Despite, or possibly in spite of, a production that was ironically rife with technical gaffs, the energy and spirit of a vibrant community shone through at the Orpheum Theatre on Nov. 12.

The Hysterica Dance Company was employed to distribute the awards. Their unusual dance sequences – distracting and confusing though done very well – were an odd choice for the event.

None of this took away from the evening’s festive nature. In fact, it almost added to the sense of fun. It became a sort of “in joke” that everyone was in on.

Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris and featuring an array of celebrity presenters, the L.A. Stage Alliance proudly recognized the best of this year’s talent. “Can-Can” and “Hershey Felder as George Gershwin Alone” tied as the productions that won the most awards, each taking four of the aqua-colored statuettes.

The attending contingency for “Jitney” added much to the exuberance of the evening and took home two awards for themselves: Best Play in an Intimate Theatre and Best Ensemble Performance.

“Trying” garnered eight nominations, but only one win. Alan Mandell won a much-deserved award for Best Lead Actor in a Play for his spectacular portrayal of General Francis Biddle.

The popular musical “Jersey Boys” was represented by two of the lead actors who took to the stage to receive the award for Best Touring Production.

Actress Annette Bening was awarded the lifetime Career Achievement award and heralded for her outstanding support of L.A. theater in general. Likewise, the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles was recognized for its leadership in theater and the Actors Fund was given a nod for its efforts in community outreach.

The joy and excitement of the evening was best summed up by Hugo Armstrong, who tied as Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance in “Bleed Rail.” During his acceptance speech, the audience applauded enthusiastically when Hugo said, “There is no best or better in this. We are here because of all of us. This [the award] is for all of us.”

For the complete list of awards recipients, visit