JUNE 13, 1986/MONTROSE VOICE 17
Here They Are, 'Best of the Year'
By Bill O'Rourke
Montroae Voice Theater Critic
Welcome to the prestigious second
annual Bill O'Rourke's Best ofthe
"If the critics were always right
we should be in deep trouble."—
The final say in this column
belongs to one fallible man. This
season, however, richly deserves a
look back. This is a time-honored
way to do it.
My pick for Best Musical this year
is Pacific Overtures (Stages). The
other nominees: Company (Main
Street), Guys and Dolls, and Carousel (both at TUTS), and Doones bury
The revue sensation of the year
was A ... My Name is Alice (at the
Alley). Not only did it get extended
extensively here, it also had good
luck in San Francisco. Also: Risky
Business and non-musical revues at
Radio Music Theatre and the
"There has been a dearth of really
sparkling bright comedies this year.
We need more."—Me, last year's
B.O.T.Y. column, 5/21/85, VOICE.
Well, it's been a bit better this
year. But I still think we need more
This year's Best Comedy, The
Foreigner (Alley), is still playing.
Also: The Ladies at the Alamo
Bootie and Bev discuss their lives
in Ellen Byron's "Graceland,"
Stages, thru June 22
(Theater Suburbia), Isn'. It Romantic? (Stages), Painting Churches
(Alley) and Twelfth Night (Main
The competition among dramas
was so intense that I'm declaring a
tie between Marat/Sade (Main
Street) and Balm in Gilead (Alley).
Also: Under Heaven's Eye till Cockcrow (Ensemble), Traveller in the
Dark (Stages), Orphans and Execu
tion of Justice (both Alley).
The Best One-Person Show was A
Woman of Independent Means starring Barbara Rush at the Heinen.
There are two directors, each of
whom has one winner and one
nominee to his credit: George Anderson and Ted Swindley. George
has a lively, witty hand at drama
(Balm and Orphans). Ted has
curbed some of his past excesses
and let his strong point—simple
human emotions—shine through
again (Traveller and Overtures).
And now for a word from our
The Tap Dance Kid had a lot of
things going for it opening night—
four show-stopping numbers, men
tap dancing in roller skates, women
tapping en pointe and a reviewer in
the third row who thought it was
gonna be in town two weeks, among
other things. (Wrong. Just one.
When am I gonna learn?)
All's for the best. I would have
told you not to miss it. You might
have listened to me. More money
would have left the local economy
Shakespeare's Twelfth Night
Franny, The Queen of
Provincetown, Kindred Spirits,
The acting awards are given for
bodies of work, not single performances. Houston's theater scene is
based upon short runs in repertory
theaters. There is no theater an
independent producer could rent for
an open-ended run. (Well, maybe the
Tower.) Since I cannot recommend
with these awards that you go see a
specific role, I recommend names
whose consistently fine work
should help convince you to buy a
ticket to whatever they are in.
Since I want the actors to become
as important as the producers, I
reward those who act in more than
one theater. Since this should be a
lucrative business, not just an art, I
give the nod to those working in
theaters where pay is nominally
available. To spread the "glory," no
one can win the same category two
years in a row. If you look hard,
you'll see where I've bent these rules
Musical Actress of the Year has
got to be Janet Williams Adderly (A
.... Kiss Me Kate). That's by reader
acclamation as well as my own.
Also: Marsha Calton, Carrie
Woliver and Debby Boiley.
Musical Actor Jerry Miller played
the samurai's wife in the basically
all-male Pacific Overtures, as well
as Zonker in Doonesbury. also:
Generally, the same talented
peole do both drama and comedy.
Actor of the Year Kent Johnson
started off the season as a person
with AIDS in One (The Group).
Then went to Main Street in Twelfth
Night and as a haunting, gaunt
Marat in Marat, Sade. Then,
though less successfully, he did
Roland Hedley in Doonesbury.
What a great variety of superb work
by a fine actor! And of all this year's
winners he most perfectly embodies
what I'm looking for in my rules.
So does James Black, but he won
last year. Harry Brewer, Charles
Krohn and Jeff Bennett stay with
their home theaters. Jeff, now
firmly established, was Best Adult
Newcomer last year. Can I pick
them, or what?
Actress of the year Vicki Luman
stayed put, too, but her roles ranged
widely. They varied from courtly
(Twelfth Night) to frighteningly
vacant (Marat/Sade) to hilariously
spaced out on grass (Company).
Jean Proctor wasn't afraid to fail
(Learned Ladies) and that courage
brought her excellent performances
in Isn't It Romantic?, Sister Mary
Ignatius, and the latest Talley play.
Chutzpah of the Year goes to
Stages Theater. In March they sent
out a bevy of letters. Mine said that
they finally acknowledged that
they owed me for three months of
work I did for them January—
March '83 and would be ready to
pay me in May '87. Unless, of
course, I wanted to donate all or part
of that money to help them meet a
matching grant. If they didn't hear
from me within a month, they'd
assume I wanted to donate all of it to
Or maybe they win it for telling
me in early December that I could
automatically become a member of
their auxiliary company, that there
was no limit to the number of people
who would be in it. Then in January
they told me that they had had to
limit the number of people in that
company and that I wasn't one of
about 40 chosen. Of course, I could
still try out any Monday for acceptance to that group. Was it full or
wasn't it? Was I expected to
remember this slight and turn Rex
Reed on their next efforts? Of course
Or perhaps I should win the
chutzpah award myself for even
mentioning their high-handedness
Newcomber of the Year: Trent
Tellepson (Travellerin theDark)for
his amazingly mature, realistic pro-
trayl. although Josh Goldberg's
scene-stealing shenanigans in
Member of the Wedding were