Tom Rooney (The Winter’s Tale, As You Like It, For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again)
Tom Rooney isn’t very famous, but he is hands down one of the Stratford Festival’s most talented actors. The ultimate chameleon, year after year Rooney takes on more roles than anyone else in the company; this year it was 4. As the mischievous Atolycus in The Winter’s Tale he was wonderful comic relief. As You Like It saw him playing up his versatility as the tyrannical Duke Frederick and the warm Duke Senior. But it was in the fantastic For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again that Rooney’s talents really were utilized. As the two-person-story’s narrator, Rooney played the writer’s proxy from the age of 6 through to middle adulthood when he lost his mother. It was tremendously moving performance. Perhaps one of Stratford’s lesser-sung leading men, Tom Rooney is easily one of My Theatre’s favourites.
Kyle Golemba (Kiss Me Kate, Evita)
So often with the big musicals it’s the ensemble that really makes or breaks the show. At the Stratford Festival there’s one performer who consistently stands out in the strong ensembles. In a small role in Kiss Me Kate and various group scenes in Evita, Kyle Golemba stole our attention regularly throughout the season with triple threat skills worthy of much bigger roles.
Jessica Moss (The Queens, The Taming of the Shrew, The Witch of Edmonton)
It seemed that every time one of our writers went to the theatre in Toronto this year we were seeing a production starring Jessica Moss. The sunny actress was a highlight of three different My Theatre-reviewed productions this year, specifically in The Humber River Shakespeare Company’s Taming of the Shrew, bringing her great energy and commitment to the role of Grumio.
Allyn Burrows (Timon of Athens, The Coveted Crown)
The Actors’ Shakespeare Project artistic director anchored the company’s production of Timon of Athens in 2010. But it was his performance in The Coveted Crown that we really really loved. In Henry IV Part 1, Burrows took on the brilliant role of Hotspur. He played him with a wonderfully sympathetic sweetness and had perfect chemistry with his Lady Percy while never sacrificing Hotspur’s wonderfully rash and passionate roots. His performance was a highlight of the production. After Hotspur’s death, Burrows came back in multiple roles for Part 2. While his Pistol was directorially obnoxious, his buttoned-down take on Warwick was inspired, stealing scenes just by standing on the stage.
Nicanor Campos (Richard III, Titus Andronicus, As You Like It)
Perhaps the busiest actor on BU’s campus in the spring of 2010, Nicanor Campos took on 3 major Shakespearean roles in 6 weeks. In The Calliope Players’ Titus Andronicus, the ambitious actor played one of the canon’s most dangerous villains. Merely 2 weeks later he played one of the most iconic, the title role in Richard III with the BU Shakespeare Society. He capped off his student career as a last minute replacement in Shakespeare Society’s outdoor workshop production of As You Like It, learning the role of Silvius in a week. The following fall saw Campos graduate into the local/independent division with his role as Mercutio/Friar Lawrence/Gregory in The Independent Drama Society’s Romeo and Juliet. Though that last one doesn’t qualify for the “performers of the year” (because it falls in a different division than the rest of his work), his earlier 2010 work is more than enough to earn him the distinction.
Jimmy Blackmon (Women and Wallace, Pterodactyls)
For contemporary theatre at the student level, there appeared to be no bigger male talent in 2010 than Jimmy Blackmon. The subtle actor was the highlight of two different so-so productions this fall, elevating them both with his outstanding performances. As the title character in Women and Wallace with BU’s Wandering Minds, Blackmon first caught our eye. But it was in Stage Troupe’s Pterodactyls that his uncanny balance of dramatic chops and infallible comic timing really showed.
Madeleine DiBiasi (The Pillowman, Rabbit Hole)
Last but not least, our female student performer of the year is Madeleine DiBiasi. We already droned on about her portrayal of Becca in Stage Troupe’s Rabbit Hole when we announced her as the winner of this year’s My Theatre award for Best Actress in a student production. Add to that her delightfully creepy role as the mother in last spring’s Pillowman and DiBiasi’s 2010 resume is inarguably strong. Strong enough, in fact, to earn her the final place among our performers of the year.
Congratulations to all this year’s Performers of the Year! We can’t wait to see what you do next.