Actor Watanabe Nominated for Ovation Award

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Greg Watanabe

Actor Greg Watanabe is among the nominees for the 2011 LA STAGE Alliance Ovation Awards, which will be presented next month.

Watanabe was nominated in the Featured Actor in a Play category for his portrayal of Sopoan in “Extraordinary Chambers” at Geffen Playhouse. Francois Chau, who played Dr. Heng in the same play, was nominated in the same category.

The other nominees in the category were: Henry Dittman as James Moriarty and French Stewart as Freud/Queen Victoria in “Watson – The Last Great Tale of the Legendary Sherlock Holmes” (Sacred Fools Theatre Company); Edi Gathegi as Franco Wicks in “Superior Donuts” (Geffen Playhouse); Michael Pappas as PFC Raasch in “The War Cycle: Gospel According to First Squad” )Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble); and Darryl Stephens as Victoria in “The Interlopers” (Bootleg Theatre).

Francois Chau

“Extraordinary Chambers” looks at the lasting legacy of the Khmer Rouge, which killed nearly 2 million Cambodians from 1975 to 1979. The genocide trials for the leaders started 30 years later. Watanabe played one of the survivors and Chau played a suspected Khmer Rouge official. The play also featured Kimiko Gelman as Rom Chang, Marin Hinkle as Mara, and Mather Zickel as Carter.

Watanabe’s credits include the world premiere productions of Philip Kan Gotanda’s “The Ballad of Yachiyo” (Berkeley Rep, Seattle Rep, Public Theater-NYSF), Harold Byun’s “Butcher’s Burden” (Asian American Theater Company), John Olive’s “The Summer Moon” (A Contemporary Theater, South Coast Rep), John Ridley’s “10,000 Years” and Ken Narasaki’s “No-No Boy,” adapted from the novel by John Okada (South Coast Rep).

For his role in Julie Marie Myatt’s “The Happy Ones” (South Coast Rep), Watanabe was nominated for an L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award (Best Featured Performance). He recently appeared in David Henry Hwang’s “Yellow Face” at Moolelo Theater Company, for which he was nominated for a San Diego Drama Critics Circle Award (Best Lead Performance).

His TV credits include “Off Limits,” “Watch Over Me,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Reno 911!” and “Criminal Minds.” Film appearances include “Only the Brave,” “Americanese” and “Life Tastes Good.” He is a long-time member of 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors, an Asian American sketch comedy troupe.

Chau has worked extensively in theater, film, and television. He is best known as Dr. Pierre Chang in ABC’s popular sci-fi TV series “Lost.” His other television credits include “Chuck,” “The Chicago Code,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Medium.” His film credits include “What’s Cooking,” directed by Gurinder Chadha, and “Rescue Dawn,” directed by Werner Herzog. He has also continued to work in theater, where his credits include “The Survivor: A Cambodian Odyssey (Merrimack Rep), “The Woman Warrior” (Ahmanson/Doolittle), “The Ballad of Yachiyo” (The Public Theatre/NYC), and “Art” (East West Players).

“Extraordinary Chambers” received three other Ovation Award nominations: Best Play-Large Theatre; David Weiner for Playwriting for an Original Play; and Vincent Olivieri for Sound Design-Large Theatre.

East West Players’ “Krunk Fu Battle Battle” was nominated in the categories of Choreography (Jason Chong) and Lighting Design-Large Theatre (Dan Weingarten).

In the Sound Design-Intimate Theatre category, Alyssa Ishii was nominated for her work on Bootleg Theater’s production of “Awake.”

Founded in 1989, the Ovation Awards are the only peer-judged theater awards in Los Angeles. For the 2010-11 voting season, there are a total of 196 nominations for 65 productions, presented by 44 companies. There were 388 total productions registered from 173 companies. Of those productions, 97 were Ovation Recommended, identified during their runs as scoring in the top quarter of all productions in the Overall Production categories.

Voters are Los Angeles theater professionals who are chosen each season by the Ovation Awards Rules Committee through an application process. The list of nominees is determined by a tabulation of scores conducted by the entertainment accounting firm Green Hasson Janks.

LA STAGE Alliance, empowering artists and engaging audiences since 1975, is dedicated to building awareness, appreciation and support for the performing arts in Greater Los Angeles through community building, collaborative marketing/audience development, professional development to strengthen the sector, and advocacy.

The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, Nov. 14, at the Orpheum Theatre, 842 S. Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. The curtain will rise at 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.LASTAGEOvations.com.

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