Written by Phil Cerroni
By Phil Cerroni
As Oscar season ends and the Tony Awards hide around the corner, the Column with John Garcia, a Metroplex theatrical publication, celebrated local artists during the 14th Annual Column Awards. The marvelous event was hosted in grand style at the Irving Arts Center on Feb. 25.
From the first bars of the ceremony’s opening number, a dazzling drag show called La Cage Aux Column, irreverent jokes were a constant companion as a cross-dressing John Garcia traded quips with his lovely co-host Orpheh, who has appeared on Broadway in such roles as Annette in Saturday Night Fever and as Legally Blonde’s Paulette.
A myriad of jovial hosts and musical numbers, performed by the contenders for best musical, set a whimsical tone for the evening as presenters handed out dozen of awards for actors, directors and designers.
This year witnessed new awards added to the Column’s core selection including the Special Recognition Awards, presented to individuals whose efforts do not fit into traditional awards categories. This year’s awards included selections in best work with wigs and best puppetry.
In honor of their 100th anniversary, the actor’s union, Actor’s Equity Association, was awarded with an honorary Column, which was accepted by a special liaison committee on behalf of the 300 union members in the Metroplex.
Every year, all proceeds from the Column Awards are donated to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. In a video address, the organization’s executive director, Tom Viola, congratulated the Column Awards for being the only event to do so every year for over a decade.
Garcia’s irreverent blend of risqué and pomp and circumstance was not allowed to continue at its breakneck course, however. Almost three hours into the evening, right before the Columns for best plays and musicals were given, the fire alarm exploded in the middle of Plaza Theater Company’s performance of Ragtime, forcing the audience to retreat into the chilly night. After the fire department turned off the alarm, the ceremony continued without further interruption with the presentation of Columns for Best Play, Non-Equity for ICT MainStage’s A Few Good Men; Best Musical, Non-Equity for Artisan Center Theater’s production of Big River; Best Play, Equity – The Farnsworth Invention at Theatre Three, Inc. – and finally, best Musical, Equity was a tie between Uptown Players’ The Producers and Plaza Theatre Company’s Ragtime.
ICT MainStage Column Awards (all non-equity)
1. Judd Vermillion, Urinetown for scenic design of musical
2. Ellen Doyle Mizener, A Few Good Men for scencic design of play
3. Sam Nance, Urinetown, best lighting design of musical
4. Ian Garland, A Few Good Men for lighting design of play
5. Tory Padden, Urinetown for best costume design of musical
6. Fernando Lara, A Few Good Men for sound design of play
1. A Few Good Men--best play
2. Chris Robinson, best director of musical for Urinetown
3. Mark Miller, best musical director for Urinetown
4. Eddie Floresca, best choreography for Urinetown
5. Gregory Hullett, best actor for A Few Good Men
6. Rachel Robertson, best actress for A Few Good Men
7. Rudy Seppy Volunteer Award – Binnie Tomaro