Richard Ellis, whose innovative and stylish set designs have been a hallmark of American Theatre Company productions since the company’s founding more than 40 years ago, will be the 2022 recipient of the Mary Kay Place Legacy Award, as part of the annual Tulsa Awards for Theater Excellence presentation.
The awards, which recognize outstanding productions and performances of Tulsa theater companies, will be presented 7 p.m. Saturday, July 9, in the Westby Pavilion at the Tulsa PAC, 101 E. Third St. General admission tickets are $5. To purchase: 918-596-7111, tulsapac.com.
Thirteen productions — two youth productions and 11 adult shows — are competing for a total of $20,000. The winner of Outstanding Production receives a $10,000 cash prize, with second and third runners-up winning $5,000 and $2,500, respectively. Outstanding Youth Production will receive a $2,500 cash prize.
The Youth Production award is open to both musical and non-musical productions. Clark Youth Theatre will once again be the winner of this award, with the only mystery being whether the award will be presented for its production of “The Spongebob Musical” or for “Alice in Wonderland.”
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The Outstanding Production award is presented to non-musical shows. Those productions up for consideration for the 2022 TATEs are:
“The Guys” by Theatre Tulsa
“The Shawshank Redemption” by World Stage Theatre
“The Lovely Bones” by Clark Conservatory
“An Enemy of the People” by American Theatre Company
“Boxcar/El Vagon” by telaTulsa
“Jitney” by Theatre North
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by Clark Conservatory
“Heroes of the Fourth Turning” by Theatre Tulsa
“The Revolutionists” by World Stage Theatre
“God of Carnage” by American Theatre Company
“The Nacirema Society” by Theatre North
The Mary Kay Place Legacy Award was established by and named for the award-winning Tulsa native whose career as an actor and writer ranges from classic sitcoms such as “MASH” and “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” to films including “The Big Chill” and “Being John Malkovich.”
The award honors an individual for his or her lifelong contributions to local theater in Tulsa.
A graduate of the University of Tulsa, Ellis was one of the founding members of the American Theatre Company, designing the sets for almost all its productions. He later worked as manager of the Gaslight Dinner Theater, while continuing his work with ATC.
Ellis earned his master’s degree from New York University, but continued to work with ATC while being based in New York City. He returned to Tulsa when ATC opened the Brook Theater as its own theater, worked with the theater programs at TU and Tulsa Community College, and has continued to be a mainstay of American Theatre Company to the present day.
In the words of the citation for the award, Ellis “has had a positive impact on the entire theater community in Tulsa by helping to build ATC, by leading and developing the local Gaslight Dinner Theatre, and by his work with TU and TCC as designer and instructor. Four of the city’s theater groups have benefited by his expertise, experience, insights, and innovation; and by helping them, he has made a positive impact on the entire theater community.”