Ostrander Contest: Beat Davis, Win Beer!

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WIn me!
  • WIn me!
Here's the shot: I'm going to list my picks for who I think will win this year's Ostranders. I'm usually wrong. Readers can take advantage of this—and possibly win $100 in Flying Saucer Beer Emporium bucks— by making their own winners lists and either emailing them to me (davis@memphisflyer.com) with "Ostrander Contest" in the subject field, or by simply posting picks in comments to this posting. If nobody beats me I get to keep the beer bucks (bwahahahahahaha!). Otherwise they will go to the lucky/brilliant person who picks the most winners. In the case of a tie there will be a drawing.

How easy is that? My picks can be found below the fold.

I'm at an extra disadvantage this year. I always miss something if I do a show or take a vacation and this year I did both. In a couple of categories your guess will be as good as mine.

My choice for winners are in bold type.


SUPPORTING ACTRESS - MUSICAL
Angela Fredriksson, Crazy for You - Theatre Memphis
Laura Stracko, Footloose - Playhouse on the Square
Bates Brooks, Grey Gardens - Circuit
Claire Kolheim, Ragtime - Playhouse on the Square
Stephanie Bolton, The Wiz - Hattiloo Theatre

One of Memphis's favorite performers returns to the stage after a long absence to play one of America's favorite eccentrics. How could it be anybody but Bates Brooks?

SUPPORTING ACTOR - MUSICAL
Charlton Johnson, The Wiz - Hattiloo Theatre
Josh Bernaski, Footloose - Playhouse on the Square
Robert Hanford, The Drowsy Chaperone - Harrell Theatre
David Foster, Ragtime - Playhouse on the Square
A.J. Bernard, The Wiz - Hattiloo Theatre

Great show, gifted performer in his second shot at the role: David Foster.

LEADING ACTRESS - MUSICAL
Kirie Walz, Annie Get Your Gun - Theatre memphis
Noelia Warnett-Jones, The Wiz - Hattiloo Theatre
Carla McDonald, The Drowsy Chaperone - Playhouse on the Square
Kristina Hanford, The Drowsy Chaperone - Harrell Theatre
Emily Chateau, The Drowsy Chaperone - Harrell Theatre

Annie Get Your Gun was not a good show. Kirie Walz's Annie was treated like a clownish hayseed. But her personality was explosive, her talent vast. Carla McDonald was extraordinary in Grey Gardens. She was nominated for her fine but less impressive showing in The Drowsey Chaperone. So Walz seems likely to pull an upset.

LEADING ACTOR - MUSICAL
Bentley Black, Footloose - Playhouse on the Square
Jarrad Baker, Ragtime - Playhouse on the Square
Jordan Nichols, Crazy for You - Theatre Memphis
Mike Detroit, Ragtime - Playhouse on the Square
Justin Willingham, The Drowsy Chaperone - Harrell Theatre

Tateh is one of the great modern musical roles. And Michael Detroit nailed it. Twice.


DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL
Dave Landis, The Drowsy Chaperone - Playhouse on the Square
Robert Hetherington, Crazy for You - Theatre Memphis
Amy Hanford, The Drowsy Champerone - Harrell Theatre
Tony Horne, The Wiz - Hattiloo Theatre
Dave Landis, Ragtime - Playhouse on the Square

Tony Horne went to great pains to fit the epic Wiz into the tiny Hattiloo Theatre. It seems possible to me that those efforts might be rewarded. But Ragtime was an epic given epic treatment. It impressed Ostrander judges the last time around and, as the show suggests, history repeats itself. Dave Landis gets the Ostrander.

MUSICAL
The Drowsy Chaperone - Harrell Theatre
[Title of Show] - Next Stage at Theatre Memphis
Crazy for You - Theatre Memphis
Footloose - Playhouse on the Square
Ragtime - Playhouse on the Square

It's a troublesome half-hour too long but I'd still love to see [Title of Show] win this. What a funny, spunky, piece, dispensing with all the glitz, and highlighting the things that are really important about live performance. That said, I expect a flashier show will take home the prize. Smart money would probably go with the crowd-pleasing Gershwin musical Crazy For You, which had nothing but good buzz, but I'm picking the meaty if somewhat uneven Ragtime.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS - DRAMA
Christina Wellford Scott, Picnic - Theatre Memphis
Ann Marie Hall, August: Osage County - Playhouse on the Square
Liz Sharpe, From Up Here - Circuit Playhouse
Leah Bray Nichols, August: Osage County - Playhouse on the Square
Meghan Lisi, Richard III - Next Stage at Theatre Memphis
Lorraine Cotton, Dividing the Estate - Circuit Playhouse

I only liked Christina Wellford Scott in Picnic's second act. But I really liked her in Picnic's second act. Scott's a great character actress but doesn't always get to show that off. She was good in this season's A Delicate Balance, in spite of having an accordian hung around her neck like a millstone. But this may be my favorite thing I've seen her do since she played a crabby, literacy-hating clown in A Man of No Importance.

SUPPORTING ACTOR - DRAMA
John Moore, From Up Here - Circuit Playhouse
Barclay Roberts, Picnic - Theatre Memphis
Nick Echols, From Up Here - Circuit Playhouse
Chuck Hodges, Richard III - Next Stage at Theatre Memphis
Ed Porter, August: Osage County - Playhouse on the Square
Dave Landis, August: Osage County - Playhouse on the Square

This is a great field of choices. If Scott wins for Picnic Roberts probably should too. Their success in this otherwise mediocre offering was a team effort in the best way imaginable. Chuck Hodges was also an outstanding human presence in a Richard III that needed a strong injection of the stuff. John Moore and Dave Landis have both had exceptional years. But Ed Porter is, simply said, one of the finest young actors to come down the pike.

LEADING ACTRESS - DRAMA
Irene Crist, August: Osage County - Playhouse on the Square
Kim Justis, August: Osage County - Playhouse on the Square
Crystin Gilmore, Black Pearl Sings - Circuit Playhouse
Tamara Wright, The Dixie Swim Club - Germantown Community Theatre
Olivia Wingate, Eleemosynary - Circuit Playhouse
Laura Stracko, Black Pearl Sings - Circuit Playhouse

I missed Black Pearl Sings so that could be my blind spot here. But August: Osage County was an extraordinary moment for local theater. Crist was excellent but Justis was "in charge."


LEADING ACTOR - DRAMA
David Foster, Dividing the Estate - Circuit Playhouse
Gregory Boller,Richard III - Next Stage at Theatre Memphis
Bennett Wood, A Delicate Balance - Next Stage at Theatre Memphis
Tony Isbell, Amadeus - Theatre Memphis
Marques Brown, Amadeus - Theatre Memphis

Tony Isbell is a smart actor who keeps getting better. So maybe my expectations for Amadeus were unrealistic. His Salieri was fine but not a favorite. I liked Marques Brown's Mozart better, but the only performer I truly loved was the un-nominated Aliza Moran. Boller did respectable work in a difficult role but was kept off task due to some directoral choices. I'm a Foster fan but expect to see him rewarded in the musical category. That leaves us with a strong performance by Bennett Wood in an Albee masterpiece.


ENSEMBLE ACTING
title of show - Next Stage at Theatre Memphis
The Dixie Swim Club - Germantown Community Theatre
Wild Legacy - Voices of the South
The Wiz - Hattiloo Theatre
Black Pearl Sings - Circuit Playhouse

Should be Wild Legacy. Will be The Dixie Swim Club. DSC isn't something I'd ever go to see if I wasn't a professional watcher. But the cast found a groove and worked it.


FEATURED ROLE
Jim Palmer, August: Osage County - Playhouse on the Square
Jo Lynn Palmer, Superior Donuts - Circuit Playhouse
Justin Asher, Little Shop of Horrors - Harrell Theatre
Stephen Tate, Little Shop of Horrors - Harrell Theatre

Bennett Wood, Richard III - Next Stage at Theatre Memphis

I want to pick Jim Palmer. But I'm going out on a limb here. This feels like stunt nominating. Asher and Tate collectively created the man-eating Audrey II (Voice and movement respectively). I can't imagine both the puppeteer and the voice being nominated unless a collective prize was on its way.

DIRECTION - DRAMA
Bo List, Richard III - Next Stage at Theatre Memphis
Robert Satterlee, August: Osage County - Playhouse on the Square
Irene Crist, From Up Here - Circuit Playhouse
Emily Wells, Black Pearl Sings - Circuit Playhouse
Jason Spitzer, A Christmas Carol - Theatre Memphis

August: Osage County was one of the year's top two shows. It's only real competition for the top spot: Stuff Happens at the University of Memphis which is nominated in the college division.


DRAMATIC PRODUCTION
Richard III - Next Stage at Theatre Memphis
From Up Here - Circuit Playhouse
August: Osage County - Playhouse on the Square
Black Pearl Sings - Circuit Playhouse

Did I mention that August: Osage County was pretty okay?

SET DESIGN
Bill Short, A Delicate Balance - Next Stage at Theatre Memphis
Daniel Mueller, The Drowsy Chaperone - Harrell Theatre
Christopher McCollum, Crazy For You - Theatre Memphis
Mark Guirguis, August: Osage County - Playhouse on the Square
Christopher McCollum, A Christmas Carol - Theatre Memphis

My gut tells me to go with Christopher McCollum's design for A Christmas Carol, which was made to last for decades. But this is August's year.

COSTUMES
Andre Bruce Ward, Amadeus - Theatre Memphis
Andre Bruce Ward, Crazy For You - Theatre Memphis
Rebecca Powell, Ragtime - Playhouse on the Square
Guy Lee Bailey, Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure - Theatre Memphis
Andre Bruce Ward, Annie Get Your Gun - Theatre Memphis

Andre + Amadeus = LOVE.

LIGHTING
John Horan, August: Osage County - Playhouse on the Square
Terrance Holloway, Richard III - Next Stage at Theatre Memphis
John Horan, Ragtime - Playhouse on the Square
Matthew Strampe, Little Shop of Horrors - Harrell Theatre
John Horan, Footloose - Playhouse on the Square

Hated the show but the the stark lighting in Richard III was effective, if redundant. (It's a dark show? Do tell).

WIGS & MAKEUP DESIGN
Barbara Sanders, Amadeus - Theatre Memphis
Barbara Sander, Crazy For You - Theatre Memphis
Liz Sharpe & Nicole Hale A Midsummer Night’s Dream - Playhouse on the Square

Michael Ching's original opera was exceptional but clearly inconsistent, so I won't say it was robbed. This could be a crumb pitched their way.

MUSIC DIRECTION
Steve Danielson, The Drowsy Chaperone - Harrell Theatre
Stephen Carey, A Midsummer Night’s Dream - Playhouse on the Square
Chris Nemec, Crazy For You - Theatre Memphis
Renee Kemper, Ragtime - Playhouse on the Square
Gary Beard, Annie Get Your Gun - Theatre Memphis

Should win: Stephen Carey for Midsummer. But the absence of other performance nominations makes me think it's not going to happen. And Renee Kemper made Ragtime sing.


SOUND DESIGN
Tom Link, Eleemosynary - Playhouse on the Square at Theatre Works
Eric Sefton, Richard III - Next Stage at Theatre Memphis
Noah Glenn, Arsenic and Old Lace - Playhouse on the Square
Virginia Ralph, Wild Legacy - Voices of the South
Noah Glenn, Black Pearl Sings - Circuit Playhouse

I'm going with Wild Legacy because of how the live musical performance becomes more than just a soundtrack.

CHOREOGRAPHY
Jordan Nichols, The Drowsy Chaperone - Playhouse on the Square
Shorey Walker, Footloose - Playhouse on the Square
Kathy Caradine, Crazy For You - Theatre Memphis
Pam Hurley, Crazy For You - Theatre Memphis
Cody Hanford, The Drowsy Chaperone - Harrell Theatre
Jordan Nichols, The Drowsy Chaperone - Harrell Theatre
Emma Crystal, The Wiz - Hattiloo Theatre

This is a somewhat controversial category this year. More on that in a later post. Playhouse's Drowsey Chaperone was an exceptional production, and in my opinion, under-nominated. This could be the token nod.


Okay, there are my picks. Now it's your turn. Go. Deadline: Midnight, August 27th, 2011. Use your real name (no screen names please) and let me know how to contact you if you win.

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