The 30th Annual TICKETHOLDER AWARDS 2021 

by Travis Michael Holder

What can we call this one… a non-year? Even before Omicron started to again shut down theatres all over at the end of the year, the pickins’ were already slim for 2021, but only in quantity, not in quality. Honestly, you could not in any year or in any environment do much better work than the kind of brilliance created by the winners listed below. Still, as theatres tentatively began to reopen and almost as quickly go dark again, the hope was that 2022 would bring a gloriously full season before many newly mounted shows began to cancel performances and some even close entirely before their run ended. We can only hope that our scrappy and ever-resilient theatre community will continue to persevere as it always has and will ultimately recover—that is, if we’re not all dead by 2023.

SPECIAL REMEMBRANCE TO THE TITAN OF MUSICAL THEATRE: Stephen Sondheim, 1930 – 2021  

“Bit by Bit: Sir Steve Putting It Together,” by Travis Michael Holder, 2020

“There’s a lot I’ll have missed

But I’ll not have been dead when I die

And a person should celebrate everything

Passing By”

BEST PRODUCTION OF 2021 

 

The Children, Fountain Theatre

Poor Clare, Echo Theater Company

An Octoroon, Fountain Theatre

A Hit Dog Will Holler, Skylight / Playwrights’ Arena

This Wonderful Life, Rogue Machine at the Matrix

BEST REVIVAL PRODUCTION 

Seven Guitars, A Noise Within

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Theatricum Botanicum 

A Christmas Carol, A Noise Within

BEST MUSICAL PRODUCTION 

A Christmas Carol, Ahmanson Theatre 

Head Over Heels, Pasadena Playhouse

My Fair Lady, Broadway in Hollywood, Dolby Theatre

BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY 

Desean K. Terry, Seven Guitars, A Noise Within

RUNNERS-UP: Leandro Cano, The Last, Best Small Town, Theatricum Botanicum; Geoff Elliott, A Christmas Carol, ANW; Matthew Hancock, An Octoroon, Fountain; John Earl Jelks, Paradise Blue, Geffen

BEST ACTRESS IN A PLAY 

Shayna Small, Paradise Blue, Geffen Playhouse

RUNNERS-UP: Jordan Hull, Poor Clare, Echo; Donna Simone Johnson, A Hit Dog Will Holler, Skylight/Playwrights’ Arena; Cheri VandenHeuvel, A Hit Dog Will Holler, Skylight/Playwrights’ Arena

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL 

Bradley Whitford, A Christmas Carol, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL 

Linda Purl, Tenderly, Ensemble Theatre Company

RUNNER-UP: Shereen Ahmed, My Fair Lady, Dolby

BEST SOLO PERFORMANCE 

Leo Marks, This Wonderful Life, Rogue Machine  

RUNNER-UP: Tom Dugan, Tevye in New York, Wallis  

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A PLAY 

Kevin Jackson, Seven Guitars, A Noise Within

RUNNERS-UP: Richard Azurdia, The Last, Best Small Town, Theatricum Botanicum; Alan Blumenfeld, A Christmas Carol, ANW; Leandro Cano, Ascension, Echo; Steve Hofvendahl, Ascension, Echo; Kelvin Morales, The Last, Best Small Town, Theatricum Botanicum; Rob Nagle, An Octoroon, Fountain; Miguel Perez, The Last, Best Small Town, Theatricum Botanicum; Michael Sturgis, Poor Clare, Echo; Terrence Wayne Jr., A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Theatricum Botanicum

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A PLAY 

Lisa Wolpe, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Theatricum Botanicum

RUNNERS-UP: Tyla Abercrumbie, Paradise Blue, Geffen; Cherish Monique Duke, Seven Guitars, A Noise Within; Veralyn Jones, Seven Guitars, ANW; Hazel Lozano, An Octoroon, Fountain; Sara Mountjoy-Pepka, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Theatricum Botanicum; Ann Noble, Poor Clare, Echo; Vanessa Claire Stewart, An Octoroon, Fountain; Deborah Strang, A Christmas Carol, ANW; Pam Trotter, An Octoroon, Fountain

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL 

Chris Hoch, A Christmas Carol, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Dashiell Eaves, A Christmas Carol, CTG/Ahmanson; Brandon Gill, A Christmas Carol, CTG/Ahmanson; Adam Grupper, My Fair Lady, Dolby; Kevin Pariseau, My Fair Lady, Dolby; Sam Simahk, My Fair Lady, Dolby

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL 

Sarah Hunt, A Christmas Carol, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Leslie Alexander, My Fair Lady, Dolby; Gayton Scott, My Fair Lady, Dolby

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST IN A PLAY 

Ron Bottitta, Elizabeth Elias Huffman, Lily Knight, The Children, Fountain Theatre

RUNNER-UP: Amir Abdullah, DeJuan Christopher, Cherish Monique Duke, Kevin Jackson, Veralyn Jones, Sydney A. Mason, Desean K. Terry; Seven Guitars, A Noise Within

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST IN A MUSICAL 

Alaska 5000, Lea DeLaria, Yurel Echezarreta, Freddie, Tiffany Mann, George Salazar, Emily Skeggs, Shanice Williams; Head Over Heels, Pasadena Playhouse

RUNNERS-UP:

Kate Burton, Chante Carmel, Dashiell Eaves, Brandon Gill, Evan Harrington, Chris Hoch, Sarah Hunt, Andrew Mayer, Alex Nee, Alex Newell, Sebastian Ortiz, Cade Robinson, Celia Mei Rubin, Brett Ryback, Harry Thornton, Glory Yepassis-Zembrou, Bradley Whitford, Grace Yoo; A Christmas Carol, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

Shereen Ahmed, Leslie Alexander, Rajeer Alford, Colin Anderson, Mark Banik, Michael Biren, Mary Callahan, Elena Camp, Christopher Faison, Nicole Ferguson, Kaitlyn Frank, Juliane Godfrey, Colleen Grate, Adam Grupper, Patrick Kerr, Brandon Leffler, Nathalie Marrable, Laird Mackintosh, William Michaels, Aisha Mitchell, Rommel Pierre O’Choa, Kevin Pariseau, George Psomas, Kevin Quillon, JoAnna Rhinehart, Gayton Scott, Sam Simahk, Samatha Sturm, Sarah Quinn Taylor, Gerald M. Williams, Richard Riaz Yoder, Minami Yusui, Lee Zarrett; My Fair Lady, Broadway in Hollywood, Dolby Theatre

NEW DISCOVERY 2021 

Aarush Mehta

A Christmas Carol, A Noise Within

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Theatricum Botanicum

RUNNERS-UP: Freddy Duffy, A Christmas Carol, ANW; Carolina J. Flores, Waiting, Playwrights’ Arena; Sebastian Ortiz, A Christmas Carol, CTG/Ahmanson; Cade Robinson, A Christmas Carol, CTG/Ahmanson

BEST PLAYWRIGHT 

Lucy Kirkwood, The Children, Fountain Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Chiara Atik, Poor Clare, Echo; Inda Craig-Galvan, A Hit Dog Will Holler, Skylight/Playwrights’ Arena

BEST TRANSLATION OR ADAPTATION 

Jack Thorne, A Christmas Carol, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Tom Dugan, Tevye in New York, Wallis; Geoff Elliott, A Christmas Carol, ANW; Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, An Octoroon, Fountain; Jeff Whitty and James Magruder, Head Over Heels, Pasadena Playhouse; Steve Murray, This Wonderful Life, Matrix

BEST DIRECTION OF A PLAY 

Gregg T. Daniel, Seven Guitars, A Noise Within

RUNNERS-UP: Drew Barr, This Wonderful Life, Matrix; Alana Dietze, Poor Clare, Echo; Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, A Christmas Carol, ANW; Simon Levy, The Children, Fountain; Melora Marshall, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Theatricum Botanicum; Jon Lawrence Rivera, A Hit Dog Will Holler, Skylight/Playwrights’ Arena

BEST DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL 

Matthew Warchus and Thomas Caruso, A Christmas Carol, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: Jenny Koons and Sam Pinkelton, Head Over Heels, Pasadena Playhouse; Bartlett Sher, My Fair Lady, Dolby; Jenny Sullivan, Tenderly, ETC

BEST MUSICAL SCORE 

Christopher Nightingale, A Christmas Carol, Center Theatre Group, Ahmanson Theatre

RUNNERS-UP: David “Preach” Balfour, Paradise Blue, Geffen; The Go-Go’s, Head Over Heels, Pasadena Playhouse; Robert Oriel, A Christmas Carol, ANW

BEST MUSICAL DIRECTION 

Kris Kukul, Head Over Heels, Pasadena Playhouse

RUNNERS-UP: John Bell, My Fair Lady, Dolby; Remy Kurs, A Christmas Carol, CTG/Ahmanson

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY 

Christopher Gattelli, My Fair Lady, Dolby Theatre

BEST SET DESIGN 

Edward E. Haynes Jr., Paradise Blue, Geffen Playhouse

RUNNERS UP: Andrew Hammer, The Children, Fountain; Rob Howell, A Christmas Carol, CTG, Ahmanson; David Meyer, Head Over Heels, Pasadena Playhouse; Jan Munroe, A Hit Dog Will Holler, Skylight/Playwrights’ Arena; Jeanine A, Ringer, A Christmas Carol, ANW; Stephanie Kerley Schwartz, Seven Guitars, ANW; Michael Yeargan, My Fair Lady, Dolby

BEST COSTUME DESIGN 

Angela Balogh Calin, A Christmas Carol, A Noise Within

RUNNERS-UP: Naila Aladdin-Sanders, An Octoroon, Fountain; Wendell C. Carmichael, Paradise Blue, Geffen; Beth Eslick, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Theatricum Botanicum; Dianne K. Graebner, Poor Clare, Echo; Rob Howell, A Christmas Carol, CTG/Ahmanson; Hahnji Jang, Head Over Heels, Pasadena Playhouse; Mylette Nora, Seven Guitars, ANW; Catherine Zuber, My Fair Lady, Dolby

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN 

Alan C. Edwards, Paradise Blue, Geffen Playhouse

RUNNERS-UP: Ken Booth, A Christmas Carol, ANW; Francois-Pierre Couture, Tenderly, ETC; Stacey Derosier, Head Over Heels, Pasadena Playhouse; Donald Holder, My Fair Lady, Dolby; Derrick McDaniel, Seven Guitars, ANW; Cricket S. Myers, Tevye in New York, Wallis; Hugh Vanstone, A Christmas Carol, CTG, Ahmanson

BEST SOUND DESIGN 

Jeff Gardner, Paradise Blue, Geffen Playhouse

RUNNERS-UP: Simon Baker, A Christmas Carol, CTG/Ahmanson; Danny Erdberg and Ursula Kwong Brown, Head Over Heels, Pasadena Playhouse; Jeff Gardner, Poor Clare, Echo; Jeff Gardner, Seven Guitars, ANW; Robert Oriel, A Christmas Carol, ANW

BEST CGI or VIDEO DESIGN 

Rick Martin,This Wonderful Life, Rogue Machine at the Matrix  

SPECIAL  EVENTS and PERFORMANCES 

Hershey Felder, Dante and Beatrice in Florence: A New Musical Film

Steven Spielberg and his entire creative team, West Side Story: The Movie, 20th Century Fox

 
 

"BAH HUMBUG, OMICRON!"