The lavish musical Camelot was the big winner in the 2007-08 Stage West Community Playhouse HAMI awards presentations made Saturday before a crowd of dressed-to-the-nines actors and supporters of the theater.
The HAMIs are Stage West's version of the Tonys given for Broadway productions. Most winners are chosen by popular vote of theater members, the only exceptions being the "Rising Star" category, which is chosen by last season's directors.
Camelot won eight of the little statues, including Favorite Show and Favorite Director/Music Director for Barbara Everest and Roberta Moger, both of whom have won multiple HAMIs for previous work.
Its nearest competitors were the comedy Noises Off and the drama A Few Good Men, each of which won three awards.
Three awards also were made to shows presented in the Forum, Stage West's 159-seat theater, which usually presents edgier or more serious plays than the larger venue.
The Forum's Favorite Show was the Ira Levin horror tale Veronica's Room, which bested the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic Death of a Salesman and the comedy/drama Steel Magnolias for that honor.
The prestigious Founders' Choice Award went to Mollie Lutz, who has won HAMI Awards for acting (45 Seconds from Broadway; I Hate Hamlet; Agnes of God; Come Blow Your Horn; Lost in Yonkers) and costumes and has been worked behind the scenes for many shows. The award was presented by the 2005-06 winner, Madeline Child, who also picked up the HAMI for best costumes in Camelot, one of many she has won in past years (My Fair Lady, Funny/Forum, Cabaret, Mame, among others).
There were three multiwinners this year: Dan Brijbag for designing the difficult, turn-around set for Noises Off and for performing the role of Mordred in Camelot; Toni Berlinger as Poppy in Noises Off and choreographer for Camelot; and Jeanine Martin as Belinda in Noises Off and the Lady in Veronica's Room.
It was a good night for the Berlinger family, as Toni's husband, Mark Berlinger, picked up a HAMI for his role as the uptight Jonathan James Kendrick in A Few Good Men and their son, tiny Noah Berlinger, was chosen as a presenter in the choreography division.
Many of the night's winners were repeaters, including Charles DePalo (Arthur in Camelot), who has won HAMIs nearly every year since 1994's Gaslight up to Higgins in 2005's My Fair Lady.