Nominations Announced For The 2009 Wilde Awards

Nominations Announced For The 2009 Wilde Awards

Eighth annual awards honor the best productions and performances of Southeast and Mid Michigan’s 2008/09 professional theater season

alt textOscar Wilde

Pride Source Media Group, publishers of Between The Lines – Michigan’s weekly newspaper serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied communities – announced today nominations for the eighth annual Wilde Awards. Named in honor of 19th-century gay playwright Oscar Wilde, The Wilde Awards were established in 2002 to honor the excellent work produced by Michigan’s professional theaters. The winners will be announced Wednesday, August 26 at a delightfully prestigious ceremony at the Historic Gem Theatre in downtown Detroit.

The awards symbolize the close relationship that exists between the LGBT and theater communities, says Susan Horowitz, the newspaper’s co-publisher and editor-in-chief. “Gay people can be found at all levels of the theater community, from the executives to the performers, and from the designers to the customers in the seats. We’re inseparably intertwined, and that’s why Pride Source Media Group sponsors this important event. It’s our way of getting together once a year and celebrating our unique connection.”

The awards also focus attention on a struggling industry that has been hit hard by the state’s depressed economy, Horowitz continued. “Yet despite the loss in grants, donations and – in many cases – paying customers, our professional theaters continue to produce top-quality work, and we want to thank them for staying and working in Michigan.”

Nominations in 18 categories were based on reviews of 112 productions staged by 30 Southeast and Mid Michigan professional theater companies during the 2008-09 season, said BTL Theater and Arts Editor Donald V. Calamia. “Although my team of critics and I cringed every time we filled our gas tanks at $4 a gallon last year, that didn’t prevent us from visiting theaters from Detroit to Lansing and many points in between – including stops at five brave, new theaters that opened during the season.”

his year, 49 productions staged by 26 theaters are honored with at least one nomination. Top honorees include Ann Arbor’s Performance Network Theatre (with 15 nominations), Williamston Theatre (10), Ferndale’s Ringwald Theatre (9), Rochester’s Meadow Brook Theatre (8) and the Detroit Repertory Theatre (6). Newcomer Go Comedy! Improv Theater in Ferndale is recognized with three nominations.

Surprisingly, no single show dominates the nominations, Calamia said. “Only one production, Jeff Daniels’ ‘Panhandle Slim & The Oklahoma Kid,’ received more than three nominations, while 25 earned a single nomination. What that proves, to me at least, is that quality theater is happening in all of our theaters – not in just a select few or in those with the biggest budgets. And for theatergoers, that’s great!”

The race is particularly wide open in the performance categories, where 42 individuals are competing in eight categories – and only five (Kevin T. Young, Malcolm Tulip, Morgan Chard, Sarab Kamoo and Tom Whalen) are nominated more than once. And continuing to make history, Lansing-based actress Carmen Decker is the only performer to be nominated in all eight years of The Wilde Awards. (She has won twice: in 2006 for “Moonglow” co-produced by Performance Network and BoarsHead Theaters, and again in 2007 for “Holiday Memories” at BoarsHead Theater.)

Other tight races are expected in the two technical categories, Calamia said. “Plus, we’ve introduced two new categories this year, one to honor playwrights and the other will name the newcomer of the year.”

The awards show, Calamia promises, will once again be an unforgettable night. “The Wilde Awards is always a much-anticipated event, with good food, top-quality entertainment and plenty of surprises. This year will be no different, as attendees can expect it to be yet another Wilde Night!”

For complete information regarding The Wilde Awards, scheduled for Wednesday, August 26 at Detroit’s Gem Theatre, call 313-537-4860 or log on to

Nominations – The 2009 Wilde Awards

Best Comedy
“The Bad Seed” – The Ringwald Theatre; Joe Bailey, director
“Blood Bath & Beyond” – Planet Ant Theatre; Jaime Moyer, director
“Jack Goes Boating” – Blackbird Theatre; Michael Williams, director
“Panache” – Williamston Theatre; Suzi Regan, director
“Panhandle Slim & The Oklahoma Kid” – The Purple Rose Theatre Company; Guy Sanville, director

Best Drama
“Driving Miss Daisy” – BoarsHead Theater; Karen Doyle, director
“The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds” – Williamston Theatre; John Lepard, director
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” – Hilberry Theatre; Lavinia Hart, director
“Rabbit Hole” – Tipping Point Theatre; Dennis E. North, director
“Radio Golf” – Detroit Repertory Theatre; Harold Hogan, director

Best Musical or Musical Revue
“Beyond the Rainbow” – Meadow Brook Theatre; Travis W. Walter, director
“By Jeeves” – Meadow Brook Theatre; David Edwards, director
“Hymn & Carol” – BoarsHead Theater; Kristine Thatcher, director
“The Rat Pack is Back” – The Gem Theatre; Ben Lokey, director

Best Improv, Cabaret or Original Production
“The Day Everything Went Wrong” – Performance Network Theatre; Malcolm Tulip, director
“Go Comedy! All-Star Showdown” – Go Comedy! Improv Theater; Chris DiAngelo, artistic director
“Sirs” – Planet Ant Theatre; Lauren Bickers, director
“Torch With A Twist” – Cliff Bell’s; Grace Detroit, artistic director

Best Production with LGBT Themes or Characters
“Finding the Burnett Heart” – Detroit Repertory Theatre; Harry Wetzel, director
“Geoffrey & Jeffrey” – Performance Network Theatre; David Wolber, director
“The Little Dog Laughed” – Performance Network Theatre; Ray Schultz, director
“Love and Human Remains” – The Ringwald Theatre; Joe Plambeck, director

Best Touring Production
“Avenue Q” – Fisher Theatre
“A Bronx Tale” – Fisher Theatre
“Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” – Fox Theatre
“Sweeney Todd” – Fisher Theatre
“Wicked” – Detroit Opera House

Best New Script
Kim Carney – “Geoffrey & Jeffrey”; Performance Network Theatre
Jeff Daniels – “Panhandle Slim & The Oklahoma Kid”; The Purple Rose Theatre Company
Annie Martin and Suzi Regan – “Maidens, Mothers and Crones”; Williamston Theatre
Michael Brian Ogden – “Bleeding Red”; The Purple Rose Theatre Company
Malcolm Tulip – “The Day Everything Went Wrong”; Performance Network Theatre
Marc Warzecha – “Kwame a River: The Chronicles of Detroit’s Hip-Hop Mayor”; The Second City

Best Actor – Comedy
Paul Hopper – “All’s Well That Ends Well”; Michigan Shakespeare Festival
Alex Leydenfrost – “Panache”; Williamston Theatre
Joe Plambeck – “The Bad Seed”; The Ringwald Theatre
Joel Rooks – “Say Goodnight Gracie”; The Gem Theatre
Malcolm Tulip – “The Day Everything Went Wrong”; Performance Network Theatre

Best Actress – Comedy
Morgan Chard – “Raised in Captivity”; Breathe Art Theatre Project
Suzan M. Jacokes – “O Holy S#!t: A Christmas Tale”; Planet Ant Theatre
Alysia Kolascz – “Jack Goes Boating”; Blackbird Theatre
Sarab Kamoo – “Panache”; Williamston Theatre
Jaime Moyer – “Go Comedy! All Star Showdown”; Go Comedy! Improv Theater

Best Actor – Drama
Thomas Hoagland – “The Best of Me”; The Abreact
James Kuhl – “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”; Hilberry Theatre
Tony Lucas – “Radio Golf”; Detroit Repertory Theatre
Joel Mitchell – “Killer Joe”; The Ringwald Theatre
Kevin T. Young – “Nocturne”; Breathe Art Theatre Project

Best Actress – Drama
Christa Coulter – “Killer Joe”; The Ringwald Theatre
Carmen Decker – “Driving Miss Daisy”; BoarsHead Theater
Sarab Kamoo – “9 Parts of Desire”; Performance Network Theatre
Emily Sutton-Smith – “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds”; Williamston Theatre
Inga Wilson – “A Feminine Ending”; Performance Network Theatre

Best Performer – Musical

Joey Bybee – “By Jeeves”; Meadow Brook Theatre
Ellen Campbell – “Forbidden Broadway”; BoarsHead Theater
David DeCosta – “The Rat Pack is Back”; The Gem Theatre
Janine Novenske Smith – “Forbidden Broadway”; BoarsHead Theater
Kimberly Vanbiesbrouck – “Beyond the Rainbow”; Meadow Brook Theatre

Best Performer – Play with LGBT Themes or Characters
Joe Bailey – “Love and Human Remains”; The Ringwald Theatre
Melissa Beckwith – “Love and Human Remains”;– The Ringwald Theatre
Barton Bund – “The Little Dog Laughed”; Performance Network Theatre
Roxanne Wellington – “The Little Dog Laughed”; Performance Network Theatre
Will Young – “Finding the Burnett Heart”; Detroit Repertory Theatre

Best Teamwork by a Duo or Trio
Loren Bass & Malcolm Tulip – “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead”; Performance Network Theatre
Morgan Chard, Jacob Hodgson & Kevin T. Young – “Red Light Winter”; Planet Ant Theatre
Aral Gribble, Keith Kalinowski & Kevin T. Young – “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)”, Tipping Point &Williamston Theatres
Jim Porterfield & Tom Whalen – “Geoffrey & Jeffrey”; Performance Network Theatre
John Seibert & Tom Whalen – “Panhandle Slim & The Oklahoma Kid”; The Purple Rose Theatre Company

Best Performer in a Supporting Role
Linda Rabin Hammell – “To Kill a Mockingbird”; Matrix Theatre
Laurel Hufano – “The Bad Seed”; The Ringwald Theatre
Michael Joseph – “Radio Golf”; Detroit Repertory Theatre
Alan Madlane – “To Kill a Mockingbird”; Matrix Theatre
Rusty Mewha – “Kong’s Night Out”; Meadow Brook Theatre

Best Design: Sets & Costumes

Bartley H. Bauer – “Talley’s Folly”; Williamston Theatre (set)
Michelle Becker – “Killer Joe”; The Ringwald Theatre (set)
Dennis G. Crawley – “Panhandle Slim & The Oklahoma Kid”; The Purple Rose Theatre Company (set)
Monika Essen – “Fences”; Performance Network Theatre (set)
Corey T. Globke – “Kong’s Night Out”; Meadow Brook Theatre (costumes)
Liz Moore – “By Jeeves”; Meadow Brook Theatre (costumes)
Jeffrey Strange – “Hamlet”; Hilberry Theatre (set)

Best Design: Lights & Sound

Donald Robert Fox – “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds”; Williamston Theatre
Burr Huntington – “Defiance”; Detroit Repertory Theatre (sound)
Reid G. Johnson – “Beyond the Rainbow”; Meadow Brook Theatre (lights)
Will Myers – “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead”; Performance Network Theatre (sound)
Tony Caselli & John Lepard – “Talley’s Folly”; Williamston Theatre (sound)
Daniel C. Walker – “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead”; Performance Network Theatre (lights)

Newcomer of the Year
The Encore Musical Theatre
Go Comedy! Improv Theater
Magenta Giraffe Theatre Company
Play With Your Food Dinner Theatre
TNT Productions
Media Fact Sheet: The 2009 Wilde Awards