This year’s B. Iden Payne Awards Ceremony was a night full of music, laughs, and plenty of puppets, with the best in Austin’s theatrical scene coming out to be honored for their spectacular achievement for this year’s productions. The evening was full of jokes as the wisecracking and crass Les McGehee took over duties as Masters of Ceremonies, leading us through a night full of wonderful musical numbers from such shows as Murder Ballad Murder Mystery, Sleeping Beauty, A Little Night Music, and even a hilarious improvised number from Crack, the Improv Puppet Musical, as well as plenty of comedy from presenters and winners alike.
The main draw, of course, was the awards, and the awards were spread out pretty evenly, with numbers of companies received wins, but a few individuals and groups ended up on top. With a show focusing so much on puppetry, it’s hardly any surprise that Connor Hopkins, visionary leader of the Trouble Puppet Theatre, ended up with numerous awards, winning Best Original Script and Best Director for his production of The Jungle, which also received an award for best Sound Design, and receiving a special award for his work in puppetry in the city. Content Love Knowles also took many major honors, winning awards for Best Featured Actress in Murder Ballad Murder Mystery, as well as an award for Best Score for her work in Vortex Theatre’s Sleeping Beauty.
The biggest winner of the night, however, was Zach Theatre’s lively musical, The Drowsy Chaperone, which took home a boatload of awards, including Paynes for Best Ensemble, Best Choreographer (Robin Lewis), Best Musical Direction, and Best Musical, despite the fact that none of the members of the cast or crew could make it to the ceremony. Also coming out on top was Hidden Room Theatre’s hyper-traditional version of Taming of the Shrew, taking home the awards for Best Lead Actor (Ryan Crowder as Katherina), Best Direction (Beth Burns), and Best Comedy. The talk of the ceremony, however, was the Rude Mechanicals, who not only received the Special Honoree award for their work in both theatre and philanthropy, but also took top honors in the Drama category for their revolutionary production of Dionysus in 69.
It was truly a night to remember, and those lucky enough to attend will surely be talking about it for days to come. Stay tuned for a list of all the winners coming soon to this very site.