[1/1/2015]

 2014 Craig Noel Award nominees announced

SAN DIEGO (Jan. 1, 2015) — The San Diego Theatre Critics Circle has announced the nominees for its 2014 Craig Noel Awards.

The 13th annual awards ceremony will celebrate the more than 115 nominations for theatrical productions presented by 17 professional and semiprofessional theaters in San Diego County.

This year’s ceremony will celebrate the centennial of Craig Noel’s birth. The namesake for the Critics Circle’s annual awards, who died in 2010, was revered for his decades-long efforts to build a rich and vibrant theater community in San Diego.

The breadth of nominations among theater troupes large and small is a proud reflection of his work. Leading with 18 nominations this year is the La Jolla Playhouse followed by San Diego Repertory Theatre with 16; Moonlight Stage Productions with 12; and The Old Globe and Lamb’s Players Theatre, both with 10.

Other theaters honored with multiple nominations are San Diego Musical Theatre, Moxie Theatre, Intrepid Shakespeare Company, Cygnet Theatre, Diversionary Theatre, ion theatre, North Coast Repertory Theatre, New Village Arts and Broadway/San Diego.

Two newly launched troupes, New Fortune Theatre Co. and The Trip, also picked up nominations, along with the resurrected Sledgehammer Theatre.

The winners will be announced at the group’s annual awards ceremony, which will be held on Feb. 9, 2015, at the Museum of Contemporary Arts, San Diego, in La Jolla.

Here are the 2014 nominees

Special awards to be announced from stage:

  • Don Braunagel Award for Outstanding Work by a Small Theater Company
  • 2014 Producer of the Year
  •  Actor of the Year (male and female)
  • Outstanding Young Actor Award/Sandra Ellis-Troy Scholarship

Outstanding Resident Musical

  • “Catch Me If You Can” – Moonlight Stage Productions
  • “Les Misérables” – Lamb’s Players Theatre
  • “Mary Poppins” – Moonlight Stage Productions
  • “Next to Normal” – San Diego Musical Theatre
  • “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” – La Jolla Playhouse

Outstanding Musical Direction

  • Tony Houck – “Bare,” Diversionary Theatre
  • Brent Alan Huffman – “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” La Jolla Playhouse
  • G. Scott Lacy – “Les Misérables,” Lamb’s Players Theatre
  • Don LeMaster – “Next to Normal,” San Diego Musical Theatre
  • Lyndon Pugeda – “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” Moonlight Stage Productions

Outstanding Choreography

  • Brad Bradley – “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” Moonlight Stage Productions
  • Michael Mizerany – “Bare”, Diversionary Theatre
  • Michael Mizerany – “Spring Awakening,” Cygnet Theatre
  • Jon Vaughan – “Mary Poppins,” Moonlight Stage Productions
  • Karl Warden – “Catch Me If You Can,” Moonlight Stage Productions

Outstanding Original Score

  • Byron Au Yong – “The Orphan of Zhao,” La Jolla Playhouse
  • Bruno Louchouarn – “El Henry,” La Jolla Playhouse and San Diego Repertory Theatre
  • Steve Martin and Edie Brickell – “Bright Star,” The Old Globe

Outstanding Ensemble

  • “All My Sons,” Intrepid Shakespeare Company
  • “Crumbs from the Table of Joy,” Moxie Theatre
  • “Honky,” San Diego Repertory Theatre
  • “In the Time of the Butterflies,” San Diego Repertory Theatre
  • “Les Misérables,” Lamb’s Players Theatre

Outstanding Solo Performance

  • Todd Blakesley – “Tru,” Diversionary Theatre
  • Mona Golabek – “The Pianist of Willesden Lane,” San Diego Repertory Theatre
  • James Leaming – “This Wonderful Life,” North Coast Repertory Theatre

Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical, Female

  • Jessica Bernard – “Mary Poppins,” Moonlight Stage Productions
  • Sandy Campbell – “Passion,” ion theatre
  • Carmen Cusack – “Bright Star,” The Old Globe
  • Beth Malone – “Annie Get Your Gun,” San Diego Musical Theatre
  • Bets Malone – “Next to Normal,” San Diego Musical Theatre

Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical, Male

  • Dave Thomas Brown – “Spring Awakening,” Cygnet Theatre
  • Jacob Haren – “Catch Me If You Can,” Moonlight Stage Productions
  • Jason Heil – “Passion,” ion theatre
  • Brandon Joel Maier – “Les Misérables,” Lamb’s Players Theatre
  • Sean Murray – “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” Moonlight Stage Productions

Outstanding Featured Performance in a Musical, Female

  • Lindsay Joan – “Next to Normal,” San Diego Musical Theatre
  • Beth Leavel – “Dog and Pony,” The Old Globe
  • Myra McWethy – “The Full Monty,” New Village Arts
  • Kiani Nelson – “Bare,” Diversionary Theatre
  • Allie Trimm – “Les Misérables,” Lamb’s Players Theatre
  • Kelsey Venter – “Les Misérables,” Lamb’s Players Theatre

Outstanding Featured Performance in a Musical, Male

  • Randall Dodge – “Les Misérables,” Lamb’s Players Theatre
  • Jordan Miller – “Les Misérables,” Lamb’s Players Theatre
  • Patrick Page – “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, La Jolla Playhouse
  • Jamie Torcellini – “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” Moonlight Stage Productions
  • Leigh Wakeford – “Mary Poppins,” Moonlight Stage Productions

Outstanding Lead Performance in a Play, Male

  • Richard Baird – “Henry V,” New Fortune Theatre
  • Manny Fernandes – “True West,” Cygnet Theatre
  • Tom Stephenson – “All My Sons,” Intrepid Shakespeare Company
  • John Vickery – “Red,” San Diego Repertory Theatre
  • Ruff Yeager – “I Hate Hamlet,” Intrepid Shakespeare Company

Outstanding Lead Performance in a Play, Female

  • Samantha Ginn – “The Miss Firecracker Contest,” New Village Arts
  • Dana Hooley – “Happy Days,” Sledgehammer Theatre
  • Hannah Logan – “Bug,” ion theatre
  • Linda Libby – “Milvotchkee, Visconsin,” Mo’olelo Performing Arts
  • Shana Wride – “Much Ado about Nothing,” Intrepid Shakespeare Company

Outstanding Featured Performance in a Play, Female

  • Yolanda Franklin – “This Wide Night,” Ion Theatre
  • Montego Glover – “The Royale,” The Old Globe
  • Hannah Logan – “The Clean House,” New Village Arts
  • Cashae Monya (Meads) – “Crumbs from the Table of Joy,” Moxie Theatre
  • Jacque Wilke – “Honky,” San Diego Repertory Theatre

Outstanding Featured Performance in a Play, Male

  • Brian Mackey – “All My Sons,” Intrepid Shakespeare Company
  • Jason Maddy – “Red,” San Diego Repertory Theatre
  • Kinan Valdez – “El Henry,” La Jolla Playhouse and San Diego Repertory Theatre
  • Bernard White – “The Who and the What,” La Jolla Playhouse
  • Eddie Yaroch – “Enron,” Moxie Theatre

Outstanding Sound Design

  • Melanie Chen – “Crumbs from the Table of Joy,” Moxie Theatre
  • Patrick Duffy – “Les Misérables,” Lamb’s Players Theatre
  • Emily Jankowski – “Jade Heart,” Moxie Theatre
  • Matt Lescault-Wood – “Henry V,” New Fortune Theatre
  • Bruno Louchouarn – “El Henry,” La Jolla Playhouse and San Diego Repertory Theatre

Outstanding Costume Design

  • Alina Bokovikova – “Fallen Angels,” North Coast Repertory Theatre
  • Alina Bokovikova – “The School for Lies,” North Coast Repertory Theatre
  • Lindo Cho – “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” The Old Globe
  • Jennifer Brawn Gittings – “El Henry,” La Jolla Playhouse and San Diego Repertory Theatre
  • David Israel Reynosa – “Time and the Conways,” The Old Globe

Outstanding Lighting Design

  • Howell Binkley – “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” La Jolla Playhouse
  • Brian Gale – “Red,” San Diego Repertory Theatre
  • Sherrice Kelly – “Jade Heart,” Moxie Theatre
  • Conor Mulligan – “Fool For Love,” Cygnet Theatre
  • Japhy Weideman – “Bright Star,” The Old Globe

Outstanding Scenic Design

  • Alexander Dodge – “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” La Jolla Playhouse
  • Sean Fanning – “Honky,” San Diego Repertory Theatre
  • Daniel Ostling – “The Orphan of Zhao,” La Jolla Playhouse
  • Neil Patel – “Time and the Conways,” The Old Globe
  • Ian Wallace – “El Henry,” La Jolla Playhouse and San Diego Repertory Theatre

Outstanding Direction of a Play

  • Richard Baird & Matthew Henerson – “Henry V,” New Fortune Theatre
  • Rachel Chavkin – “The Royale,” The Old Globe
  • Delicia Turner Sonnenberg – “Crumbs from the Table of Joy,” Moxie Theatre
  • Sam Woodhouse – “El Henry,” La Jolla Playhouse and San Diego Repertory Theatre
  • Christy Yael-Cox – “All My Sons,” Intrepid Shakespeare Company

Outstanding Direction of a Musical

  • Brad Bradley – “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” Moonlight Stage Productions
  • Nick DeGruccio – “Next to Normal,” San Diego Musical Theatre
  • Scott Schwartz – “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” La Jolla Playhouse
  • Robert Smyth – “Les Misérables,” Lamb’s Players Theatre
  • Kim Strassburger – “Passion,” ion theatre

Outstanding New Play

  • Jeff Augustin – “in the crowding darkness,” UC San Diego Wagner New Play Festival
  • Tom Dugdale – “Orpheus and Eurydice,” The Trip
  • Lionel Goldstein – “Mandate Memories,” North Coast Repertory Theatre
  • Herbert Siguenza – “El Henry,” La Jolla Playhouse and San Diego Repertory Theatre

Outstanding Touring Production

  • “Into the Woods,” Fiasco Theatre at The Old Globe
  • “Kinky Boots,” Broadway/San Diego
  • “The Book of Mormon,” Broadway/San Diego
  • “The Graduate,” L.A. Theatre Works at Poway Center for the Performing Arts

Outstanding Dramatic Production

  • “All My Sons,” Intrepid Shakespeare Company
  • “Crumbs from the Table of Joy,” Moxie Theatre
  • “El Henry,” La Jolla Playhouse and San Diego Repertory Theatre
  • “The School for Lies,” North Coast Repertory Theatre
  • “The Who and the What,” La Jolla Playhouse

The annual program, honoring the top achievements in local semi-pro and professional theater will be held at 6 p.m. Feb. 9, 2015, at the Museum of Contemporary Arts, San Diego, in La Jolla.

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[6/3/2011]

Critics Circle mourns loss of Don Braunagel

LA JOLLA (6/3/11) — Don Braunagel, one of the founding members of the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle who had reviewed theater in San Diego since 1980, passed away June 3 after a heroic, three-year battle with cancer. He was 72.

  Braunagel served most recently as a theater critic for sandiego.com. He was the theater critic and columnist for San Diego Magazine from 1995 to 2010. And he covered theater for the San Diego Tribune from 1980 to 1992. He also served as a freelance San Diego theater critic for Variety and Daily Variety from 1985 to 1995.

  Before coming to San Diego, Braunagel was entertainment editor and theater critic for the Oakland Press in Pontiac, Mich.

  Don was instrumental in the revival of the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle 10 years ago, obtaining the organization’s nonprofit status, helping to create the group’s website and coordinating and posting hundreds of photos to the site each year.

  “Don loved theater and was proud to have the opportunity to serve as a critic in San Diego for so many years. He often said that he’d reviewed theater all over the world but felt that San Diego had the best overall theater scene worldwide,” said Circle president Pam Kragen. “He was generous, intelligent, kind, thoughtful and a true lover of life. It’s hard to imagine the Circle without his enthusiastic presence in the future.”

   Don was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008. The disease was treated and in remission when he received a new diagnosis of ampullary cancer in September 2009. He blogged about his courageous battle with the disease for nearly two years, and continued to review theatrical productions right up until his final months. He passed away Friday, June 3, at his La Jolla home, surrounded by members of his family and his devoted wife of 26 years, Yolanda.

   A service to celebrate his life has been scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, at 700 Prospect St. in La Jolla. A reception will follow.

  Read more about Don in a tribute by Critics Circle member Jeff Smith of the San Diego Reader here.

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  [12/10/2010]

San Diego Theatre Critics Circle announced award in the name of Sandra Ellis-Troy
        To honor the legacy of late San Diego actress and youth theater teacher Sandra Ellis-Troy, the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle nas announced the inauguration of a new award and scholarship that will be handed out annually in her name.
Ellis-Troy, who passed away Dec. 4, 2010, at the age of 68, worked in most of San Diego’s major theaters over the past 20 years. She also ran youth drama camps for her employer, Moonlight Stage Productions in Vista. In honor of her work with young actors, a memorial fund has been established to grant scholarships for promising youth actors.Since its inaugural year, the award and scholarship has been endowed by her good friend and acting colleague, Ralph Johnson.

[4/5/2010]

San Diego Theatre Critics Circle mourns Craig Noel   

Craig Noel, the namesake for the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle’s annual Awards for Theatrical Excellence, passed away April 3, 2010, at his San Diego home. He was 94.   Noel spent more than 70 years as the founding artistic director of the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego’s Balboa Park, and his contributions to developing San Diego’s reputation as a nationally renowned theater city are significant.    In 2007, he was honored by President George Bush with the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence. Read his obituary in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times.

[11/15/2007]

Craig Noel wins 2007 National Medal of Arts

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 15, 2007) — Old Globe Founding Artistic Director Craig Noel, for whom the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle’s annual awards are named, was honored at the White House on Nov. 15 with the 2007 National Medal of Arts, the highest award for the arts given by the United States government. Members of the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle helped lobby the National Endowment of the Arts to honor Noel for his achievements. Read more about Noel’s award in the U-T San Diego.