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Best Actor Orange County 2008 - Gregory Itzen

When Itzen first walked onstage in Donald Margulies' Shipwrecked! at South Coast Repertory, some audience members probably did a double-take: Isn't that the fumbling, spineless President Logan of 24 onstage? But the instant he opened his mouth, Itzen drew the audience into the spellbindingly ambiguous world of his character, a raconteur with a gift for gab and a host of spectacularly outrageous stories. He was charming, sympathetic and thoroughly likeable—even if he was lying through his teeth the entire time. Margulies' play was about memories and stories, and who owns the right to both; Itzen's uncompromisingly insistent portrayal made the show sing. He wasn't just flat-out entertaining, he was also living proof that theater will always matter because, at its simplest and most sublime, it's all about the spoken word, the fundamental building block of mankind's greatest creative achievement: storytelling.

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