Winners of Big Easy Theatre Awards for performances in 2008 were honored at a gala at Harrah's New Orleans Casino on Monday, Mar. 30. InSide Out Productions' Coyote on a Fence won four Big Easys, including Best Drama. Southern Rep's comedy Speech & Debate collected three trophies, including Best Actor and Actress in a Comedy. The NOLA Project's musical Assassins also won in three categories. Amy Alvarez and Jefferson Turner took home the inaugural award for cabaret performance. Actor, writer and longtime theater reviewer Al Shea was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Mad Men star Bryan Batt was named Entertainer of the Year.

  The ceremonies included performances from nominated shows and guest presenters Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu, Jennifer Coolidge (Best in Show, American Pie) and Vernel Bagneris (One Mo' Time). The event is sponsored by The Gambit, Harrah's New Orleans Casino and Hotel, John Jay and Coleman E. Adler & Sons.


Lifetime Achievement Award

Al Shea

Entertainer of the Year

Bryan Batt

Special Recognition Award

New Orleans Fringe Festival

Best Musical


Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré

Best Drama

Coyote on a Fence

InSideOut Productions

Best Comedy

A Place in the Sun

Running With Scissors

Best Director of a Comedy

Aimée Hayes

Speech and Debate

Southern Rep

Best Director of a Drama

René J.F. Piazza

Rabbit Hole

Actors' Theatre of New Orleans

Best Director of a Musical

A.J. Allegra


NOLA Project

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Dorian Rush

Die! Mommy! Die!

Running With Scissors

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Sean Knapp

Speech and Debate

Best Actress in a Comedy

Natalie Boyd

Speech and Debate

Best Actor in a Comedy

Mark McLaughlin

The Seafarer

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama

Angie Joachim

Coyote on a Fence

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama

Jason Kirkpatrick

Coyote on a Fence

Best Actress in a Drama

Ashley Ricord

Side Man

The NOLA Project & InSide Out Productions

Best Actor in a Drama

Michael Aaron Santos

Coyote on a Fence

Best Actress in a Musical

Meredith Long

Ruthless! The Musical

Jefferson Performing Arts Society

Best Actor in a Musical

Christopher Woods


Le Petit Theatre

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical

Jimmy Murphy


Best Supporting Actress in a Musical

Lisa Picone


Best Evening of Cabaret

"He Loves and She Loves: The Gershwin Music We Love"

Amy Alvarez and Jefferson Turner

Best Original Work of Theater

What, Has This Thing Appeared Again Tonight?

Jim Fitzmorris, writer/director

The Shakespeare Festival at Tulane and the NOLA Project

Best Choreography

Leo Jones, Wanda Rouzan and Beverly Trask

Where the Girls Were

Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré

Best Musical Director

Jim Walpole

Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story

To Do Productions

Best Set Design

Jeff Becker


ArtSpot Productions & Mondo Bizarro

Best Lighting Design

Scott Sauber and Nancy Macko


Best Costume Design

Roy Haylock


Best University Production


David Hoover, director

University of New Orleans

Best Performance by a Child

Alex Lemonier

The History Boys

FourFront Theatre