The Arlington Players picked up 14 nominations, including for best musical, while Dominion Stage garnered six, including for best play, in the 2023 Washington Area Community Theatre Honors (WATCH) awards program.
Nominations, which include productions from last year and immediately preceding the pandemic, were announced earlier this month, with honors to be presented March 19 in Alexandria.
A total of 27 community theaters participated in the current adjudication cycle, which included shows that took place in early 2020, prior to the onset of COVID as well as those that were produced after theater troupes began returning to in-person performances in late 2021 and all of 2022.
A total of 98 productions – 60 plays and 38 musicals – were adjudicated.
Little Theatre of Alexandria, with 52 nominations, and Reston Community Players, with 42, led the field of nominees.
Ten of the nominations picked up by The Arlington Players were for “Newsies,” including a nod for Outstanding Musical as well as Outstanding Direction (Emily “EJ” Jones), Outstanding Musical Direction (Justin DeLong) and Outstanding Choreography (Brianna Galligan) in a Musical.
Olivia Clavel-Davis was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical for her work in the production, along with Kaya Harrison as Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical and Evan Hamilton and John Jennings, each nominated for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical. Josh Hagins was nominated in the Outstanding Cameo in a Musical category. The show also received a nomination in the Leta Hall Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical category.
Ben Lowalter was nominated for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play for his work in The Arlington Players’ production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Larissa Norris was nominated for Outstanding Hair Design in a Play, Ken and Patti Crowley for Outstanding Lighting Design in a Play and Norris received a second nod for Outstanding Makeup Design in a Play.
Dominion Stage’s production of “King Hedley II” was nominated as Outstanding Play, with Rikki Howie Lacewell nominated for Outstanding Direction of a Play.
Also for “Hedley,” Mack Leamon was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor for his work in the show, along with Jacqueline E.G. Youm as Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play. The production also was nominated for the Leta Hall Outstanding Ensemble in a Play Award.
Maria Littlefield was nominated for Outstanding Special Effects for Dominion Stage’s production of “Firebringer.”
In addition to “King Hedley II,” nominees for Best Play are “Fences” (Bowie Community Theatre), “Agnes of God” (Colonial Players of Annapolis), “The Game’s Afoot” (Reston Community Players) and “Perfect Arrangement” (Silver Spring Stage).
In addition to “Newsies,” nominees for Outstanding Musical include “Something Rotten” (Little Theatre of Alexandria), “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” (Little Theatre of Alexandria), “Hello, Dolly” (Port Tobacco Players) and “A Little Night Music” (Reston Community Players).
The awards program will be held on Sunday, March 19 at 7 p.m. at the Birchmere in Alexandria. Tickets are $20.
For information and a full list of nominees, see the Website at www.washingtontheater.org.
The annual awards program dates back to the 2000 performance season. The 2023 awards program marks the first time the event has been held in person since 2019, as the 2020 event was scheduled to occur just days after much of the region hunkered down after the arrival of COVID in March. Most local theater was shut down throughout the remainder of 2020 and most of 2021 before returning in the fall of that year.