by MICHAEL BOWEN & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & T & lt;/span & he Spokies -- intended to honor the best of Spokane-area theater -- cause some local theater lovers to envision a would-be criminal mastermind: a deluded and neurotic soul bent on invading the minds and savaging the delicate egos of local actors and directors.
I'm referring, of course, to the guy who forced people to sit through Atlantis. Those of you who remember Spokane's all-time theatrical turkey (at the Opera House in 1993) will wish they couldn't. The rest of us are stuck with the subjective selections of the 2007-08 Spokies.
In a new twist this year, nominations were posted last weekend at stagethrust.blogspot.com. Comment-posters grumbled even over those choices; imagine their ire when it comes to selecting the winners. Nonetheless, here they are.
Best Actress -- Play
Karen Nelsen as Mary Tyrone in Long Day's Journey Into Night, Actors Repertory Theatre
Hands fluttering below sidelong glances: in denial and aware of it.
Best Actress -- Musical
Abbey Crawford as Keely in Pete 'n' Keely, Actors Rep
Belting and simmering, without being camp -- that's why the lady is a tramp.
Best Lighting Design
David Baker for Man of La Mancha, Spokane Civic Theatre
The moods ranged from autumnal to festive to menacing.
Achievement in Sadism
Testing the pain-level tolerance of a man who's only pretending that his legs are paralyzed: "Ruffhousin' mit Shuffhausen" in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the INB Center.
Best Infidelity to Method Acting
To Patrick McHenry-Kroetch, hornily pursuing Tanya Barton while rehearsing the inset Dracula production in the Civic's Laughing Stock. Part of him, at least, was not a member of the Undead.
Best Actor -- Play
Patrick Treadway as the Professor in All the Great Books (abridged), Actors Rep
The flop-sweat of the forced poetry recitation: calibrated goofiness.
Best Actor -- Musical
Patrick McHenry-Kroetch as Cervantes/Quijana/Quixote in Man of La Mancha, Civic
Tottering movements concealed defiance. Masterful.
Roger Welch and Andrew Start for The Full Monty, Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre
The combination of good "bad" dancing and "Michael Jordan's Ball" was intricate, exhilarating and Hoop-festive.
Best Costume Design -- Play
Jessica Ray for Souvenir, Actors Rep
Elegant but slightly out of date, deluded but still rational: Mrs. Jenkins' get-ups were Angels of Inspiration.
Best Costume Design -- Musical
Judith McGiveney for Kiss Me, Kate, Coeur d'Alene Summer Theater
The swagger of the '50s! Billowing Renaissance gowns in complementary colors!
Exalted Decoration for Dream Sequences
Jackie Davis and Gary Pierce rising from surgery to salsa in Interplayers' The Clean House: liveliness in the context of death.
Best Use of a Dolly Parton Impersonator
The final scene of Best of Broadway's The Wedding Singer: Even better than in the Miss Congeniality movie.
To Jerry Sciarrio, for filling out a coconut-shell bra in South Pacific at the Civic.
Best Director -- Play
Tralen Doler for Rabbit Hole, Actors Rep
Emotional intensity achieved in stillness.
Best Director -- Musical
Roger Welch for The Full Monty, CST
Working-class desperation, nervous naughtiness, raucous joy.
Best Touring Musical
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Best of Broadway
Whodunit reversals and off-the-wall lyrics engaged brains and funny bones both.
Best Set Design -- Musical
David Baker for The Christmas Schooner, Civic
The pulling-into-the-dock sequence was a triumph of imagination and logistics.
Best Set Design -- Play
John Hofland, Rabbit Hole, Actors Rep
At the risk of being overly literal, the dead boy's portraits loomed large and made us share in the grieving.
Best Featured Actress
Marianne McLaughlin as Bloody Mary in South Pacific, Civic
From the chanteuse of Bali Ha'i, hootchy-kootchy happiness and a vision of a better world.
Best Featured Actor
Jonathan Rau as Buddy "Keno" Walsh in The Full Monty, CST
He had to step up, strip off and deliver the Chippendales ideal. And succeeded.
Rabbit Hole, Actors Rep
Page Byers, Michael Weaver, Kathie Doyle-Lipe, Caryn Hoaglund, Jimmy-James Pendleton, united in sadness.
Best Local Musical
The Nominees: The Full Monty, Coeur d'Alene Summer Theater; The Last Five Years, Civic; Man of La Mancha, Civic; Pete 'n' Keely, Actors Rep
The WINNER: The Full Monty, CST
They shed clothes, we shed inhibitions. Good clean fun.
The Nominees: Long Day's Journey Into Night, Actors Rep; The Night of the Iguana, Civic; Rabbit Hole, Actors Rep
The WINNER: Rabbit Hole, Actors Rep
Acknowledging the abyss, then leaping over it.
The Nominees: All the Great Books (abridged), Actors Rep; Laughing Stock, Civic; Tour de Farce, CenterStage
The WINNER: All the Great Books (abridged), Actors Rep
Reinforcing literature by mangling it.