A 2014 Helen Hayes Awards (Drama Prom) Diary

Helen Hayes Awards 2014

Last night marked the 30th anniversary of the Helen Hayes Awards, and theatreWashington spared no expense in creating a blow-out bash. The annual celebration of Washington DC Theatre, aka Drama Prom, sported a new format and venue. Moving from the Warner Theatre to the National Building Museum gave the awards ceremony a much more casual feel as patrons mingled about throughout the three-act show. Victor Shargai received the Helen Hayes Tribute and Woolly Mammoth’s Stupid Fucking Bird, Ford & Signature’s Hello Dolly!, and Olney Theatre Center’s A Chorus Line went home with Best Resident Play and Musical honors.

However if you want a complete list of the winners you can find those here. Instead I offer you a tradition now four years running: my complete breakdown of my day (and night) with Helen (and others).

6:01 PM

Helen didn’t come during a particularly quiet time in my life. Fresh off a week-long business trip in NYC and a weekend packed with whiskey bars and wine tastings left me reeling. However this 5-day bender was close to finished, all I needed to do is to survive Drama Prom. I was going to need a nap.

Meanwhile actor John Dellaporta was already pre-gaming and many praise their Rent The Runway outfits. If you were Chris Klimek however, you were ready to cut the person that copies his approach to “Creative Black Tie”.

6:21 PM

A nap wouldn’t be enough to power me through the five hour party, I was going to need a little back-up. I was also going to need a little back-up for when the open bar closes. Don’t judge: why break the tradition of bringing a flask to Helen Hayes?

6:36 PM

The theatreWashington crew was ready to turn on the lights, while this group of partiers were ready to black out:

6:51 PM

My bow-tie outfits often get lots of respect but I will admit when you attend the Helen Hayes Awards, it’s more of a status quo.

Also lots of people took selfies of them getting to the show.

7:14 PM

With wristband secured and Five Hour Energy shot taken it was time to see what Helen had in store for the night:

Also my date Brenna matches the tables:

7:33 PM

My inner stage manger loved hearing the show warnings in the style of a stage manager running through cues.

7:41 PM

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company ups their selfie game:

The show opens with a musical number from Sam Ludwig, Rachel Zampelli and Ashleigh King but I’ll be honest- it was hard to hear from the back. However it looks like they sang about the party being five hours long and much more streamlined:

7:45 PM

As Linda Levy makes opening remarks, the general scene of the night sets in. In past years the crowd had to endure a three-hour long awards show which drove many to the flasks. Instead the emphasis was put more on the party and less on the awards. As a result the overall scene was split between those paying attention and those freely socializing. I’m a fan of the move yet I can imagine some who might not appreciate having their acceptance speeches fall on deaf, drunk ears.

Also if acceptance speeches ran over winners got played off by the band along with the three performers who sang, “Goodbye!” while waiving. It’s a very entertaining sight.

8:37 PM

The journo crew of me, Ben, and Maura spend a long time waiting in line for a drink. The bar lines are a common complaint of a night that had few other things to complain about. The whole ordeal is reminiscent of an Inaugural Ball. I saw one actress hold up the line as she ordered nine glasses champaign. I hope they were not all for her.

I also realize that a show of three acts and two intermissions effectively makes the Helen Hayes Awards into a hockey game.

While we were waiting in line actress Kimberly Gilbert demands that we all bow down to her family and a steamy promo plays for theatreWashington’s Summer Hummer event. I casually explained to those unaware that it’s the event where, “I think people sing but they are naked or something.”

9:00 PM

The Murder She Wrote star makes a cameo during Victor’s Helen Hayes tribute. Meanwhile I start taking photos with people for the next hour:

10:22 PM

The open bars are closing and people’s feet are getting tired. The ladies go running for the shoe check and put on a pair of Helen Hayes slippers.

Aubri gets desperate for a drink while Gwen’s photos get more and more blurry (much like my memory at that point).

11:30 PM

Perhaps Ben, but then again maybe it was for the best. My date and I eventually make an early exit while the rest of the party rages on:

Patrick has been blogging since before it was called blogging. At We Love DC Patrick covers local Theatre, and whatever catches his eye. Patrick’s blog stories, rants, and opinions have been featured in The Washington City Paper, Washington Post Express, CNN, Newschannel 8 Washington, and NBC Washington. See why Patrick loves DC.

You can e-mail him at ppho [at] welovedc.com

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