The IO West Theater held its annual Del Close Awards this past Friday. It’s a night where the self-congratulation is limited only by our imaginations, our fading senses of dignity, and—for the younger crowd—the fact that the bar closes at 2 am.
The Del Close Awards honor Del Close, one of the founders not only of the IO Theater and but also of long-form improv as we know it today. Award categories ranged from the sensible (Best Scripted Show, Best Coach/Director, Best Bartender) to the silly (Best Randomly Selected Student).
Kevin McShane created the look of the Del Close Awards and runs its excellent website —photos and videos are there for your viewing pleasure.
Jill Alexander was nominated for Best Portrayal of an Object. In her case, the object was a doughnut mascot that danced at a street corner to bring in customers to its doughnut shop. And it proved to be the Dancing Doughnut That Could, because Jill won. When her name was called, she took to the stage and recreated that dance routine right there for the live audience. Up to that point, we had seen smarty-pants irony, we had seen honest humility and gratitude, but we hadn’t seen Midwestern dance-team spirit until Jill took the stage.
Trophy Wife was nominated for Best Harold Team this year. But alas, it wasn’t to be. The USS Rock n Roll took home the well-deserved honors.
Trophy Wife emeritus Eric Hunicutt received a James Grace award for contributions to the IO West (he just completed a four-year tour of duty as Director of the Training Center). And our former coach Irene White also received a James Grace award. Irene was one of the founders of the IO West’s Del Close Awards. Her acceptance speech elicited tears, laughter, applause, and a few cat calls.
After the awards ceremony, the theater took advantage of the prom-like conditions (gowns, tuxedos, and the feeling that if Nick Armstrong is sexy, so aren’t we!) and had a dance party.
Keep your eyes out for award-worthy performances—IO West shows from now through July will be eligible for Del Close 2010 nominations.
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