NEW HAVEN — The U.S. premiere of “Walden” at TheaterWorks Hartford and an impactful, moving production of “Falsettoland” at the Music Theatre of Connecticut (MTC) took top honors at the Monday, June 27 Connecticut Critics Circle Awards (ctcritics.org).
The event, which celebrates the work from the state’s professional theaters during the 2021 – 2022 season, was held at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven.
This year the awards were spread out to many productions throughout the state, though TheaterWork Hartford’s “Walden” earned the most taking five for best play, outstanding director, sound, set and lighting.
Awards for outstanding actor and actress in a musical went to MTC for Dan Sklar in “Falsettoland” and Susan Haefner in “Tenderly.” Dan Sklar’s son, Ari, received the award for outstanding debut.
Awards for outstanding actor and actress in a play went to Damian Thompson for TheaterWork’s “This Bitter Earth” and Shannon Tyo in Long Wharf Theatre’s “The Chinese Lady.”
Top directing awards went to Mei Ann Teo for TheaterWork Hartford’s “Walden” and Kevin Connors for MTC’s “Falsettoland.” Connors was also honored with the Tom Killen Award for lifetime service to the theater.
Rob Ruggiero, Artistic Director of TheaterWorks Hartford, was presented with a special award for the outstanding, high quality streaming productions staged by the theater during the 2020-2021 season.
Outstanding ensemble award went to the cast of West Hartford’s Playhouse on Park’s “Five Guys Named Moe:” Marcus Canada, Arnold Harper, Jacquez Linder-Long, Darren Lorenzo, Devin Price, Josh Walker.
Outstanding solo honor was awarded to Alaudin Ullah in Hartford Stage’s ”Dishwasher Dreams.”
Brittney Griffin won for her choreography for Playhouse on Park’s “Five Guys Named Moe.”
The outstanding featured actress award in a musical ] went to Jennifer Smith in Goodspeed Opera House’s production of “Cabaret.” Outstanding featured actor in a musical honors went to Daniel J. Maldonado for Westport Country Playhouse’s “Next to Normal.”
The award for outstanding featured actors in a play went to Michael Nathanson for Hartford Stage’s “Lost in Yonkers” and to Sharina Martin for the Westport Country Playhouse’s production of “Doubt.”
Design awards went to Hao Bai for sound for TheaterWork Hartford’s “Walden;” Linda Cho for costumes for Long Wharf’s “The Chinese Lady;” Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew for lighting for TheaterWork Hartford’s “Walden;” Mark Holthusen for projections for Long Wharf’s “Dream Hou$e;” and both You-Shin Chen for TheaterWork Hartford’s “Walden” and Daniel Nischan for Ivoryton Playhouse’s “Native Gardens” for set design.
Helping to present the awards were Michael Preston, best-known for his portrayals of Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” and Harold Potter in “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Drama” at Hartford Stage; and Malakhi Eason, Director of Programming & Community Impact of New Haven’s internationally renowned Festival of Arts and Ideas.
Kenneth Gartman, a singer and a pianist, who has toured with the Broadway national tour of “The Music Man,” internationally on the Live BBC Broadcast of “Simply Sondheim,” and throughout Ireland in “A New York Songbook: Way Off Broadway,” presided over the event.