It’s time once again for our annual Critics’ Pick Award nominations! Below is a list of the art and artists that stood out to us in 2019 in Toronto theatre.

Who Qualifies?
Any production one of our Toronto writers saw between January 1st and December 31st was considered for nomination, unless it was a remount of something we’d already seen (ie: Soulpepper’s Christmas Carol). If the remount has a new cast member, however, that cast member is eligible even if the production as a whole isn’t.

How Are the Categories Decided?
All of our writers submitted nomination suggestions based on all the productions they saw this year and we used those shortlists to decide where to make changes to the category breakdowns. We weren’t able to see as much this year so you may notice a few of our usual categories are missing (we’re heartbroken to take a year off from including sketch and improv but we just didn’t feel like we’d seen enough to fairly evaluate that category; same goes for dance performance). Because we’re doing away with indie/general classifications this year, we expanded the performance categories to include ten nominees each. And, just like last year, the design category is about the team as a whole rather than separating into set/costumes and lighting/sound. It’s all an inexact science but we’ve worked hard to make the categories as fair as possible to celebrate as many artists as we can.

Who Picks the Winners?
Our Editors and Staff Writers all get a say but we use your votes for tie breakers and to choose a Fan Favourite so be sure to share your thoughts on Twitter or shoot us an email at

When Are the Winners Announced?
We’ll be announcing the winners in April.

DON’T FORGET: The Anonymous Award for Outstanding Stage Management
A good stage manager’s work is difficult to appreciate from the audience; we can’t see how tight a ship they run in rehearsal or how many fires they put out along the way. So in 2015 we decided to create this award and turn it over to the people who do see those things- other theatre artists.

If you worked with an incredible stage manager in Toronto (or at Stratford or Shaw) during the 2019 season, we want to hear about them. Send an email to with the subject line “SM Nomination: NOMINEE’s NAME” and describe in 100 words why you think they deserve to win (*Please only submit one nomination and respect the word limit). Make sure to include the production details and the nominee’s email address. The winner will be announced with the rest of the awards at the party in April, so make sure your nominee shows up!

Nominee Interview Series
If you’re nominated this year (including ensemble and production categories), e
mail to sign up for our annual Q&A series. No worries if you’ve done the series before, we always have more questions!

Also be sure to check out our nominations for the TV Awards and Cinema Awards.

One Last Thing: we are limited by program credits which are often incomplete, misleading or full of typos. If you find an error, please do not hesitate to let us know.

Without further ado, this year’s nominees are…

Outstanding Solo Performance
Jake Epstein in Boy Falls From the Sky (Past Future Productions/Fringe)
Carmen Aguirre in Broken Tailbone (Nightswimming Theatre/Factory)
Anand Rajaram in Buffoon (Tarragon Theatre)
Eléonore Lamothe in Night Cows (MoonCow Theatre Co./Fringe)
Diana Bang in Possessed (Classy Little Bitch Productions/Next Stage)
Gillian Bartolucci in The Weight of It All (Haggard Bitch Productions/Fringe)

Outstanding New Work
805-4821 by Davis Plett (We Quit Theatre/SummerWorks)
Guarded Girls by Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman (Green Light Arts/Tarragon)
The Huns by Michael Ross Albert (One Four One Collective/Spadina Avenue Gang/Fringe)
The Jungle by Anthony MacMahon & Thomas McKechnie (Tarragon Theatre)
The Particulars by Matthew Mackenzie (Punctuate! Theatre/Theatre Centre)
Yaga by Kat Sandler (Tarragon Theatre)

Outstanding Ensemble
Dogfight (First Act Productions)
The Doll Play: A Miniature Revolution (Blood Pact Theatre/Witchboy Theatre)
Hot Brown Honey (Briefs Factory Productions/TO Live/Why Not Theatre/Native Earth)
Kiviuq Returns: An Inuit Epic (The Qaggiq Collective/Tarragon)
The Ladykillers (Shaw Festival)
Lil’ Red Robin Hood (Ross Petty Productions)
Oslo (Studio 180 Theatre/Mirvish)
Portia’s Julius Caesar (Hart House Theatre)
A Streetcar Named Desire (Soulpepper Theatre Company)
Trout Stanley (Factory Theatre)

Outstanding Performance in a Musical
Keri René Fuller in Cats (Mirvish Productions)
Robert Markus in Dear Evan Hansen (Mirvish Productions)
Taylor Hubbard in Dogfight (First Act Productions)
Katie Brayben in Girl from The North Country (Mirvish Productions)
Alicia Ault in Hook Up (Tapestry Opera/Theatre Passe Muraille)
Jonny Wexler in Jersey Boys (Mirvish Productions)
Ma-Anne Dionisio in Next to Normal (Musical Stage Company/Mirvish)
Ben Caplan in Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story (2b Theatre Company/Tarragon)
Louise Pitre in Piaf/Dietrich (Mirvish Productions)
Peter Fernandes in Rose: A New Musical (Soulpepper Theatre Company)

Outstanding Leading Performance in a Play
Mazin Elsadig in The Brothers Size (Soulpepper Theatre Company)
Ryan Hollyman in C’mon, Angie! (Leroy Street Theatre/Spadina Avenue Gang)
Susannah Mackay in The Doll Play: A Miniature Revolution (Blood Pact Theatre/Witchboy Theatre)
Amy Keating in The Flick (Crow’s Theatre/Outside the March)
Durae McFarlane in The Flick (Crow’s Theatre/Outside the March)
Vivien Endicott-Douglas in Guarded Girls (Green Light Arts/Tarragon)
Frank Cox-O’Connell in Hand to God (Coal Mine Theatre)
Damien Atkins in The Ladykillers (Shaw Festival)
Simon Bracken in The Particulars (Punctuate! Theatre/Theatre Centre)
Felix Beauchamp in Portia’s Julius Caesar (Hart House Theatre)

Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Play
Christopher Hunt in 1979 (The 1979 Group)
Sergio Di Zio in Between Riverside and Crazy (Coal Mine Theatre)
Bob Hiltermann in The Black Drum (Deaf Culture Centre)
Marcel Stewart in The Brothers Size (Soulpepper)
Jonathan Tan in The Glass Menagerie (Shaw Festival)
Virgilia Griffith in Guarded Girls (Green Light Arts/Tarragon)
Nicole Underhay in Hand to God (Coal Mine Theatre)
Laura Condlln in Othello (Stratford Festival)
Catherine Rainville in Othello (Shakespeare BASH’d)
Carolyn Fe in Through the Bamboo (Uwi Collective/Fringe)

Outstanding Design
Julie Fox, Thomas Ryder Payne, Kimberly Purtell for Cyrano de Bergerac (Shaw Festival)
Nick Blais, Nick Bottomley, Anahita Dehbonehie, Richard Feren for The Flick (Crow’s Theatre/Outside the March)
Shannon Lea Doyle, Andrew Penner,Simon Rossiter, Lorenzo Savoini for Fool for Love (Soulpepper Theatre Company)
Howell Binkley, Michael Clark, Jess Goldstein, Steve Canyon Kennedy, Charles G. LaPointe, Klara Zieglerova for Jersey Boys (Mirvish Productions)
Louisa Adamson, Christian Barry, Carly Beamish, Ben Caplan, Jordan Palmer, Graham Scott for Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story (2b Theatre Company/Tarragon)
Rachel Forbes, Kimberly Purtell, Lorenzo Savoini, Debashis Sinha for A Streetcar Named Desire (Soulpepper Theatre Company)

Outstanding Direction
Ted Dykstra for The Father (Coal Mine Theatre)
Mitchell Cushman for The Flick (Crow’s Theatre/Outside the March)
Fiona Sauder for Life in a Box (Bad Hats Theatre)
Christian Barry for Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story (2b Theatre Company/Tarragon)
Weyni Mengesha for A Streetcar Named Desire (Soulpepper Theatre Company)
Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu for Trout Stanley (Factory Theatre)

Outstanding Production
11:11 (AVO Collective/Why Not Theatre)
The Black Drum (Deaf Culture Centre)
The Doll Play: A Miniature Revolution (Blood Pact Theatre/Witchboy Theatre)
Kiviuq Returns: An Inuit Epic (The Qaggiq Collective/Tarragon)
Pass Over (Obsidian Theatre Company)
A Streetcar Named Desire (Soulpepper Theatre Company)