Sacramento, Calif. September 22, 2019 – Sierra Stages, based in Nevada City, received 8 Elly Awards tonight at the 37th Annual Elly Awards Ceremony – Adult Division. Their production of Hand to God took home 6 Ellys and 2 more for Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach! Showbiz Theatre Company, from Stockton, CA, received 5 Elly’s for their production of The Drowsy Chaperone.

The Mad Hatter, White Rabbit and Queen of Hearts were spotted during the 37th Annual Elly Awards- Adult Division held at the lovely Center at 2300 in Sacramento. This year’s theme was The Ellys in Wonderland. Named for Eleanor McClatchy, a devoted patron of the arts and former publisher of the Sacramento Bee, the Elly Awards celebrates excellence in Sacramento’s local and regional community theater. A grand total of 34 Elly Awards were given to individuals and theaters in the Comedy, Drama, Musical and Original Script categories plus two Lifetime Achievement Awards. Sponsored by the Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance (SARTA), this annual celebration of excellence featured a trip down the rabbit hole photo booth plus sweet and savory appetizers and desserts, a scrumptious mashed potato bar, unique cocktails, and exquisite table-top decorations inviting guests to “Eat Me” or “Drink Me”.

The ceremony opened with the ghoulish “When You’re an Addams” from The Addams Family performed by the Sierra College Drama Department. It was followed by the charming duet ‘‘Love is Always Lovely in The End” from The Drowsy Chaperone performed by Showbiz Theatre Company. Stockton Civic Theatre featured the ballad “Someone to Watch Over Me’ from Nice Work if you Can Get It. And Woodland Opera House closed out the ceremony with an exuberant “Shuffle Off to Buffalo” from 42nd Street. Peter Kagstrom was the amazing musical director, who flew out all the way from Boston, to keep things lively and on time throughout the evening.

The 171 Adult Elly nominations represented 147 productions from 46 participating theatres. The 34 Elly Awards recognized 13 productions and 11 theatres.

Elly Awards for Overall Production in individual categories in the Adult Division went to:

Hand to God -Sierra Stages- Comedy
Macbeth – The Falcon’s Eye Theatre – Drama
The Drowsy Chaperone – Showbiz Theatre Company – Musical

The shows receiving the most Elly Awards were:

Hand to God – Sierra Stages – 6
The Drowsy Chaperone – Showbiz Theatre Company – 5
Macbeth – The Falcon’s Eye Theatre – 4
Times Like These – California Stage Company – 3
Nice Work If You Can Get It – Stockton Civic Theatre – 3
42nd Street – Woodland Opera House – 2
Twelfth Night – Roseville Theatre Arts Academy – 2
Bootycandy – Big Idea Theatre – 2
Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach – Sierra Stages – 2

The Elly Award for Original Script was given to:

J.P. Malin & Big Idea Theatre for Jasper

The Original Script award is given to both the playwright and the theatre that produces the show.

Other highlights include 2 Leading Female Elly Awards to Lois Masten for her performances in Hand to God and Times Like These. Sharon Winegar also won 2 Ellys for Hand of God – one for Direction and the other with Eric Foote for Sound Design.

Lifetime Achievement Awards were given to Christine Nicholson and Luther Hanson.

Luther Hanson has been acting for nearly 48 years and has played over 150 roles. Luther Hanson has acted for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, the San Diego Repertory Theatre, the Old Globe Theatre, Western Stage, Center Repertory Theatre, the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, Sacramento Theatre Company, Summer Repertory Theatre, Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre, Lamb’s Players Theatre, and Synergy Stage. He has directed for the Actors Alliance of San Diego, City Theatre at Sacramento City College, and the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival.

He has an MFA in Acting from UC Irvine and an MA in British Literature from San Diego State University. University. Now he enjoys directing as well as being a professor at Sacramento City College. “When you’ve done theater for a long time, the theater itself becomes like a second home,” Hanson says. Luther just celebrated his 20th year of the 29½ hour playwriting festival, where plays are written and performed is just over 1 day! Luther is also the long-time Director of the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival. Luther has received numerous Elly nominations and Elly awards during his career.

Christine Nicholson has been a professional actor, director, and educator for over twenty-five years. She holds an M.A. from San Diego State University with an emphasis in Acting/Directing, and an M.F.A. in Theatre from UC Davis with an emphasis on Acting, where she is also completing her Ph.D. in Irish Theatre. She has taught Acting, Dramaturg, and Theatre History at UC Berkeley, Solano College, and Sacramento City College. As an actor, she has performed regionally with the Shakespeare Festival, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Foothill Theatre Company, Sacramento Shakespeare Festival, and Center Repertory Theatre, among others. She is the founding member of the Synergy State in Sacramento and has recently formed Splinter Group Theatre. She has written and produced five British Pantomimes, and is currently working on her sixth, Cinderella.

She currently serves as Director for the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival, and her directing credits include work with the Sacramento Theatre Company, Capital State Company, Shakespeare Festival, City Theatre Sacramento and UC Berkeley. At UC Berkeley, she directed A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream, as well as An Ideal Husband, Top Girls, Dolly West’s Kitchen, and The Conduct of Life. She was Program Assistant for the Irish Theater program in 2012 and 2013. Christine has received numerous Elly nominations and Elly Awards. Congratulations to both of these Lifetime Achievement Award winners!

Twenty (20) Elly judges volunteered countless hours attending every show submitted in the category they judged – Comedy, Drama, Musicals. Awards within each category are given for: Leading Male and Leading Female; Supporting Male and Supporting Female; Direction; Costume Design; Lighting Design; Make-up Design – new; Set Design; Sound Design, Musical Direction, if applicable; Choreography, if applicable; and Overall Production. The Original Script award is given to both the playwright and the producing theatre.

SARTA’s mission is to promote high quality community theatre in the Sacramento area and neighboring regions. When combined with the opportunity to provide quality entertainment and formal recognition of those in the performing arts, SARTA and the Sacramento community benefit.

In addition to the Elly Awards program, SARTA provides its members with a weekly email update for auditions, casting calls, workshops, events and jobs plus a monthly electronic TheatreLetter featuring current and on-going theatre production listings and upcoming SARTA events. SARTA members also receive discounted ticket prices at participating SARTA member theatres and the annual Elly Award ceremony. SARTA is now offering low cost workshops for actors and designers at our Arden Arcade office. For more information about SARTA and how you can support this programming, please visit the website at SARTA is a non-profit 501© 3 organization.