Hamlet Maneuver

Local stages choked with Shakespeare; critics honor the year's best theater work

It's hard to get critics to agree on anything, but once a year a forum of theater critics from the Dallas and Fort Worth daily and weekly press, including the Dallas Observer, chooses which actors, directors and designers deserve special recognition for good work. This year's list honors eight directors, seven actors, nine actresses, five ensemble casts, more than a dozen designers and 17 theater companies. (Honorees are listed alphabetically.)

New Plays or Musicals: Black Butterfly in Chloroform (Teatro Dallas); Cinderella (Lyric Stage).

Touring Production: Elaine Stritch at Liberty (Majestic Theatre).

Jason Butler Harner makes Hamlet's all-consuming grief heartbreaking and believable.
Nicole Nelson
Jason Butler Harner makes Hamlet's all-consuming grief heartbreaking and believable.


continues at Dallas Theater Center through October 11. Call 214-526-8210. and continues at Trinity River Arts Center through September 28. Call 214-505-1655.

Directors: Andi Allen, Ruthless! (Uptown Players); Phyllis Cicero, Blues for an Alabama Sky (Soul Rep Theatre Company and Stage West); Jim Covault, A Skull in Connemara (Stage West); Scott Eckert, musical direction, Titanic (Lyric); Richard Hamburger, Of Mice and Men (Dallas Theater Center); Rene Moreno, Copenhagen (Theatre Three); Artie Olaisen, Grimm Tales (Dallas Children's Theater); Katherine Owens, Silence (Undermain).

Actors: Robert Brewer, Bat Boy: The Musical (Theatre Three); Kieran Connolly, King Lear (Kitchen Dog Theater); Coy Covington, Ruthless! (Uptown); Justin Flowers, A Skull in Connemara and Lobby Hero (both Stage West); Tom Lenaghen, A Man's Best Friend (Undermain); Keith Price, Noxide Square (Soul Rep); Matthew Stephen Tompkins, Monster (Stage West).

Actresses: Tippi Hunter, The Old Settler (WaterTower Theatre); Andra Laine (formerly Andra Buschmann), Be My Baby (Theatre Quorum); Denise Lee, The Old Settler (WaterTower); Katie MacNichol, The Real Thing (DTC); Dana Schultes, Comic Potential (Theatre Three); Darcie Roberts, Thoroughly Modern Millie (Dallas Summer Musicals); Shelley Tharp-Payton, Happy Days (Kitchen Dog); Midge Verhein, Close Ties (Contemporary Theatre of Dallas).

Ensemble Casts: Cloud Nine (Echo Theatre); Copenhagen (Theatre Three); The Late Henry Moss (Undermain); Of Mice and Men (DTC); Titanic (Lyric).

Designers: John Dyer's original music and Lake Simons' puppetry, Alice in Wonderland (Hip Pocket Theatre); Gwen Ward's costumes, Be My Baby (Theatre Quorum); Randel Wright's set design, A Girl's Guide to Chaos (CTD); Zak Herring's set, Grimm Tales (DCT); design team for The Old Settler (WaterTower); design team for Of Mice and Men (DTC).

Special Awards: To the Trinity River Arts Center for providing performance space to many small companies (Uptown Players, Theatre Britain, Classical Acting Company); and to Junior Players for staging imaginative and diversely cast productions that encourage young artists, including PUP Fest, a playwriting program co-produced with Kitchen Dog Theater.

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