KPBS AIRDATE: January 16, 2004
If it’s mid-January, it must be Patté Time. For the 7th year, I happily gave something back to the theater community that gives so much enjoyment to me, and KPBS graciously hosted an elaborate gala here in the Shiley Studios, to celebrate the Patté Awards for Theatre Excellence. It was a stellar evening of theater celebration, musical entertainment, passion and heart.
Last year, I saw a whopping 165 plays. I gave out 29 awards on Monday, representing the work of 15 different theater companies, large and small. The Outstanding Productions of 2003 included the world premiere of the fairy tale-inspired, “Beauty,” at the La Jolla Playhouse; the gorgeous, multilingual “Pentecost” at the Old Globe; the wild, Wagner-riff “Berzerkergang” at Sledgehammer Theatre; the heavenly “Children of Eden” at Moonlight Stage Productions; and the gloriously patriotic “1776” at Lamb’s Players Theatre.
There were some wonderful collaborative efforts onstage last year. I considered the Outstanding Ensembles to have been: “Angels in America” at UCSD, “The Laramie Project” at SDSU, “Love! Valour! Compassion!” at Diversionary Theatre and “Stop Kiss” at the Women’s Repertory Theatre. And individuals were singled out, too, for their Outstanding Performance: Matt Scott for ”Oedipus Tyrannus” at 6th @ Penn Theatre, and Jack Banning for “Children of Heracles,” also at 6th @ Penn; to Susan Denaker for the Renaissance Theatre production of “A View from the Bridge,” Farhang Pernoon for “Gross Indecency” at Diversionary Theatre, and Jeremiah Lorenz for his gender-bending roles in “Cabaret” at North Coast Repertory Theatre and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” at Cygnet Theatre.
The McDonald Playwriting Award went to 18 year-old Brandon Alter for his first play, “Forty Miles from Tel Aviv,” a heart-stopping conception of a Palestinian suicide bomber. I presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Deborah and Beeb Salzer, who’ve encouraged and developed so many young theatermakers – he at SDSU and she as founder of the Playwrights Project.
I created two special awards to acknowledge exceptional contributions to the theater community. A Special Citation went to Linda Castro, David Cohen and Marianne McDonald, for bringing Greek drama back to San Diego. And, for writing, directing and producing a play, “Nickels and Dimes,” and developing a whole new theater audience — all his devoted fans – I gave a Special Citation to Jerry Cesak, half of the long-time Star-100 drive-time DJ duo, Jeff and Jer.
You can see the listing of all the awardees in the February issue of On Air magazine, or online at kpbs.org. Or, you can feel the energy yourself, by watching the broadcast of the event on KPBS-TV. And maybe that will inspire you to make a resolution to put a little drama in your life in 2004 – and I’ll see you at the theater!
©2004 Patté Productions Inc.