The 2013 Artie Awards
by Anthony Chase
Celebrating Buffalo theater and raising money for a good cause
After 23 years, the Arties seemed new again this week, as a decided wave of youth permeated the festivities. It was a happy mix of veteran Buffalo theater folk and the next generation. While paying tribute to Career Achievement award winner Mary Kate O’Connell, Grand Dame Ann Gayley dubbed the influx of young talent, “The Second Generation,” a wry reference to the young company that is making its debut this week with Into the Woods at the New Phoenix Theatre.
Truth be told, the Buffalo theater community has evolved over many generations, going back to the days of the Erie Canal. We are arguably still riding the trajectory of the Little Theatre Movement that began in the 1920s. For those who work in a temporal art, however, the collective memory can be ephemeral.
During the memorial tribute, as slides of those we have lost this year were flashed onto the screens, there were shouts of enthusiasm for beloved Brother Augustine Towey. I noted a bit wistfully, however, that few in the room seemed to recognize photos of Oscar winner Celeste Holm performing in the very room in which we were seated, back in the days when the Town Ballroom was the Studio Arena.
We tapped into that youthful energy with my brilliantly talented and charismatic young co-hosts, Charmagne Chi and Amy Jakiel. For music direction, we tapped on Artie veteran, the venerable and astonishingly talented Michael Hake. All worked tirelessly during an especially busy week to ensure an engaging and upbeat show.
As always, Jimmy Janowski lent his quick wit, limitless charm, and astute eye to the fashions on the red carpet. See his picks in Artvoice next week!
Esteemed photographer Nancy J. Parisi made a return to the Arties, bringing her own unique brand of social documentation to the task.
Jazz vocalist Peggy Farrell made her 23rd Artie Award appearance, accompanied by Mike T. Jones. In a nod to history, Peggy kicked off her set with the Mercer/Schertzinger tune, “Tangerine,” a favorite of the late Blossom Cohan, a legend of Studio Arena.
The Arties are a night of a hundred volunteers. Thanks are also in order for the Artie committee: Margo Davis, Michael Desmond, Tom Dooney, Keith Elkins, Anna Kay France, Ted Hadley, Moira Keenan, Sheila London, Darwin McPherson, Roger Paolini, Ben Siegel, and Toni Smith Wilson. Darwin is taking a hiatus from 17 years as a member of the committee, as he and his wife, Carrie, are expectant parents. Tom Dooney also provided extraordinary administrative support to the voting, helping to sort thousands of bits of data—and he showed up on Artie night to check in nominees and presenters.
Doug Weyand arranged for all of the photography of nominees for the event, and continues to document the Arties in his popular Artie web archive (artieawards.webs.com). Doug was the first to observe that with an Artie win this year actress Sheila McCarthy would become the first actor to win Arties in all four categories for which she could be eligible. Her win as Actress in a Play for her performance as Violet in August: Osage County was lucky win number four, joining her previous Arties as Supporting Actress in a Play (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), Actress in a Musical (Wings), and Supporting Actress in a Musical (Assassins).
Thanks to the presenters and to the performers who sang numbers from nominated shows. Your talent is what makes the Arties so welcoming and special. Thanks to Theatre of Youth for letting us use the Flat Stanley envelope, from which talented Tim Newell emerged to deliver his own inimitable brand of mischievous wit. His co-host was Eileen Dugan, who always presents the first award when she is available, as she did at the first Arties, 23 years ago at Garvey’s restaurant, when Bruce Moore was the Outstanding Supporting Actor for Death of a Salesman.
Once again, Fred Pascolini donated his time to focus lights for the Arties, this year with help from his friend, Shawn Brewer. Trust me, this is huge—we’ve done the show without a lighting design, and it can be frightful.
Thanks to stage managers Bernadette O’Donahue and Karen Nemeth, who make the Arties run like clockwork every year, and thanks to the entire Artvoice staff.
Finally, thanks to the theaters that sold red ribbons and to everyone who made a donation at the door to support Benedict House, a wonderful organization that provides non-discriminatory residential housing and supportive services for persons living with AIDS in an environment that promotes dignity, respect, understanding, compassion, and self-determination—right here in Buffalo.
The 2013 Winners Are...Oustanding Production of a Play August: Osage County (Kavinoky Theatre) Outstanding Production of a Musical Next to Normal (Irish Classical Theatre) Outstanding Ensemble of a Play From the Mississippi Delta (Road Less Traveled Theatre) Outstanding Ensemble of a Musical ’S Wonderful: The New Gershwin Musical (MusicalFare) Outstanding Direction of a Musical Fortunato Pezzimenti, Next to Normal Outstanding Direction of a Play Daniel Shanahan, A Streetcar Named Desire Outstanding Actor in a Play Brian Riggs, Angels in america, Part One Outstanding Actress in a Play Sheila McCarthy, August: Osage County Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play Victor Morales, On the Waterfront Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play Kelli Bocock-Natale, August: Osage County Outstanding Actress in a Musical It’s a tie! Maria Droz, Knuffle Bunny Jenn Stafford, Next to Normal Outstanding Actor in a Musical Brian Mysliwy, The Mystery of Edwin Drood Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical Amy Jakiel, Rent Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical Patrick Cameron, Next to Normal Outstanding Choreography Michael Walline/Doug Weyand, ’S Wonderful Emanuel Fried Award for Outstanding New Play Seeds by Donna Hoke Outstanding Lighting Design John Rickus, The Clean House Outstanding Costume Design Todd Warfield, L’Imitation of Life Outstanding Set Design Kenneth Shaw, The Borrowers Career Achievement Mary Kate O’Connell
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