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Locals Win Helen Hayes Awards

At the 26th annual Helen Hayes Awards Monday, April 5 at the Warner Theater in the District, MetroStage in Alexandria won three awards. It is the first time the company founded by Carolyn Griffin in Alexandria has seen multiple awards going to work performed on its stage.

The three were Outstanding Choreography in a Resident Musical for Maurice Hines for his work on "Cool Papa's Party," Outstanding Musical Direction in a Resident Musical for William Knowles for the same show, and the Canadian Embassy's Award for Outstanding Ensemble in a Play for the cast of its charming three-actor show "Heroes".

The three actors who received the Canadian Embassy Award for Outstanding Ensemble in a Play for "Heroes" were three veterans of Washington area stages whose total time trodding local boards was tabulated by MetroStage as 105 years. Ralph Cosham, John Dow and Michael Tolaydo brought a professional rapport and a sense of mutual respect as theater veterans to the gentle play of a trio of aging veterans of "The Great War" in their twilight days at an old soldier's home.

That last award was in a tie with Synetic Theater's cast of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which played first at The Kennedy Center and then at the Rosslyn Spectrum.

Synetic's Family Theater, performing in Shirlington, won the first-ever award in the new category: Outstanding Production — Theatre for Young Audiences award for its "The Tale of the Fisherman and the Golden Fish."

The only other award for work in Alexandria/Arlington was Holly Twyford's latest award for Outstanding Actress in a Play for her work at Signature Theatre in "The Little Dog Laughed." She had been nominated for three performances this year — the other two at D.C. theaters — and it is her fourth award.

The cross-river nature of professional theater in our community continues to be evident — Arena Stage which performs some of its work in Crystal City while its home facility in Southwest D.C. is undergoing construction, saw an actor from its production of "The Fantastics," which played at the Lincoln in D.C., walk away with the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Resident Musical (Laurence O'Dywer). And Keegan Theatre, which was nurtured through the Arlington Arts Incubator program but which recently became the resident company at the Church Street Theatre in Northwest D.C., earned two prestigious awards: Lead Actor in a Resident Musical for Parker Drown who played "Angel" in its production of the rock musical "Rent" — and the entire company of that show earned the Canadian Embassy Award for Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical.

<tgl>— Brad Hathaway