Monday, March 29, 2010

The 2010 Hubbies, Round 1

Spring is already here (maybe!), so it's time, of course, for the first round of the Hubbies, the virtual award (think of it as a statuette styled, should it ever actually exist, in the form of Michael Phelps, at left) bestowed by the Hub Review on the best performances of the year.

The season so far has been a time of transition (as it always is). The big trend in the local performance scene, I think, could be boiled down to:

The Huntington turns it around

Peter DuBois's freshman year at the Huntington was by and large a disappointment; his sophomore term (with the exception of A Civil War Christmas) is by and large a smash. And not a moment too soon, because the People Who Hate Theatre in this town have been busy anointing Diane Paulus's Not-Theatre at the ART as the next big thing, and we were expected to pretend along with them that stagings of music videos (Sleep No More) and club scenes (The Donkey Show) were the actual mandate of a publicly-supported university theatre. Thank God Paulus and her husband have been caught with their hand in the Harvard till (it's always nice when bad art and bad ethics go together); maybe now we can hope we'll be waving good-bye to The Diane Paulus Show sometime soon. Of course so far DuBois hasn't tackled Shakespeare (or any other major classic) either, but All My Sons and Fences gave us hope that the Huntington could reach the same pinnacles in classical theatre that Nicholas Martin achieved. Already, this season is arguably as good as anything Martin put together; we haven't suffered through another How Shakespeare Won the West, and Lydia R. Diamond finally came through with a good play. All My Sons was great, Fences was pretty damn good, Stick Fly proved smart and entertaining, and even Becky Shaw is at least interesting. More to follow; but in the meantime, on to the Hubbies:

Best Ensembles

Adding Machine, SpeakEasy Stage - Brendan McNab, Liz Hayes, Amelia Broome, Leigh Barrett, David Krinitt, John Bambery, Sean McGuirk, Bob DeVivo and Cheryl McMahon

Stick Fly, Huntington Theatre - Nikkole Salter, Jason Dirnden, Amber Iman, Billy Eugene Jones, Wendell W. Wright, Rosie Benton

Indulgences, New Rep - Benjamin Evett, Leigh Barrett, Neil A. Casey, Steven Barkhimer, Joel Colodner, Ed Hoopman, Tony Larkin

Best Individual Performances

Karen MacDonald (left) - All My Sons, Huntington Theatre, and boom, New Repertory Theatre

Marianna Bassham - Not Enough Air, Nora Theatre

Sandra Shipley - Entertaining Mr. Sloane, Publick Theatre

Cherene Snow - Black Pearl Sings!, Merrimack Rep

Casey Seymour Kim - 4:48: Psychosis, Gamm Theatre

Ben Chase - One Flea Spare, Whistler in the Dark

Risher Reddick - Island of Slaves, Orfeo Group

Fred Sullivan, Jr., Stephen Thorne, Mauro Hantman, and Brian McEleny - Twelfth Night, Trinity Rep

Timothy John Smith - Groundswell, Lyric Stage

Benjamin Evett - Indulgences, New Rep

Diego Arciniegas - Legacy of Light, Lyric Stage

Joe Lanza - [title of show], SpeakEasy Stage

Best Direction

Kenny Leon - Stick Fly, Huntington Theatre

Paul Melone - Adding Machine, SpeakEasy Stage

Tony Estrella - 4:48 Psychosis, Gamm Theatre

Best Design

Charles Schoonmaker, costumes, Legacy of Light, Lyric Stage

Susan Zeeman Rogers (set), Gail Astrid Buckley (costumes), Jeff Adelberg (lighting) and Aaron Mack (sound) - Adding Machine (above), SpeakEasy Stage

Cristina Todesco (set), Katherine O'Neill (costumes) - Island of Slaves, Orfeo Group