Daily Pilot

On Theater: Highlights of 2013 at local venues

By Tom Titus

December 23, 2013 2:03 p.m.

As we prepare to sweep 2013 out the door, it's time to pause and take a backward glance at the year in local theater, bringing out the best shows and performers (at least in this column's opinion) for a final curtain call.

Without further ado, then, here are the year's highlights among the professional, community and collegiate performing organizations in Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Westminster and Laguna Beach:

South Coast Repertory: Best production — "Death of a Salesman," directed by Marc Masterson; runners-up — "The Parisian Woman," directed by Pam McKinnon, and "Chinglish," directed by Leigh Silverman. Best performances — Charlie Robinson in "Death of a Salesman," Dana Delaney in "The Parisian Woman"; runners-up — Matthew Arkin in "The Whale" and Jenny O'Hara in "4,000 Miles."

Laguna Playhouse: Best production — "A Christmas Memory," directed by Nick De Gruccio; runner-up — "Fallen Angels," directed by Art Manke. Best performances — Marsha Waterbury in "A Christmas Memory," Davis Gaines in "I Do, I Do" and Teri Ralston in "Steel Magnolias"; runners-up — Alyson Lindsay in "Steel Magnolias" and Jennifer Leigh Warren in "Having It All."

Costa Mesa Playhouse: Best production — "Greater Tuna," directed by Kyle Myers; runner-up — "Dog Logic," directed by Sharyn Case. Best performances — Keith Bush in "Dog Logic"; runners-up — Robin L. Watkins and Karl Schott, both in "Greater Tuna," and Emily Price in "Lucky Stiff."

Newport Theatre Arts Center: Best production — "Brooklyn Boy," directed by Gigi Fusco Meese; runner-up — "Oklahoma," directed by Phyllis Gitlin. Best performances — Bob Fetes in "Dr. Cook's Garden" and Hayley Jackson in "Oklahoma"; runners-up — Jeff Bickel in "An Act of the Imagination" and Harriet Whitmyer in "Oklahoma."

Huntington Beach Playhouse: Best production — "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," directed by Greg Cohen; runner-up — "Fiddler on the Roof," directed by Larry Watts. Best performances — Louis Jack in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and Sonja Taylor in "Bye Bye Birdie"; runners-up — Michael Castro and Austin James Duffis, both in "Fiddler on the Roof," and Jena Slipp in "Bye Bye Birdie."

Westminster Community Theater: Best production — "Picnic," directed by Lenore Stjerne; runner-up — "Same Time, Next Year," directed by Karla Franklin. Best performances — Chris McClary in "Picnic" and Cleta Cohen in "Southern Hospitality"; runners-up — Richard DeVicariis in "Picnic" and Tara Golson in "Same Time, Next Year."

Orange Coast College: Best production — "The Elephant Man," directed by William Mittler; runner-up — "Rhinoceros," directed by Rick Golson. Best performances — Michael Canas in "The Elephant Man" and Isabella Chaez in "Rhinoceros"; runners-up — Devon Suraco in "Rhinoceros" and Abel Diaz in "The Elephant Man."

Golden West College: Best production — "Moby Dick," directed by Tom Amen; runner-up — "White Christmas," directed by Martie Ramm. Best performances — Lawrence Hemingway in "Moby Dick" and Nina Ramos in "Legally Blonde"; runners-up — Brock Joseph in "Moby Dick" and Jeannine Barba in "White Christmas."

Vanguard University: Best production — "The Pajama Game," directed by Vanda Eggington; runner-up — "Development," directed by Susan Berkompas. Best performances — Jordan Laemmien in "Development" and Bretlyn Schmitt in "The Pajama Game"; runners-up — Tony Sutera in "Development" and Preston Butler III in "The Comedy of Errors."

These shows and performers were the cream of the local crop over the last 12 months. But two individuals in particular stood out. They will be honored next week as the Daily Pilot's man and woman of the year in theater for 2013.

TOM TITUS reviews local theater for the Daily Pilot, Coastline Pilot and HB Independent.