Twelve-year-old actress Kennedy Waterman, the late Jerry Russell and lots and lots of Shakespeare are on this year's list of honorees chosen by the 12 members of the DFW Theater Critics Forum. The annual luncheon and voting session was held Saturday, September 7. Maybe it was the heat, maybe we've all mellowed, but the final rounds of voting went on without raised voices or anyone throwing a biscuit at DMN critic Lawson Taitte.
Winners get nothing but love and their names on the list online or in print as their reward. No shiny statuette, not even a laser-printed certificate of merit. Just the knowledge that out of the hundreds of productions reviewed from August 2012 to August 2013, these are the shows and performances that local theater critics acknowledge as outstanding. Note that some winners, including director Susan Sargeant and Jeffrey Schmidt, and actors Jenny Ledel, Alex Organ, Martha Harms and Gregory Lush, are noted for their work in more than one play or musical during the year.
Directors Regan Adair, In a Forest, Dark and Deep (Second Thought Theatre) Jim Covault, The Taming of the Shrew (Stage West) Cheryl Denson, The Most Happy Fella (Lyric Stage) Joel Ferrell, Gruesome Playground Injuries (Second Thought Theatre) Jonathan Fielding, The True Story of the Tragic Life and Triumphant Death of Julia Pastrana, The Ugliest Woman in the World (Amphibian Stage Productions) Tim Johnson, The Chairs (Kitchen Dog Theater) Matthew Posey, Dreams of Slaughtered Sheep (Ochre House) Susan Sargeant, Children of a Lesser God (Contemporary Theatre of Dallas) and Lydie Marland in the Afterlife (WingSpan Theater Company at the Festival of Independent Theatres) Jeffrey Schmidt, On the Eve (Spacegrove Productions), Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo and Enron (Theatre Three) Jeff Swearingen, Daffodil Girls, Inspired by David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross (Fun House Theatre and Film) T.J. Walsh, The Taming of the Shrew (Trinity Shakespeare Festival)
New Play or Musical Daffodil Girls, Inspired by David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross by Jeff Swearingen (from an idea by Bren Rapp) Dreams of Slaughtered Sheep by Matthew Posey Fly By Night (at Dallas Theater Center) by Kim Rosenstock, Will Connolly and Michael Mitnick On the Eve by Shawn and Seth Magill and Michael Federico
Touring Production Anything Goes (Lexus Broadway Series) The Book of Mormon (Lexus Broadway Series) Traces (Lexus Broadway Series) Underneath the Lintel (Patrick O'Brien, Out of the Loop Fringe Festival)
Actors Jac Alder, Freud's Last Session (Theatre Three) David Coffee, Fly By Night Bruce DuBose, An Iliad (Undermain Theatre) Max Hartman, RX (Kitchen Dog Theater) Chris Hury, The Taming of the Shrew (Stage West) Gregory Lush, On the Eve (Spacegrove Productions) and Penelope (Undermain Theatre) Alex Organ, The Most Happy Fella and Fly By Night Raphael Parry, The Chairs Montgomery Sutton, Gruesome Playground Injuries Ashley Wood, Children of a Lesser God
Actress Rhonda Boutté, The Chairs Marianne Galloway, Children of a Lesser God Amber Nicole Guest, The Most Happy Fella Martha Harms, RX, On the Eve and The Lucky Chance; or, The Alderman's Bargain (the latter at Echo Theatre) Jenny Ledel, Becky Shaw (Kitchen Dog Theater) and On the Eve Tina Parker, RX Allison Pistorius, The Taming of the Shrew (Stage West) Kennedy Waterman, Daffodil Girls Barbara Wood, Knock Me a Kiss (Jubilee Theatre)
Ensemble On the Eve The Taming of the Shrew (Trinity Shakespeare Festival) Jailbait (Dallas Actors Lab)
Creative Contribution Score, Home by Hovercraft, On the Eve Music and sound design, Bruce DuBose and Paul Semrad, An Iliad Sound design, John Flores, Gruesome Playground Injuries Set design, Timothy R. Mackabee, The Odd Couple (Dallas Theater Center) Set design, Scott Osborne, The Chairs Set design, Bob Lavallee, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife (Theatre Arlington) and Gruesome Playground Injuries Design team, The Taming of the Shrew and Julius Caesar (Trinity Shakespeare Festival) Design team, Dreams of Slaughtered Sheep Costume design, Ryan Matthieu Smith, The Lucky Chance
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Special Citations The late Jerry Russell, founder of Stage West, for his lifetime contributions to the North Texas theater community as an actor, director, producer and advocate.
Jeff Swearingen and Bren Rapp, co-founders of Plano's Fun House Theatre and Film, for their innovative approach to youth theater and their dedication to the future of the craft of making theater.