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   April 14, 2006

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First-Ever Kevin Kline Awards Honor Equity Members and Theatres in St. Louis

On March 20, 2006, the Roberts Orpheum Theater came alive for the first-ever Kevin Kline Awards. Sponsored by the Professional Theatre Awards Council of Greater St. Louis, the Kevin Kline Awards honored theatrical achievements by actors, directors, choreographers in St. Louis area theatres. The host of the awards show was Actors' Equity Member, Jason Danieley, a former St. Louisan and star of the Broadway hits THE FULL MONTY and CANDIDE. Kevin Kline, who grew up in Clayton and attended St. Louis Priory, presented six of the acting awards. Other presenters were Broadway impresario Rocco Landesman and popular entertainer Ken Page.

In all 24 Kevin Kline Awards were bestowed in 22 categories. Richard Greenburg's 2003 Tony Award-winning play TAKE ME OUT, which received its St. Louis debut last September as the inaugural production of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' new Off-Ramp season, received four Kevin Kline Awards, including Outstanding Production of a Play. Two Equity theatres, the Muny and the aforementioned Repertory Theatre, topped the list of theatre honorees with six Klines each.

Six of the Kevin Kline Award winners were members of Actors' Equity. The winner for the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play was Gary Wayne Barker, for DRIVING MISS DAISY, at The New Jewish Theatre. For Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical, the winner was Natascia Diaz in WEST SIDE STORY, at the Muny. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical went to Ken Page for JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at the Muny. The awards for Outstanding Male Actor in a Musical and Outstanding Female Actor in a Musical were awarded to Ben Nordstrom for FOOTLOOSE and Zoe Vonder Haar for HELLO, DOLLY! both at Stages St. Louis. Nat DeWolf claimed the award for Outstanding Male Actor in a Play for TAKE ME OUT at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

The Professional Theatre Awards Council was formed in 2004 to heighten awareness of theater in St. Louis. During the twelve months of 2005, 79 different plays and musicals were evaluated by a floating pool of 36 judges. Each show was seen by seven different judges, and each judge was required to submit his or her ballot within 24 hours of attending a production, thus insuring that each production was weighed on its own merits rather than in comparison to others. Thirty-seven of the plays and musicals received nominations. Twelve of the 37, which were staged by eight different theater companies, received recognition.

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