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The Artie Awards 2014 Best Dressed List

“Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.”

-- Yves Saint Laurent

Ah, award season! A rite of spring as reliably perennial as my lilac bush. You may wonder why my bush is lilac. This is a story for a different kind of article; let’s just call it a drunken Easter egg hunt gone terribly wrong, but rest assured, no Peeps chicks were harmed!

“Trouper” of the Year Award:

This year’s Outstanding Actress in a Musical, Wendy Hall, whose lovely countenance has brightened the red carpet numerous times; had an Artie Awards she certainly will never forget; for several reasons! At evening’s end, while returning to her vehicle; precious Artie clutched in her hand; she tripped! (maybe her 5 inch cherry red patent leather heels had something to do with it!) This was not a darling Jennifer Lawrence at the Oscars trip; but a flat out “fall on your face” fall; or to be more specific, “fall on your Artie” fall! The Artie shattered and deeply cut Ms. Hall. A long visit to the emergency room involving several stitches is no way to end such an enchanting evening.

But WAIT! It just so happens that an additional outstanding actress in a musical Artie had been ordered by mistake! As Ms. Hall exited the emergency room; a bit sore, but still immaculately made up and coiffed she was informed of this miraculous extra Artie. Her first words; “and when can I pick that up?”


After an arduous winter and a theater season absolutely jam-packed with productions and performances worthy of merit, perhaps we should have given everyone who made it to this year’s Artie Awards a prize; sort of like a “Gift with purchase.”

While I may be alone in this opinion, I feel there is just too much theater these days—and this, from a person who is known for his excess! My specific concern is that with so many eligible performances, it is much harder to get nominated these days! I long for the days when there were only eight or ten theater companies. In those days, a man could put on a dress, crack wise, and pretty much be assured of a nomination. Now, I actually have to learn lines. Acting is hard!

On Monday night at the Town Ballroom we celebrated those remarkable folks who make it look easy.

This year’s awards show was a delightful, fast moving affair peppered with some genuine highlights. Mid-way through the evening, we were moved, once again, by a stunning tribute created by musical director Michael Hake and an ensemble of some of the best voices in our city, to those members of our theater community who have passed on.

This was followed by an exuberant Steve Copps, announcing upon receiving his Artie for Outstanding Actor in a Musical; that his wife Kelly was pregnant. Talk about the “circle of life!”

As if the entire Town Ballroom was shouting a collective “Amen!” the ensemble of Ujima Theater’s “Gospel at Colonus” raised the roof with their rousing number.

Although it seemed at times that our outdoor red carpet might be rained upon; the weather held, as our parade of beauties made their way to the 24th annual Artie Awards. And now:

The Best Dressed List of 2014!

#10. Even before her husband made the joyous announcement of her pregnancy; Kelly Copps glowed radiantly in this flirty crème colored eyelet cocktail dress.

click on any image to enlarge:

#9. Next year may be Artie’s Silver Anniversary but lovely Laura Mikolajczyk seemed ahead of the pack with this angelic silver and white sheath with black chiffon overskirt. (Should silver be our theme for next year’s gowns ladies? Let me know!)

#8. This year’s red carpet was a true family affair; Laura’s mother, no stranger to this best dressed list, the always beautifu, Debbie Pappas dazzled in a form fitting navy gown with jeweled nude illusion.

#7. (no photo available) One of my favorite looks of the evening was this striking steel grey crepe chiffon tunic worn by patron of the arts, and Artie voter, Anna Kay France.

#6. Talk about a family affair! How much style can one family have? Grandmother Susan J. Abel wearing this “Happening in Central Park” floor length black and white chiffon caftan with Swarovski crystal embellishment can’t help but be so proud of...

#5. ...granddaughter Zoe Diana; recipient of her outstanding debut citation later that evening in a “FIERCE” emerald vintage gown; here with her mother, the Grande Dame, Kerrykate Abel-Smith; dripping in black chiffon and sequins the size of quarters!

#4. Like a sorbet intermezzo; the executive managing director of the Buffalo Repertory Awards Theater, Meghan Lenda floated to the red carpet in this sea foam green chiffon gown.

#3. I actually did “the gay gasp” when I turned and saw Diane Dibernardo-blenk approach the red carpet in this modern day version of Rita Hayworth’s “Gilda” gown, here done in purple velvet (and WTF) neon green trim!

#2. May I please go on record and say that Main Street should always be closed to traffic, if it means my pal Bebe Bulgari can always use it as her personal runway, as she did in this incredible black velvet and gold sequin gown. Thank God there is no traffic, because she would have stopped it!

#1. I am so pleased Diane Curley won the Artie for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play; if for no other reason than to allow the entire town ballroom to take in how stunning she looked in this white jersey Grecian column. Brava!

See a full photo gallery from this year's Arties here, on Artvoice Daily. This year's winners list is here. The full list of this year's nominees is available here.