Arts Desk

At a Party-Forward Helen Hayes Awards, Signature Theatre Takes Home Eight Prizes

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"Stupid FUCKING Bird!"

Anyone who got to announce the name of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company's "sort-of" adaptation of Chekhov's The Seagull did so with devious relish last night at the 30th annual Helen Hayes Awards, especially when Aaron Posner's play, which was nominated for eight prizes, took home two of the biggest ones: outstanding new play or musical and outstanding resident play.

Woolly also won awards for outstanding set design, resident production (Clint Ramos for Appropriate) and for outstanding supporting actress, resident play (Dawn UrsulaThe Convert). But the night belonged to Signature Theatre, which won or tied for eight prizes, including three for its collaboration with Ford's Theatre, Hello Dolly! (choreography, ensemble, musical), in addition to awards for Gypsy (musical direction), Company (supporting actress in a musical), Spin (supporting actor in a musical), Miss Saigon (lead actress in a musical), and The Last Five Years (lead actor in a musical).

"How is this night different from all other nights?" asked TheatreWashington CEO Linda Levy Grossman, making the obvious joke on the last night of Passover. The Helen Hayes Awards had been criticized in the past for forcing its audience to sit through too many awards presentations and musical numbers on empty stomachs, so this year, the group behind the event transplanted it from the Warner Theatre and J.W. Marriott to the National Building Museum, where the party and awards show went on simultaneously. The presentation, split into three "acts," was truncated, with a small chorus singing off winners whose speeches went on too long. Beyond the center of the room, on either wing of the museum's atriums, the lines for the open bars snaked past the mac 'n' cheese stations. If you felt OK about the tackiness of the request, you ordered two drinks at once.

Like Hello Dolly!, Round House Theatre Company's production of Glengarry Glen Ross and the touring production of The Book of Mormon at the Kennedy Center won three awards each. The Washington Post presented its annual theater award for innovative leadership to Adele Robey and Julia Christian Robey, the owners of the new Anacostia Playhouse. Pointless Theatre Company accepted a prize for outstanding emerging theater company. And the awards show's annual tribute honored Victor Shargai, a theater enthusiast and longtime board chair of what's now TheatreWashington. (He stepped down last fall.) Like every honoree, he was gracious and efficient.

"You wanted more party, now it's five hours long!" sang performers during the opening number, which also joked that next year's event will be burdened by twice as many awards. Beginning in 2015, the Helen Hayes Awards will split its prizes into two tiers, for the most part segregating larger, professional companies from smaller ones that use fewer union actors.

The full list of winners is below—although they were all performed in 2013, which means you can't see them.

Except for Stupid Fucking Bird, as Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz reminded the crowd last night. Accepting the award for outstanding resident play, he duly plugged this summer's remount.

Outstanding Director, Resident Musical
Alan Paul
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Shakespeare Theatre Company

Outstanding Director, Resident Play
Mitchell Hébert
Glengarry Glen Ross
Round House Theatre

Outstanding Choreography, Resident Musical
Karma Camp
Hello, Dolly!
Ford's Theatre and Signature Theatre

Outstanding Movement, Resident Play
Irina Tsikurishvili and Ben Cunis
The Three Musketeers
Synetic Theater

Outstanding Music Direction, Resident Production
Jon Kalbfleisch
Gypsy
Signature Theatre

Outstanding Set Design, Resident Production
Clint Ramos
Appropriate
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

Outstanding Lighting Design, Resident Production
Andrew F. Griffin
Henry V
Folger Theatre

Outstanding Costume Design, Resident Production
Merrily Murray-Walsh
Mary T. & Lizzy K.
Arena Stage

Outstanding Sound Design, Resident Production
Eric Shimelonis
Never the Sinner
1st Stage

Outstanding Supporting Performer, Visiting Production
Samantha Marie Ware
The Book of Mormon
The Kennedy Center

Outstanding Lead Actress, Visiting Production
Rachel York
Anything Goes
The Kennedy Center

Outstanding Lead Actor, Visiting Production
Christopher John O'Neill
The Book of Mormon
The Kennedy Center

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Musical
Erin Weaver
Company
Signature Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Actor, Resident Musical
Bobby Smith
Spin
Signature Theatre

Outstanding Lead Actress, Resident Musical
Diana Huey
Miss Saigon
Signature Theatre

AND

Jessica Vaccaro
A Chorus Line
Olney Theatre Center

Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Musical
James Gardiner
The Last Five Years
Signature Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Play
Dawn Ursula
The Convert
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

The James MacArthur Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor, Resident Play
Ted van Griethuysen
The Apple Family Plays
The Studio Theatre

Outstanding Lead Actress, Resident Play
Joaquina Kalukango
The Mountaintop
Arena Stage

The Robert Prosky Award for Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Play
Rick Foucheux
Glengarry Glen Ross
Round House Theatre

Outstanding Ensemble, Resident Musical
Hello, Dolly!
Ford's Theatre and Signature Theatre

Outstanding Ensemble, Resident Play
Glengarry Glen Ross
Round House Theatre

The Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical
Stupid Fucking Bird
by Aaron Posner
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

Outstanding Visiting Production
The Book of Mormon
The Kennedy Center

Outstanding Production, Theatre for Young Audiences
Anime Momotaro
Imagination Stage

Outstanding Resident Musical
A Chorus Line
Olney Theatre Center

AND

Hello, Dolly!
Ford's Theatre and Signature Theatre

Outstanding Resident Play
Stupid Fucking Bird
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

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