CREEDE - Announced late on Christmas Eve, the 11th Annual Denver Post Ovation Awards named Creede Repertory Theatre Artistic Director Maurice LaMee the Denver Post Theater Person of the Year.
In announcing the awards, theater critic John Moore said LaMee has been instrumental in drawing literally thousands of visitors to the theatre during his 11 years in CRT management. Last season alone CRT performed for more than 47,000, nearly as many people as live in the entire San Luis Valley.
Creede’s summer season drew 20,000, its children’s outreach 20,000 and its performances of “Unnecessary Farce” and “The Road to Mecca” in the Denver metro area another 7,500.
CRT produces up to eight plays and musicals every summer such as the Broadway musical “Sweeney Todd.” CRT also takes on challenging new productions like Denver playwright Steven Cole Hughes’ “Billy Trilogy,” set in the Old West.
“Live theater in Creede is not just an evening diversion for fishermen and hikers. It is a 46-year-old economic engine that contributes more than $6 million a year to the state economy,” Moore stated.
(Creede draws some other theater types such as Johnny Depp who will be spending four weeks next summer filming “The Lone Ranger.”)
This year CRT opened a second stage the Ruth Humphrey Brown Theatre.
The Denver Post’s 2011 Theater Person of the Year Maurice LaMee, known as “Mo,” is originally from Evergreen. He is a graduate of the Denver Center’s National Theatre Conservatory. He and wife Trary and their twins reside in Creede year round.
LaMee said he was grateful for the award but humbly shared the accolades with CRT actors, staff, board, patrons and contributors.
LaMee was not the only Creede Repertory Theatre celebrity to be honored in the Denver Post’s Ovation Awards this weekend.
The 11th annual Ovation Awards were determined by Denver Post staff, but readers voted for additional “readers’ choice” designees by taking an online survey, which accepted only one ballot per IP address. A total of 1,760 unique voters responded.
LaMee won the readers’ choice, as well as the Denver Post’s choice, for Theater Person Of The Year, with 27 percent of the popular vote.
Veteran CRT actress Christy Brandt won the best actress in a drama Ovation award as Miss Helen in Creede Rep’s “The Road to Mecca.” She also by a huge majority garnered the readers’ choice vote in that category (42 percent.)
Caitlin Wise, who played Billy in Creede Rep’s “Unnecessary Farce,” won the Ovation for best supporting actress, comic role. She also earned the popular vote (42 percent) in the readers’ choice.
John Arp won his record third “best year by an actor” Ovation, working for four companies including Creede Repertory Theatre. For this award, the actor had to perform a minimum of three roles. Arp far exceeded that, as evidenced by his work this year. At CRT alone, he played J.B. Biggley in “How to Succeed in Business;” Saddlebum in “The Bad Man;” and James in “I Capture the Castle.” He also played Henry in the Arvada Center’s “The Lion in Winter;” Victor in the Boulder Ensemble’s “An Empty Plate in the Cafe du Grand Boeuf;” a townsperson in the Denver Center’s “To Kill a Mockingbird;” and Clifton in the Arvada Center’s “The 1940s Radio Hour.”
Not surprisingly, Arp garnered the greatest readers’ choice votes as well at 45 percent.
CRT also received recognition in the special achievement awards. Playwright Steven Cole Hughes was recognized for the completion of his “Billy Trilogy” at the Creede Repertory Theatre.
In addition, Hughes’ “The Bad Man” was nominated for Best New Work.
Although not winning the Denver Post award for best comedy, CRT’s “Unnecessary Farce” won the readers’ choice top vote at 42 percent.
Also not winning the Ovation for best supporting actor, comic role, but taking the popular vote was Steven Cole Hughes as Agent Frank in Creede Rep’s “Unnecessary Farce,” (37 percent.)
In yet another readers’ choice top pick that didn’t earn an Ovation, CRT was chosen as readers’ choice for Best Year by a Company. (The Denver Post chose Curious Theatre.)
For more information see www.denverpost.com