Arts Desk

Synetic, Studio Lead Helen Hayes Awards Nominations

Watch the throne.

Well, now we know you can't spend your way to a Helen Hayes Awards sweep. The biggest musical on a D.C. stage last year, the Kennedy Center's new production of Follies, may have cost $7.3 million to mount, featured of retinue of Broadway leading ladies, and transfered to the Great White Way, but last night it only walked away with four nominations at a short ceremony at the National Theatre. Consider, in contrast, that Synetic Theater's radical reimagining of King Lear nabbed 15.

The 28th annual Helen Hayes Awards—the annual prizes honoring theater in the D.C. area—-takes place April 23 at the Warner Theatre, and this will be the first year they're hosted under the aegis of an expanded parent organization, TheatreWashington. But there weren't too many surprises at last night's rollout of the 2011 nominees. Among the prizes for resident productions, Studio and its subordinate Studio 2ndStage earned the most nominations (19), partially on the strength of a handful of plays that addressed theatermaking itself, like Venus in FurThe Habit of Art, and, kinda,The Walworth Farce. Maybe the Helen Hayes are having their Artist year, and looking inward. Following Studio, Synetic walked away with 15 nods, followed by the kids-focused Adventure Theatre, which earned 13.

I didn't notice many other obvious snubs—though I would've given Rick Foucheux a leading actor nod for Imagining Madoffand the mood at the National Theatre was pretty noncompetitive. The Helen Hayes Awards are as much about hobnobbing as they are about handing out prizes—which is evident every year, when a remarkable number of categories produce ties. No one is the best at the Helen Hayes Awards—they're "outstanding," maybe—but everyone is a winner.

Not that these prizes and their constituency aren't self-aware. When TheatreWashington head Linda Levy Grossman read out the name of Cate Blanchett as a nominee for outstanding lead actress, non-resident production, for her role in Uncle Vanya at the Kennedy Center, the room burst into laughter. The Hollywood star is a good bet to win the category, but an even better bet is that she'll no-show.

The Helen Hayes Awards, I'm fairly sure, will manage.

Here are the nominees:

Outstanding Director, Resident Play
David Muse, The Habit of Art, Studio Theatre
David Muse, Venus in Fur, Studio Theatre
Aaron Posner, Cyrano, Folger Theatre
Charles Randolph-Wright, Ruined, Arena Stage
Serge Seiden, Charlotte’s Web, Adventure Theatre
Paata Tsikurishvili, King Lear, Synetic Theater
John Vreeke, A Bright New Boise, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

Outstanding Director, Resident Musical
Matt August, Liberty Smith, Ford's Theatre
Keith Alan Baker, Hunter Styles, and Jennifer Harris; Pop!; Studio Theatre 2ndStage
Michael Baron, A Year With Frog and Toad, Adventure Theatre
Toby Orenstein and Lawrence B. Munsey, Chicago, Toby's Dinner Theatre
Eric Schaeffer, Hairspray, Signature Theatre
Janet Stanford, Dr. Dolittle, Imagination Stage

Outstanding Choreography, Resident Production
Michael J. Bobbitt and Fabian Barnes, Mirandy and Brother Wind, Adventure Theatre
Karma Camp and Brianne Camp, Hairspray, Signature Theatre
Dale Anthony Girard, Cyrano, Folger Theatre
Robb Hunter, The Walworth Farce, Studio Theatre
Susan Shields, STAY, Theater of the First Amendment
Irina Tsikurishvili and Ben Cunis, King Lear, Synetic Theater
Kate Arnold Wernick, A Year With Frog and Toad, Adventure Theatre

Outstanding Musical Direction, Resident Production
Jay Crowder, Liberty Smith, Ford's Theatre
Jon Kalbfleisch, Hairspray, Signature Theatre
James Moore, Follies, The Kennedy Center
Christopher Youstra, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Olney Theatre Center
Christopher Youstra, Pop!, Studio Theatre 2ndStage

Outstanding Set Design, Resident Production
Phil Charlwood, King Lear, Synetic Theater
Daniel Conway, Cyrano, Folger Theatre
David Ghatan, Voices Underwater, Rorschach Theatre
Misha Kachman, A Bright New Boise, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
James Noone, The Habit of Art, Studio Theatre
Collin Ranney, A Year With Frog and Toad, Adventure Theatre
Lee Savage, Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare Theatre Company

Outstanding Lighting Design, Resident Production
Colin K. Bills, A Bright New Boise, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Michael Gilliam, Ruined, Arena Stage
Andrew F. Griffin, King Lear, Synetic Theater
Andrew F. Griffin, Othello, Folger Theatre
Chris Lee, The Hollow, Signature Theatre
Tyler Micoleau, Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare Theatre Company
Thom Weaver, Cyrano, Folger Theatre

Outstanding Costume Design, Resident Production
Georgi Alexi-Meskhishvili, King Lear, Synetic Theater
Gregg Barnes, Follies, The Kennedy Center
ESosa, Ruined, Arena Stage
Kendra Rai, The Green Bird, Constellation Theatre Company
Chelsey Schuller, A Year With Frog and Toad, Adventure Theatre

Outstanding Sound Design, Resident Production
Chris Baine, A Bright New Boise, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Steven Cahill, Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare Theatre Company
Irakli Kavsadze and Konstantine Lortkipanidze, King Lear, Synetic Theater
Nicole Martin, Voices Underwater, Rorschach Theatre
Neil McFadden, An Almost Holy Picture, Rep Stage
Matt Rowe, Hairspray, Signature Theatre
Tom Teasley, The Green Bird, Constellation Theatre Company

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Play
Miřenka Čechová, King Lear, Synetic Theater
Margaret Daly, The Habit of Art, The Studio Theatre
Gabriela Fernández-Coffey, After the Fall, Theater J
Catherine Flye, Pride and Prejudice, Round House Theatre
Donnetta Lavinia Grays, Ruined, Arena Stage
Jennifer Mendenhall, Imagining Madoff, Theater J

The James MacArthur Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor, Resident Play
Ben Cunis, King Lear, Synetic Theater
Aubrey Deeker, The Walworth Farce, Studio Theatre
Chris Dinolfo, King Lear, Synetic Theater
Philip Fletcher, King Lear, Synetic Theater
Ted van Griethuysen, Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare Theatre Company

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Musical
Tracy Lynn Olivera, The Sound of Music, Olney Theatre Center
Nova Y. Payton, Hairspray, Signature Theatre
Kirstin Riegler, A Year With Frog and Toad, Adventure Theatre
Lauren Williams, Hairspray, Signature Theatre
Rachel Zampelli, Pop!, Studio Theatre 2ndStage

Outstanding Supporting Actor, Resident Musical
Matthew Delorenzo, Pop!, Studio Theatre 2ndStage
Ricardo Frederick Evans, Dr. Dolittle, Imagination Stage
Kevin McAllister, Parade, Ford's Theatre and Theater J
Jobari Parker-Namdar, A Year With Frog and Toad, Adventure Theatre
Bobby Smith, The Sound of Music, Olney Theatre Center
Vishal Vaidya, A Year With Frog and Toad, Adventure Theatre
Dan Van Why, National Pastime, Keegan Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Performer, Non-Resident Production
Maximilien A. Baud, Billy Elliot the Musical, The Kennedy Center
Ben Cook, Billy Elliot the Musical, The Kennedy Center
Hayley McElhinney, Uncle Vanya, The Kennedy Center
Hugo Weaving, Uncle Vanya, The Kennedy Center
Patrick Wetzel, Billy Elliot the Musical, The Kennedy Center

Outstanding Lead Actress, Resident Play
Rena Cherry Brown, Wit, The Bay Theatre Company, Inc.
Jenny Jules, Ruined, Arena Stage
Ira Koval, King Lear, Synetic Theater
Mona Martínez, ¡Ay, Carmela!, GALA Hispanic Theatre
Lizan Mitchell, The Trip To Bountiful, Round House Theatre
Erica Sullivan, Venus in Fur, Studio Theatre
Irina Tsikurishvili, King Lear, Synetic Theater

The Robert Prosky Award for Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Play
Mitchell Hébert, After the Fall, Theater J
Irakli Kavsadze, King Lear, Synetic Theater
James McMenamin, Edward Albee's At Home at the Zoo, Arena Stage
Michael Russotto, A Bright New Boise, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Ted van Griethuysen, The Habit of Art, The Studio Theatre
Paxton Whitehead, The Habit of Art, The Studio Theatre

Outstanding Lead Actress, Resident Musical
Nancy Anderson, Side By Side By Sondheim, Signature Theatre
Jessica Lauren Ball, The Sound of Music, Olney Theatre Center
Carolyn Cole, Hairspray, Signature Theatre
Kelly Karbacz, Liberty Smith, Ford's Theatre
Jan Maxwell, Follies, The Kennedy Center
Bernardine Mitchell, His Eye is On the Sparrow, MetroStage

Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Musical
Rob McQuay, Dr. Dolittle, Imagination Stage
Euan Morton, Parade, Ford's Theatre and Theater J
Geoff Packard, Liberty Smith, Ford's Theatre
Tom Story, Pop!, The Studio Theatre 2ndStage
Alan Wiggins, Joseph and the AmazingTechnicolor Dreamcoat, Olney Theatre Center

Outstanding Lead Actress, Non-Resident Production
Cate Blanchett, Uncle Vanya, The Kennedy Center
Leah Hocking, Billy Elliot the Musical, The Kennedy Center
Rozina Kambos, Return to Haifa, Theater J
Melanie Marshall, FELA!, Shakespeare Theatre Company
Amy Morton, Edward Albee's Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Arena Stage

Outstanding Lead Actor, Non-Resident Production
Lex Ishimoto, Billy Elliot the Musical, The Kennedy Center
Tracy Letts, Edward Albee's Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Arena Stage
J. Mark McVey, Les Misérables, The Kennedy Center
Sahr Ngaujah, FELA!, Shakespeare Theatre Company
Richard Roxburgh, Uncle Vanya, The Kennedy Center

Outstanding Ensemble, Resident Play
¡Ay, Carmela!, GALA Hispanic Theatre
Birds of a Feather, The Hub Theatre
Cyrano, Folger Theatre
The Habit of Art, The Studio Theatre
King Lear, Synetic Theater
Oedipus El Rey, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
The Walworth Farce, The Studio Theatre

Outstanding Ensemble, Resident Musical
A Year With Frog and Toad, Adventure Theatre
Hairspray, Signature Theatre
Liberty Smith, Ford's Theatre
Pop!, Studio Theatre 2ndStage
The Sound of Music, Olney Theatre Center

Outstanding Non-Resident Production
The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Billy Elliot the Musical, The Kennedy Center
Edward Albee's Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Arena Stage
Equivocation, Arena Stage
Uncle Vanya, The Kennedy Center

Outstanding Production, Theatre for Young Audiences
A Year With Frog and Toad, Adventure Theatre
Aladdin’s Luck, Imagination Stage
Charlotte’s Web Adventure Theatre
Dr. Dolittle, Imagination Stage
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Adventure Theatre

The Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical
Beertown, devised by dog & pony dc, dog & pony dc
Birds of a Feather, by Marc Acito, The Hub Theatre
Cyrano, by Edmond Rostand, translated by Michael Hollinger, adapted by Michael Hollinger and Aaron Posner, Folger Theatre
The Heir Apparent, adapted by David Ives from the comedy by Jean-François Regnard, Shakespeare Theatre Company
Imagining Madoff, by Deb Margolin, Theater J
Lungs, by Duncan Macmillan, The Studio Theatre
Wonderful Life, adapted by Helen Pafumi and Jason Lott, The Hub Theatre

Outstanding Resident Musical
Follies, The Kennedy Center
Hairspray, Signature Theatre
Liberty Smith, Ford's Theatre
Pop!, Studio Theatre 2ndStage
Side By Side By Sondheim, Signature Theatre
The Sound of Music, Olney Theatre Center

Outstanding Resident Play
A Bright New Boise, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Cyrano, Folger Theatre
King Lear, Synetic Theater
Ruined, Arena Stage
Venus in Fur, The Studio Theatre

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