Arts Desk

Signature, Studio, and MetroStage Lead Winners at Helen Hayes Awards

The Folger Theatre's Western-flavored The Taming of the Shrew won for outstanding resident play.

Folger Theatre's The Taming of the Shrew and Signature Theatre's Dreamgirls took home the big two prizes at last night's Helen Hayes Awards, winning statues for outstanding resident play and outstanding resident musical, respectively. Signature's good night didn't stop there: The Shirlington-based playhouse won three more statues—two others for Dreamgirls, and the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical for Paul Downs Colaizzo's Really Really, which is currently being produced Off-Broadway.

The evening was a well-paced two-and-a-half hours; Robert Aubry Davis' disembodied voice was the host, but the Around Town personality never appeared onstage. Many winners made up for the light awards-show trappings—just a few musical numbers and skits—by talking long. "I told you you could do it!" yelled E. Faye Butler's husband as she accepted the statue for outstanding supporting actress, resident play, for Pullman Porter Blues. Her response: "Shut up." After remarking how similar she is to her character in the play ("she's an old blues singer who drinks and cusses all the time") and explaining how the African American railcar workers of the show's title helped establish the black middle class, Butler cemented the evening's tone. "I love you Washington," she said, "and I need a job."

When David M. Lutken accepted the prize for outstanding actor, nonresident production, for Woody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie at Theater J, he echoed Butler: "I need a job, too!" And when it was time for the evening's special presentation—an appreciation for Actor's Equity, the union that turns 100 this year—the organization's former president Ellen Burstyn made it a full-on motif. "I need a job, too!" she said.

Among the big winners, Studio Theatre's adaptation of Ralph Ellison's novel Invisible Man and MetroStage's staging of Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris each took home three prizes. And noncompetitive prizes went to the ramshackle musical troupe Dizzy Miss Lizzie's Roadside Revue, which won outstanding emerging theatre company, and the Capital Fringe Festival, which won the innovative leadership prize.

The full list of winners is below.

John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company
Dizzy Miss Lizzie's Roadside Revue

Outstanding Choreography, Resident Production
Joe Isenberg,  The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

Outstanding Costume Design, Resident Production
Frank Labovitz,  Dreamgirls, Signature Theatre

Outstanding Director, Resident Musical
Serge Seiden,  Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris,  MetroStage

Outstanding Director, Resident Play
Christopher McElroen, Invisible Man,  The Studio Theatre

Outstanding Ensemble, Resident Musical
Imagination Stage, The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe

Outstanding Ensemble, Resident Play
The Studio Theatre,  Invisible Man

Outstanding Lead Actor, Non-Resident Production
David M. Lutken, Woody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie, Theater J

Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Musical
Bobby Smith, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, MetroStage

Outstanding Lead Actress, Non-Resident Production
Felicia Boswell, Memphis, The Kennedy Center

Outstanding Lead Actress, Resident Musical
Natascia Diaz, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris,  MetroStage

Outstanding Lead Actress, Resident Play
Francesca Faridany, Strange Interlude, Shakespeare Theatre Company

Outstanding Lighting Design, Resident Production
Mary Louise Geiger, Invisible Man, The Studio Theatre

Outstanding Musical Direction, Resident Production
Jonathan Tuzman, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

Outstanding Non-Resident Production
Shakespeare Theatre Company, Black Watch

Outstanding Production, Theatre For Young Audiences
Imagination Stage, The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe

Outstanding Resident Musical
Signature Theatre, Dreamgirls

Outstanding Resident Play
Folger Theatre, The Taming of the Shrew

Outstanding Set Design, Resident Production (tie)
Misha Kachman, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,  Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Todd Rosenthal, Red, Arena Stage

Outstanding Sound Design, Resident Production
Matthew M. Nielson, The Illusion,  Forum Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Actor, Resident Musical
Cedric Neal, Dreamgirls, Signature Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Musical (tie)
Priscilla Cuellar, Legally Blonde the Musical,  Toby's Dinner Theatre
Theresa Cunningham, The Color Purple,  Toby's Dinner Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Play
E. Faye Butler,  Pullman Porter Blues, Arena Stage

Outstanding Supporting Performer, Non-Resident Production
Christopher Saul, Hamlet, Folger Theatre

The Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical
Paul Downs Colaizzo, Really Really, Signature Theatre

The James MacArthur Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor, Resident Play
Matthew McGee,  Taking Steps, Constellation Theatre Company

The Robert Prosky Award for Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Play
Steven Epp, The Servant of Two Masters, Shakespeare Theatre Company

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