- SHOWSTOPPERS Sheri Lee Miller and Jeff Coté mix it up at the MTJA awards.
Earlier this week, the Marquee Theater Journalist Association held a party at Confluence Taproom in Santa Rosa, announcing the winners of the second annual MTJA awards. I was one of the presenters, along with fellow MTJA members Harry Duke, Alexa Chipman and Barry Willis.
A total of 15 recipients were named. Santa Rosa Junior College's production of Lin-Manuel Miranda's In the Heights took the prize for Outstanding Musical, the certificates going to director John Shillington and musical director Janis Wilson. Also awarded for SRJC's vibrant, refreshingly multicultural musical was Peter Crompton, for his stunningly good set design.
The award for Outstanding Drama went to director David Yen for 6th Street Playhouse's insightful, emotional staging of Jeff Baron's Visiting Mr. Green. Actor Alan Kaplan, as the title character, picked up the award for outstanding lead performance in a drama.
And the prize for Outstanding Comedy Production went to Sonoma Arts' Live's energetic and hilarious production of Steven Dietz's Becky's New Car, directed by Carl Jordan. Melissa Claire was also awarded for her work on the play, taking Outstanding Performance in a Comedy. (The full list of nominees and winners appears on page two.)
Now, I'd like to make one additional announcement.
I have been serving as a weekly theater critic for over 16 years, beginning with my review of Poona the Fuckdog at Actors Theatre in June 2001. Reviewing (certain complications aside) has been a constant joy and challenge, an awesome responsibility and a truly life-changing privilege, one I've taken very seriously. I've loved every minute of it.
But every good show comes to an end eventually—even Poona the Fuckdog. And even this, my long and thoroughly enjoyable run as the Bohemian's weekly theater critic.
I have decided that, at the close of this year, I will be jotting down my final note in my ever-present notebook, and will be stepping down as this paper's reviewer, excitedly turning my full attention to other pursuits: artistic, journalistic, theatrical and otherwise.
I am not leaving the Bohemian, however, for which I will continue to write about the arts, including an occasional piece about the amazing and quirky artists who create Sonoma County theater. I just won't be the one adding the little stars to the ends of the reviews.
So this is not goodbye. For one thing, I'm not leaving yet. I still have two months of local theater to observe, and to comment on. Then one final Top 10 Torn Tickets to write. Between now and then, I'll see you at the theater.
I'll be the grateful guy with the notebook.