Last night’s Henry Awards presented by the Colorado Theatre Guild (CTG) was a success from the start. With a sold out crowd in attendance, the small Space Theatre at the Performing Arts Complex was literally filled with the energy of excited artists, who, while rooting for their own, were really there to support the arts community of Denver. There were fantastic live performances. Funny acceptance speeches. Touching acceptance speeches. For some reason, there was a lot of kissing between presenters. A major focus point of the evening was the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Bill McHale. Nearly half of the audience members stood when asked if they had ever had the pleasure of working with Bill. His short acceptance speech urged the audience to be true to the author of the plays they perform, and to continue to support theatre.
Even though the Arvada Center had the most nominations (and in turn the most wins), the second half of the evening was when Miner’s Alley Playhouse began an unexpected run of wins, including Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play (Billie McBride), Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play (Chris Kendall), Outstanding Direction of Play (Robert Kramer), Outstanding Production of a Play (Robert Kramer), and finally – perhaps the most unexpected – Outstanding Season for a Theatre. The entire company seemed simultaneously proud and humbled by the recognition.
When all was said and done, the night ended in the perfect manner; the audience on stage singing and dancing, laughing and cheering, and proud to be a part of this wonderful community.
HIS FAVORITE MOMENT: The top moment for me was during one of Miners Alley’s acceptance speeches. Robert Kramer (I believe) spoke about his answer to the question “What is your competition?” to which he replies “Bad theatre”. He goes on to explain that as long as they are making good theatre and bringing people into the theatre, then they are doing very well. If everyone in the community is creating good theatre and keeping people interested in going to the theatre, then we as an artistic community are going to do very well. The artists in attendance last night were challenged and charged and encouraged several times to make 2011 a stronger year for the arts in the area. I know I felt excited, and I could feel the rest of the audience getting motivated to rise to the occasion.
HER FAVORITE MOMENT: I have to admit that the highlight of the evening for me was the performance of “Be Italian” by Beth Flynn and her Little Guidos, from the production of Nine at the Arvada Center. The number was provocative and highly entertaining. As it should be, it was also ever so slightly disturbing, which was heightened by the fact that these small boys slapping tambourines all over themselves came right after the award for Special Achievement in Youth/Educational Theatre.
HERE IS THE BREAKDOWN OF WINNERS:
Outstanding Season – Miners Alley Playhouse
Outstanding Play – A Picasso, Miners Alley Playhouse
Outstanding Musical – Miss Saigon, Arvada Center
Outstanding New Play – The World is Mine, Buntport Theater
Actor (Play) – Chris Kendall, A Picasso, Miners Alley Playhouse
Actress (Play) – Billie McBride, Grace and Glorie, Miners Alley Playhouse
Supporting Actor(Play) – Jean-Pierre Serret, Mariela in the Desert, Denver Center Theatre Company
Supporting Actress (Play) – Hannah Duggan, The World is Mine, Buntport Theater
Actor (Musical) – Kevin Vortmann, Miss Saigon, Arvada Center
Actress (Musical) – EJ Zimmerman, Miss Saigon, Arvada Center
Supporting Actor (Musical) – Daniel Herron, Miss Saigon, Arvada Center
Supporting Actress (Musical) – Erin Rollman, Jugged Rabbit Stew, Buntport Theater
Ensemble – A Picasso, Miners Alley Playhouse
Direction (Play) – Robert Kramer, Grace and Glorie, Miners Alley Playhouse
Direction (Musical) – Steve Wilson, Man of La Mancha, PHAMALy
Musical Director – David Nehls, Miss Saigon, Arvada Center
Choreography – Stephen Bourneuf, Joseph and the Amazing… Arvada Center
Sound design – Steve Stevens, Joseph and the Amazing… Arvada Center
Lighting design – Gail Gober, Joseph and the Amazing… Arvada Center
Costume design – Chris Campbell, Joseph and the Amazing… Arvada Center
Scenic design – Vicki Smith, Mariela in the Desert, Denver Center Theatre Company
SPECIAL AWARDS (*not voted on by Henry Award Judges):
Educational/Youth Theatre – Aurora Fox ‘Little Foxes’
Props/Set Dressing – Beki Pineda
Scenic Painting – Daniel Lowenstein
Regional Theatre – Backstage Theatre, Breckenridge, CO
Lifetime Achievement – Bill McHale
Arvada Center – 9
Miners Alley – 6
Buntport Theatre – 3
DCTC – 2
PHAMALy – 1