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“Stupid FUCKING Bird!”
Anyone who got to announce the name of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s “sort-of” adaptation of Chekhov‘s The Seagull did so with devious relish last night at the 30th annual Helen Hayes Awards, especially when Aaron Posner‘s play, which was nominated for eight prizes, took home two of the biggest ones: outstanding new play or musical and outstanding resident play.
Woolly also won awards for outstanding set design, resident production (Clint Ramos for Appropriate) and for outstanding supporting actress, resident play (Dawn Ursula, The Convert). But the night belonged to Signature Theatre, which won or tied for eight prizes, including three for its collaboration with Ford’s Theatre, Hello Dolly! (choreography, ensemble, musical), in addition to awards for Gypsy (musical direction), Company (supporting actress in a musical), Spin (supporting actor in a musical), Miss Saigon (lead actress in a musical), and The Last Five Years (lead actor in a musical).
“How is this night different from all other nights?” asked TheatreWashington CEO Linda Levy Grossman, making the obvious joke on the last night of Passover. The Helen Hayes Awards had been criticized in the past for forcing its audience to sit through too many awards presentations and musical numbers on empty stomachs, so this year, the group behind the event transplanted it from the Warner Theatre and J.W. Marriott to the National Building Museum, where the party and awards show went on simultaneously. The presentation, split into three “acts,” was truncated, with a small chorus singing off winners whose speeches went on too long. Beyond the center of the room, on either wing of the museum’s atriums, the lines for the open bars snaked past the mac ‘n’ cheese stations. If you felt OK about the tackiness of the request, you ordered two drinks at once.
Like Hello Dolly!, Round House Theatre Company’s production of Glengarry Glen Ross and the touring production of The Book of Mormon at the Kennedy Center won three awards each. The Washington Post presented its annual theater award for innovative leadership to Adele Robey and Julia Christian Robey, the owners of the new Anacostia Playhouse. Pointless Theatre Company accepted a prize for outstanding emerging theater company. And the awards show’s annual tribute honored Victor Shargai, a theater enthusiast and longtime board chair of what’s now TheatreWashington. (He stepped down last fall.) Like every honoree, he was gracious and efficient.
“You wanted more party, now it’s five hours long!” sang performers during the opening number, which also joked that next year’s event will be burdened by twice as many awards. Beginning in 2015, the Helen Hayes Awards will split its prizes into two tiers, for the most part segregating larger, professional companies from smaller ones that use fewer union actors.
The full list of winners is below—-although they were all performed in 2013, which means you can’t see them.
Except for Stupid Fucking Bird, as Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz reminded the crowd last night. Accepting the award for outstanding resident play, he duly plugged this summer’s remount.
Outstanding Director, Resident Musical Alan Paul A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum Shakespeare Theatre Company
Outstanding Director, Resident Play Mitchell Hébert Glengarry Glen Ross Round House Theatre
Outstanding Choreography, Resident Musical Karma Camp Hello, Dolly! Ford’s Theatre and Signature Theatre
Outstanding Movement, Resident Play Irina Tsikurishvili and Ben Cunis The Three Musketeers Synetic Theater
Outstanding Music Direction, Resident Production Jon Kalbfleisch Gypsy Signature Theatre
Outstanding Set Design, Resident Production Clint Ramos Appropriate Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Outstanding Lighting Design, Resident Production Andrew F. Griffin Henry V Folger Theatre
Outstanding Costume Design, Resident Production Merrily Murray-Walsh Mary T. & Lizzy K. Arena Stage
Outstanding Sound Design, Resident Production Eric Shimelonis Never the Sinner 1st Stage
Outstanding Supporting Performer, Visiting Production Samantha Marie Ware The Book of Mormon The Kennedy Center
Outstanding Lead Actress, Visiting Production Rachel York Anything Goes The Kennedy Center
Outstanding Lead Actor, Visiting Production Christopher John O’Neill The Book of Mormon The Kennedy Center
Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Musical Erin Weaver Company Signature Theatre
Outstanding Supporting Actor, Resident Musical Bobby Smith Spin Signature Theatre
Outstanding Lead Actress, Resident Musical Diana Huey Miss Saigon Signature Theatre
Jessica Vaccaro A Chorus Line Olney Theatre Center
Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Musical James Gardiner The Last Five Years Signature Theatre
Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Play Dawn Ursula The Convert Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
The James MacArthur Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor, Resident Play Ted van Griethuysen The Apple Family Plays The Studio Theatre
Outstanding Lead Actress, Resident Play Joaquina Kalukango The Mountaintop Arena Stage
The Robert Prosky Award for Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Play Rick Foucheux Glengarry Glen Ross Round House Theatre
Outstanding Ensemble, Resident Musical Hello, Dolly! Ford’s Theatre and Signature Theatre
Outstanding Ensemble, Resident Play Glengarry Glen Ross Round House Theatre
The Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical Stupid Fucking Bird by Aaron Posner Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Outstanding Visiting Production The Book of Mormon The Kennedy Center
Outstanding Production, Theatre for Young Audiences Anime Momotaro Imagination Stage
Outstanding Resident Musical A Chorus Line Olney Theatre Center
Hello, Dolly! Ford’s Theatre and Signature Theatre
Outstanding Resident Play Stupid Fucking Bird Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company