Chance Theater Garners Six Ovation Awards

Blame the 40th anniversary of Woodstock this summer for the fact that the OC Weekly didn't put the Chance Theater's production of Hair on its must-review list. Just one more aromatic homage in a summer filled with Baby Boomer nostalgia.

But, fortunately for the Anaheim Hills theater, lots of other people saw it–and more than several really dug it, because it's garnered six 2009 Ovation Awards.

The Ovation Awards, which are chosen by theater professionals in the greater Los Angeles area, are a big deal in the relatively small world of Southern California theater. It's “LA's most coveted theater honor,” according to something called the Los Angeles Times, and makes no distinctions between big, small, professional or storefront theaters.

So, for an Orange County storefront that has called an Anaheim Hills
industrial park home for its 10 years to receive so many nominations is
an exceptional accomplishment, even more so when considered that the
Chance is the only OC theater to receive any Ovation nominations this
year. (The Chance does professional-quality work but still isn't a
full-fledged professional theater, since members of Actors Equity, the
union for stage actors, aren't allowed to perform there. Currently,
only the Laguna Playhouse and South Coast Repertory are considered
purely professional theater-producing entities in Orange County.)

Along with the six Hair nominations, the Chance is also up for a
new category in the Ovations this year: Best Season, right up there
with Los Angeles heavyweights the Geffen Playhouse, Rubicon Theatre
Company, the Fountain Theater and Troubadour Theater Company, which has
graced Orange County with its presence often the past decade years with
its helter-skelter blend of Shakespeare and pop tunes (Fleetwood Macbeth, Romeo Hall and Juliet Oates; Hamlet, the Artist Formerly Known as the Prince of Denmark).

We've been saying for several years that the Chance has surpassed every
other OC storefront theater in terms of work and execution. It retains
the best acting pool, the highest production values and has
demonstrated an ability to nail everything from complicated Stephen
Sondheim musicals and complex Anton Chekov plays to more contemporary
fare, such as its gripping production of David Lindsay-Abaire's
Pulitzer Prize-winning Rabbit Hole, in 2008.

It's received a slew of OC Weekly Theater Award nominations (along with
other, far less prestigious ones) over its 10-year history, and it can
easily make the case that it's the most successful OC theater since one
that launched in 1964 in Costa Mesa: SCR, which today is a major
factory of new play development in American theater and one of the
country's most well-respected theaters.

If the Chance continues to kick ass over the next 10 years, it seems
unavoidable that it will eventually be hanging with the biggest kids on
the theatrical block.

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