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Critics Honor Best In San Diego Theater

Above: Heather Ayers, Ken Barnett and Jefferson Mays in The Old Globe’s world premiere production of “A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder,” which was honored as Outstanding New Musical. Credit: Henry DiRocco

Aired 2/11/14 on KPBS News.

The annual awards ceremony celebrating the best in San Diego theater was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

The Old Globe’s production of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” won five awards at Monday night's Craig Noel Awards, including Outstanding New Musical. The annual awards ceremony celebrating the best in San Diego theater was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

It also won directing honors for former Globe artistic director Darko Tresjnak and an acting award for lead Jefferson Mays, a UCSD graduate. The musical currently is playing on Broadway.

San Diego Repertory Theatre won Outstanding Resident Musical for “In the Heights” and a production of Toni Morrison’s novel “The Bluest Eye” won Outstanding Dramatic Production. It was co-produced by Moxie Theatre and Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company.

Actors Lorene Chesley, Cashae Monya, Melissa Coleman-Reed, Warner Miller and Marshel Adams in “The Bluest Eye,” a co-production by Moxie Theatre and Mo’olelo Performing Arts. It was honored for Outstanding Ensemble, Outstanding Direction of a Play and Outstanding Dramatic Production. Credit: Daren Scott

“2013 was a pretty fantastic year in local theater,” James Hebert, theater critic at the U-T San Diego, said. Hebert is the vice president of the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle, which votes annually on the Craig Noel Awards, named after the founding director of the Old Globe.

Full List Of Winners

Outstanding Resident Musical

“In the Heights,” San Diego Repertory Theatre

Outstanding New Musical

"A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder," The Old Globe

Outstanding Musical Direction

Don LeMaster, "The Sound of Music," San Diego Musical Theatre

Outstanding Choreography

Javier Velasco, "In the Heights," San Diego Repertory Theatre

Outstanding Orchestrations

Jonathan Tunick, "A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder," The Old Globe

Outstanding Ensemble

“The Bluest Eye,” Moxie Theatre & Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company

Outstanding Solo Performance

Sean Sullivan, “Baby Redboots’ Revenge,” San Diego Fringe Festival

Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical, Female

Erin Davie & Emily Padgett, "Side Show," La Jolla Playhouse

Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical, Male

Jefferson Mays, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” The Old Globe

Outstanding Featured Performance in a Musical, Male

Phil Johnson, "A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Musical," Intrepid Shakespeare Company

Outstanding Featured Performance in a Musical, Female

Victoria Strong, "The Sound of Music," San Diego Musical Theatre

Outstanding Lead Performance in a Play, Male

Miles Anderson, “The Merchant of Venice,” The Old Globe

Outstanding Lead Performance in a Play, Female

Deborah Gilmour Smyth, "Wit," Lamb's Players Theatre

Outstanding Featured Performance in a Play, Female

Yolanda Franklin, “The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler,” Diversionary Theatre

Outstanding Featured Performance in a Play, Male

Don Sparks, “Pygmalion,” The Old Globe

Outstanding Sound Design

Christopher Luessmann, "The Wizard of Oz," Moonlight Stage Productions

Outstanding Costume Design

Paul Tazewell, "Side Show," La Jolla Playhouse

Outstanding Lighting Design

York Kennedy, “Other Desert Cities,” The Old Globe

Outstanding Scenic Design

Alexander Dodge, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” The Old Globe

Outstanding Projection Design

Victoria Petrovich, "A Weekend with Pablo Picasso," San Diego Repertory Theatre

Outstanding Direction of a Play

Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, “The Bluest Eye,” Moxie Theatre & Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company

Outstanding Direction of a Musical

Darko Tresnjak, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” The Old Globe

Outstanding Dramatic Production

“The Bluest Eye,” Moxie Theatre & Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company

Outstanding Special Event

The San Diego Fringe Festival

Without Walls Festival, La Jolla Playhouse

Don Braunagel Award for Outstanding Work by a Small Theater Company

Ion Theatre, for its 2013 body of work

Actor of the Year

Linda Libby and Randall Dodge

Outstanding Young Artist/Sandra Ellis Troy Scholarship

Abby DeSpain, "Wait Until Dark," New Village Arts Theatre

Outstanding Musical Performance in a Play

Gilbert Castellanos, "The Federal Jazz Project," San Diego Repertory Theatre

Hebert says 2013 provided an impressive mix of productions with a national profile and homegrown shows. "We see a lot of that here (in San Diego) but it seemed especially striking to me, the kind of cross-fertilization.”

Ten working critics make up the voting body. They each see more than 100 plays a year.

For the first time, the Actor of the Year award was a tie, so to speak, going to two different artists. Linda Libby (“Grey Gardens,” “Company”) and Randall Dodge (“South Pacific,” “The Wizard of Oz”) were each honored for an outstanding body of work in 2013.

Ion Theatre, a small independent theater known for provocative, edgy work, was given a cash award, the Don Braunagel Award for Outstanding Work by a Small Theatre Company. The award celebrates ion’s entire body of work in 2013.

And two theater festivals were recognized in the Outsanding Special Event category: The San Diego Fringe Festival and the La Jolla Playhouse's Without Walls Festival.

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