Friday, February 23, 2007

Way Off Loop's Best of 2006- Now Posted Sometime Before 2008!

Ladies and gentlemen, small children, interested squirrels, the Loopies are back. After one year, still the leading Chicago theatre award in total arbitrariness and number of sexiest male lead divisions. Let's begin!

Sexiest Male Lead: Terrifying division: Colm O'Reilly (everything)
This big-headed gentleman confuses me in a primal way. He's brutally still. He plays monsters. He makes me forget the concept of informed consent. "Is being kidnapped and taken to a subterranean lair ok, or not ok? I have a strong opinion about this, but I don't know what it is." This marks O'Reilly's second appearance on the list (2005, SML: Portable Division, voice of Cesare), making him the Loopies' first and only two-timer. (Nathan Allen will be furious.)

Sexiest Female Lead: Actually Being Awarded this Year Division: Kyla Louise Webb for Lulu (Lulu).
Freeow! This polymorphously irresistible vixen could corrupt a nun (and come to think of it, what a picture.) Speaking only body language, her avid mouth smeared with black lipstick, Lulu had this award in the bag back in February.

Sexiest Male Ensemble: International Division, The Cast of 12th Night
Chicago Shakespeare Theatre imported a full complement of brilliant, gorgeous Russian movie stars for an all-male take on one of my favorite comedies. I'm serious. It was like being in heaven.

Sexiest Male Lead: Not Actually Sexy Division: Shawn Pfaustch for Billy Argo (The Boy Detective Fails.)

I really don't know what this guy is doing in this category, as he gave me more of a warm, back-to-childhood feeling. I would never want to corrupt such earnestness. Instead, I'd like to invite him and his blazer over to discuss cases and sing songs- he could change into a nice comfy cardigan and tell me that I'm special and... oh. That explains a lot. Never mind.

Christmas Spirit Award for Drastically Changing My Mood: 500 Clown Sings Christmas Carols.
Before I saw this show, I was a sick grinch, ready to go bunk with my folks in order to avoid a party taking place at my own apartment. After the show, I was a giddy yuletide monkey, full of cheer and surprisingly effective fake champagne, pumped to stay up till down. (Also wins an ancillary award for Show I Most Regretted in the Morning.)

The So-Called Life Award for Taking Me Back to High School: Dead City (Dog and Pony Theatre.)
Tells you a lot about my high school that a gender-switched gloss on Joyce's Ulysses made me feel more nostalgic than, say, any actual show set in high school. We salute you, Mr. Baker!

Googlemonkey Award for Following Your Own Damn Press: Peter Sagal (Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!)
My post on this charming show won me a charming email from the host, who found it even though I misspelled his name. Hi Pete! I know you're reading this.

Best Weather: Mary-Arrchie for Buried Child
Warm, humid rain on a minuscule budget. This mildewy set's simple panel window (with real water!) made me feel damply depressed from the moment I sat down.

Most Mysterious venue: Angel Island
735 West on a North/South street? Don't speak to me of doglegs, this is something God never intended, something the human mind cannot compass. It is of the devil, and above a Starbucks. Fear it, shun it, give yourself maybe 15 extra minutes to go there the first time.

Best bad dress: Valentine Victorious
It's one thing to misplace a crucial prop, or to have a total lighting malfunction during a climactic song, or to miss a crucial sound cue, forcing one actor to kill another by shouting "Bang" loudly at his back. It's quite another to do all that and more, in front of a packed house and the first-string critics, and still deliver a roaring night of entertainment.

Worst Audience: The Earl
These drunkards scuttled the opening, creepy moments of a first-rate brutal/hilarious late-night show by snickering and talking out loud. I hated them. It was nice of the actors not to hit them in the head with a tire iron, but one can take restraint too far, don't you agree?

The Barnum Award for Slickest Sucker Punchers: Leaving Iowa
This corn-pone show pushed my buttons like a champion accordion player. I knew I was being manipulated, but I couldn't stop myself from laughing, sniffling, and getting wistful on cue.

Best Kids Show not Billed for Kids: Old Curiosity Shoppe
Hands down, 2006's best way to remind your little Snicket fan that Dickens did it first. "It" being "abusing orphans for the amusement of the public."

Feminist Brain Porn Award: Gaudy Night
Because the world isn't really full of diffident, witty, dashing English lords who would rather lose you than compromise your individuality. Sigh.

Best Re-imagining of a Shakespeare Character: Edmund in King Lear as a Daily Show Correspondent
Newsman's suit, field reporter's trench, reptilian teeth. I kept expecting this delicious villian to toss it back to Jon Stewart. And yet, unlike many other aspects of the show, it worked.

Well, my starlings, that's about it for this edition. Stay tuned for the 2007 Loopies, which will no doubt be posted around 7/4/2008. Let's go outside and play!


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