Regina Marie Williams

It starts with her eyes, transparent and luminous windows to her emotions. Whether with a baleful stare, or a mask of aching grief, Williams fills a character with a fierce authenticity. Then there is her voice, which can scorch with intensity or sing like an angel. Williams is always interesting to watch, even in small roles, because she makes her presence so enjoyable. Among her signature roles have been the lead in "Dinah Was" and the tragic heroine of "Ruined."

Stephen Yoakam

Is there anything Yoak can't do? Whenever his name appears in the program, attention must be paid -- regardless of whether a play was worth the price of admission or not. Just try to catch him acting sometime. It's near impossible, he moves and speaks so naturally and convincingly. His George in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and Sharkey in "The Seafarer" both illustrated the depth of his ability to take a role into his soul and come out with an indelible performance.

Runners-up: Mo Perry and James Craven