Local thespians snare votes for regional honors
A number of Friendswood thespians are leading contenders in online voting for the 2018 BroadwayWorld.com Houston Awards.
On Dec. 17, the entertainment site announced that, midway through voting, which ends Dec. 31, two of the top five vote-getters for best play were productions of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and “The Haunting of Hill House” at Purple Box Theater. Both shows were directed by Cathy Holbrook, the playhouse’s founding artistic director and owner.
Holbrook received multiple individual nominations, including nods for lighting and set design, in the awards, which honor Houston-area plays and musicals that opened between mid-October 2017 and Sept. 30.
Another leading nominee is Victoria Reyes, who teaches musical theater classes at Purple Box. She reaped four nominations, two for acting and one each for choreography and set design.
In voting so far, Reyes stood in second place, from a field of 35 nominees, in the category of best actress in a play, for her performance as Maggie in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.”
“My students keep me very abreast of how I’m doing in the voting,” said Reyes, who lives in League City. “They are pretty excited. It is so sweet and kind that people would nominate me or take the time to vote.”
Reyes, who graduated from Ball High School in 2001, began performing at age 8 and continued onstage through her education on a theater scholarship at College of the Mainland in Texas City.
“Then, life went a little different way, and I spent 10 to 12 years in medical administration before returning to theater,” she said.
Co-stars also nominated
In addition to Reyes, Friendswood resident Deborah Winters Chaney was nominated for best supporting actress in a play as Big Mama in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” while Pat Monks of Clear Lake was nominated for best actor as Big Daddy, along with Chase Harris as Gooper Pollitt in the category of best supporting actor.
Holbrook placed third in the Dec. 17 standings for best director of a play, just a notch ahead of Friendswood’s Amber Fabian, who was recognized for directing “Sleuth” at Bay Area Harbour Playhouse.
The midpoint standings also showed Fabian, along with co-director Christopher Lowe of Seabrook, in fourth place in the category of best direction of a musical for “Young Frankenstein” at BAHP.
Holbrook was nominated for designing the set for “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and co-designing the set, with Rhonda Bailes, for “The Haunting of Hill House” at Purple Box, as well as directing and lighting the show, which drew acting nods for Jeff Coletta, Sarah Anderson and Richard Groseclose.
Purple Box is also nominated for most-improved theater.
‘Into the Woods’
Reyes also received a nomination for best actress in a musical as The Witch in last spring’s production of “Into the Woods” at Purple Box. In addition, she was nominated for the show’s choreography and set design.
Other nominees from “Into the Woods” are lead actor David Blystone as the Baker; Meagan Allen (lead actress); Brandon Allen (supporting actor); and Tori Shoemaker (supporting actress).
In addition, Holbrook was nominated for directing and lighting the show, and Allen was nominated for its costume design.
Other musical nominations
Stephanie Hendrickson of Friendswood stood in third place in the Dec. 17 rankings for best choreography for her work on “Young Frankenstein” at BAHP. She competes with herself as a choreography nominee for “Shout, the Mod Musical” at Clear Creek Community Theatre in Nassau Bay.
“Shout!” is also a nominee for best musical, along with “Young Frankenstein” and “Into the Woods.”
How voting works
In October, fans at BroadwayWorld.com submitted more than 2,000 nominations for the Houston-area awards, said senior editor Katricia Lang.
Anyone who got even a single nomination was included on the final ballot, when voting was opened on Nov. 30.
“We don’t mess with the nominations,” said Lang. “We trust that people are attracted to great art, and we know that thousands and thousands of people will be voting on the winners. Every year, we get more and more people voting.”
Robert Diamond, who founded BWW.com, said “there are many awards bestowed by critics and industry professionals and I wanted to have one that was all about the audience and the fans.”
“The awards bring smaller, midsize theaters into view,” added Lang. “It’s also a way for the audience to say, ‘Hey! We want to see more of this theater company.’ Sometimes, the audience knows more than the critic.”
Winners will be announced in January. The 2018 winners, for the first time since the local awards began in 2014, will receive a certificate in honor of their recognition by fans.
Don Maines is a freelance writer who can be reached at email@example.com