Craig Noel Awards honor 2008's best stage work

La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe and Cygnet Theatre were the big winners at the Craig Noel Awards for Theatrical Excellence, which were presented by the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle on Jan. 26 at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla.

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Approximately 350 theater industry members and supporters as well as Noel, the 93-year-old founding director of The Old Globe, attended the event.

Thirty-two awards were presented in 23 categories and honored the best stage work of 2008. Awards went to 13 theater companies throughout the county.

La Jolla Playhouse productions won a total of six Craig Noel Awards. "33 Variations," which is about to open on Broadway, was honored for David Lander's lighting and Derek McLane's set. "Memphis" was honored as outstanding new musical and for Chad Kimball's lead performance. "Xanadu," which Playhouse artistic director Christopher Ashley first directed on Broadway, was named outstanding resident musical. Bill T. Jones won for his choreography in "The Seven."

The Old Globe's "Dancing in the Dark" won for Patrick Page's featured performance and Larry Hochman's orchestrations. "The Women" was honored for Anna Oliver's costumes. Steven Drukman's boxing-themed "In This Corner" was named outstanding new play.

Cygnet Theatre's "Fences" won in five categories.

For more information about the San Diego Theatre Critics Circlethe Craig Noel Awards, visit the Web site at




  • Jonathan McMurtry, veteran actor
  • Arthur Wagner, founder, Department of Theatre Dance, UCSD


  • Steve Karo, led restoration effort for the Balboa Theatre, San Diego Gaslamp Quarter


Resident musical:

  • "Dreamgirls," San Diego Musical Theatre
  • "Xanadu," La Jolla Playhouse

New musical:

  • "Memphis," La Jolla Playhouse

Orchestrations for a Musical:

  • Larry Hochman, "Dancing in the Dark," The Old Globe

Direction of a Musical:

  • Sean Murray, "A Little Night Music," Cygnet's Old Town Theatre
  • Steve Glaudini, "Les Miserables," Moonlight Stage Productions

Lead Performance in a Musical, Female:

  • Deborah Smyth, "The Light in the Piazza," Lamb's Player's Theatre

Lead Performance in a Musical, Male:

  • Chad Kimball, "Memphis," La Jolla Playhouse

Featured Performance in a Musical, Male:

  • Tony Houck, "Scrooge in Rouge," Diversionary Theatre
  • Patrick Page, "Dancing in the Dark," The Old Globe
  • Tonex, "Dreamgirls," San Diego Musical Theatre "The Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea," San Diego Repertory Theatre

Featured Performance in a Musical, Female:

  • Lillias White, "The Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea," San Diego Repertory Theatre


  • Bill T. Jones, "The Seven," La Jolla Playhouse


Direction of a Play:

  • Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, "Fences," Cygnet Theatre

Sound Design:

  • Tim Boyce, "A Streetcar Named Desire," Ion Theatre

Costume Design:

  • Jennifer Brawn Gittings, "Scrooge in Rouge," Diversionary Theatre
  • Anna Oliver, "The Women," The Old Globe

Lighting Design:

  • David Lander, "33 Variations," La Jolla Playhouse

Set Design:

  • Derek McLane, "33 Variations," La Jolla Playhouse



  • "Fences," Cygnet Theatre

Featured Performance in a Play, Female:

  • Jo Anne Glover, "The Receptionist," Cygnet Theatre
  • Rachael VanWormer, "Bash," Ion Theatre "Corpus Christi,"

Diversionary Theatre

Featured Performance in a Play, Male:

  • Manny Fernandes, "Golden Boy," New Village Arts
  • Bobby Plasencia, "Water Power," San Diego Repertory Theatre

Lead Performance in a Play, Male:

  • Antonio T.J. Johnson, "Fences," Cygnet Theatre
  • Tom Andrew, body of work: "Terra Nova," "It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play," "Night Sky"

Lead Performance in a Play, Female:

  • Sylvia M'Lafi Thompson, "Fences," Cygnet Theatre
  • Amanda Sitton, "Golden Boy," New Village Arts

Solo Performance:

  • Linda Libby, "Request Programme," Ion Theatre


Touring Production:

  • "Spring Awakening," Broadway /San Diego, producers

New Play:

  • "In This Corner," Steven Drukman, The Old Globe

Dramatic Production:

  • "Fences," Cygnet Theatre


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