(888) 277-4253

Patté Awards honor 16 San Diego theater companies

The La Jolla Playhouse, Old Globe and Lamb’s Players Theatre shared top honors for Outstanding Production during the 13th annual Patté Awards for Theater Excellence, held Monday at the Westin Gaslamp Quarter.

Touting the “best of the best,” the event lauded the Playhouse for “Creditors” and “Bonnie and Clyde,” the Globe for “Six Degrees of Separation” and Lamb’s for “Joyful Noise.” Outstanding Production was one of 11 categories that celebrated the achievements of 16 local theater companies.

“2009 was a difficult year economically but a brilliant year on San Diego stages,” said theater critic Pat Launer, the founder and ebullient host of the Patté Awards, which will be broadcast on Channel 4 at 8 p.m. on February 12and 7 p.m. on February 13.

As it feted San Diego’s large and diverse theater scene, the event was an entertaining show in itself. J*Company youth theater provided an excerpt from “The King and I.” The Ira Aldridge Repertory Players supplied ever-so-suave doo-wop singing. Students from San Diego State University’s School of Theatre, Television and Film went “Into the Woods” and Moonlight Stage Productions gave a tap-happy rendition of the song “42nd Street.”

Launer, the theater critic for San Diego News Network, made her entrance looking like an exotic character from “The King and I,” and asking: “Am I excited to be here with you tonight? Yes Siam!” And, as if taking a cue from Billy Crystal (who used to appear in inspired movie spoofs during the Academy Awards), she starred in an amusingly elaborate video recap of 2009 theater productions.

At heart, the event is deeply appreciative of the people who make San Diego theater so exceptional, both onstage and off. Awards ranged from Patté Theater Angel (which went to philanthropists Sheryl and Harvey White, whose names adorn The Globe’s new theater) to the John Guth Award for Behind-the-Scenes Brilliance (given to “usher king” Jules Schreiber).

At one point, gratitude was coupled with an irresistible urge to sell tickets.

As Lamb’s Robert Smyth and Deborah Gilmour Smyth accepted the Shiley Lifetime Achievement Award, Robert couldn’t help plugging “Joyful Noise,” their company’s Handel-based hit.

“It’s running for one more week,” he said of the production that closes in Coronado on January 24. “You still have a chance!”

Six actors received the “Outstanding Performance” award. They included Patrick Page, who portrayed the title character in The Globe’s “Cyrano de Bergerac” (and gave his thanks in a pre-taped video segment because he was unable to attend the ceremony).

Another winner was Robert Foxworth, the San Diego-based theater, TV and movie veteran who appeared in The Old Globe’s “Cornelia.”

“I feel like I’ve broken a record,” he quipped. “I’ve been award-free my entire career. No more!”

By contrast, Alexis Montes, 16, was the young recipient of the third annual Patté scholarship, called The Dea and Osborn Hurston Award for a Promising Young Theatermaker. It was presented in honor of Dr. Floyd Gaffney, the father of African-American theater in San Diego.

“This is pretty much the greatest thing that has happened to me in my life,” said Montes, a junior at The Preuss School.

And that was pretty great for everyone to hear.

Here’s the list of winners:

OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE: “The History Boys” - Cygnet Theatre; “The Butcher of Baraboo” - Moxie Theatre; “42nd Street” - Moonlight Stage Productions; “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” - New Village Arts; “The Seafarer” and “Threepenny Opera” - San Diego Repertory Theatre

OUTSTANDING SCENIC DESIGN: Robin Sanford Roberts - “ANON(ymous),” University of San Diego; Ian Wallace - “Camino Real,” UC San Diego Theatre and Dance

OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN: Christopher Renda - “Bent,” ion theatre; Jason Bieber - “Talley’s Folly,” North Coast Repertory Theatre

OUTSTANDING SOUND DESIGN: Charles Wallace IV - “Dreams in the Witch House,” DangerHouse Productions; Thomas Hodges - “Dear Harvey,” Diversionary Theatre & SDSU

OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN: Alina Bokovikova - “Camino Real,” UC San Diego Theatre and Dance; Jeannie Galioto - “Twist,” Diversionary Theatre

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE: Patrick Page - “Cyrano de Bergerac, ” Old Globe Theatre; Karson St. John - “The Little Dog Laughed,” Diversionary Theatre; Glynn Bedington - “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” , Compass Theatre; Michael Zlotnik - “Bent,” ion theatre; Robert Foxworth - “Cornelia,” Old Globe Theatre; David Ellenstein - “Talley’s Folly,” North Coast Repertory Theatre

OUTSTANDING DIRECTION: Lisa Berger - “Killer Joe,” Compass Theatre; Rick Seer - “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” Old Globe/University of San Diego MFA Program; Francis Gercke - “Man from Nebraska,” Cygnet Theatre; Janet Hayatshahi - “Nine Parts of Desire,” Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION: “Six Degrees of Separation,” Old Globe; “Joyful Noise,” Lamb’s Players Theatre; “Creditors” and “Bonnie and Clyde,” La Jolla Playhouse

OUTSTANDING NEW PLAY: Ronald McCants - “Refraction,” UC San Diego Theatre and Dance

SHILEY LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Robert Smyth and Deborah Gilmour Smyth

THE JOHN GUTH AWARD FOR BEHIND-THE-SCENES BRILLIANCE: Jules Schreiber

THEATER ANGEL AWARD: Sheryl and Harvey White

THE PATTÉ SCHOLARSHIP: THE DEA AND OSBORN HURSTON AWARD FOR PROMISING YOUNG THEATERMARKER, presented in honor of Dr. Floyd Gaffney: Alexis Montes. Honorable mention: Cassandra Lopez and Daniela Michel.

Valerie Scher is the SDNN Arts & Entertainment editor. You can reach her at valerie.scher(at)sdnn.com; follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/vscher

Read more: