"The Behavior of Broadus," from Burglars of Hamm and Sacred Fools Theater Company.
"The Behavior of Broadus," from Burglars of Hamm and Sacred Fools Theater Company.

Sacred Fools Wins Big at Pro-99-Seat Rally, a.k.a. L.A. Stage Raw Awards

The inheritor of the defunct L.A. Weekly Awards honored the town’s 99-seat-and-under theatres, which are feeling besieged at the moment.

LOS ANGELES: Stage Raw, an online journal dedicated to covering Los Angeles theatre, held the first annual Stage Raw Los Angeles Theatre Awards honoring the city’s small theatres on Monday, April 13 at Los Angeles Theatre Center, and at a crucial time for the embattled scene.

The biggest winner of the night was The Behavior of Broadus, a coproduction by Burglars of Hamm and Sacred Fools Theater Company, which took home five awards, including Musical of the Year. Sacred Fools also won the most awards for a theatre company, with nine accolades. The year’s top production award went to a show that New York audiences also saw in its recent Off-Broadway transfer, as it was a coproduction between Pasadena’s Theatre @ Boston Court and New York’s Rattlestick Playwrights Theater: Sheila Callaghan’s Everything You Touch.

The event was hosted by Celebration Theatre, with comedians Alec Mapa and Parvesh Cheena emceeing. The awards were created as a replacement for the now-defunct L.A. Weekly Theatre Awards, which were discontinued in 2014 after 36 years for financial reasons. Like the Lawees, as they were affectionately called, the Stage Raws focus exclusively on L.A.’s 99-seat-and-under scene—a scene which has been feeling beleaguered of late, given the struggle going on between Actors Equity and the actor/producers of small theatre in L.A. over the plan by which the scene operates. Equity is currently conducting a referendum of members on its proposal to effectively eliminate the plan; the deadline for votes is this Friday, April 17, and the union’s national councillors are scheduled to vote on the new proposal next Tuesday, April 21.

There was no question where attendees stood on the issue, as the awards show, by most accounts, felt more like a #Pro99 rally than a ceremony. From the stage, Stage Raw writer Bill Raden voiced the common theme, thanking Equity for “their well-intended, if deluded proposal to pull the plug on what is unarguably the most vibrant and daring, if still emergent intimate stage scene in the nation,” saying that the union’s proposal “has unwittingly taken what had been a loose community of common self-interest and galvanized it into a movement. God bless them for that. And if you haven’t already, any Equity members here can express that thanks personally by voting no on AEA’s ’99-Seat Theatre Agreement.'”

According to KCRW commentator Anthony Byrnes, there was a palpable sense of a community standing on the brink not knowing what’s coming next, but holding hands as it faces the unknown. “There is a tantalizing sense that through adversity, this community might finally be finding its collective voice,” Byrnes said in a recent broadcast.

The Stage Raw Awards, which used the same jury assembled in 2014 for the L.A. Weekly Theater Awards, went to:

FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY
Ahmed Best, Backyard, Echo Theater Company

VIDEO/PROJECTION DESIGN
Hana S. Kim, The Ugly One, Ensemble Studio Theatre/L.A.

QUEEN OF THE ANGELS
Rebecca Metz

ADAPTATION
Aaron Posner, Stupid Fucking Bird, Circle X Theatre Company and Theatre @Boston Court

PLAYWRITING
Benjamin Brand, Taste, Sacred Fools Theater Company

SOUND DESIGN
Christopher Moscatiello, Penelope, Rogue Machine

CAREER ACHIEVEMENT
Jon Lawrence Rivera

LIGHTING DESIGN
Pablo Santiago, The Brothers Size, The Fountain Theatre

COSTUME DESIGN
Jenny Foldenauer, Everything You Touch, Theatre @ Boston Court and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater

SET DESIGN
DeAnne Millais, Taste, Sacred Fools Theatre Company

PRODUCTION DESIGN
Everything You Touch, Theatre @ Boston Court and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater

TWO PERSON PERFORMANCE
Donal Thoms-Cappello and Chris L. McKenna, Taste, Sacred Fools Theater Company

SUPPORTING FEMALE PERFORMANCE
Kelli Anderson, One in the Chamber, 6140 Productions/Theatre Planners

SUPPORTING MALE PERFORMANCE
Joel Polis, My Name Is Asher Lev, The Fountain Theatre

MALE COMEDY PERFORMANCE
Hugo Armstrong, The Behavior of Broadus, Burglars of Hamm and Sacred Fools Theater Company

FEMALE COMEDY PERFORMANCE
Ann Noble, The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia, LGBT’s Davidson/Valenti Theatre

SOLO PERFORMANCE
Ben Moroski, The Wake, Theatre Asylum

COMEDY ENSEMBLE
The Ugly One, Ensemble Studio Theatre/L.A.

ENSEMBLE
The Wedding Band, The Anteaus Company

ORIGINAL MUSIC
Matt Almos, Brendan Milburn and Burglars of Hamm, The Behavior of Broadus, Burglars of Hamm and Sacred Fools Theater Company

CHOREOGRAPHY
Ken Roht, The Behavior of Broadus, Burglars of Hamm and Sacred Fools Theater Company

LEADING FEMALE PERFORMANCE 
Cara Pifko, O Réjane, Bootleg Theatre

LEADING MALE PERFORMANCE
David Selby, A Delicate Balance, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble

MUSICAL DIRECTION
John Ballinger, The Behavior of Broadus, Burglars of Hamm and Sacred Fools Theater Company

COMEDY DIRECTION
Stuart Gordon, Taste, Sacred Fools Theater Company

DIRECTION
Jessica Kubzansky, Everything You Touch, Theater @ Boston Court and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater

MUSICAL OF THE YEAR
The Behavior of Broadus, Burglars of Hamm and Sacred Fools Theater Company

REVIVAL PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR (OF A 20TH- OR 21ST-CENTURY WORK) 
Wedding Band, The Antaeus Company

PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR
Everything You Touch, Theatre @ Boston Court and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater

  • Rebecca Metz

    It was a wonderful night, and a celebration of the kind of innovative, artist-driven theater that should be fostered around the country.

    Thank you for covering what’s happening here. I invite theater lovers in LA, New York, and beyond, to come to LA and see what this community is about before making assumptions, and certainly before drafting policy that affects us.

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