Quickly now: Name the last three books you read, movies you watched, plays you attended. It’s not so easy. We’re amused, angered or entertained — fully in the moment — and then we forget.
Which is why it’s worth recalling a season’s worth of work, especially in the case of theater — an art form that’s been feeling a little temporary about itself lately. Because not everyone who enjoys theater has time for every show — and even those who are professionally obliged to see lots of shows sometimes forget what directors, designers and actors were doing around here, say, eight months ago.
Nominations for the 2010 Spokies were posted recently at stagethrust.blogspot.com. Here are the very best designs, performances and productions from the 2009-10 Spokane-area theater season.
Tralen Doler (The Producers, Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre)
The duet with Ulla that went across and over the casting couch, along with the big finish for “King of Broadway,” equaled Springtime for Nazis and choreographers.
Joel Williamson (Miss Saigon, CdA Summer Theatre)
From the dim light-shafts of a brothel to the helicopter’s glaring headlamps
David Baker (The Pirates of Penzance, Spokane Civic Theatre)
A masted wooden ship with a poop deck, followed by a ruined chapel, dappled with moonlight
Jan Wanless (The Pirates of Penzance, Civic)
The women’s chorus was done up in lavenders and seafoam greens, all varied but blended — a demonstration of how costumes enhance a show.
FEATURED ACTOR, PLAY
Todd Kehne (Jimmer Negamanee in Escanaba in da Moonlight, Civic)
Antic befuddlement from a bearded oddball who’s not as odd as his huntin’ buddies think
FEATURED ACTOR, MUSICAL
Doug Dawson (The Major- General in The Pirates of Penzance, Civic)
A knock-kneed scarecrow in a pith helmet, firing off rapid-patter delivery
FEATURED ACTRESS, MUSICAL
Ellen Travolta (Mona Kent in Dames at Sea, CdA Summer Theatre)
Clambering onto a piano like a comic rock-climber, then imperiously seducing her man
FEATURED ACTRESS, PLAY
Sarah Denison (Multiple roles, String of Pearls, Civic)
From vapid student to toddler brat, from Jersey skank to gay gravedigger: remarkable range
LEADING ACTRESS, MUSICAL
Andrea Dawson (Florence in Chess, concert version, Civic)
After hearing “Heaven Help My Heart,” it’s almost impossible to praise Dawson’s singing too much — she’s that good.
LEADING ACTOR, PLAY
Jamie Flanery (Ray in Blackbird, West Central Community Center)
Overwrought, nervous, ashamed and angry, Flanery’s Ray reaches for Una’s hand, then realizes how wrong their relationship is and always has been.
LEADING ACTOR, MUSICAL
Andrew Ware Lewis (Lt. Frank Cioffi in Curtains, Civic)
Goofy yet suave, calculating yet naive, Ware Lewis’s detective solved the crime, fixed the show and got the girl.
LEADING ACTRESS, PLAY
Nancy Gasper (Artie in Eleemosynary, Interplayers)
With her frightening portrayal of depression in a woman who doesn’t know how to love, Gasper broke viewers’ hearts.
Troy Nickerson (Escanaba in da Moonlight, Civic)
In the midst of raucous, good-ol’-boy farce, attention to characterizing detail
Yvonne A.K. Johnson (The Pirates of Penzance, Civic)
Updating the Victorian operetta, Johnson blended in allusions to Busby Berkeley, do-wop cheerleaders, Monty Python and even Elvis.
String of Pearls (Civic)
Katie Carey, Sarah Denison, Jean Hardie, Tami Rotchford, Kate Vita and director Susan Hardie: Forging parallels among women who feel sure they’re distinct.
BEST TOURING MUSICAL
The Lion King (INB Center)
“They’re watching over/ Everything we see”: They live in us.
BEST LOCAL MUSICAL
The Pirates of Penzance (Civic)
In matters actorly, directorly and choreo-fantastical, ‘twas the very model of a modern major musical.
In a nun-vs.-priest standoff, dogmatism’s vindictive and doubt is forgiving.
Escanaba in da Moonlight (Civic)
Mouth-breathers in a mancave, reaching toward the light.