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Culture Lust by Angela Carone

2008 Craig Noel Awards for Theatrical Excellence

Fences at Cygnet Theater On Monday night, the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle held their esteemed awards ceremony, the Craig Noel Awards for Theatrical Excellence, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla.  The event is named for the 93-year-old founding director of the Old Globe Theater, who attended last night's affair along with some 350 local theater professionals and supporters.  I had to miss it because my best friend had her baby (first shoutout to June York, 2 days old as I write!), which is one of the few things that could keep me away from an awards ceremony.  It's strange how much I love them. 

I was thrilled to see Cygnet Theater's production of Fences get so much attention.  This was definitely one of my favorite productions from last year.  The August Wilson play won best dramatic production, direction and ensemble.  Antonio T.J. Johnson and Sylvia M'Lafi Thompson ( right ) also won for their lead roles.  The La Jolla Playhouse's Memphis won for outstanding new musical and Chad Kimball was honored for his lead performance.  I was wholly entertained by Memphis and was exhausted just watching Kimball incredible energy on stage.  It was a performance that deserved the recognition.  After spending time behind the scenes at The Old Globe's revival of The Woman , I'm glad to see Anna Oliver's costumes win for Costume Design.  Check out my slideshow featuring Anna and the Old Globe costume department.  Special awards were given to local veteran actor Jonathan McMurtry along with Arthur Wagner and Steve Karo.  Wagner founded UCSD's Department of Theatre and Dance and Karo led the effort to renovate the beautiful historic Balboa Theater in downtown San Diego.  You can find the complete list of winners after the jump.