Hot and sassy: 33rd Drammys make a sweltering splash

Broadway Rose's "Hairspray" took home six Drammys, including one for outstanding production. ©2011 ChrisRyanPhoto.com - All Rights Reserved

How many actors does it take to raise the temperature in a room 25 degrees?

If you cast right, just one.

So how hot was it Monday night in the Crystal Ballroom, when a not-quite Cecil B. DeMille cast of hundreds of actors, directors, producers, designers, techies and just plain theater junkies jammed in to party down at  Portland’s 33rd annual Drammy Awards? Pretty darned sweltering. But clearly not, to quote Cole Porter, Too Darn Hot.

As new generations and new theater companies have swept into town over the past few years, the Drammys have taken on an invigorating air of celebration. That’s probably partly because the Drammy board’s decision several years ago to move from a Tony- or Oscar-style single-winner format to multiple awards in each category has removed much of the competitiveness. Sure, there’s disappointment and jealousy and second-guessing: after all, theater folk are only human. But mostly the Drammys are a great big group-hug party. The booze probably doesn’t hurt, either.

There were big winners. Portland Playhouse’s startlingly ambitious The Brother/Sister Plays. Miracle’s Oedipus el Ray. Broadway Rose’s kicky Hairspray. Portland Center Stage’s Oklahoma! Shaking the Tree’s The Tripping Point. And there were happy winners whose shows you might not have heard of. The Quick and Dirty Art Project’s entry might have been The Unseen, but it wasn’t the unheard:  Cameron McFee hauled away hardware for sound design. No doubt everyone in the audience had a favorite that didn’t make the list, but that’s the way the ballgame goes.

This year the Drammy board chose 20 more winners — about 60 — than last, so emcee Todd Van Voris, who under different circumstances might have done something of a stand-up comedy act, kept things clipping along. Acceptance speeches were short and mostly sweet, even though exuberance was clearly in the air. Only one winner, if I recall right, mentioned performing untoward acts on committee members’ bodily parts.

Several speeches were not only gracious but also moving: Susannah Mars’ tribute to her late father, the actor Kenneth Mars, while accepting for actress in a musical in Next to Normal; Victor Mack’s genuine excitement for The Brother/Sister Plays; Luisa Sermol’s exquisite grace in accepting for actress in a lead role in Miracle’s Boleros for the Disenchanted. It was refreshing to hear an out-of-towner — Chavez Ravine, the wonderful costar of Center Stage’s Black Pearl Sings — being so obviously delighted about her experience here. And the terrific, wryly funny playwright Lee Blessing ably set the stage for Jane Unger’s heartfelt observations on the occasion of receiving the special achievement award for her founding and 15 years of running the playwright-centered Profile Theatre.

Here’s a list of the winners, as reported on Oregon Live by The Oregonian’s Marty Hughley, who gives his own observations here.

2012 DRAMMY AWARDS:

Young Performer (2)

Dylan and Bryce Earhart, The Loman Family Picnic (Jewish Theatre Collaborative)

Choreography, Musical (1)

Joel Ferrell, Oklahoma! (Portland Center Stage)

Music Director (2)

Alan Lytle, Wizard of Oz (Pixie Dust Productions)
Rick Lewis, Hairspray (Broadway Rose Theatre Company)

Pit Ensemble (2)

Spring Awakening, Live on Stage
13, Staged!

Musical Actress in a Supporting Role (2)

Marisha Wallace, Oklahoma! (Portland Center Stage)
Meghan McCondless, Next to Normal (Artists Repertory Theatre)

Musical Actor in a Supporting Role (3)

Jarran Muse, Oklahoma! (Portland Center Stage)
Joe Theissen, Wizard of Oz (Pixie Dust Productions)
Todd Tschida, Next to Normal (Artists Repertory Theatre)

Musical Actor in a Lead Role (1)

Dan Murphy, Hairspray (Broadway Rose Theatre Company)

Musical Actress in a Lead Role (3)

Blythe Woodland, Hairspray (Broadway Rose Theatre Company)
Sara Catherine Wheatley, Annie Get Your Gun (Lakewood Theatre Company)
Susannah Mars, Next to Normal (Artists Repertory Theatre)

Scenic Design (3)
Tony Cisek, The North Plan (Portland Center Stage)
Daniel Meeker, Red (Portland Center Stage)
Tal Sanders, Locomotion (Oregon Children’s Theatre)

Costume Design (2)

Eyan Candini, Hairspray (Broadway Rose Theatre Company)
Jeff Cone, Shakespeare’s Amazing Cymbeline (Portland Center Stage)

Projection Design (1)

Cameron McFee, The Storm in the Barn (Oregon Children’s Theatre)

Lighting Design (4)

Jerry Mouawad, Zugzwang (Imago Theatre)
Kristeen Willis Crosser, Oedipus el Rey (Miracle Theatre Group)
Don Crossley, The Storm in the Barn (Oregon Children’s Theatre)
Jeff Woods, Locomotion (Oregon Children’s Theatre)

Original Music (1)

Black Prairie, The Storm in the Barn (Oregon Children’s Theatre)

Sound Design (2)

Cameron McFee, The Unseen (The Quick and Dirty Art Project)
Em Gustason, The American Pilot (Theatre Vertigo)

Special Achievement Award

Jane Unger, Profile Theatre Project (Presented by Lee Blessing)

Spotlight Awards

Nicole Gladwin, Stage Manager
Amanda Swinford, Crew
Kay Olsen, Other

Choreography, Play (1)

Rebecca Martinez, The Brother/Sister Plays (Portland Playhouse)

Fight Choreography (2)

Tom Moorman and Kristen Mun, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (Action/Adventure Theatre)
Kristen Mun, Oedipus el Rey (Miracle Theatre Group)

Actor in a Supporting Role (3)

Duffy Epstein, The Pain and the Itch (Third Rail Repertory Theatre)
Tim True, The North Plan (Portland Center Stage)
Shelly Lipkin, Collapse (Third Rail Repertory Theatre)

Actress in a Supporting Role (3)

Dana Millican, King John (Northwest Classical Theatre Company)
Victoria Blake, To Kill a Mockingbird (Public House Theatre Company)
Amy Beth Frankel, The Pain and the Itch (Third Rail Repertory Theatre)

Solo Performance (2)

Gavin Hoffman, To Cope and The Tripping Point (Shaking the Tree Studio)
Andy Lee-Hillstrom, The Centering (Shoe Box Theatre)

Actor in a Lead Role (4)

Nick Ortega, Oedipus el Rey (Miracle Theatre Group)
Damian Thompson, The Brother/Sister Plays (Portland Playhouse)
Mario Calcagno, The American Pilot (Theatre Vertigo)
Bobby Bermea, The Brother/Sister Plays (Portland Playhouse)

Actress in a Lead Role (4)

Chavez Ravine, Black Pearl Sings (Portland Center Stage)
Ramona Lisa, The Brother/Sister Plays (Portland Playhouse)
Dainichia Noreault, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (Action/Adventure Theatre)
Luisa Sermol, Boleros for the Disenchanted (Miracle Theatre Group)

Portland Civic Theatre Guild Awards

Portland Playhouse, Mary Brand Award ($2000)
Defunkt Theatre, Portland Civic Theatre Award ($2500)
Action/Adventure Theatre, Portland Civic Theatre Award ($2500)
Larisa Kramer, Leslie O Fulton Award ($5000)

Original Script (4)

Ellen Margolis, Splasher and The Tipping Point (Shaking the Tree Studio)
Milo Mowery, El Zorrito: The Legend of the Boy Zorro (Northwest Children’s Theatre)
Matthew B. Zrebski, To Cope and The Tripping Point (Shaking the Tree Studio)
Karin Magaldi, Jack and the Bones and The Tripping Point (Shaking the Tree Studio)

Director (4)

Peggy Taphorn, Hairspray (Broadway Rose Theatre Company)
Elizabeth Huffman, Oedipus el Rey (Miracle Theatre Group)
Lava Alapai, Locomotion (Oregon Children’s Theatre)
Victor Mack, The Brother/Sister Plays (Portland Playhouse)

Producer (1)

Samantha Van Der Merwe, The Tripping Point (Shaking the Tree Studio)

Production (3)

Oedipus el Rey, Miracle Theatre Group
Hairspray, Broadway Rose Theatre Company
The Brother/Sister Plays, Portland Playhouse

3 Responses.

  1. tyson says:

    Awards for pit ensemble, movement choreography, projection design and producer but not a single mention of properties design?

  2. Bob Hicks says:

    A fair question from Tyson to the theater world and the Drammy board: Should props get their props? Whaddaya think?

    • Gretchen Corbett says:

      Prop design has been given an award before, just not this year. The committee is not required to give an award in every category every year. I think there was a year when no outstanding production was awarded.

Comments are closed.