21 January 2014
Another year, another Award Nominee Interview Series. We love this time of year because we get to celebrate the work of so many amazing artists AND we get to grill them about everything from their backstory to their process to behind-the-scenes gossip (okay, so we rarely ask that last one outright, but we sometimes get it anyway). This year we have more than 90 interviews lined up for your reading pleasure, all with nominees in the My TV, My Cinema or My Theatre Awards (meaning they’re all amazing).
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actor in a Play, Othello)
Graham Abbey is one of Canada’s foremost leading men, from TV screens to the movie theatre and, especially, on North America’s most prestigious classical stage: The Stratford Festival. He was Romeo, Prince Hal, Macbeth, Petruchio, Berowne, Aufidius and many others in between, leading up to 2013′s gleefully malicious Iago under the direction of Stratford’s director-du-jour Chris Abraham. For our 95th and final entry into this year’s Nominee Interview Series, we called up Graham and made him talk about getting catcalled by teenage girls while running around with his shirt off. We also asked him actual questions about Shakespeare and stuff.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Director, Lady Windermere’s Fan)
One of Canadian theatre’s most beloved and inventive directors, Peter Hinton has been lending his artistic eye to The Shaw Festival of late, creating some of the most succesful productions in the past few years. Among his biggest hits was 2013′s Lady Windermere’s, the Oscar Wilde darling that earned him his Best Director nod.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actor in a Regional Production, Look Back in Anger)
Last year’s Best Actor in a Regional Production winner Eli Ham has quickly become one of our favourite Toronto actors. His emotional range, naturalistic delivery and ease with quick, difficult dialogue have created some of our favourite theatrical moments of the past two years. Many of those moments came in his thrilling performance as Jimmy, the angry young man at the centre of John Osborne’s domestic drama Look Back in Anger. Reimagined as a contemporary, physical piece by director Anita La Selva and FeverGraph Theatre Company, Look Back in Anger is one of our most-nominated productions of the year, including a return for Eli to the category he won in the 2012 awards.
Stephen Michael Kane
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actor in a Musical, Rock of Ages)
Within the artificial world of Rock of Ages, the most ridiculous character is somehow also the most authentic. Confused, well-groomed and German in a confident, gritty American world, Franz’s journey towards self discovery gives the audience something to root for before indulging in the inevitable Journey-filled finale. In the second national tour production that roared through Toronto last March, Stephen Michael Kane completely stole the show with his triple threat performance as Franz.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actor in a Musical, Guys & Dolls)
This is Kyle Blair‘s third My Theatre Award nomination in a row. In 2011 he won Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for his wonkily physical take on the scarecrow in Ross Petty’sWizard of Oz pantomime. In 2012 he was nominated for Best Actor in a Musical for his laugh-out-loud turn in The Pirates of Penzance at Stratford. In 2013, his charming Sky Masterson in The Shaw Festival’s Guys & Dolls landed him a spot on the list yet again. Certainly, Kyle’s stage presence, fantastic comic timing and impressive dance skills play a large part in his continued success but it’s his singing voice that puts him among the top Canadian musical theatre talent year after year. Especially in something as melodic and simply pleasing as Guys & Dolls, Kyle Blair’s singing voice is, to us, what happiness sounds like.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actor in a Musical, Fiddler on the Roof)
Scott Wentworth is the man who saved The Stratford Festival’s 2013 season. A veteran of great roles like Sky Masterson, Claudius, and the Earl of Gloucester, Scott initially began the season with the admirably full plate of the lead role in Fiddler on the Roof and the supporting but vital role of Lord Capulet in Romeo & Juliet. He was sensational in both- his sympathetic, heartbreaking and wildly funny Tevye was the backbone of the season’s best production while his towering Capulet was a rare highlight in the worst. But when Brian Bedford fell ill, one of the season’s key productions- the late opening Merchant of Venice– was in jeopardy… until Scott Wentworth stepped in at the last minute to take over the role of Shylock. The move gave him the uncommon task of performing two important lead roles in a single season while the quality of his Shylock gave him the even more uncommon distinction of performing two very different lead roles incredibly well in a single season.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Supporting Actor, The Norman Conquests)
Derek Boyes is famous for being one of the nicest people in all of Canadian theatre. Seriously, at Soulpepper (where he’s been a Resident Artist for many years) there’s a bench emblazoned with the words “we call this bench Derek Boyes because it supports us and makes us feel at home”. Isn’t that about the sweetest thing you ever heard? In a wonderful bit of luck, it turns out that one of the nicest people in Canadian Theatre is also a pretty darn great performer. Derek’s charm and impeccable comic timing made his portrayal of Reg in the three-play Norman Conquests cycle one of the standout supporting performances of the year.
(My TV- Best Reality Team, Big Brother)
Controversial Best Reality Team nominees McCrae Olson and Amanda Zuckerman may be broken up now but they’ll be remembered as one of the most successful showmances Big Brother has ever produced (and for Amanda’s infamous behaviour in the house).
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actor in a Play, Angels in America)
One of the greatest stage performances of the year came from Damien Atkins, the young actor who formed the centre of 2013′s most lauded production- Soulpepper’s Angels in America. As Prior Walter- a young man with AIDS who may or may not be prophet of God- Damien shattered our expectations, broke our hearts and lifted our spirits.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Supporting Actress in a Regional Production, As You Like It)
The cast of Humber River Shakespeare Company’s summer 2013 tour of As You Like It was full of delights, chief among them the adorable Lauren Toffan whose Celia had all the energy and heart we demand from our favourite ingenue.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actor in a Musical, Falsettos)
Stephen Patterson was the heart of what we think was Acting Up Stage Company’s best production to date: William Finn’s Falsettos in 2013. As Marvin- a young father coming out to his wife and son and navigating life in their unconventional new family- Stephen struck perfectly that contemporary musical balance of stirring vocals with a nuanced and vulnerable dramatic performance.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Ballet Performance, No. 24)
One of The National Ballet of Canada’s fast-rising stars, second soloist Brendan Saye is one of the most uniquely beautiful dancers on the Four Seasons Centre stage. Taller than most of the other dancers in the company, the lines Brendan is able to create with his extensions are out of this world (take a look at the photo from Chroma included in his interview).
(My Theatre: TO- Best Opera Performance, Lucia di Lammermoor)
Anna Christy’s performance in the title role of David Alden’s psychologically intoxicating production of Lucia di Lammermoor at the Canadian Opera Company was memorably brilliant. Both dramatically committed and vocally thrilling, the sweet-faced American soprano’s Best Opera Performance nomination in this year’s My Theatre Awards is more than deserved.
(My Theatre: TO- Best New Work, Stealing Sam)
Steven Gallagher wrote our favourite original work at the 2013 Toronto Fringe Festival. His one-man show Stealing Sam was funny, heartbreaking and riveting from curtain up to curtain down, earning Steven a Best New Work nomination in this year’s My Theatre Awards.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Opera Performance, Dialogues des Carmelites)
Adrianne Pieczonka is one of the most important Canadian opera talents in the world. Consistently among our favourite performers at the COC, the thrilling soprano and two-time My Theatre Award nominee is always a joy to see in performance.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Ballet or Opera, Unearth)
Choreographer Robert Binet was only 22 years old when his original ballet Unearth premiered in The National Ballet of Canada’s 2013 Innovation showcase alongside works from some of the most famous ballet names in the country (James Kudelka, Guillaume Cote and Jose Navas). Highlighted by a stunning pas de deux from Best Ballet Performance nominees Skylar Campbell and Elena Lobsanova, Unearth was one of our favourite dance pieces of the year.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actor in a Play, Arcadia)
Two-time My Theatre Award nominee Gray Powell is one of our favourite actorscurrently on the Canadian stage. He’s uniquely nuanced and endlessly captivating, pulling you irretrievably into his character’s emotional journey. He was at his best playing Septimus Hodge in Tom Stoppard’s genius play at last year’s Shaw Festival.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Opera Performance, Peter Grimes)
In our never-ceasing quest for an emotional connection to opera as a medium, Canadian soprano Ileana Montalbetti was a great help in 2013. Her performance as Ellen Orford in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of the contemporary Benjamin Britten tragedy Peter Grimes was not only technically sensational but emotionally riveting- a rare achievement.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actress in a Regional Production, Much Ado About Nothing)
Nominated in last year’s awards for her outstanding performance in My Name is Rachel Corrie, this is Amelia Sargisson’s second time in the Nominee Interview Series. She’s back in the same category but for a role that couldn’t have been more different than the politically fraught one-woman show where she first caught our attention. This time, she enchanted us with her off-beat and dramatically poignant turn as Shakespeare’s dizzyingly witty comic heroine Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Supporting Actress in a Regional Production, Rent)
One of the most dynamic roles in all of musical theatre, it’s very hard to deliver a performance as Rent‘s performance artist/activist Maureen that stands out beyond what’s expected from the much-talked-about character. In The Lower Ossington Theatre’s 2013 production, Brittany Scott roared in for Maureen’s late-act-one entrance and quadrupled the energy of the production.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Supporting Actor, Othello)
Director Chris Abraham’s stylish Othello was one of the biggest critical hits of the 2013 Stratford season. One of our favourite things about the standout production was Brad Hodder’s charming and conflicted Cassio.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Supporting Actor, Angels in America)
Tony Kushner’s epic “Gay Fantasia on National Themes” was a huge hit for Soulpepper, lauded as “the best piece of theatre a Toronto company has mounted in many years” by the Toronto Star. For us, one of the greatest pleasures of Angels in America was encountering the work of Troy Adams for the first time. Appearing alongside seven very familiar faces, Troy drew our attention as Belize, the kind but honest nurse who grounds the other characters with a steady hand and clear head.
(My TV- Best Guest Actor, Bones)
Even more than The Gravedigger who memorably buried our heroine and her far-more-loveable colleague Hodgins alive in season 2, Pelant is The villain of the FOX drama’s run so far and its Andrew Leeds’ eerily calm performance in the role that makes him so memorable.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actress in a Musical, Tommy)
In one of the season’s strongest casts, Kira Guloien stood out with her strong and conflicted turn as the titular troubled Tommy’s mother, earning her a Best Actress in a Musical nomination in this year’s My Theatre Awards.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actress in a Musical, Fiddler on the Roof)
The stunning actress who shone as the heartbreaking Chava in The Stratford Festival’s season-highlight Fiddler on the Roof. By creating careful but palpable chemistry with Paul Nolan and playing off a strong bond with her on-stage father Scott Wentworth, Hutton provided one of the great emotional arcs of the season.
(My Cinema- Best Director/Best Screenplay/Best Picture, The Dirties)
The face of one of the best films of the year. The Dirties was an affecting phenomenon of visceral independent filmmaking with a strong backbone of a script co-written by Johnson, intense and intimate direction also by Johnson and an unforgettable leading performance by… um… Johnson. If you haven’t seen it- find it, see it. Now.
(My TV- Best Female Reality Star, Big Brother)
Last year’s season of our favourite ode to claustrophobia was rough. Plagued by unpopular houseguests who disappointed the viewers with both generally weak strategy and seriously questionable personalities, BB15 was one of the most aggravating seasons in show history. It was saved by one or two houseguests really worth rooting for. The first of them to step up was political consultant Helen Kim, one of the only true strategic minds of her season and the brains behind the one great game-changing move, the week 2 ousting of would-be contender Nick.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Director of a Regional Production, the RESISTIBLE rise of arturo Ui)
The celebrated indie director who made his long-awaited return to the company he built and where he’s done all his best work, the Red Light District. Remounting a student production he’d developed while getting his MFA from York, Ted shot back onto our radar with one of the most-nominated productions in this year’s Regional category.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Set Design, August: Osage County)
A well-constructed set can be one of the leading characters in a play or musical. In August: Osage County, a three-story house tells as much about its inhabitants, the characters, as the characters say about each other. Katy Fetrow’s work on The Footlight Club’s production of August: Osage County earned her a 2013 Boston My Theatre Award Nomination for Best Set Design. Katy tells us that this was her first set design (!!), her emerging love for theatre as an adolescent and growing focus as a young adult, and some of her guilty pleasures.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Costume Design, On the Town)
Kathleen Doyle imagined and designed the sharp, authentic, and visually-pleasing costumes for The Lyric Stage Company of Boston’s On the Town, perfectly helping to shape the characters and their stories. For her efforts, she earned a 2013 Boston My Theatre Award Nomination for Best Costume Design. In her interview, Kathleen discusses her “character design” philosophy, her extensive research into the period and its clothing and accessories, and, finally, her exciting new project, featuring bird puppets!
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Supporting Actress in a Musical, Fiddler on the Roof)
Gillian Gordon has proven herself to be a seasoned veteran in multiple professional theatre companies in the Greater Boston area. Gillian’s moving performance as Hodel (the production’s best kept secret) in Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston’s Fiddler on the Roof earned her a 2013 Boston My Theatre Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. Gillian discussed her experiences playing both Chava and Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof, her hilarious turn as Belle in A Christmas Carol, and her newest project, the Boston Theatre Project.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Director of a Play, Rocket Man)
The talented Lindsay Eagle earned a 2013 Boston My Theatre Award Nomination for Best Director for Flat Earth Theatre’s Rocket Man, but we’ve loved Lindsay, both as an actor and director, since she directed The Shape of Things for The Independent Drama Society back in 2009. She brings her wonderful mix of thoughtfulness and whimsy to this interview where she discusses her time in the Boston fringe theatre circles, the process of Rocket Man, her and dreams of being an astronomer.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Supporting Actress in a Play, Romeo and Juliet)
Paige Clark played the role of traditionally male Benvolio/a in Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s fall 2013 production of Romeo and Juliet. Her twist filled with “tough girl, punk rock” attitude mixed with her natural empathy allowed her to shine in this supporting role, and, for that, she was nominated for a 2013 Boston My Theatre Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Play. In her interview, Paige talks about her love for Shakespeare, her interpretation of the gender-bent role (including why Benvolia needs to shake-it-out!), and her take on friendships.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actress, the RESISTIBLE rise of arturo Ui)
In the Red Light District’s superb take on Brecht’s Hitler allegory, the tiny and terrifying titular gangster was played by the charismatic Daniela Pagliarello, earning the dancer-turned-actress her first My Theatre Award nomination for Best Actress in a Regional Production. Daniela sat down with us to talk about finding the fun in playing a dictator, the pleasures of a collaborative rehearsal room, and at what point tap shoes became essential to Arturo Ui’s wardrobe.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Supporting Actress, the RESISTIBLE rise of arturo Ui)
Most of the performers in the Red Light District’s gender-bending, assumption-challenging production of the RESISTIBLE rise of arturo Ui played one character, maybe two. Best Supporting Actress nominee Sheri Godda played seven, each one more distinct, nuanced, and memorable than the last. The effervescent actress joins the Nominee Interview Series to tell us how she pulled that off.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Supporting Actress, Other People’s Children)
In Tarragon’s Hannah Moscovitch double bill last March, Elisa Moolecherry stole our hearts with her complex and quiet turn as Sati, a live-in nanny navigating a new country and the politics of caring for Other People’s Children. All the way from Munich, the Best Supporting Actress nominee joins us to talk about Sati, Moscovitch, and the responsibilities of a world premiere.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Actor in a Musical, On the Town)
Charming and captivating, John Ambrosino sang his way into our hearts as the handsome and hopeful Gabey in The Lyric Stage Company of Boston’s On the Town for which he is nominated for Best Actor in a Musical. In his interview, he tells about his role as dreamy Gabey, his daily routines as a New York City actor, and his exciting news for the spring (spoiler: He’s visiting Boston briefly for a production at the Lyric!).
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actress in a Play, Measure for Measure)
At the Stratford Festival last season, Carmen Grant made the tricky heroine Isabella accessible. She made her compassionate and strong. She made her actually worthy of the description “holier-than-thou”. The ebullient Best Actress in a Play nominee joins the Nominee Interview Series with her many thoughts on the problem play, her difficult character, and the trip that helped her find Isabella.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Costume Design, Henry VIII)
In the intimate Modern Theatre at Suffolk University, Tyler Kinney’s lavish Tudor costumes sparkled beautifully as a testament to the wealth and style of the period. With long flowing gowns, gorgeous furs, and excellent hats, richly-drawn characters emerged. For his outstanding work, Tyler is nominated for Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s Henry VIII for Best Costume Design. In his interview, Tyler explains how he became a costume designer, some of his designer influences (including some of his favorite places to shop for costumes on a budget!), and why he loves the Boston theatre scene.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Actress in a Play, August: Osage County)
Barbara is a regular on the community theatre stages throughout the Greater Boston area, and the Boston theatre reviewers at My Entertainment World were lucky enough to catch her as Barbara in The Footlight Club’s August: Osage County for which she is nominated for Best Actress in a Play. Barbara talks about the similarities with her eponymous role, her favourite roles, and her time-traveling fantasies. Not to be missed for some hearty laughs!
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Supporting Actor in a Musical/Opera, La Cenerentola)
Thomas Middleton played the mysterious Alidoro with a rich and expressive baritone voice in the Boston Opera Collaborative production of Rossini’s La Cenerentola (Cinderella) for which he is nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical/Opera. Thomas talks about some of the challenges of playing the non-“Fairy Godmother” role in this classic story, how he prepares for his operatic endeavors, and his love for pizza.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Supporting Actress in a Play, Dog Sees God)
Kiki Samko brings joy and fierce fun to a growing number of theatres in the Boston theatre community, but few performances have delighted and electrified quite like her C.B.’s Sister in Happy Medium Theatre Company’s Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead for which she is nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Play. In her interview, Kiki dishes about her love for sports and dance (which complement her work as a versatile performer); her deep connection with her character; and her upcoming production, which promises to be her best leading role yet—her wedding to Boston My Theatre favourite, Michael Underhill!
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Actress in a Play, Burning)
It is not often that you see a production which moves you to recognize and acknowledge the injustice in today’s world; it is even more rare to see an actress who understands and embodies a play’s themes, message, and core as fully as Mal Malme. For her brilliant and inspiring performance as Cy Burns in the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre production of Ginger Lazarus’s Burning, Mal was nominated for Best Actress in a Play. In her interview, Mal explains the importance of a play like Burning, the complex and empowering process of producing original works, and her advocacy, both on and off-stage towards acceptance and strength.
(My TV- Best Choreography, So You Think You Can Dance)
One of the most consistently inventive and diverse choreographers on FOX’s dance showcase, choosing which of Chris’ pieces to nominate was like choosing a favourite Lil’C bon mot (meaning, next to impossible). In the end we went with his beautiful rocking chair-assisted group number “The Gravel Road” but you should probably head to YouTube and watch all of them (especially our second pick and his personal favourite, “Sand”).
(My TV- Best Reality Team with Valerie Harper, Dancing with the Stars)
The handsome and charming pro dancer who guided 74-year-old beloved sitcom star Valerie Harper through her inspirational attempt to keep dancing and living in the face of a terminal cancer diagnosis. Together they were the emotional story of the year in reality TV.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actress in a Play, Major Barbara)
From her conflicted Lady Mary in The Admirable Crichton, to her take on the iconic His Girl Friday, to her My Theatre Award-nominated turn as GB Shaw’s beguiling Millionairess, Nicole never fails to be one of the great stars of the Shaw Festival season. In 2013 that was no different as she vivaciously headlined Major Barbara and earned her second Best Actress in a Play nomination in a row.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Cabaret Performance, O Canada Songbook/Bob Dylan Songbook)
In 2013, Miranda stood out in many of the Global Cabaret Festival’s most interesting shows, possibly highlighted by but definitely not limited to music director Mike Ross’s thrilling take on the Bob Dylan Songbook. Her haunting voice, rousingly percussive feet, and fast-flying bow combine to make any show featuring Miranda (and there are always quite a few) a festival favourite.
(My Theatre: TO- Best New Work, Wild Dogs on the Moscow Trains)
Toronto has seen back to back SummerWorks festivals highlighted by an Anthony MacMahon play. In 2012, it was The Frenzy of Queen Maeve– a melancholy love triangle tinged with Irish warfare. In 2013, it was the acerbic, intelligent, and emotionally rich Wild Dogs on the Moscow Trains, one of the Best New Works of the year. The emerging playwright and current Soulpepper Academy member joins our series with an interview that skillfully balances charming wit with erudite Chekhov references.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Supporting Actress in a Play, Our Betters)
The up-and-coming beauty who often plays The Shaw Festival’s bright-eyed sweethearts. That description came most true in last summer’s delightful production of W. Somerset Maugham’s Our Betters, a somewhat controversial but ultimately sweet play about well-off American ladies who’ve traveled to England to marry into a title. Playing opposite many of our favourite Shaw stars, Julia shone as the naive and optimistic Bessie, earning her first My Theatre Award nomination.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actress in a Play, 4.48 Psychosis)
The first person to make a third appearance in the Nominee Interview Series, Laura’s brave and stirring performance as a woman tortured by clinical depression in 4.48 Psychosis at Canadian Stage earned her her third nomination in a row. She also happens to be one of the sweetest and most generous stars in Canadian theatre (hence THREE interviews).
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Actor in a Play, Dog Sees God)
The versatile 2012 My Theatre Award nominee who scored a second nod in 2013 by earning laughs and tears with his emotional performance as C.B. in Happy Medium Theatre’s Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead. Here, he joins us to talk about what made the production special for him, what he credits with his success as a theatre artist, and where he’s going on his honeymoon with the beautiful My Theatre Award-nominated actress, Kiki Samko!
Lizette M. Morris
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Director of a Play, Dog Sees God)
A consistently strong force behind some of Happy Medium Theatre’s best work, a director with sharp visions, brilliant execution, and a strong collaboration with her actors. Her production of Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead with Happy Medium Theatre earned her a 2013 Boston My Theatre Award nomination for Best Director of a Play. Lizette talked to us briefly about her history with the company, how she grows and learns as a director , and what makes her smile.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Play, Burning)
The Boston-local playwright being Burning, a hot new play with multiple 2013 Boston My Theatre Award nominations for its Boston Playwrights’ Theatre production. Also a professor of playwriting and screenwriting at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, Ginger is a smart, provocative, and engaging playwright with several successes in Boston and across the country. In her interview, she talks about Burning, the play’s many re-drafts, the crazy mix of writers who she’d invite to dinner, and her newest work.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Choreography, Les Miserables)
A choreographer, dance teacher, and director who spreads her love for dance, music, and storytelling throughout the Greater Boston area. Her stunning and innovative choreography for Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston’s Les Miserables earned her a nomination for Best Choreography. Rachel shares her love for storytelling with us, along with some of the challenges of choreography and some of the shows that she’d love to tackle!
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Director of a Play, 33 Variations /… of a Musical, On the Town)
Producing Artistic Director of the Lyric Stage Company of Boston and a rare double nominee in this year’s Boston awards, Spiro’s tireless efforts and high artistic integrity have made him a consistent My Theatre favourite and one of Boston’s most highly respected theatre artists.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Ensemble, The Normal Heart)
The Normal Heart by Zeitgeist Stage Company touched the hearts and minds of Boston audience members and reviewers alike in the fall of 2013. Much of this success came from the outstanding ensemble. Maureen Adduci, who played the passionate Dr. Emma Brookner, talked with us about what it meant to play such an influential character, the joys of working with Zeitgeist’s fun but committed cast, and the importance of the process, over the product, of loving what you do.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Director of a Musical, La Cenerentola)
Katherine Carter is nominated (alongside Music Director Andrew Altenbach) for their outstanding and moving production of Rossini’s Cinderella by the Boston Opera Collaborative. In her interview, Katherine tells us about working as a director of opera and theatre, her keen sense of her audiences’ expectations, and a quick mention of her exciting upcoming production again with the Boston Opera Collaborative.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Actress in a Musical/Opera, La Cenerentola)
With a surprisingly compelling and virtuoso turn in the iconic role of Cinderella, Sadie Gregg impressed and amazed with her rich mezzo-soprano voice and nuanced acting in the Boston Opera Collaborative’s recent production.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Supporting Actor in a Musical, In the Heights)
It is not uncommon to see many talented college students involved in professional productions around the Boston area, but Boston Conservatory student Jorge Barranco amazed reviewers and audiences alike with his youthful and truthful performance in the SpeakEasy Stage Company’s In the Heights.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Supporting Actress in Musical, tick, tick . . . BOOM!)
A fierce triple-threat and recent graduate of Brandeis University where she produced and performed in a senior thesis of tick, tick . . . BOOM! for which she was nominated for her role as Susan. No stranger to the stage (or the rain), Jackie is known throughout the Greater Boston theatre community, both professional and fringe, for her dynamic personality, strong characters, and infectious laughter.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Supporting Actress, Great Expectations)
Soulpepper’s latest ingénue played two drastically different roles (Estella and Biddy) in the company’s stellar adaptation of Great Expectations. She was lovely in that production- charming, complicated, frustrating, sympathetic- but it’s perhaps even more telling that she’s part of not one but Two other nominations this year (Best Ensemble for La Ronde and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead), making her one of our most celebrated performers of 2013.
Shira Leuchter & Chris Hanratty
(My Theatre: TO- Best Director/Best Ensemble/Best Production, The Tin Drum)
The co-adapters of Gunter Grass’ epic Holocaust novel into UnSpun’s thrice-nominated stage version, Chris Hanratty (also the director) and Shira Leuchter (also a key member of the nominated ensemble) join the Nominee Interview Series to tell us about their production from conception to curtain.
(My TV- Best Guest Actress, Drop Dead Diva)
The beautiful actress tasked with guest starring 5 seasons into Drop Dead Diva as the real Jane, a make-or-break character more wrapped into the show’s mythology than even the most important supporting characters.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Supporting Actress in a Play, A Streetcar Named Desire)
Gorgeous and nerdy Jacqui Dupré portrayed strong, “back-bone” Stella Kowalski in Wax Wings Productions of A Streetcar named Desire, earning her a nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Play. She delights in this interview with the same joy, strength, and insight as she discusses her worst on-stage moment, her trajectory to Boston, and her spicy on-stage relationship with My Theatre Award nominee Jesse Wood.
(My TV- Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy/Best TV Couple, Camp)
The young actor who played the standout role in one of our favourite summer shows, NBC’s Camp. The canceled-too-soon show will be missed, but at least we got one full season, enough to score Charles a Best Supporting Actor nod AND one for Best TV Couple for the tentative charm of Buzz’s complicated relationship with his feisty childhood friend Grace.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Actor, The Normal Heart/Best Supporting Actor, 33 Variations)
IRNE-winning actor Victor Shopov was nominated both for Best Supporting Actor in a Play for his Anton Schindler in the Lyric Stage Company’s 33 Variations, and for Best Actor in a Play for his Ned Weeks inZeitgeist Stage Company’s The Normal Heart. In his interview, Victor explained his interest in anti-heros, his conversations with his ten-year-old self (with Shirley Temples!), and his connection with his nominated roles.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actress in a Regional Production, Look Back in Anger)
In addition to producing and choreographing one of the most thrilling contemporary productions of the year, multi-hyphenate artist Tosha also played the leading female role of Allison, earning her a Best Actress in a Regional Production nomination for her stirring performance full of silence and fury.
Anita La Selva
(My Theatre: TO- Best Director of a Regional Production, Look Back in Anger)
A huge portion of Look Back in Anger‘s massive creative success belongs to its director Anita La Selva who conceptualized the bold reinterpretation (and daring cut) of Osbourne’s text and guided a superb ensemble of four actors through an unforgettable 90-minute journey, earning her a Best Director nod for a Best Production nominee.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actor in a Play, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead)
The motor-mouthed scene stealer who set the tone for a great season of theatre with his knockout performance as Guildenstern (Rosencrantz? No, he was Guildenstern) in Tom Stoppard’s genius Hamlet riff in February 2013.
Jenny L. Wright
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actress in a Musical, Guys & Dolls)
The firecracker Adelaide who stole The Shaw Festival’s delightful Guys & Dolls. With a voice like Edith Bunker and a highkick like a rockette, she paired with Shawn Wright’s Nathan Detroit to form the most indelible comedic duo of the summer.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actor in a Regional Production, Wild Dogs on the Moscow Trains)
The dynamic young actor whose performance as Pyotr- the complex and charismatic star of Anthony MacMahon’s thrilling new play Wild Dogs on the Moscow Trains– was the highlight of the 2013 SummerWorks Festival.
Allison Holker & Stephen “tWitch” Boss
(My TV- Best TV Couple, So You Think You Can Dance)
Two of SYTYCD‘s most beloved figures fell in love after meeting on the All-Stars season, got married in December at Nigel’s vineyard, and solidified their place as the poster children for reality show happiness. They took the time amidst being crazy talented dancers, young parents, and newlyweds to talk to us about being adorable, in love, and some of the most popular people in modern popular dance.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actor in a Regional Production, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story)
Buddy was our favourite production the Lower Ossington Theatre has ever done. It was fun, it was clever, it was engrossing, and at the centre of it was a star performance from the young actor-musician-composer who played the titular legend.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Supporting Actor in a Regional Production, Journey’s End)
The first independent artist to ever win a My Theatre Award for Best Actor, My Theatre favourite Jesse Nerenberg makes his second appearance in the Nominee Interview Series.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Director for a Regional Production, No Exit)
The Artistic Director behind one of the first companies My Theatre ever reviewed, Sarah Thorpe and Soup Can’s work have been staples of our Toronto theatre coverage for years. She joins the series to talk about her first personal nomination for Best Director.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Supporting Actress in a Regional Production, Twelfth Night)
The actress behind the delightful and complicated Maria who lit up the stage in Matthew Gorman‘s vivacious Twelfth Night at Hart House, one of our most-nominated productions of the year.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Supporting Actor in a Regional Production, Turtleneck)
The horrifically violent and intense* scene-stealer from the world premiere of playwright Brandon Crone’s daring Turtleneck. *Adjectives refer to character, not to actor. Actor is lovely.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Supporting Actor in a Play, The Libertine)
Billy Downs in the Bridge Repertory Theatre of Boston’s The Libertine, he earned a nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Play for his work! Troy answered some of our burning questions about his mysterious Billy Downs, and what he thinks of Boston and its vibrant theatre scene.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actor in a Regional Production, Much Ado About Nothing)
The Shakespeare Bash’d Artistic Director nominated for his second My Theatre Award in a row for playing one of Shakespeare’s great comedic leading men at the Toronto Fringe Festival. This time around he took on the bantering hero Benedick alongside fellow repeat nominee Amelia Sargisson‘s Beatrice.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Actress in a Musical, In the Heights)
The young and dynamic actress who captivated and excited audiences as Nina in Speakeasy Stage Company’s production of In the Heights. Santina discussed some of her favorite parts about the production, her worst audition story, and how she related to her role.
(My TV- Best Supporting Actress in a Drama, Smash)
Ask anyone who watched NBC’s troubled ode to Broadway and they’ll tell you that the big-voiced bombshell behind aspiring-Marilyn Ivy Lynn was the saviour of the show. Smash might be gone but it lasted long enough into 2013 for Megan to score a Best Supporting Actress nod for her role on the drama.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Supporting Actress in a Musical, Les Misérables)
Still in high school, Mara Wilson is the amazing singer/actress who has the distinction of being the youngest nominee in this year’s Boston awards, scoring a Best Supporting Actress in a Musical nod for her performance in the 2013 Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston production of Les Misérables.
(My Theatre: TO- Best New Work, Donors)
With two impressive productions in 2013, playwright Brandon Crone is making a name for himself as a bold new Toronto voice, his company Safeword serving as a safe haven of sorts where productions can push the boundaries of both social acceptability and expectation. The premiere of his play Donors earned him a nomination for Best New Work in this year’s awards.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Costume Design, La Cenerentola)
Nominated for Best Costumes for her work in Boston Opera Collaborative’s 2013 production of La Cenerentola (Cinderella), Caitlin talks with us about her themes and ideas for La Cenerentola, her theories on color and its importance, and why opera singers might not be the divas we expect!
(My Theatre: TO- Best Ballet Performance, Unearth)
Currently a Second Soloist, it’s performances like his stunning pas de deux in Unearth that make it clear how quickly this technical but soulful dancer is becoming an indispensable star of The National Ballet of Canada.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Director of a Musical, La Cenerentola)
A rare Boston Opera nominee, music director Andrew Altenbach is the lone classical voice among the other nominees for Best Director of a Musical, nominated for his work on Boston Opera Collaborative’s production of La Cenerentola (Cinderella).
Astrid van Wieren
(My Theatre: TO- Best Supporting Actress in a Regional Production, Sucker)
One of indie Toronto’s most prolific performers and always one of the best things about the productions she’s in. One such standout performance came in Kat Sandler’s fantastic Halloween dramedy Sucker. As the compassionate, kind and a little bit kooky tenant Constance, Astrid created some of our favourite moments in one of our favourite productions of the year.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actress in a Play, This is War)
In a company of all men, Lisa Berry was the toughest person on the Tarragon stage last January, creating the role of Corporal Tanya Young in Hannah Moscovitch’s Best New Work- nominated tribute to Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Director for a Regional Production, Twelfth Night)
The director whose quadruple-nominated production of Twelfth Night at Hart House was one of our favourite Shakespeare productions of the year. He took a hopelessly over-produced text and made it interesting again by taking it seriously and keeping the fun.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Actress in a Play, The Libertine)
A performer and teacher nominated for her work with Bridge Repertory Theater of Boston where she not only stood out in 2013 as an actress but also as the Producing Artistic Director.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Actor in a Regional Production, Richard III)
A refreshing, funny and terrifying Richard III. The success of Shakespeare in the Ruff’s 2013 production in Withrow Park rested squarely on McCooeye’s shoulders, which he dutifully slumped to play Shakespeare’s great manipulator.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Actor in a Musical, tick, tick . . . BOOM!)
Two-time My Theatre Award nominee Jared Walsh, nominated for Best Actor in a Musical for his work in Brandeis University’s production of tick, tick . . . BOOM!, joins us for an inside look into his acting process, some of his personal philosophies and values, and an exciting exploration of his emerging versatility as a performer.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Supporting Actor in a Regional Production, Twelfth Night)
The chameleonic actor whose dynamic take on the much-abused and abusing Malvolio in Matthew Gorman’s scholarly Twelfth Night was one of the highlights of Hart House’s standout 2013 season.
(My Theatre: Boston- Best Choreography, On the Town)
Boston choreographer, director, and triple-threat performer Ilyse Robbins was nominated for Best Choreography for her work in The Lyric Stage Company of Boston’s 2013 production of On the Town.
(My Theatre: TO- Best Supporting Actor in a Regional Production, As You Like It)
Our first interviewee of the year, Christopher’s wry performance as misplaced courtier-slash-fool Touchstone in Humber River Shakespeare’s intensely likeable touring production gave us a new perspective on an old favourite and got some of the biggest laughs of the summer.