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The Arties Best Dressed!

The finest threads to grace Buffalo's most exclusive red carpet

“I think it pisses God off when you walk by
the color purple and don’t notice it”

—Alice Walker, The Color Purple

God was smiling Monday night at the 20th annual Artie Awards because attention was paid as our ladies of the Buffalo theater community came out in haute couture force! Although there was a virtual bouquet of floral color dresses, it was the color purple that clearly dominated the evening.

Let’s start with our “Hostess with the Mostess”: Lisa Ludwig dazzled in a parade of Jimmy Lee for TT New York gowns, but it was her opening number, a sheared bell shaped gown in aubergine (she proudly confessed it was a size 2), that stole the spotlight and set the standard for the evening.

It was a treat to see the always charming Jeanmarie Lally, 1992 winner as Supporting Actress in a Musical for Into the Woods, back in town for the festivities. She wore an iris-colored mini to present the outstanding debuts. She was accompanied by her eight-year-old daughter, Saoirse, an adorable miniature version of herself.

Cabaret chanteuse Kerry Kate Abel, in gold and purple sequins was accompanied by her enchanting daughter, Zoe.

ICTC fashion maven Susan Drozd, with a head full of hydrangeas, modeled a vintage lilac gown, reconstructed by her sister.

But there were three purple dresses that were exceptional, and they make the top of this year’s Arties best dressed list:

1. Tooley and Mary star Katie Miner stopped the show cold with her lead vocals on Michael Hake’s arrangement of “Let It Be” for the in memoriam segment, but it was this provocative eggplant jersey fishtail gown that we were talking about the next day.

2. A perennial best-dressed lister, musical director Theresa Quinn kicked it up a notch in this purple velvet architectural wonder by Artie nominee Brett Runyon.

3. Best Supporting Actress nominee Adrienne Lewis channeled Egyptian princesses in this royal purple Jimmy Lee for TT New York silk satin gown with bugle beaded collar.

4. As if to prevent the rest of the rainbow from becoming jealous, Margo Davis burst onto the red carpet in a sumptuous swirl of hot pink chiffon.

5. Jodie Mancuso from DC Theatricks was not satisfied with one color; she opted for the whole spectrum in this watercolor print with exquisite embroidered back.

6. Not all the girls opted for color: Wendy Hall from True Love Lies is equally spectacular in this unbelieveably form-fitting black and white mermaid dress.

7. Katie White—this is what a winner looks like. sublime in crème and black strapless. She won Outstanding Actress in a Play.

8. Actor/singer Julie Kittsley was Buffalo’s version of Cher in crème-colored lace pants, silk tunic, and shawl. It worked together beautifully

9. On someone else, this quirky original by Buffalo designer Johanne Speilman might be a disaster, but on bubbly Artie nominee Sarah Brown the black sequined tank and poofy silk skirt is delightful.

10. In a league of her own: Chevon Davis makes the list in silver-gray silk trimmed in rhinestones and dripping in crystals.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of ICTC grand dame Josephine Hogan, who took my breath away in off-the-shoulder black velvet; she looked like the original Scarlett O’Hara, Vivien Leigh.

Lisa Dee evocked another classic movie star—this time Audrey Hepburn—in her own wedding dress. I love that she got to wear it twice!

Lorna C. Hill was a riot presenting Vincent O’Neill’s Lifetime Achievement Award. She is a class act channeling Marlene Dietrich in grey gabardine wide-legged pants with button details.

Beautiful Cassie Gorniewicz is a stunner in this beige silk chiffon pencil gown with brown bugle bead trim.

Always elegant Debbie Pappas glows in a teal chiffon sheath, fronted with a panel of ruffles.

I loved the simplicity of Artie nominee Terry George’s marigold raw silk shirt waist dress.

Continuing the dazzle of color, BUA’s stage manager Ashley Spada was delicious in this coral chiffon mini with jeweled trim.

Special thanks to the best photographer in the world, Rose Mattrey. A shout out to my lovely assistant Noel. I love having an assistant!) See you next year!

View the top 10, and honorable mentions
click any photo to enlarge

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