Actors Theatre's production of the fantastical drama "The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow," the Hale Centre Theatre and injured Valley playwright Terry Earp were big winners at the 2006-'07 AriZoni Awards, the Valley theater community's version of the Tony Awards.
The 17th annual AriZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence ceremony was to take place Monday, Sept. 24, evening at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts. Get Out was supplied with an advance list of winners.
"Chow," about an adopted young woman who builds a robot to search for her real parents, earned five awards, including best overall professional production and a best director nod to Actors Theatre director Matthew Wiener.
The 4-year-old Hale, a cozy arena-stage community theater that performs musicals and 20th-century classics in downtown Gilbert, won 20 Zonis -- a best musical win for its "Brigadoon" and choreographer Cambrian James' work on "Brigadoon" and "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." (Many of those awards are the result of multiple costume designers).
Meanwhile, Earp was given an award for "outstanding contribution" to the Valley theater scene. Best known for historical bioplays staged by herself and her husband Wyatt Earp, great-nephew of the Old West lawman, the playwright suffered severe spinal cord injuries a year ago when she was hit by the driver of an SUV during a morning bicycle ride.
Thirty-nine Valley theater groups paid this year to have their shows appraised by volunteer Zoni judges.
Uniquely, and somewhat controversially, the Zonis (as they're called) allow for multiple winners in each category; that's why the Hale's "Brigadoon," for example, shares its best musical award with Nearly Naked Theatre's "Bat Boy: The Musical." There were 121 awards, in all, given out Monday night.
In the children's theater category, awards were largely spread among many theaters, including Fountain Hills Community Youth Theater and the East Valley Children's Theatre. For the most part, the major winner turned out to be the characters of the comic strip "Peanuts": the musical "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," as staged by Mesa Community College's Act One Musical Productions and the Spotlight Youth Theatre, racked up multiple awards.
For the full list of winners, visit the Arizoni Awards Web site.