Move over, Tony Awards, the CT Critics Circle celebrated its own version of Broadway with its 26th Annual Awards show on Monday, June 13 at Hartford Stage, co-sponsored with Hartford TheaterWorks. With the talented crooner Tina Fabrique known especially for her command of the role as Ella Fitzgerald, served as mistress of ceremonies. The party honored the best in our state in the past season with recognition in the areas of acting, direction, costumes, choreography, sound, lighting, set design, ensemble, debut and, new this year, projections.
Two world premieres -- Hartford Stage's Broadway-bound “Anastasia,” about a lost princess who searches for family, and Yale Repertory Theatre's "Indecent,” about a real play and its journey around the world, which is currently playing in New York -- received top honors as outstanding musical and play.
Honors included Outstanding director of a play: Rebecca Taichman for “Indecent," Outstanding director of a musical: Darko Tresnjak for “Anastasia," Outstanding actor in a play: Rajesh Bose for "Disgraced" at Long Wharf Theatre, Outstanding actor in a musical: Bobby Steggert for "My Paris" at Long Wharf Theatre, Outstanding actress in a play: Erika Rolfsrud for "Good People" at Hartford's TheaterWorks, Outstanding actress in a musical: Christy Altomare for “Anastasia," Outstanding choreography: Peggy Hickey for “Anastasia," Outstanding ensemble: "Indecent” at Yale Repertory Theatre,
Outstanding featured actor in a play: Charles Janasz for "Romeo and Juliet" at Hartford Stage," Outstanding featured actress in a play: Birgit Huppuch for "The Moors" at Yale Repertory Theatre, Outstanding featured actor in a musical: Teren Carter for "Memphis" at Ivoryton Playhouse, Outstanding featured actress in a musical: Mara Davi for "My Paris,” and Outstanding debut: Mohit Gautman for “Disgraced” at Long Wharf Theatre.
Others awarded that night included Outsanding set design: Alexander Dodge for "Rear Window" at Hartford Stage,. Outstanding costume design: (a tie) for Linda Cho for "Anastasia" and Paul Tazewell for “My Paris” at Long Wharf Theatre, Outstanding lighting design: Donald Holder for “Anastasia," Outstanding sound design: Darron L. West for "Body of an American" for Hartford Stage, Outstanding projection design: Aaron Rhyne for "Anastasia" at Hartford Stage and special awards were presented to Lisa Gutkin and Aaron Halva, co-composers and co-music directors who created the Klezmer music for Yale Rep's world premiere of "Indecent."
Anne Keefe, stage manager of New Haven's Long Wharf Theatre and Broadway for more than 25 years and part of the leadership team that saved and transformed Westport Country Playhouse, received the Connecticut Critics Circle's Tom Killen Award for lifetime achievement in the theater. Longtime colleague Allison Harris presented the award and read congratulations from former Long Wharf Theatre artistic director Arvin Brown and actor John Lithgow.
Among the award presenters were Gov. Dannel F. Malloy and Cathy Malloy, CEO of the Greater Hartford Arts Council, O'Neill Theater Center founder George White, animal trainer Bill Berloni and Tony Award nominee Tony Sheldon who is currently starring at The Terris Theatre in Chester in “The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd."
Tina Fabrique sang several numbers, with her famous “scatting” prominently displayed and also performing was David Pittsinger, with his deep resonating tenor voice, offering a song from the role he was nominated for, "South Pacific" at Ivoryton Playhouse.
The Connecticut Critics Circle is comprised of theater critics and writers in the state's print, radio and on-line media. Information: www.ctcritics.org. The celebration clearly demonstrated that Connecticut theater may be close to Broadway but it is certainly not in its shadow.