The 2017 Elly Awards

Named in honor of Eleanor McClatchy — late publisher of The Sacramento Bee and renowned arts lover — the Elly Awards are the Sacramento area equivalent to the Tony Awards. The Elly Awards recognize all aspects of theatrical production, from the actors on the stage to the designers and technicians behind the scenes.

SARTA is an alliance of non-professional, community-level theaters, artists, technicians and administrators who foster and promote high-quality theater in the Sacramento region, according to its website. It keeps community theater calendars, sends out audition and performance notices, and recognizes theatrical excellence with the annual Elly Awards Ceremony.

The productions receiving the most Elly Awards were:
Peter and the Starcatcher – Green Valley Theatre Company (8)
Lizzie: The Musical – The Actor’s Playpen (4)
Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allen Poe – Green Valley Theatre Company (4)
The Wizard of Oz – Roseville Theatre Arts Academy (3)
Zoo Story – Quest Theaterworks (2)
The Good Body – Quest Theaterworks (2)
It’s A Wonderful Life – William Jessup University (2)

Elly Awards for Overall Production in individual categories in the Adult Division went to:
Peter and the Starcatcher – Green Valley Theatre Company – Comedy
Zoo Story – Quest Theaterworks – Drama
Lizzie: The Musical – The Actor’s Playpen – Musical

A full list of the 2017 Elly Award Recipients (Adult Division) can be found HERE.

A full list of the 2017 Elly Award Recipients (Youth Division) can be found HERE.

A full list of the 2017 Elly Nominees (Adult and Youth Divisions) can be found HERE.

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“A Bright New Boise” at Big Idea Theatre

One of my favorite things about Big Idea Theatre is that their production values are always top-notch. Excellent actors, beautiful sets, good lighting and sound. This leaves the audience the opportunity to really focus on the content of the work being presented.

This is very much the case with A Bright New Boise, which plays through  July 16. I’m still thinking about the arguments and implications of the play, days after seeing it, and mulling over the literary merit of this dark comedy. Continue reading ““A Bright New Boise” at Big Idea Theatre”

“The Unfortunates” at ACT

In The Unfortunates, a prisoner of war journeys through a dream world (inspired by the classic blues tune “St. James Infirmary”) where he faces a number of enemies and risks everything to save the woman he loves. The characters’ quest for salvation is marked by willingness to make music in the face of loss, and searching for love in times of desperation. It’s as life-affirming as it is dark and imaginative. Continue reading ““The Unfortunates” at ACT”

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at the Crest

I have loved Big Bad Voodoo Daddy since middle school, and I went to a concert of theirs in Tahoe when I was… 14 years old? Maybe?

I so clearly recall BBVD’s superb music. How well they played together. Their fantastic stage presence and candor. How huge a crush I had on the bass player.

Nothing has changed. (Dirk, you’re as crush-worthy as ever!)

The band has been together for 22 years, still has all its original members, and is swinging like there’s no tomorrow. Continue reading “Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at the Crest”

The 2015 Elly Awards

Green Valley Theatre Company brought home seven awards at the 33rd Annual Elly Awards Sunday night, including the award for Overall Production of a musical for In the Heights.

Green Valley was followed closely by Big Idea Theatre, whose production of The Language Archive garnered six awards, and San Joaquin Delta College, which took home five awards for its production of Death of a Salesman.

Named in honor of Eleanor McClatchy — late publisher of The Sacramento Bee and renowned arts lover — the Elly Awards are the Sacramento area equivalent to the Tony Awards. The Elly Awards recognize all aspects of theatrical production, from the actors on the stage to the designers and technicians behind the scenes.

SARTA is an alliance of non-professional, community-level theaters, artists, technicians and administrators who foster and promote high-quality theater in the Sacramento region, according to its website. It keeps community theater calendars, sends out audition and performance notices, and recognizes theatrical excellence with the annual Elly Awards Ceremony.

The productions receiving the most Elly Awards were:
In The Heights – Green Valley Theatre Company (7)
Language Archives – Big Idea Theatre (6)
Death of a Salesman – San Joaquin Delta College (5)
Anon(ymous) – Falcon’s Eye Theatre at Folsom Lake College (3)
The Sound of Music – Stockton Civic Theatre (2)

Elly Awards for Overall Production in individual categories in the Adult Division went to:
Comedy – Language Archives – Big Idea Theatre
Drama – Death of a Salesman – San Joaquin Delta College
Musical – In the Heights – Green Valley Theatre
Original Works: Original Script – Frankenstein – Jes Gonzales – Resurrection Theatre
Original Works: Original Adaptation- Little Women – Deanne Eldridge – Free Fall

Two individuals received two Elly awards apiece – Benjamin T. Ismail for Direction and Sound Design for Language Archives and Harvey T. Jordan for Direction and Leading Male for Death of a Salesman. Both shows also won in their respective Overall Production category.

This year’s lifetime achievement awards went to Rodger McDonald and Janis Stevens. McDonald is a veteran director and actor in the Sacramento community, and recently completed his 250th production at Woodland Opera House. Stevens is been an adjunct professor at American River College, as well as an accomplished actor and director, and has touched the lives of countless numbers of students.

A full list of the 2015 Elly Award Recipients (Adult Division) can be found HERE.

A full list of the 2015 Elly Award Recipients (Youth Division) can be found HERE.

A full list of the 2015 Elly Nominees (Adult and Youth Divisions) can be found HERE.

The 2015 Elly Nominations

elly_logo_categoryTheatremakers from all over Sacramento gathered for the announcement of the 436 nominations for the Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance’s Elly Awards Saturday night at the West Sacramento Community Center.

SARTA’s Elly’s are the Sacramento area equivalent of the Tony Awards, with recognition for all aspects of production from lead and supporting actor and actress to costume, lighting, sound and set design to music direction and choreography to overall production in a seven different categories. Continue reading “The 2015 Elly Nominations”

“Next to Normal” at Runaway Stage Productions

Runaway Stage’s Next to Normal at the Black Box Theatre in West Sacramento is excellent. The show deals with a woman’s struggle with bipolar disorder and her family’s struggle to cope. Though there is humor in the piece, the content gets pretty hefty. Grief, drug abuse, suicide and complex relationships pile up on an already difficult subject matter. But it’s a nice change to see some theater with some weight in it every so often. Continue reading ““Next to Normal” at Runaway Stage Productions”

“Dogfight” at Green Valley Theatre

Dogfight, playing now through May 17 at Green Valley Theatre Company, definitely fits into the “Something Else” category of the company’s slogan: Classics. Comedy. And Something Else.

The story follows U.S. Marine Eddie Birdlace and the shy waitress Rose Fenny, whose relationship starts off on absolutely terrible footing. Eddie and his fellow Marines are participating in a dogfight — a cruel game with simple rules — each Marine puts $50 in the pot, and the man who brings the ugliest date to the party wins the money. Eddie asks Rose to come with him, not mentioning the dogfight, and things go downhill very fast when she finds out about it.

Continue reading ““Dogfight” at Green Valley Theatre”

“In the Heights” at Green Valley Theatre Company

This is a first. Never before have I reviewed a show that was completely sold out.

I don’t mean the first performance being sold out. Or opening weekend being sold out. I mean the entire run of the show.

What’s even more remarkable is that the show was sold out before opening night.

Continue reading ““In the Heights” at Green Valley Theatre Company”