Nominees and Recipients - 2009

The Gregory A. Falls Sustained Achievement Award honors individuals in our theatrical community who have given their time, energy and talents over a number of years. In particular, this award honors people who have had a widespread positive effect on the community.  The recipient is determined by a process separate from the rest of the awards. This year, the award went to Chris Bennion, who has dedicated over thirty-five years of his time and talents as a professional photographer to promoting and documenting theatre in the Puget Sound region.




Chris Bennion

Chris was born in Boston, raised in Riverside, Connecticut, completed a 2-year program at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and went on to graduate from Stanford University.  Margaret Booker, a classmate, invited him to Seattle in 1973 to photograph her new theater, Intiman.  Seattle felt like home, and he’s been here since 1975.  In addition to Intiman, Chris has worked with ACT, Seattle Repertory Theatre, 5th Avenue, Seattle Opera, Empty Space, Book-It, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Alice B.  He has shot several national tours including ProofDirty Rotten ScoundrelsHairsprayand Annie. He has also done considerable editorial photography, corporate annual reports and foreign trips for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Nominees for Outstanding Actor

2009 eligibility for nomination: Any male performer, lead or supporting, regardless of union status, in a 2008-2009 Season production taking place in Washington State.


Hans Altwies

From the nomination panel: In The Seafarer at Seattle Rep, Altwies invested this Irish dirge with a performance that was a landmark of conviction. Beleaguered, ensnared by circumstance and his love for his brother, this character was a loser — but only on paper, and only until Altwies brought him to life.



Charles Leggett

From the nomination panel: Leggett’s shrewdly understated, yet insightful and complex, portrayal of Shylock led the strong performances which abounded in Seattle Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice.

MJ Sieber

From the nomination panel: A perfect blend of physical expression and emotional subtlety, his performance in Strawberry Theatre Workshop’sElephant Man will stick with you for a very long time. In Strawshop’sGuttenberg: The Musical, he was side-splittingly funny. No matter where you put him, Sieber brings a fresh look, irrepressible energy and complete conviction to every portrayal.

Paul Morgan Stetler

From the nomination panel: In The Adding Machine at New Century Theatre, his was one of the really memorable performances of the season, part of a string of recent outstanding portrayals by Stetler. In ACT’sEurydice, he was malevolent, childlike, deadly, petulant and utterly unforgettable. Stetler created a character that was a logical extension not only of the text, but of the trickster character seen so often in mythology.

Nominees for Outstanding Actress

2009 eligibility for nomination: Any female performer, lead or supporting, regardless of union status, in a 2008-2009 Season production taking place in Washington State.


Kimberly King

From the nomination panel: In Becky’s New Car at ACT, King easily shuttled between living room and office with a word to the light booth and a saunter across the stage. Her every reaction was completely uninhibited, heightened enough for comedy while still natural enough that you identified with each one.

Hana Lass

From the nomination panel: Lass deserves credit one way or another–of all the performances seen this year, she’s the most deserving of some recognition, either in Crime & Punishment at Intiman or for her role in The Tempest at Seattle Shakes.



Amy Thone

From the nomination panel: Amy Thone’s cackling performance in New Century’s The Adding Machine was incredible. It incorporated non-traditional movement, vocalization, and characterization, and still packed an emotional wallop.

Billie Wildrick

From the nomination panel: From Sunday in the Park With George (5th Avenue) to Das Barbecu (ACT), Ms. Wildrick not only shines wherever she appears, but also can take a difficult, problematic role and make it her own.

Nominees for Outstanding Director

2009 eligibility for nomination: The director of any show produced in Washington State in the 2008‐2009 season.

Kurt Beattie

From the nomination panel: Beattie’s Becky’s New Car (ACT) was a snappy, funny, and spontaneous production of a brand-new play. InPharaoh Serket and the Lost Stone of Fire (Seattle Children’s), he successfully created an Indiana Jones vibe for the under-12 set.

Julie Beckman

From the nomination panel: In Strawberry Theatre Workshop’s Elephant Man, the physical transformations throughout the performance and the pure and palpable emotions erupting forth from the actors had an incredible impact on the audience from start to finish.



John Langs

From the nomination panel: His direction of The Adding Machine (New Century Theatre) was startling, creative and totally mesmerizing.  Everything worked: set, lighting, sound, costumes.

Allison Narver

From the nomination panel: Orange Flower Water (New Century Theatre) showed Narver’s work at its best, highlighting her ability to create a special universe in which people behave in particular ways, yet still seem familiar to us.  Incredibly deft handling of veering and colliding naturalistic dialogue with actors.

Nominees for Person To Watch

2009 eligibility for nomination: Any Theatre Practitioner involved in any show produced in Washington State in the 2008‐2009 season. This category is intended to honor excellent ongoing or emerging work in a variety of theatrical disciplines .  A Theatre Practitioner is defined as any individual involved in the theatre arts, including but not limited to: actor, actress, artistic director, costume designer, composer, director, lighting designer, set designer, sound designer, stage manager or technical director.

Vincent Delaney (Playwright)

From the nomination panel: Delaney’s work has appeared with more and more frequency in Seattle over the course of the past year. He has a very accessible and whimsical style while dealing with the troublesome and delicate topics of modern ethics and sensibilities.

Etta Lilienthal (Set Designer)

From the nomination panel: Lilienthal’s innovative design work has been seen all over town and is always spectacular. When she waves her magic wand, one cannot help but love the work that comes out.



Don Darryl Rivera (Actor, Musician)

From the nomination panel: Mr. Rivera has shown a bold comic sensibility in productions such as The Wizard of Oz at Seattle Children’s Theater.

Robertson Witmer (Sound Designer, Musician)

From the nomination panel: Ever innovative, cool and competent, Witmer’s work seems to be everywhere.  His great instincts and funny sense of humor drive his excellent sound choices.

Nominees for Outstanding Production

2009 eligibility for nomination: Any show produced by a TPS Organizational Member in the 2008‐2009 season. A TPS Organizational Member is defined as an organizational member in good standing of Theatre Puget Sound. Professional theatre organizations can find out more about joining Theatre Puget Sound here:



The Adding Machine (New Century Theatre)

From the nomination panel: The stunner of the season: a much-anticipated debut to launch this company in tough times, and it worked.

The Elephant Man (Strawberry Theatre Workshop)

From the nomination panel: Julie Beckman’s direction, along with some of Seattle’s most skilled performers, made for one of this season’s most heartbreaking and beautiful nights of theatre.

Eurydice (ACT)

From the nomination panel: A gossamer-like, magical production that reminded us why we still concern ourselves with myths.

The Seafarer (Seattle Repertory Theatre)

From the nomination panel: Vivid, fantastic production.  There was never a moment in this hilarious show when you were not simultaneously clenching your heart and wiping your eyes from tears of laughter.

Nominees for Theatre of the Year

2009 eligibility for nomination: Any TPS Organizational Member which has produced at least one show during the 2008‐2009 season. A TPS Organizational Member is defined as an organizational member in good standing of Theatre Puget Sound. Professional theatre organizations can find out more about joining Theatre Puget Sound here:


From the nomination panel: ACT has been one of Seattle’s heavy-hitters for years and years and has no intention of stopping any time soon. They are a spectacular member of the community here and are the most consistently edgy and exciting of the bigger venues in town.


From the nomination panel: Intiman exudes an honest sense of how theater should fit into a community .



New Century Theater Company

From the nomination panel: Only two productions in their inaugural season, but both stunners and an incredibly powerful launch for what promises to be a powerhouse company.

Strawberry Theatre Workshop

From the nomination panel: StrawShop has consistently provided amazing productions with fantastic performers and directors and has done so increasingly this past season. It seems that they have really reached a new pinnacle and are climbing still.

Members’ Voice

The TPS members’ ballot, which determined who will receive the award in each of the Gregory categories, also included an entry for a write-in candidate in each category, in addition to the nominees listed above.  After voting closed September 30, Theatre Puget Sound determined the top write-in candidate for each category.  Those six individuals and groups were honored with the TPS Members’ Voice:

Outstanding Actor

Brandon Ryan

From Member Comments: An extraordinary performance (Maria/Stuart, Theater Schmeater).

Outstanding Actress

Terri Weagant

From Member Comments: She dazzled audiences with her roles inOthello and Arabian Nights (Balagan Theatre).

Outstanding Director

Sheila Daniels

From Member Comments: Smart, snappy production ofCrime and Punishmentat Intiman. Bold, inventive production ofRubble Women (UMO Ensemble).

Person to Watch

Scott Warrender

Das Barbecu‘s score  wowed us with his “sophisticated compositions” (Seattle Times) that formed the backbone of this “sassy summer musical” (Seattle Gay News).

Outstanding Production

The History Boys

“Hilarious and heartbreaking.”  (Seattle Times). “Director Christopher Zinovitch helps create a band of brothers that bursts with both intellect and the throbbing sexual energy of adolescence.” (Seattle P-I)

Theatre of the Year

Village Theatre

From Member Comments:Consistently present outstanding productions of established musicals, and yet have a long-standing commitment to new work, as well as a fantastic training program.