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Signature Theatre’s Hairspray took home fives prizes at last night’s 28th Helen Hayes Awards—-including one of the biggest, the honor for outstanding resident musical.The other top award—-for outstanding resident play—-went to Arena Stage’s production of Ruined, Lynn Nottage‘s play about genocide, civil strife, and survival in Congo. And Synetic Theater, ever the Helen Hayes favorite, walked away with a sturdy four awards for its silent King Lear, including for outstanding choreography and outstanding ensemble, resident play.
There were relatively few ties this year: two, compared to last year’s five.
Hosts Holly Twyford and Felicia Curry invoked the post-awards reception’s open bar early, but the two-and-a-half-hour ceremony did not speeds its attendees toward it. In addition to the 28 prizes, the show contained an in memoriam montage dedicated to recently deceased members of the local theater scene; musical numbers, both fortunate and un-; and a tribute to actor Kevin Spacey, which began with a video message from President Bill Clinton.
On the podium, Spacey offered an impression of his friend in gratitude, and discussed his mentoring by Jack Lemmon, his early years in the theater, and the times he’s performed in Washington. “God knows that we’re not doing it for the money,” he said. “You certainly know that in D.C.”
His finals words audibly roused the audience: “Everybody in the balcony, everyone out there who has a dream,” he said. “Fucking live it.”
Check back at Arts Desk later today for a fuller recap: the first annual Helen Hayes Awards Awards. Full list of prizes below.
Outstanding Resident Play: Ruined, Arena Stage
Outstanding Resident Musical: Hairspray, Signature Theatre
Outstanding Production, Theatre for Young Audiences: Charlotte’s Web, Adventure Theatre
Outstanding Lead Actress, Resident Play: Erica Sullivan, Venus in Fur, Studio Theatre; Rena Brown, Wit, Bay Theatre (tie) Company, Inc.
The Robert Prosky Award for Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Play: Mitchell Hebert, After the Fall, Theater J
Outstanding Lead Actress, Resident Musical: Carolyn Cole, Hairspray, Signature Theatre
Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Musical: Euan Morton, Parade, Ford’s Theatre and Theater J
Outstanding Non-Resident Production: Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Arena Stage
Outstanding Ensemble, Resident Play: King Lear, Synetic Theater
Outstanding Ensemble, Resident Musical: Hairspray, Signature Theatre
Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Play: Gabriela Fernandez-Coffey, After the Fall, Theater J
Outstanding Supporting Actor, Resident Play: Ted van Griethuysen, Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare Theatre Company
Outstanding Lead Actor, Non-Resident Production: Sahr Ngaujah, FELA!, Shakespeare Theatre Company
Outstanding Lead Actress, Non-Resident Production: Cate Blanchett, Uncle Vanya, Kennedy Center
The John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company: Faction of Fools Theatre Company
Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Musical: Nova Payton, Hairspray, Signature Theatre
Outstanding Supporting Performer, Non-Resident Production: Hugo Weaving, Uncle Vanya, Kennedy Center
Outstanding Supporting Actor, Resident Musical: Matthew Delorenzo, Pop!, Studio Theatre 2ndStage
Outstanding Costume Design, Resident Production: Kendra Rai, Green Bird, Constellation Theatre Company
Outstanding Choreography, Resident Production: Ben Cunis and Irina Tsikurishvili, King Lear, Synetic Theater
Outstanding Musical Direction, Resident Production: Jon Kalbfleisch, Hairspray, Signature Theatre
Outstanding Sound Design, Resident Production: Konstantine Lortkipanidze and Irakli Kavsadze, King Lear, Synetic Theater; Chris Baine, A Bright New Boise, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (tie)
Outstanding Lighting Design, Resident Production: Andrew Griffin, King Lear, Synetic Theater
Outstanding Set Design, Resident Production: Lee Savage, Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare Theatre Company
Outstanding Director, Resident Play: Aaron Posner, Cyrano, Folger Theatre
Outstanding Director, Resident Musical: Michael Baron, A Year With Frog and Toad, Adventure Theatre
The Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical: Marc Acito, Birds of a Feather, Hub Theatre