Theater Notebook: San Diego Theatre Critics Circle announces nominees for first Craig Noel Awards since 2020

The Old Globe's "Come Fall in Love – The DDLJ Musical"
The Old Globe’s “Come Fall in Love – The DDLJ Musical” received several nominations from the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle for 2022 Craig Noel Awards.
(Courtesy of Jim Cox)

The nonprofit organization will give out its awards for professional theater actors, artisans and companies on Feb. 27

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The San Diego Theatre Critics Circle has returned from a nearly three-year hiatus today to announce the nominees for its 2022 Craig Noel Awards for Theatrical Excellence on Jan. 1.

The Craig Noel Awards, named after the Old Globe’s first artistic director who’s widely recognized as the founding father of San Diego’s professional theater community, were launched in 2002, with an annual awards ceremony that drew as many as 450 people in years past.

After presenting its 2019 awards in February 2020, the 10-member group — which I co-founded in 2001 with former U-T theater critic Anne Marie Welsh — the Critics Circle went dark during much of the pandemic.

Last winter, the members regrouped and began reviewing theatrical productions again, and in recent weeks voted for their favorite achievements in acting, direction, design and other categories. Because there were fewer productions to review in 2022 and because several members of the organization did not feel comfortable returning to theaters until mid-year to concerns about COVID, the number of award categories being presented this year is smaller than in past years.

The winners will be announced at a public ceremony on Feb. 27 in Point Loma. Details can be found on the Critics Circle website at sdcriticscircle.org.

Here are the nominees.

George Abud – “Lempicka,” La Jolla Playhouse

Shaun T. Evans – “Memphis The Musical,” Moonlight Stage Productions

Nigel Huckle – “Light In The Piazza,” CCAE Theatricals

Amber Iman –“Lempicka,” La Jolla Playhouse

Madison Claire Parks – “Light In The Piazza,” CCAE Theatricals

The Roustabouts Theatre Company's "Iron."
Rosina Reynolds, Richard P. Trujillo, Jada Alston Owens and Kate Rose Reynolds in a scene from The Roustabouts Theatre Company’s “Iron.”
(Daren Scott)

Xavier Carnell Daniels – “Blue/Orange,” Fenix Theatre Collaborative

Mikaela Rae Macias – “Mother Of The Maid,” Moxie Theatre

Enrique Xavier Martinez – “Sapience,” Moxie Theatre and TuYo Theatre

Kate Rose Reynolds – “Iron,” The Roustabouts Theatre Co.

Nancy Ross – “Sapience,” Moxie Theatre and TuYo Theatre

Devin Wade – “Admissions,” OnStage Playhouse

Tom Steward, left, Wendy Waddell and Devin Wade in OnStage Playhouse's "Admissions."
(Ana Carolina Chiminazzo)

Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical

Ari Afsar – “Bhangin’ It: A Bangin’ New Musical,” La Jolla Playhouse

Charl Brown – “Ragtime,” Moonlight Stage Productions

Beau Brians – “Catch Me If You Can The Musical,” San Diego Musical Theatre

Megan Carmitchel – “Cabaret,” Cygnet Theatre

Nancy Snow Carr – “Light In The Piazza,” CCAE Theatricals

Berto Fernández – “Catch Me If You Can The Musical,” San Diego Musical Theatre

Eden Espinosa – “Lempicka,” La Jolla Playhouse

Janaya Mahealani Jones – “Memphis The Musical,” Moonlight Stage Productions

Sebastian Montenegro – “In The Heights,” San Diego Musical Theatre

Luke Harvey Jacobs (left) and Bryan Banville in Diversionary Theatre's production of "The Mystery of Irma Vep."
(Courtesy photo by Peggy Ryan)

Outstanding Lead Performance in a Play

Bryan Banville – “The Mystery of Irma Vep,” Diversionary Theatre

Richard Baird – “The Homecoming,” North Coast Repertory Theatre

Tina Machele Brown – “The Other Place,” OnStage Playhouse

Vanessa Dinning – “The Children,” Moxie Theatre

Luke Harvey Jacobs – “The Mystery of Irma Vep,” Diversionary Theatre

Jessica John – “The October Night of Johnny Zero,” Backyard Renaissance

Steven Lone – “Water By The Spoonful,” Cygnet Theatre

Catalina Dolores Maynard – ‘Water By The Spoonful,” Cygnet Theatre

Lane Nishikawa “Desert Rock Garden” New Village Arts

Rosina Reynolds – “Iron,” The Roustabouts Theatre Co.

Catalina Dolores Maynard and Christian Haines in Cygnet Theatre's "Water by the Spoonful."
(Karli Cadel)

Outstanding Direction of a Musical

Kevin “Blax” Burroughs – “First Date,” OnStage Playhouse

Kari Hayter – “Light In The Piazza,” CCAE Theatricals

J. Scott Lapp – “Witnesses,” CCAE Theatricals

Carlos Mendoza – “In The Heights,” San Diego Musical Theatre

Kevin Newbury – “Eighty-Sixed,” Diversionary Theatre

Allison Spratt Pearce – “Catch Me If You Can The Musical,” San Diego Musical Theatre

Beau Brians, left, and Berto Fernandez in San Diego Musical Theatre's "Catch Me If You Can."
(Ken Jacques)

Outstanding Direction of a Play

Yari Cervas – “Desert Rock Garden,” New Village Arts

James P. Darvas – “Admissions,” OnStage Playhouse

Jacole Kitchen – “Iron,” The Roustabouts Theatre Co.

Delicia Turner Sonnenberg – “Mud Row,” Cygnet Theatre

Kim Strassburger – “The Children,” Moxie Theatre

Matt M.Morrow and Allison Spratt Pearce – “The Mystery of Irma Vep,” Diversionary Theatre

Marti Gobel and Rachel Cognata in Cygnet Theatre's "Mud Row."
(Karli Cadel)

Outstanding Solo Performance

Yadira Correa – “Mala,” The Old Globe

Nathan Nonhof – “Black Séance,” Blindspot Collective/ LJP Without Walls Festival

Kristina Wong – “Kristina Wong: Sweatshop Overlord,” La Jolla Playhouse

Rachael VanWormer – “The Yellow Wallpaper” Write Out Loud

Yadira Correa, pictured, will perform "Mala" in Spanish during eight performances of the play's run at the Old Globe.
(Rich Soublet II)

Outstanding Costume Design

Linda Cho – “Come Fall In Love - The DDLJ Musical,” The Old Globe

Jessica John Gercke – “Abigail’s Party,” Backyard Renaissance

Brooke Kessler & Peter Herman – “The Mystery of Irma Vep,” Diversionary Theatre

Janet Pitcher – “Light In The Piazza,” CCAE Theatricals

Nicole Jescinth Smith – “Trouble In Mind,” The Old Globe

A scene from CCAE Theatricals' "The Light in the Piazza."
(Ken Jacques)

Outstanding Scenic Design

Tony Cucuzzella – “Abigail’s Party,” Backyard Renaissance

Riccardo Hernández – “Lempicka,” La Jolla Playhouse

Joe Holbrook – “Light In The Piazza,” CCAE Theatricals

Reiko Huffman – “First Date,” OnStage Playhouse

Yi-Chien Lee – “The October Night of Johnny Zero,” Backyard Renaissance

Lawrence E. Moten III – “Trouble In Mind,” The Old Globe

Ari Afsar, left, and Alka Nayyar in La Jolla Playhouse’s "Bhangin' It: A Bangin' New Musical."
Ari Afsar, left, and Alka Nayyar in La Jolla Playhouse’s world premiere musical “Bhangin’ It: A Bangin’ New Musical.”
(Rich Soublet II)

Outstanding Lighting Design

Amith Chandrashaker – “Bhangin’ It: A Bangin’ New Musical,” La Jolla Playhouse

Nick Van Houten – “Light In The Piazza,” CCAE Theatricals

Bradley King – “Lempicka,” La Jolla Playhouse

Kate Rose Reynolds – “The October Night of Johnny Zero,” Backyard Renaissance

Annelise Raquel Salazar – “Desert Rock Garden,” New Village Arts

A scene from Diversionary Theatre's "Eighty-Sixed."
(Diversionary Theatre)

Outstanding New Production

“Come Fall In Love - The DDLJ Musical” – The Old Globe

“Eighty-Sixed” – Diversionary Theatre

“Desert Rock Garden” – New Village Arts

“What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank” – The Old Globe

“Witnesses” – CCAE Theatricals

Also being announced from the stage will be winners in the following categories: 2022 Actors of the Year, the Don Braunagel Award for Outstanding Work at a Small Theater and an award honoring an individual artist in a specialty category.

Chloris Li, left, and Lane Nishikawa in New Village Arts' "Desert Rock Garden."
(Daren Scott)

Pam Kragen writes about theater for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Email her at pam.kragen@sduniontribune.com.


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