Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Best of 2018 JKTS Awards: The Performances

The Performances
(17 Awards)

After taking a couple of seasons off, we are super excited to re-start our annual tradition! Up first, our awards for the media and technical aspects of the Broadway theater experience. Occasionally, the shows we saw that weren't on Broadway are included, too. They were: Chess (Kennedy Center), Passion (Virginia's Signature Theatre), Moulin Rouge! (pre-Broadway engagement), and Sweeney Todd (off-Broadway). And the winner is...

Braving the Elements Award - Play: Denise Gough vs the Snow in Angels in America

As if learning two long plays wasn't enough! She had to face a lot, not the least of which was a snow storm on Antarctica.

Braving the Elements Award - Musical: The Storytellers vs the Ravages of a Hurricane in Once On This Island

Michael Arden's stunning production immersed us in a storm ravaged tropical locale, but the cast battled all of the elements - wind, rain, sand, water and fire. All while singing and dancing. Beautiful and amazing.

Best Villain - Play: Nathan Lane as Roy Cohn in Angels in America

For me, a little bit of funny Nathan Lane is more than enough. But I couldn't get enough of dramatic Nathan Lane. He was vicious, frightening and heart-breaking. All at once.

Best Villain - Musical: Hugh Panaro and Carolee Carmello as Sweeney and Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

In a show full of villains, this dynamic duo takes the cake pie! What a pair - intense, funny, and scary as hell. And so perilously close to the audience.

Best Production Number: Moulin Rouge! - All of it!

The entire show is an extravaganza. Get a ticket.

Unsung Hero - Performance - Play: Joan Allen as Ellen Fine in The Waverly Gallery

Everyone leaves the theater thinking about Elaine May (rightly so). But Joan Allen's measured, powerful turn as daughter, wife and mother stays with you for weeks after. Trust me on that.

Unsung Hero - Performance - Musical: Michael Potts as Principal Hawkins in The Prom

He's not part of the lesbian couple, and he isn't the zany Broadway fish out of water, either. He's just the glue that keeps both stories together. And his duet with Beth Leavel is an embarrassment of riches.

Best Performance in a Dual Role: Eric Anderson as Happy Man/Mr. Thompson in Pretty Woman: The Musical

To be honest, Eric Anderson never really made in impression on me, not even when he led the dismal Soul Doctor a few seasons ago. All of that changed when he transformed back and forth between his two roles in Pretty Woman. Bonus: he gets to tear the place down 8 times a week with the fabulous Orfeh.

Best Replacement: Tamyra Gray as Papa Ge in Once On This Island

I loved every single second of her intense, brooding performance.

Best "Supporting" Cast - Play: The Angel Shadows in Angels in America

A brilliant, earthy and stunningly human effect, this group brought the Angel to life in unsettling, purely theatrical terms.

Best "Supporting: Cast - Musical: The King's Company in King Kong

Not since Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark has there been so much death-defying flying, climbing, pushing and pulling. Watching these man and women bring Kong to life was a privilege.

Best Post-Curtain Call: TIE: Come From Away and The Band's Visit

In both cases, the post curtain call concerts did what I thought was impossible. People weren't running up the aisles to leave. (If you did leave either show as the company bowed, you really missed out.

Best Broadway on TV: Rise, NBC

Spring Awakening, high school drama and Stephanie J. Block? I miss it already.

Star On The Rise Award: Isabelle McCalla - The Prom

Her understated, brave performance is all the more remarkable considering all of the excess and mayhem going on around her. That is real star quality.

Welcome to Broadway Award: Samantha Barks - Pretty Woman: The Musical

We are so glad you made it across the pond at last. It was worth the wait.

Out of Retirement Award: Karen Olivo - Chess, Moulin Rouge!

Am I mistaken? Doesn't retirement mean you stop working and enjoy life? Apparently for Ms. Olivo enjoying life means working after all. Thank goodness.

"I'm Still Here" Award: TIE: Glenda Jackson, Three Tall Women; Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery; Dame Diana Rigg, My Fair Lady

Dolly may be back where she belongs, but so are Glenda, Elaine and Diana. How lucky we are, and all in the same year, too!

Congratulations to every performer on, off and nowhere near Broadway! Thank you all.


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