Theatre artists and productions nominated for The 25th Anniversary Helen Hayes Awards were announced at a press conference hosted by The National Theatre in its Helen Hayes Gallery on Monday, February 9.

Before announcing the nominees, Helen Hayes Awards President & CEO Linda Levy Grossman reported that out of Washington’s 69 professional theatres, 45 theatres produced 172 productions that met eligibility requirements during the January 1 to December 31, 2008 judging cycle. From these shows, 150 artists, ensembles, and productions from 21 theatres were nominated in 25 categories.

Sixty-three judges, selected by a panel of area artistic directors, cast approximately 22,000 scores in consideration of close to 2,700 pieces of work (performances, work, 1,378 were acting performances alone.

In comparison, the 2008 Helen Hayes Awards Nominees (for adjudicated productions from January 1 to December 31, 2007), 48 theatres produced 189 eligible productions that resulted in 147 nominations.

Grossman commented that the 25th anniversary nominations are distinctive in two additional ways:

1. The overall exceptional level of work produced in 2008 resulted in many tied scores that could not be broken.

  • The quantity and quality of ensemble work necessitated the division of The Canadian Embassy Award for Outstanding Ensemble into two separate categories: one for ensemble of a play and the other for ensemble of a musical. This distinction will be applied in any year when there is a similarly large number of ensembles garnering such high scores.

Design nominees are:

Outstanding Set Design, Resident Production:

  • Daniel Conway, Stunning, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
  • Thomas Kamm, Boom, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
  • Adam Koch, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Signature Theatre
  • James Kronzer, 1984, Catalyst Theatre Company
  • James Noone, Major Barbara, Shakespeare Theatre Company
  • Anastasia Ryurikov Simes, Romeo and Juliet, Synetic Theatre, Main Stage
  • Walt Spangler, Les Misérables, Signature Theatre (See the recent Live Design Online article on this production:A New Look For Les Mis)

Outstanding Costume Design, Resident Production:

  • Marianne Custer, Alice, Round House Theatre
  • Kathleen Geldard, The Neverending Story, Imagination Stage
  • Miranda Hoffman, Twelfth Night, Shakespeare Theatre Company in association with McCarter Theatre Center
    (Hoffman is also a former Live Design Young Designer To Watch)
  • Helen Q. Huang, Stunning, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
  • Robert Perdziola, Major Barbara, Shakespeare Theatre Company
  • David Zinn, The Mystery of Irma Vep, Arena Stage

Outstanding Lighting Design, Resident Production:

  • Colin K. Bills, Stunning, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
  • Andrew Cissna, 1984, Catalyst Theatre Company
  • Daniel Covey, In the Heart of America, Rep Stage
  • Mark Lanks, Les Misérables, Signature Theatre
  • Chris Lee, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Signature Theatre
  • Charlie Morrison, Rabbit Hole, Olney Theatre Center

Outstanding Sound Design, Resident Production:

  • Karin Graybash, Macbeth, Folger Theatre and Two River Theater Company
  • Irakli Kavsadze, Romeo and Juliet, Synetic Theatre, Main Stage
  • Konstantine Lortkipanidze, Romeo and Juliet, Synetic Theatre, Main Stage