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Friends Tighten Circle for Le Petit

Plus the Storer Boone Awards and Ambush Magazine’s Ambie Awards.

It took time for the shock to wear off after the board of Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré announced that financial crisis had forced them to lay off all staff. But once they had absorbed the news that the city’s oldest theater was in serious trouble, many friends jumped to Le Petit’s aid.

Former board member-turned-pro bono manager Gary Solomon says a plea for help pulled in about $75,000 in the first month following the board’s action. That figure included direct donations and proceeds from benefits staged in the theater’s behalf. Stage star and TV actor Brian Batt, who is also a Le Petit board member, put on his one-man cabaret show as a fundraiser in April. A few days later another 20 or so actors staged a benefit musical and comedy revue, co-hosted by veterans Becky Allen and Amanda Hebert.

Le Chat Noir proprietor Barbara Motley donated proceeds from a performance of the comedy revue “Short Takes” to Le Petit’s cause. In addition, the Wine Institute New Orleans put on a wine-tasting fundraiser for the theater.

“We had an incredible first month,” Solomon says. But he emphasizes that the light at the end of the tunnel is still a long way off. While Le Petit has made progress is whittling down a $100,000 deficit, it must cover more than $20,000 a month in non-staff operating costs. Solomon says the board is laying out its next steps a few at a time.

Meanwhile, Le Petit is proceeding with its previously set schedule. “The Little Dog Laughed” runs through May 10. Then, FourFront Theatre’s production of “Altar Boyz” will move in, extending its recent run at Southern Rep Theatre.

In line with Le Petit’s efforts to expand and diversify its offerings, the new musical “White Noise” is likely to make its world premiere at the theater in early July in preparation for a fall opening in New York. “White Noise” co-producer and marketing manager Holly Way says plans are in the works for a pre-opening benefit night for Le Petit. 

‘Assassins,’ NOLA Project win big on awards night

The theater community honored its own recently with the annual presentation of the Storer Boone Theater Awards. Co-hosted at Le Chat Noir by Le Chat proprietor Barbara Motley and Brian Peterson, the awards paid tribute to work presented during 2008.

The New Orleans Theater Community cast ballots to select the winning achievements from productions presented in Orleans, Jefferson, and St. Bernard parishes during the year. An awards committee (see names below) chose the Lifetime Achievement and Unsung Hero honorees.

OnStage congratulates the winners and all the nominees for the awards, which are named in honor of the late professional dinner theater producer Storer Boone.

The 2008 Awards

Best Musical
Assassins – The NOLA Project and Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

Best Actor – Musical
Jimmy Murphy – Assassins

Best Actress – Musical
Meredith Long – Ruthless!

Best Supporting Actor – Musical
Bob Edes Jr. – Cabaret

Best Supporting Actress – Musical
Lisa Picone – Assassins

Best Director Of A Musical
A.J. Allegra – Assassins

Best Musical Direction
Jefferson Turner – Assassins

Best Choreography
Karen Hebert – Cabaret

Best Performance By A Child
Alex Lemonier – The History Boys

Best Children’s Play
A Kingdom Of Statues – The NOLA Project and Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

Best Set Design
Eli Grove and Kyle Herbert – Assassins

Best Lighting Design
Scott Sauber and Nancy Macko – Rent

Best Costume Design
Cecile Casey Covert – Assassins

Best Sound Design
Cliff Stromeyer – Rent

Best Stage Manager
Laura Jean Hoffpauir

Best Comedy
Speech & Debate – Southern Repertory Theater

Best Actor – Comedy
Sean Glazebrook – Speech & Debate

Best Actress – Comedy
Natalie Boyd – Speech & Debate

Best Supporting Actor – Comedy
Leon Contavesprie – Private Eyes

Best Supporting Actress – Comedy
Cammie West – As You Like It

Best Director Of A Comedy
Aimee Hayes – Speech & Debate

Best Drama
Coyote On A Fence – InSideOut Productions

Best Actor – Drama
Michael Aaron Santos – Coyote On A Fence

Best Actress – Drama
Ashley Ricord – Sideman

Best Supporting Actor – Drama
Jason Kirkpatrick – Coyote On A Fence

Best Supporting Actress – Drama
Angie Joachim – Coyote On A Fence

Best Director Of A Drama
Ashley Ricord – Coyote On A Fence

Theater Of The Year
The NOLA Project

Best Original Play
Sean Patterson and Ricky Graham – Renew Revue

Lifetime Achievement Award
Lyla Hay Owen
Arthur Tong – UnSung Hero
Deborah Bell
The 2008-09 SBA committee consisted of: Michael P. Cahill (chairman), Michael P. Sullivan (vice chairman), Leon A. Contavesprie, Janet Shea, John B. Barrois, Carolyn Casey Barrois, Donald E. Lewis Jr., Susan Barrett Smith and Marc J. Fouchi.

Ambies pay tribute to excellence

Ambush Magazine presented its annual Ambie Awards in February, honoring top achievements in theater arts. Hosted by Brian Sands and Patrick Shannon at Le Chat Noir, the event also was a fundraiser for NOCCA|Riverfront.

Here’s a list of the top award winners in various categories:

Special Effects
Splatter House

Sound Design
Christopher Wright, Gem of the Ocean

Food/Dining Experience
Ginger Luke, Minacapelli’s/Brisket & Broadway Dinner Playhouse-

Hair/Wigs/Make-Up Design
Tori Bernard, Heather Autin, Back to the 80s

Set Design
Shannon R. Miller, Return to the Forbidden Planet

Lighting Design
James Clotfelter, The Seafarer

Costume Design
Roy Haylock, Cabaret

Blake Coheley, Tommy

Music Director
Donna Clavijo/Alan Payne, Fiddler on the Roof

Children’s Show
Once Upon a Mattress, JPAS Summer Youth Theatre

Outstanding Dance Solo
Tyson Randolph, Jamal’s Special Christmas

Featured Actor in a Play
Dui Jarrod, A Soldier’s Play

Featured Actor in a Musical
Richard Alexander Pomes, Assassins

Featured Actress in a Play
Peggy Walton-Walker, The Clean House

Featured Actress in a Musical
Leslie Limberg, Rent

Outstanding One Act Play
Lost by Mary Louise Wilson, Le Chat Noir’s New Plays Festival

Speech & Debate (Natalie Boyd, Sean Glazebrook, Sean Knapp, and
Liann Pattison)

Actor in a Play
Jason Kirkpatrick, Coyote on a Fence

Actor in a Musical
Joey Taranto, Rent

Actress in a Play
Ashley Ricord, Side Man

Actress in a Musical (tie)
Idella Johnson, Rent  and
Jessie Terrebonne, Cabaret

Post-show discussion/talk back/experience
Former Inspector General Robert Cerasoli, The Inspector General

Unique Theatrical Experience
Spaces in Between, Kathy Randels/Artspot Productions and Art in Action

Director of a Play
René J. F. Piazza, Rabbit Hole

Director of a Musical
Roland “Butch” Caire, Miss Saigon

Original Work
Crimes Against Nature, Otter/Backyard Ballroom

Production of a Drama
Metamorphoses, UNO Department of Film, Theatre, and Communication Arts

Production of a Comedy
Die! Mommy! Die!, Running With Scissors

Production of a Musical
Tommy, NOCCA

Special Awards
Jefferson Turner for NOCCA’s The Sweetest Sounds: The Music of Richard Rogers, and DramaRama

Glammie Awards for:

Most people on stage
(89) Cinderella

Cultcha in da Parish ain’t no Oxymoron
The Altos, Shine Productions

Avenue Q Puppeteering
Richard Alexander Pomes & James Yeargain, A Kingdom of Statues

“President Who’” or “How Quickly We Forget”  (tie)
William Howard Taft, Annie  and
James Garfield and William McKinley, Assassins

Outstanding Work by an Animal
Crimes Against Nature

Most Exotic Costumes
The Arabian Nights, Christopher Arthur, costume coordinator

Never too Young to Start Doing Drag
Kyle Adam and Daniel Rigamer, The Sweetest Sounds: The Music of
Richard Rogers

You Can Go Home Again (even if it’s about to be sold)
Kathy Randels, Spaces in Between

Outstanding Performance by an Understudy
Sean Knapp, Speech and Debate

Someone to Watch Out For Special Awards
Samuel Repshas and Colby Lemaster

Duh, Miss Saigon

Where did they get all those 1980s props from’
Back to the 80s

Kick Your Heels in the Air
Bob Edes Jr.

The Pepper Mashay “Let’s Get Soaking Wet”
Cast of Metamorphoses

Outstanding Scissors Toss
Brian Peterson, Dorian Rush, Die! Mommy! Die!

Worst Pun Citation (tie)
“I just met a girl named Medea,” The Frogs
“Two beeps or not two beeps’ That is the question,” Return to the Forbidden Planet

X-Rated Title for a G-Rated Song
Pizza Boys Deliver, Sleepover

Xanadu  for special achievement in roller skate choreography
Crimes Against Nature

Bravest Company for doing Most Obscure Play by a Major Playwright
Cripple Creek Theatre Company for Strindberg’s Erik the 14th

Most Elegant Plague Victim
Mishikea Braithwaite, One Flea Spare

Keeping the Tradition Alive even if it ain’t PC
Serving wop salad, Rocky & Carlos, The Altos

All that was Missing was a Vacuum Cleaner
The 3 Hoovers of Lil’! Abner, Herbert, J. Edgar & David

Impression of Road Kill
Meredith Long, The Great American Trailer Park Musical

The “Who us’” Self-Referential
The NOLA Project referring to The Lieutenant of Inishmore in
What, Has This Thing Appeared Again Tonight’

Scene-stealing-est costume of the year
Angela Arden’s attire for her husband’s funeral, Kate Jensen, Die! Mommy! Die!

Oy, such a Jewish Accent
Morla Gorrondona, Fiddler on the Roof

Lesbian Couple of the Year
Leslie Limberg and Paris Robertson, Rent

Outstanding Ballet Sequence
Matthew Neff, choreographer; Eleanor Carney, Ian Carney, Lee Farrar Bailey, Oklahoma!

Sexiest Man with a Speech Impediment
T. Joe Seibert, A Flea In Her Ear

Lisa Davis, Brewed

Not so Dumb Blonde
Eleanor Bernstein’s Daisy Mae, Li’lAbner

Most Dead People on Stage at the End of a Musical
Ruthless! The Musical

Funniest Finale
Rickie Luke as Dolly Levi/Carol Channing, Broadway on Demand

Performance by a Drag Queen not in a Bar or Club
Stephfon Guidry, Unplugged

Wackiest Ballet
Love‘s Maze, Frannie Rosenberg choreographer

Broadway Star on a Local Stage
B.J. Crosby, Raisin

Most Technologically Advanced Set
Return to the Forbidden Planet, Shannon R. Miller designer

Most Bodily Fluids Seen on a Stage
Splatter House

An Enemy of the Audience
The rock-throwing rabble, An Enemy of the People

Most Drunken Irishmen on One Stage
The Seafarer

Way, if Slightly Illegal, to Hold Onto Your Boyfriend/Kill somebody
Thrill Me:  The Leopold & Loeb story


Beef Cake
Li’l Abner

Supersize Me
Veronyka Belleto, Crimes Against Nature

Most Diverse Cast
Miss Saigon

Scariest Props
All the guns, Assassins

Incestuous Kiss
Dorian Rush and Bob Edes, Jr., Die! Mommy! Die!

The Clean House

Derrick Deal, Metamorphoses

Prop of the Year 
Oversized flashing suppository, Die! Mommy! Die!

Irreplaceable, Varla Jean Merrnan Loves a Foreign Tongue

It’s Not the Size That Counts Special Award
Susan Domangue as Fruma Sarah in JPAS’ Fiddler on the Roof

Going Above and Beyond the Call of Duty 
Jackie Clarkson, President of the City Council of New Orleans


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