Okay, okay, it's not exactly the Tonys, but tonight the Portland theater community celebrates itself at the 34th annual Drammy Awards at the Crystal Ballroom, a high-spirited, back-patting affair that's this year hosted by the most popular stage manager in town, Nicole Gladwin.
I missed some big shows this year (cough), and a lot of little ones, too (did I really not see a single show at defunkt?), but here are some of my own highlights from the past season:
My favorite shows were probably Bright New Boise at Third Rail; The Aliens, which Third Rail produced at the CoHo Theatre; Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble's R3; and Portland Playhouse's King Hedly II.
If Gretchen Corbett doesn't win a Drammy for her performance in Portland Playhouse's Mother Teresa Is Dead then the WHOLE OPERATION IS A SHAM. Allen Nause and Vana O'Brien also deserve recognition for their performances in Artists Rep's The Gin Game, and I have no doubt they'll get it. There were some startlingly good performances from younger actors, too, this season: Kayla Lian in Crooked and Bryce Earhart in The Aliens really stood out.
I seem to be in the minority on this, but I thought the Portland Playhouse/Hand2Mouth co-production of Left Hand of Darkness was very flawed, largely thanks to the adaptation itself—I didn't care for the script, and I didn't think the strengths of the two producing companies were particularly well integrated. But that said, I still think it deserves recognition for something—it was the most ambitious play of the year, I think. That should be a category—how about rewarding companies for taking risks, and not just pandering to the rich old people who keep theater afloat in this townt? I'm not bitter.
If anyone else has any thoughts, weigh in. I haven't yet decided if I'm going to attend/blog the ceremony, or stay home and clean my kitchen, but either way l'll post the winners tomorrow.