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We're So Dramatic 

by MICHAEL BOWEN & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & "I & lt;/span & won a Spokie in 2007." OK, so maybe there are lines on your resum & eacute; that will do a better job of helping you get hired. But theaters put last year's Spokies on their Websites, and more than one local actor wrote in to kvetch, so at least they're conversation-starters.





This time around, we're considering productions that opened in the past year (June 2006-May 2007) at the following theaters: Actors Repertory Theatre of the Inland Northwest, Best of Broadway Spokane, CenterStage, Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre, Spokane Civic Theatre (both Main Stage and Firth J. Chew Studio Theatre) and Spokane Interplayers Ensemble.





So here they are, the 2007 Spokie Awards for the best in Spokane-area theater (with the major awards withheld until the end -- just like they do at the Oscars and the Tonys!).





Best Choreography


Michael Wasileski for A Chorus Line, Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre


As spectacular as Chorus Line's final, glorious, self-assertive chorus line is, that's not what earned this award. That distinction goes to how Wasileski guided Megan Bayha's shoulder rolls and kicks and glides in "The Music and the Mirror."





Best Lighting Design


Dan Heggem for Woman in Black, Spokane Interplayers Ensemble


Lights angled slant-wise, making everyday objects appear creepy, sudden blackouts, gauzy half-light obscuring figures creeping in the darkness -- Heggem intensified this Halloween ghost story.





Best Set Design, Musical


David Baker, Singin' in the Rain, Spokane Civic Theatre


For a stage production based on the many locales of a beloved movie musical, the effort involved in creating Baker's multiple sets -- from sound stages to the rain-drenched streets -- sometimes overwhelmed the action. But the technical effort has to be applauded.





Best Set Design, Play


John Hofland, The Shape of Things, Actors Rep


For Neil LaBute's power-trip drama about a woman domineering over a timid male college student, Hofland's set merged the Greek columns of campus architecture with a circular pit for the exchange of sometimes vicious ideas.





Best Costumes, Musical


Hilary Winkworth, Pippin, Coeur d'Alene Summer Theatre


From the decadent look of the Fosse "amoeba" to the psychedelic colors of '70s optimism to the anachronistic Vikings and doughboys of the battle sequences, Winkworth's numerous designs exemplified how costumes can support a show's themes.





Best Costumes, Play


Jan Wanless and Dee Finan, "The Tuna Project", Actors Rep


Going beyond beefy guys in drag, Wanless and Finan provided boots and earflaps for the clueless animal lover and a torn T-shirt and red mohawk for the smart-mouthed delinquent.





Best Supporting Actress


Kathie Doyle-Lipe as Vera Charles in Mame, Civic


Popping up from behind beds like a prairie dog, Doyle-Lipe played the martini-swilling actress with large dollops of physical shtick.





Best Supporting Actor


Jack Bannon as Dr. Gerald Lyman in Bus Stop, Interplayers


The dirty old man grew drunker and drunker, and more and more disgusted with himself -- yet still able to laugh at himself throughout his dark night of the soul.





Best Actor, Musical


Patrick McHenry-Kroetch as John Wilkes Booth in Assassins, Civic


Dashing yet defeated, a tempter of others who knew how badly he'd dealt with his own temptations, McHenry-Kroetch's assassin strutted in full voice, embodying the primal America sin: taking the shortcut to "fame" by killing somebody famous.





Best Actor, Play


Reed McColm as Gregory Solomon in The Price, Interplayers


With palsied hands shaking, McColm played a master manipulator who turned out to feel manipulated (unfairly) by life itself.





Best Actress, Musical


Haley New Ostrander in the title role of Peter Pan, CdA Summer Theatre


Scampering, roistering and flying over our heads, Ostrander brought swagger to the Lost Boys' king while still showing us his loneliness and vulnerability.





Best Actress, Play


Patty Duke as Flora Humble in Humble Boy, Actors Rep


With girlish smiles and butt-wiggles, Duke flirted with her fianc & eacute;; around her son, however, she bit off heads.





Best Director, Play


Patrick Treadway, "The Tuna Project," Actors Rep


Steering the Marlowe-Weaver tornado through dozens of characters in alternating plays, Treadway not only directed traffic -- he enlivened the offstage action while slowing the pace so that even the quiet moments could register.





Best Director, Musical


Roger Welch, Pippin, CdA Summer Theater


For creating a sense of reckless cynicism in a small space, Troy Nickerson's achievement in Assassins was remarkable. But Welch took a larger cast and by deploying roles in unusual ways (three Leading Players) was able to sharpen the contemporary parallels (anti-war satire aimed at Iraq instead of Vietnam) and add a sense of ongoing evil (in that haunting finale).





Best Ensemble


Assassins, Civic


Despite strong competition from the cast of Humble Boy, this group -- Abbey Crawford, Dougie Dawson, David Gigler, George Green, Matthew Harget, Thomas Heppler, Patrick McHenry-Kroetch, Marianne McLaughlin, Gary Pierce, Gavin Smith, Andrew Ware-Lewis -- gets the nod because they sang together, hung out onstage together, and even engaged in target practice together.





Best Touring Musical


Hairspray, Best of Broadway Spokane, INB Center


Doo-wop exuberance and finger-snappin' fun with a political (anti-segregation) and personal (don't let the popular bastards get you down) message.





Best Comedy


"The Tuna Project": Greater Tuna and A Tuna Christmas, Actors Rep


By cramming 41 characters into two actors' bodies, William Marlowe and Michael Weaver exemplified universality: Those Tuna people, they're not that different from us.





Best Drama


Humble Boy, Actors Rep


As the misfit astrophysicist, Carter J. Davis tried to find himself amid a garden party tinged with mortality and self-disgust.





Best Local Musical


Assassins, Civic Studio


In their antics and songs, their faces lit from below like ghouls, these presidential killers harped on a single theme: Americans are taught to desire fame so much, they'll commit just about any crime to get it.

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