stephen Karam’s deep play SPEECH AND DEBATE, three misfit high school students form a debate club and band together to disclose the truth about a drama teacher who preys on his male students. Richard Hess’ outstanding direction brought together the perfect balance of angst and whimsy, artfully enabling a marvelous trio of actors, led by sophomore Katie Langham’s brilliantly comic performance. LCT is proud to honor CCM Drama’s SPEECH AND DEBATE.

Sara White as Jean, Mindy Heithaus as Karen, Leah Strasser as Johnna, Nathan Neorr as Steve,  Carol Brammer as Barbara & Kevin Crowley as Bill.

Sara White as Jean, Mindy Heithaus as Karen, Leah Strasser as Johnna, Nathan Neorr as Steve, Carol Brammer as Barbara & Kevin Crowley as Bill.

In Untethered’s and Clifton Players’ first collaborative effort, the heart-wrenching drama about the dysfunctional Weston family and their secrets hit every emotional button and kept the audience riveted to their seats. Dale Hodges was particularly electrifying but every ensemble member shone in their performances. Buz Davis provided tight and impressive direction as well as a spectacular scenic design in the intimate space of the Clifton Performance Theater. LCT is proud to honor Clifton Players and Untethered Theatre Company’s production of AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY.

Derek Snow as Tibbs & Mike Hall as Gillespie. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Derek Snow as Tibbs & Mike Hall as Gillespie. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

A must-see murder mystery and racial drama playing out against the backdrop of the racially charged Civil Rights Era in the deep south, Falcon Theatre’s IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT was noteworthy for taut pacing and clever staging by director Ed Cohen, an outstanding ensemble cast and superb performances by lead actors Derek Snow and Michael Hall. LCT is proud to honor Falcon Theatre’s production of IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT.

ANY GIVEN MONDAY was a dark comedy that investigated the consequences of infidelity, the newly separated Lenny broods over pizza and Monday Night football with his cynical friend, Mickey. Chris Kramer and Daniel Britt slip into their respective roles with ease, providing plenty of moral questions and surprising twists to keep the audience involved to the bitter end. LCT is proud to honor Mad Anthony Theatre Company’s production of ANY GIVEN MONDAY.

Michael Shooner, Reggie Willis & Renika Williams. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

Michael Shooner, Reggie Willis & Renika Williams. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

In an emotional roller coaster of a ride, New Edgecliff took on David Mamet’s controversial story of a billionaire accused of raping a black woman. The strong ensemble included Renika Williams and Bob Allen, with particularly memorable and compelling performances by Michael Shooner and Reggie Willis as the racially diverse lawyers who agree to take on the case. LCT is proud to honor New Edgecliff Theatre’s production of RACE.

Kathyrn Miller as Julia & Noah Berry as Robbie. Photo by  Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Kathyrn Miller as Julia & Noah Berry as Robbie. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

NKU’s THE WEDDING SINGER was a bold, brassy, high-energy musical that highlighted the talents of the NKU students who sang their hearts out. The production was slick, professional, and fast-paced, and show-cased Ronnie Chamberlain’s luxurious costume design bringing out the 80s vibe. LCT is proud to honor NKU’s production of THE WEDDING SINGER.

Justin Glaser as Captain Georg Von Trapp & Helen A. Raymond-Goers as Maria Rainer. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Justin Glaser as Captain Georg Von Trapp & Helen A. Raymond-Goers as Maria Rainer. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

The Covedale provided a solid, enjoyable, and touching production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, thoughtfully directed by Ed Cohen and Dee Anne Bryll, and featuring a well-rounded and vocally strong Helen Raymond Goers as Maria and a graceful, mature Margot Grom as Liesl. LCT is proud to honor Cincinnati Landmark Productions’ THE SOUND OF MUSIC. 

Bruce Cromer* as The Poet. Photo by Ryan Kurtz.

Bruce Cromer as The Poet. Photo by Ryan Kurtz.

A magnificent one man production based on Homer’s Iliad, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati’s AN ILIAD featured a powerful and emotional tour-de-force by Bruce Cromer as The Poet as well as versatile and gripping direction by Michael Evan Haney. It also was underscored by engaging lighting and sound design by Brian Mehring and Matt Callahan, respectively. LCT is proud to honor Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati’s production of AN ILIAD.

Lawson Young as Elle & Chris Collins-Pisano as Emmett. Photography by Mark Lyons.

Lawson Young as Elle & Chris Collins-Pisano as Emmett. Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM Musical Theatre had four very strong productions this year, all worthy of note: BLOOD BROTHERS, PETER PAN and 110 IN THE SHADE, with LEGALLY BLONDE singled out as a powerhouse of song and dance, spectacularly directed and choreographed by Diane Lala. The talented cast did not miss a beat headlined by Lawson Young, Chris Collins Pisano, and Madeline Lynch. Scenic director Joe Leonard also deserves kudos for a masterfully designed set that was almost cinematic in its transformations. LCT is proud to honor CCM Musical Theatre’s production of LEGALLY BLONDE.

Torie Wiggins. Photo by Daniel R Winters Photography.

Torie Wiggins. Photo by Daniel R Winters Photography.

In Diogenes Theatre Company’s timely and well executed one woman production of the 1992 Rodney King trial and subsequent riots, Tori Wiggins gave an astonishing performance bringing to life over 30 characters of various ages, race, and genders, based on transcripts from the actual witnesses. LCT is proud to honor Diogenes Theatre Company’s production of TWILIGHT: LOS ANGELES 1992.

Nicholas Rose as Petruchio and Kelly Mengelkoch as Kate. By Mikki Schaffner Photography

Nicholas Rose as Petruchio and Kelly Mengelkoch as Kate. By Mikki Schaffner Photography

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company put on a “really big shrew” with a boisterous, funny production of Shakespeare’s battle of the sexes, featuring multi-dimensional, passionate, and charming performances by Kelly Mengelkoch and Nicholas Rose as well as a host of impressive ensemble characters, entertainingly directed by Kevin Hammond. LCT is proud to honor Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s TAMING OF THE SHREW. 

Maranda Rossi as Belle and Sam Rueff as The Beast.

Maranda Rossi as Belle and Sam Rueff as The Beast.

A true feast for the eyes and ears, The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, JR just edged out CTC’s other contender, ALADDIN, providing an enchanting experience transformed by Noelle Wedig’s lavish costumes and David Center’s scenic design prowess. Angela Powell Walker directed her numerous ensemble members perfectly in a well-calculated and well-rehearsed musical treat. LCT is proud to honor The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s production of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, JR.

Corinne Mohlenhoff as Offred. Photo by Daniel R. Winters Photography.

Corinne Mohlenhoff as Offred. Photo by Daniel R. Winters Photography.

In Know Theatre Cincinnati’s A HANDMAID’S TALE, Corinne Mohlenhoff, effectively directed by Brian Isaac Phillips, gave a compelling and committed performance in this one-woman adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel. Her performance was notably enhanced by a stellar design team including Andrew Hungerford’s eerie and suggestive set and lighting, and Doug Borntrager’s subtle but effective sound design. LCT is proud to honor Know Theatre Cincinnati’s production of A HANDMAID’S TALE.

In their presentation of the Sesame Street-inspired Tony Award winner, Miami University students virtually inhabited their puppets and brought out the heart of their characters in AVENUE Q. The entire ensemble was impressive, especially Kelcey Steele’s Princeton and Sean Davis’ Nicky. Special nods to Grant Lemasters and Aretta Baumgartner for puppet design and coaching, respectively, and Gion DeFrancesco’s evocative and dimensional scenic design. LCT is proud to honor Miami University’s production of AVENUE Q.

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