Arts & Events

Berkeley Theaters Win 13 Critics' Circle Awards

By John A. McMullen II
Friday May 24, 2013 - 05:41:00 PM
Jonathan Moscone of Cal Shakes and Tony Taccone of Berkeley present awards at the Gala
Eric Chazankin
Jonathan Moscone of Cal Shakes and Tony Taccone of Berkeley present awards at the Gala

Sixty actors, directors, and designers received the Critics Circle “Outstanding” awards at the Critics Circle’s Awards Gala & Dance Party held at the California Ballroom in Oakland on May 6.  

Berkeley theatres claimed 13 of those awards, including a sweep of the Original Script category: 

Aaron Henne won for“Mesmeric Revelations,” Central Works producer; 

Ken Slattery for “Truffaldino Say No,” co-production of Shotgun Players and Playground; and 

Tony Taccone for “Ghost Light,” a biopic of Jon Moscone and the City Hall murders, Berkeley Rep time the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle has bestowed awards at their Gala. 

Awards are apportioned according to size of house: over 300 seats such as ACT, Berkeley Rep or Cal Shakes; 100-300 seats like, Shotgun Players or SF Playhouse; or under 100 seats such as Impact Theatre, Custom Made Theatre, or Masquers Playhouse. 

It was the first time a dance party was included which made for a more convivial “party” evening. The awards took breaks for schmoozing and dancing to the Tal Ariel band (Ariel won outstanding music director last year for “Seussical” at Berkeley Playhouse.) 

Other Berkeley winners of the Critics Circle “Outstanding” award for the theatre year 2012 were: 

For theatres with seating for under 100, Gregory Sharpen won for outstanding sound design for “Mesmeric Revelations” at Central Works, and Laura Jean Bailey for Featured Female in a Straight Play for “Crevice, a co-production of Impact Theatre and Playground. 

For theatres with seating between 100 to 300, Shotgun Players won two more prizes for “Truffaldino Says No”: Maggie Whitaker for Costume Design and M. Graham Smith for Director. 

Howard Swain won the outstanding award for Principal Male in a Straight Play for the Aurora Theatre’s production of “Body Awareness”. 

Berkeley Rep productions won five more “Outstanding” awards for theatres with over 300 seats: 

“A Doctor in Spite of Himself” garnered honors for Kristin Fiebig for Costume Design and Steven Epp for Principal Male in a Straight Play; 

“Ghost Light” won for Featured Female and Male performances in a Straight play, Robynn Rodriguez and Danforth Comins taking home the honors; and 

Joaquina Kalukango won for Principal Female in a Musical for “Emotional Creature.” 

(For a complete list of winners and nominees, visit where you can also view Eric Chazankin’s photos of the Gala and the winners.) 

Each Critics Circle member attends over 40 plays per year and nominates worthy candidates in San Francisco, the East Bay (Alameda and Contra Costa counties), the North Bay (Marin and Solano counties) and the South Bay (San Mateo and Santa Clara counties).  

There were three special honorees this year: Actor James Carpenter received the Jerry Friedman lifetime achievement award, Exit Theatre received the Paine Knickerbocker award for continuing contributing by an organization, and Kim Taylor PR received the Gene Price award for superlative professionalism. 

Presenters of Awards from the East Bay included Artistic Directors Melissa Hillman of Impact Theatre, Patrick Dooley of Shotgun Players, Jonathan Moscone of Cal Shakes, and Tony Taccone of Berkeley Rep, along with director Kimberly Dooley and Dale Albright of Theatre Bay Area. 

Actors Equity received a special proclamation on their 100th anniversary of protecting the right of actors and stage managers.  

Mayor Jean Quan of Oakland came to address the 300+ attendees and welcome them to Oakland. 

Co-sponsors were Theatre Bay Area and Actors Equity Association. Pat Paulsen Vineyards and Trumer Pils provided the libations. 

You can take an online tour of the California Ballroom where the Gala was held at .