Hayes awards go to 3 from the area

Reed, Cisek, Kessell win regional honors

May 09, 2002|By Tricia Bishop | Tricia Bishop,SUN STAFF

They may not have known it, but Columbia theatergoers who caught The Judas Kiss at Rep Stage or Damn Yankees at Toby's Dinner Theatre last year were watching award-winning productions. On Monday night, three of the 23 Helen Hayes awards - given for exceptional theater in Washington, Virginia and Maryland - went to people associated with the local plays.

Columbia resident Nigel Reed, who played Oscar Wilde in The Judas Kiss, won for outstanding lead actor in a resident play (one that does not tour).

"I was kind of stunned," Reed, 49, said yesterday of winning. "I was in extremely august company and having actually gotten the award was quite exciting."

Reed's role, his ninth at Rep Stage, required him to be on stage for all but the first few moments of the play, and he had to sit in a chair during nearly all of the second act, which was tougher than it sounds.

"As the lead actor, you have to carry the show. But onstage, your entire body is largely your instrument, and if you can't move, that presents a real challenge," said Reed, whose next play, Side Man, opens tonight at Everyman Theatre in Baltimore.

Judas set designer Tony Cisek (pronounced Chis-ek) tied with Ming Cho Lee (Don Carlos; Shakespeare Theatre in Washington) for outstanding set design for a resident musical or play, and Ilona Kessell, who lives in Owings Mills, won for outstanding choreography for her work in Damn Yankees.

Other Maryland winners include Jodi Capeless, who was named outstanding lead actress for her role in Late Nite Catechism at Frederick's Phoenix Productions, and Thomas W. Jones, who earned outstanding director of a resident play for Home, which ran at Silver Spring's Round House Theatre.

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