Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Artsies Fever, We Know How to Show It

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here tonight to get through this thing called the Artsies. Preferably before midnight.

Many things happened at tonight's Richmond Theater Critics Circle awards show, many of them in glittery shoes and sparkly clothing.

I wore neither, yet the man who won "Best Actor in a Leading Role, Musical" complimented my ensemble as sexy and demure ("How are you pulling off both?") and referred to his own striking suit as looking "like a couch."

For the record, few couches are that shiny.

Naturally, things got topical. There was last year's Best Supporting Actor - a child actor, mind you - playing the Donald in a blond wig and patriotic ball cap and, when challenged on his fitness to do so given his diminutive stature, responded, " My hands are the right size!"

When the cast of "Green Day's American Idiot" did a medley, it involved a figure in a Trump mask and the entire cast finishing by giving the audience the finger. I like to think they were really giving it to Trump.

Calling a spade a spade, the Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Play called Richmond Triangle Players the "best-run theater in town," and he should know having worked for almost all the others as well.

Even her move to D.C. didn't prevent last year's Best Actress in a Play from being the butt of jokes about her frequent nude scenes, from showing up as a presenter tonight and from reminding us that we are more than a piece of ass.

Winningly, the multi-talented Best Actor nominee in both leading and supporting roles sang a song with green frog hands on.

Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" became the basis for the winner of Best Actress in a Lading Role, Musical and the winner of Best Director, Play to imagine a gospel-inspired MLK musical set to the Purple One.

One of the actors who was part of the deserving group who won the Ernie McClintock Best Acting Ensemble award - the one who's leaving us after five years for a bigger sandbox to show off in  - announced, "If you're not seeing TheatreLAB's shows, you're not really paying attention."

Five awards tonight? Everybody should be paying attention by now.

Because last years's winner of Best Director, Play was unable to attend, her esteemed Shakespeare leanings became the basis for jokes involving tests, balls and cunning linguists set to iambic pentameter.

Behold a 97-year old dancer (who could have passed for 75) accepting an award for Ongoing Contribution to Richmond Area Theater who not only did a few dance movements when she walked onstage, but also said, "I'm grateful to have had a long lifetime in order to achieve so much."

The young 'uns (particularly) in the audience gasped audibly when her age was given and clapped mightily when she sashayed offstage.

Just as moving was the 87-year old actress and mezzo-soprano accepting the same award and sharing her black history in the process. When told by a restaurant server in her youth that, "We don't serve n****rs here," she had the presence of mind to answer, "We don't eat 'em."

And when she told us to hold hands with the people on either side of us, we did while she prayed for a less divisive country and better treatment of women.

One critic's reviews were mocked as too short and another as too long. Both statements were true.

The audience went nuts when nominees for Best Supporting Actress, Play and Best Actor in a Leading Role, Musical sang "Suddenly Seymour" with charm and drama to spare.

There was more Girl Power than you could shake a stick at, like last year's Best Actress winner pointing at another actor in Colonial garb a la "1776" and saying, "This is what a President looked like in the past," and then doffing her own Revolutionary costume to reveal a sexy red dress underneath.

"And this is what a President will look like in the future!" Hear, hear.

Oh, and for the record, 5th Wall does more than "plays where smart women holler at each other." Why is it "hollering" when we do it and "discussing" when men do the same?

You'd never hear the Dowager Countess say such a thing.

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