Wilde Awards celebrates decade of wild adventures

By |2018-01-16T08:54:39-05:00September 1st, 2011|News|

By Zach Childree

As a thunderstorm loomed outside, members of the Michigan theater community gathered at the historic Gem Theater on Wednesday, Aug. 24 for the annual Wilde Awards. The ceremony, which recognizes the achievements of Michigan’s finest actors, writers, designers and directors, also had another reason to celebrate: its tenth anniversary.
“One of the things that’s important about art and that make art valuable is when it’s true” BTL publisher Jan Stevenson said to the audience. “One of the biggest challenges for gay and lesbian people is for the truth of our lives to come out – and true theater, good theater does that.”
The audience also viewed a video that featured interviews with Stevenson, BTL Theater Editor Donald Calamia and others involved over the past ten years of the Wilde Awards.
Calamia, serving as co-host, thanked those who had helped produce the awards. As a faint clap of thunder echoed from outside, he laughed: “Apparently there is a tornado watch tonight. We like our audience to be blown away, but not like that!”
Joe Plambeck took home the most awards for his acting work in “Love! Valour! Compassion!” and for his work on “Mercury Fur,” which took home the plaques for Best Lighting Design and Best Play Featuring LGBT Themes or Characters. Plambeck accepted his awards wearing a bright red T-shirt emblazoned with the word “Fruitcake.”
Another highlight of the evening was the Wilde-r Awards, which acknowledged special moments in the past year in theater that don’t quite fit into the regular awards program.
This year’s Wilde-r Awards featured categories such as “Best Accidental Decapitation,” and “Best Naked Male Wrestling Not at the Male Box.”
Later, The Actor’s Company took to the stage to perform “It’s a Very Nice Award Show,” a song poking fun at the length of the show, Calamia’s costumes and the best way to get the attention of the Wilde Awards: show “wiener” in your play (sang as the cast held up various pictures of former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner). The cast finished the rousing song wearing large masks of Don Calamia’s face.
One of the biggest laughs of the evening came when Cheryl VanDuzen took the stage to accept the award for Best Music Direction for her work on “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” VanDuzen was surprised and flustered as she held the award. “I want to thank all of the wonderful singers I’ve worked with and all the musicians who’ve been in my pits,” she said, then looked mortified as the audience howled with laughter.
Later, as Dixie Longate accepted the award for best actress in a comedy, she looked out at VanDuzen in the audience and quipped in her southern accent “You know, I would be honored to be in your pit. But, I don’t even play an instrument!”
A touching moment came at the end of the awards when the Critics Choice Award was given to Carolyn Hayes, known as the “Rogue Critic,” for her tireless efforts in reviewing shows across southeast Michigan. Hayes received a standing ovation. Calamia gave her the award but stopped her from going back to her seat before presenting her with another gift: a gas card worth more than $1,000, purchased by members of the theater community to show their appreciation for her reviews. Hayes was shocked as she accepted the card and graciously thanked those who had contributed. “I’m so surprised,” she said. “I really had no idea. The Rogue Honda Civic will really appreciate this too!”

And the winners are…

Best Comedy
Circle Mirror Transformation
John Seibert, director
Performance Network Theatre
Best Drama
Tony Caselli, director
Williamston Theatre
Best Musical
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Kurt Stamm, director
Mason Street Warehouse
Best Original One-Act Comedy or One-Person Show
Fish Dinner
Dave Davies, director
Planet Ant Theatre
Best Play with LGBT Themes or Characters
Mercury Fur
Joe Plambeck, director
Who Wants Cake? Theatre
Best Touring Production
Fox Theatre
Best Production of a New Script
Guy Sanville, director
The Purple Rose Theatre Company
Best Performance, Actor – Comedy
Joel Mitchell
Christmas on Mars
Who Wants Cake? Theatre
Best Performance, Actor – Drama
John M. Manfredi
Williamston Theatre
Best Performance, Actor – Musical
Phil Powers
The Drowsy Chaperone
Performance Network Theatre
Best Performance, Actor – Original One-Act Comedy or One-Person Show
Quintin Hicks
Fish Dinner
Planet Ant Theatre
Best Performance, Actor – LGBT Themes or Characters
Joe Plambeck
Love! Valour! Compassion!
Who Wants Cake? Theatre
Best Performance, Actress – Comedy
Laurel Hufano
The Model Apartment
The Jewish Ensemble Theatre Company
Best Performance, Actress – Drama
Kelly Komlen
Tipping Point Theatre
Best Performance, Actress – Musical
Barbara Marineau
A Catered Affair
Farmers Alley Theatre
Best Performance, Actress – Original One-Act Comedy or One-Person Show
Dixie Longate
Dixie’s Tupperware Party
Mason Street Warehouse
Best Performance, Actress – LGBT Themes or Characters
Suzan M. Jacokes
The Little Dog Laughed
Who Wants Cake? Theatre
Best Teamwork
Chris Korte & Eric W. Maher
True West
The Abreact
Best Ensemble
Scott Barnhardt, Bradley Beahen, Jared Gertner, Kevin Vortmann
Plaid Tidings
The Gem Theatre
Best New Script
Kim Carney
The War Since Eve
Performance Network Theatre
Best Design – Costumes
Dominique Rhea Glaros
An Italian Straw Hat
Hope Summer Repertory Theatre
Best Design – Lights
Joe Plambeck
Mercury Fur
Who Wants Cake? Theatre
Best Design – Sets
Brian Kessler
Dracula, A Rock Opera
Meadow Brook Theatre
Best Design – Props
Kirstin Bianchi
Planet Ant Theatre
Best Choreography
Jennifer Graham
Blackbird Theatre
Best Music Direction
Cheryl VanDuzen
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Tibbits Summer Theatre
Jim Posante Community Pride Award
The New Theatre Project

The Wilde-r Awards go to…

The “Best Accidental Decapitation” Award
Matt Naas & Marke Sobolewski
“Sordid Lives: It’s a Drag”
The Ringwald
The “Best Naked Wrestling NOT at the Male Box” Award
Steven Alan O’Brien & Jon Ager
“Women in Live”
Blackbird Theatre
The “How to Give a Theater Critic a Heart Attack” Award
University Musical Society
The “Best Re-Imagining of a Large, Splashy Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical” Award
The Box Theater
The “Bloody Best Stage Manager” Award
Stephanie Buck
The Purple Rose Theatre Company

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.