Ovation Award Press

September 1999

Backstage West
Septmember 30, 1999

Ovation Noms Reflect L.A. Stage

Where else could "The Last Empress" compete against "Reefer Madness?"

By Rob Kendt

(Edited for length and relevance to Reefer Madness)

"There’s no accounting for tastes," former Theatre LA chief Bil Freimuth once said after an Ovation awards ceremony some years back, "but that’s what the Ovations do: account for tastes."

Indeed, if anything is true of the Ovations, the peer-judged Los Angeles theatre awards administered by Theatre LA, it is that they seem like the inevitably blinkered result of an attempt to statistically sample a group of L.A. theatregoers. How could an awards show that gives out just 26 statuettes a year reflect the wildly heterogeneous theatre scene that sprawls from East L.A. to Redondo Beach, from La Mirada to North Hollywood?

Judging by this year’s nominees, announced this week at the Coronet Theatre by the delightful Charles Busch (of Psycho Beach Party and Die! Mommy! Die! fame), the Ovations do it pretty well, even as the gap between its large and small production nominees seems as wide as ever, with the brief sit-down run of Sam Mendes/Rob Marshall’s Cabaret at the Wilshire Theatre garnering the most nominations and Livents’ Fosse garnering the second most noms (including one for the late Bob Fosse’s choreography, with Ann Reinking), while smaller upstart hits like Reefer Madness, Summer and Smoke, and Harry Thaw Hates Everybody made strong showings in major categories.

And while New York’s Tony Awards are criticized for their narrow focus, this West Coast alternative makes for some strange juxtapositions, with an overblown import direct from Korea to the Century City’s Shubert Theatre, The Last Empress, competing directly in performance and direction categories with, say, the Hudson Backstage’s runaway camp[fest Reefer Madness or Indecent Exposure’s brilliant meta-musical Harry Thaw Hates Everybody. But maybe strange juxtapositions are what L.A. is all about.

Hollywood Reporter
Septmeber 28, 1999

A standing Ovation in L.A. for noms leader ‘Cabaret’
‘Fosse,’ ‘Reefer,’ ‘Hedda’ on center stage

By Kirk Honeycutt

(Edited for length and relevance to Reefer Madness)

Musicals dominated the 1999 Theatre League Alliance Ovation Awards, which coevered more than 150 theatres and producers in the Southern California theater community. The revival of "Cabaret" at the Wilshire Theatre garnered nine nominations, the most of any production during the season.

This was followed by eight noms for "Fosse" at the Ahmanson Theatre, another larger-theater musical, and six noms for the Hudson Theatre’s "Reefer Madness," a smaller-theater musical.

Daily Variety
Septmember 28, 1999

Standing Ovations
‘Cabaret,’ Center Theater Group lead noms

By Jill Pesselnick

(Edited for length and relevance to Reefer Madness)

Nominees for best small-theater musical are "Harry Thaw Hates Everybody" (Los Angeles Theater Center); "Reefer Madness" (Hudson Theater); "Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show" (Tiffany Theater); "The Last Session" (Tiffany Theater); and "Too Old for the Chorus" (Celebration Theater).

In the best director of a musical category, Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, Richard Maltby, Jr. and Ann Reinking, Laural Meade, Mark Waldrop and Andy Fickman nabbed nominations.


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