Helen Hayes Award nominations announced

Correction: An earlier version of the article incorrectly described the changes to the awards. The Hayes group, not the Helen group, will be for largely Equity productions. This version has been corrected.


Katie DeBuys, Cody Nickell, Kate Norris and Rick Foucheux in the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s production of Stupid F---ing Bird. (Stan Barouh/Stan Barouh)

The prize for cheekiest title in 2013 Washington theater had already been snatched by Aaron Posner’s “Stupid F---ing Bird,” a free-spirited rewrite of Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull.” In a brief ceremony onstage at the National Theatre on Monday evening, that Woolly Mammoth-produced drama claimed eight Helen Hayes Award nominations, leading the field.

Posner’s “Bird” landed four acting nods and a nomination as Outstanding Resident Play, meaning show, not script — though “Bird” is nominated in that category, too.

Writer-director Posner, a perennial Hayes favorite, is also nominated for directing the Jason Robert Brown musical “The Last Five Years” at Signature Theatre and “Romeo and Juliet” at the Folger Theatre. Both shows starred Posner’s wife, Erin Weaver, and she was nominated as a leading actress in each case.

Weaver also earned a supporting actress nomination for Signature’s revival of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company.” Weaver played the nervous bride-to-be Amy, nailing the famous tongue-twisting song “Getting Married Today.”

Other shows scoring big in Washington’s annual roundup of notable professional theater included revivals of David Mamet’s “Glengarry Glen Ross” at the Round House Theatre and Sondheim’s “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, with seven nominations each. “Hello, Dolly!” at Ford’s Theatre, co-produced by Ford’s and Signature, earned six nominations, as did the touring “The Book of Mormon” at the Kennedy Center, which led all comers in the “visiting” categories.

But guess who won’t be coming to dinner — that is, to the April 21 Hayes Awards event and cast party at the National Building Museum? Actors failing to gain Hayes love included Idina Menzel, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Estelle Parsons, Richard Schiff and Christine Lahti, all headliners in shows that opened in 2013. (The shows are all now closed; the Hayes Awards sticks to the calendar year).

Menzel starred in the biggest object on last year’s theatrical landscape, the pre-Broadway tryout of the brand-new musical “If/Then” by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey (“Next to Normal”). “If/Then” ran long enough at the National Theatre to be eligible in the visiting categories, a designation for shows on tour or produced or moving elsewhere. But according to TheatreWashington, the organization that runs the awards, the “If/Then” producers “respectfully declined to extend tickets to judges.”

Broadway performances of “If/Then” begin March 5, well before the deadline for this year’s Tony Awards.

Warner starred in the revival of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” at Arena Stage, where Parsons co-starred with Stephen Spinella in “The Velocity of Autumn,” which is transferring to Broadway beginning April 1. That Broadway plan wasn’t set when the show played Arena last fall, so “Velocity” was eligible in the “resident” categories.

Schiff turned in a haunting performance in Eugene O’Neill’s “Hughie” at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, and Lahti so loved the dysfunction of Paul Downs Colaizzo’s premiere drama “Pride in the Falls of Autrey Mill” that she made her Washington debut in Signature’s smaller 112-seat Ark theater.

In the most crowded category, Sherri L. Edelen leads a field of nine women nominated as outstanding lead actress in a musical. Edelen, a Signature stalwart, played the rapacious Mama Rose in “Gypsy,” which closed Sunday. She is also nominated as a supporting actress in the Folger’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

Maria Rizzo was another double nominee, winning notice as Louise in “Gypsy” and as Sally Bowles in the Keegan Theatre’s “Cabaret.” Last summer TheatreWashington announced changes to the awards that would have put Rizzo in two different groups: the “Hayes” group for largely Equity productions like “Gypsy,” and the “Hayes” group for semi- or non-Equity shows like “Cabaret.” That restructuring took effect at the beginning of this year, and will affect next year’s results.

Taking effect this year is a split distinguishing “choreography” for musicals from “movement” for plays. That’s supposed to be a boon to choreographers who sometimes found their dances shoved aside by clever movement devised for straight plays, especially those of the action theater wizards and “silent” Shakespeare specialists at Synetic Theatre (only twice-nominated Monday night).

That change didn’t help perhaps the most dance-heavy musical of the year, “A Chorus Line” at the Olney Theatre Center. Yet even without a choreography nod, “A Chorus Line” received five nominations, as did “Gypsy,” “The Last Five Years,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Mountaintop” (the Martin Luther King Jr.-themed play at Arena Stage) and Danai Gurira’s searing three-hour drama “The Convert” at Woolly Mammoth.

Tandems did well this year: James Gardiner, Weaver’s co-star in the two-character “Last Five Years,” was nominated as lead actor. Thom Sesma and Diana Huey were nominated as the Engineer and Kim in Signature’s “Miss Saigon.” Patrick Page and Steve Pickering were nominated as leading actors in “Coriolanus” and “Wallenstein,” respectively, part of the Shakespeare’s “Hero-Traitor” rep last spring.

Coming up dry, though: the Kennedy Center’s original new production of Ferenc Molnar’s 1911 “The Guardsman” and both new scripts produced in Arena’s new works Cradle theater, “Mary T. and Lizzie K.” and “Love in Afghanistan.”

Next year’s wave of changes includes panels to judge new scripts for plays and musicals separately; across categories, the number of awards and nominations will expand substantially. Currently, only eight judges from a pool for between 50 and 60 cast one-time ballots on any given show; 186 productions were eligible in 2013. The ballots that create the nominees also tabulate the winners, with no end-of-the-year re-think from the judges.

This will be the 30th year for the Hayes Awards.

Nominations for the 30th annual Helen Hayes Awards:

Outstanding Director, Resident Play

Matthew Gardiner, “The Laramie Project,” Ford’s Theatre; Mitchell Hébert, “Glengarry Glen Ross,” Round House Theatre; Robert O’Hara, “The Mountaintop,” Arena Stage; Aaron Posner, “Romeo & Juliet,” Folger Theatre; Howard Shalwitz, “Stupid F---ing Bird,” Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.

Outstanding Director, Resident Musical

Joe Calarco, “Gypsy,” Signature Theatre; Thomas W. Jones II, “Gee’s Bend,” MetroStage; Alan Paul, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” Shakespeare Theatre Company; Aaron Posner, “The Last Five Years,” Signature Theatre; Eric Schaeffer, “Hello, Dolly!” Ford’s Theatre and Signature Theatre

Outstanding Movement, Resident Play

Monalisa Arias, “Optimism! or Voltaire’s Candide,” Spooky Action Theater; Matthew Gardiner, “Never the Sinner,” 1st Stage; Happenstance Theater, “4th Annual, ALL-NEW Cabaret Macabre” Happenstance Theater; Robb Hunter, “Red Speedo,” The Studio Theatre; Irina Tsikurishvili and Ben Cunis, “The Three Musketeers,” Synetic Theater.

Outstanding Choreography, Resident Musical

Karma Camp, “Hello, Dolly!” Ford’s Theatre and Signature Theatre; Rachel Leigh Dolan, “Cabaret,” The Keegan Theatre; Maurice Hines, “Maurice Hines is Tappin’ Thru Life,” Arena Stage; Josh Rhodes, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” Shakespeare Theatre Company; Tara Jeanne Vallee, “The King and I,” Olney Theatre Center.

Outstanding Music Direction, Resident Production

William Hubbard and William Knowles, “Gee’s Bend,” MetroStage; Jon Kalbfleisch, “Gypsy,” Signature Theatre; Dr. Sherrie Maricle, “Maurice Hines is Tappin’ Thru Life,” Arena Stage; James Moore, “Hello, Dolly!” Ford’s Theatre and Signature Theatre; William Yanesh, “The Last Five Years,” Signature Theatre.

Outstanding Set Design, Resident Production

A. J. Guban, “36 Views,” Constellation Theatre Company; James Kronzer, “Glengarry Glen Ross,” Round House Theatre; Elizabeth Jenkins McFadden, “The House of the Spirits/La casa de los espírtus,” GALA Hispanic Theatre; Clint Ramos, “Appropriate,” Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; Clint Ramos, “The Mountaintop,” Arena Stage.

Outstanding Lighting Design, Resident Production

Brian S. Allard, “Never the Sinner,” 1st Stage; Andrew F. Griffin, “Henry V,” Folger Theatre; Andrew F. Griffin, “The Tempest,” Synetic Theater; A. J. Guban, “36 Views,” Constellation Theatre Company; Rui Rita, “The Laramie Project,” Ford’s Theatre.

Outstanding Costume Design, Resident Production

Mariah Hale, “Twelfth Night,” Folger Theatre; Murell Horton, “Wallenstein,” Shakespeare Theatre Company; Helen Huang, “The Convert,” Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; Sabrina Mandell, “4th Annual, ALL-NEW Cabaret Macabre,” Happenstance Theater; Merrily Murray-Walsh, “Mary T. & Lizzy K.” Arena Stage; Kendra Rai, “The Magic Finger,” Imagination Stage; Katie Touart, “Peter Pan and Wendy,” Imagination Stage.

Outstanding Sound Design, Resident Production

Christopher Baine and Carla Kihlstedt, “Romeo &Juliet,” Folger Theatre; Mark Bennett, “Coriolanus,” Shakespeare Theatre Company; Broken Chord, “Appropriate,” Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; Lindsay Jones, “The Mountaintop,” Arena Stage; Matthew M. Nielson, “Carried Away on the Crest of a Wave,” The Hub Theatre; Eric Shimelonis, “Never the Sinner,” 1st Stage.

Outstanding Supporting Performer, Visiting Production

Grey Henson, “The Book of Mormon,” The Kennedy Center; Kevin Mambo, “The Book of Mormon,” The Kennedy Center; Thoko Ntshinga, “Mies Julie,” Shakespeare Theatre Company; Edward Staudenmayer, “Anything Goes,” The Kennedy Center; Samantha Marie Ware, “The Book of Mormon,” The Kennedy Center.

Outstanding Lead Actor, Visiting Production

Mark Evans, “The Book of Mormon, “The Kennedy Center; Josh Franklin, “Anything Goes,” The Kennedy Center; Chester Gregory, “Sister Act,” The Kennedy Center; Bongile Mantsai, “Mies Julie,” Shakespeare Theatre Company; Christopher John O’Neill, “The Book of Mormon,” The Kennedy Center.

Outstanding Lead Actress, Visiting Production

Hilda Cronje, “Mies Julie,” Shakespeare Theatre Company; Perri Gaffney, “The Resurrection of Alice,” The Essential Theatre; Andrus Nichols, “Bedlam’s Saint Joan,” Olney Theatre Center; Rachel York, “Anything Goes,” The Kennedy Center.

Outstanding Lead Actress, Resident Musical

Sherri L. Edelen, “Gypsy,” Signature Theatre; Diana Huey, “Miss Saigon,” Signature Theatre; Nancy Opel, “Hello, Dolly!” Ford’s Theatre and Signature Theatre; Maria Rizzo, “Cabaret,” The Keegan Theatre; Jessica Vaccaro, “A Chorus Line,” Olney Theatre Center; Erin Weaver, “The Last Five Years,” Signature Theatre; Roz White, “Gee’s Bend,” MetroStage; Lauren Williams, “Elephant & Piggie’s ‘We Are in a Play!’ ” The Kennedy Center; Lori Williams, “Ladies Swing the Blues,” MetroStage.

Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Musical

Bruce Dow, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” Shakespeare Theatre Company; James Gardiner, “The Last Five Years,” Signature Theatre; David Gregory, “In the Heights,” Toby’s Dinner Theatre; Bryan Knowlton, “A Chorus Line,” Olney Theatre Center; Paul Scanlan, “Cabaret,” The Keegan Theatre; Thom Sesma, “Miss Saigon,” Signature Theatre.

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Musical

Jennifer Cordiner, “A Chorus Line,” Olney Theatre Center; Lora Lee Gayer, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” Shakespeare Theatre Company; Maria Rizzo, “Gypsy,” Signature Theatre; Erin Weaver, “Company,” Signature Theatre; Brittany N. Williams, “Three Little Birds,” Adventure Theatre MTC.Outstanding Supporting Actor, Resident Musical

Matthew Dewberry, “The Full Monty,” The Keegan Theatre; James Konicek “Peter Pan and Wendy,” Imagination Stage; John Loughney, “The Full Monty,” The Keegan Theatre; Bobby Smith, “Spin,” Signature Theatre; Edward Watts, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” Shakespeare Theatre Company; Tobias Young, “In the Heights,” Toby’s Dinner Theatre.

Outstanding Lead Actress, Resident Play

Johanna Day, “Good People,” Arena Stage; Tana Hicken, “4000 Miles,” The Studio Theatre; Joaquina Kalukango, “The Mountaintop,” Arena Stage; Susan Lynskey, “Ghost-Writer,” MetroStage; Nancy Moricette, “The Convert,” Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; Holly Twyford, “Contractions,” The Studio Theatre 2ndStage; Erin Weaver, “Romeo & Juliet,” Folger Theatre.

The Robert Prosky Award for Outstanding Lead Actor, Resident Play

Rick Foucheux, “Glengarry Glen Ross,” Round House Theatre; Brad Koed, “Stupid F---ing Bird,” Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; Julian Elijah Martinez, “9 Circles,” Forum Theatre; Patrick Page, “Coriolanus,” Shakespeare Theatre Company; Steve Pickering, “Wallenstein,” Shakespeare Theatre Company; Alexander Strain, “Glengarry Glen Ross,” Round House Theatre; Brandon Uranowitz, “Torch Song Trilogy,” The Studio Theatre.

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Play

Starla Benford, “The Convert,” Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; Sherri L. Edelen, “Romeo & Juliet,” Folger Theatre; Kimberly Gilbert, “Stupid F---ing Bird,” Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; Kate Eastwood Norris, “Stupid F---ing Bird,” Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; Susan Rome, “After the Revolution,” Theater J; Dawn Ursula, “The Convert,” Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.

The James MacArthur Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor, Resident Play

Louis Butelli, “Twelfth Night,” Folger Theatre; Rick Foucheux, “Stupid F---ing Bird,” Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; Ted van Griethuysen, “The Apple Family Plays,” The Studio Theatre; Mitchell Hébert, “How to Write a New Book for the Bible,” Round House Theatre; KenYatta Rogers, “Glengarry Glen Ross,” Round House Theatre; Richard Sheridan Willis, “Twelfth Night,” Folger Theatre.

Outstanding Ensemble, Resident Play

“The Apple Family Plays,” The Studio Theatre; “Glengarry Glen Ross,” Round House Theatre; “The Laramie Project,” Ford’s Theatre; “Never the Sinner,” 1st Stage; “Optimism! or Voltaire’s Candide,” Spooky Action Theater; “Stupid F---ing Bird,” Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.

Outstanding Ensemble, Resident Musical

“A Chorus Line,” Olney Theatre Center; “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” Shakespeare Theatre Company; “The Full Monty,” The Keegan Theatre; “Gee’s Bend,” MetroStage; “Hello, Dolly!” Ford’s Theatre and Signature Theatre.

The Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical

“4th Annual, ALL-NEW Cabaret Macabre,” Happenstance Theater; “Don Juan,” freely adapted from Molière by Matthew R. Wilson, Faction of Fools Theatre Company; “Red Speedo,” Lucas Hnath, The Studio Theatre; “Stupid F---ing Bird,” Aaron Posner, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; “Three Little Birds,” based on the story by Cedella Marley; music & lyrics by Bob Marley, adapted by Michael J. Bobbitt, additional music & lyrics by Jon L. Cornelius, II, Adventure Theatre MTC.

Outstanding Visiting Production

“Anything Goes,” The Kennedy Center; “Baby Universe: A Puppet Odyssey,” The Studio Theatre; “The Book of Mormon,” The Kennedy Center; “Mies Julie,” Shakespeare Theatre Company; “The Second City’s America All Better!!” Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.

Outstanding Production, Theatre for Young Audiences

“Anime Momotaro,” Imagination Stage; “Goodnight Moon,” Adventure Theatre MTC; “The Magic Finger,” Imagination Stage; “Peter Pan and Wendy,” Imagination Stage; “Three Little Birds,” Adventure Theatre MTC; “Winnie the Pooh,” Adventure Theatre MTC.

Outstanding Resident Musical

“A Chorus Line,” Olney Theatre Center; “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” Shakespeare Theatre Company; “Cabaret,” The Keegan Theatre; “Gypsy,” Signature Theatre; “Hello, Dolly!” Ford’s Theatre and Signature Theatre; “The Last Five Years,” Signature Theatre; “The Rocky Horror Show,” The Studio Theatre 2ndStage.

Outstanding Resident Play

“The Convert,” Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; “Glengarry Glen Ross,” Round House Theatre; “Good People,” Arena Stage; “The Laramie Project,” Ford’s Theatre; “The Mountaintop,” Arena Stage; “Romeo & Juliet,” Folger Theatre; “Stupid F---ing Bird,” Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.

Nelson Pressley has been writing about theater and other arts – but mostly theater – for the Post since 1999.
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