By Chris Lane
By Olivia Flores Alvarez
By Angelica Leicht
By Jef Rouner
By Jef With One F
By Jef With One F
By Marco Torres
Finalists: Jeffrey Bean (Alley Theatre) and Drake Simpson (Horse Head Theatre Co. and Stark Naked Theatre Company).
The Ensemble Theatre
Putting together a cohesive season is an arduous task. It takes the right mix of new and old, daring and safe, comical and dramatic. Organizers have to consider the whims of their public, the range of their actors, the size of their bank account and even the choices of their competitors. This year the Ensemble Theatre scored on all accounts. Pearl Cleage's riotous comedy The Nacirema Society delivered a poignant message wrapped in a punch line. Its large, mostly female cast was a finely tuned ensemble. The show also continued the Ensemble's tradition of bringing new works to Houston. Next was the family musical Cinderella, a much-needed alternative to the seemingly endless Christmas-themed productions. That was followed by Charles Smith's Knock Me a Kiss, a smart show that deftly explored an episode in the life of W.E.B. Du Bois and his family. Then it was Nathan Louis Jackson's family drama Broke-ology and David Mamet's provocative Race, before the season ended with the jukebox musical From My Hometown by Lee Summers, Ty Stephens and Herbert Rawlings Jr.
Finalists: Alley Theatre, Stages Repertory Theatre and Stark Naked Theatre Company.
I would love to see a category or even categories for new work next time around. I am really surprised Tiffany Fuller wasn't nominated for costume design for last year's Panto at Stages. It was one of the most amazing costume designs I have ever seen. I was also surprised that John Dunn wasn't nominated for his role in Chinglish with Black Lab Theater. He learned Chinese for the role and gave an amazing performance.