07 February 2020

The 2019 Nominee Interview Series

By // General

Welcome to the 2019 Nominee Interview Series.

Every year between nomination announcements and our awards party, we interview the artists nominated for MyEntWorld Critics’ Pick Awards. Click on the names below to read the interviews and head to Awards Headquarters for the announcement of the winners.

Vivien Endicott-Douglas
Outstanding Leading Performance in a Play
Guarded Girls
Nominated for her third Critics’ Pick Award, the versatile and engrossing Vivien Endicott-Douglas joins the Nominee Interview Series to discuss her multi-character performance in Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman‘s stunning prison drama Guarded Girls, which played Tarragon Theatre to great acclaim last spring.

Nick Blais
Outstanding Design
The Flick
As set and lighting designer for Annie Baker’s movie theatre-set The Flick, 5-time Outstanding Design nominee (and 2014 winner) Nick Blais problem solved and innovated on countless fronts from careful forced perspective measurements to a device for spontaneously re-popcorn-ing the set in seconds-long transitions.

Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman
Outstanding New Work
Guarded Girls
Charlotte won the Dora in 2019 for her deeply empathetic and meticulously researched Guarded Girls which hit the stage at the Tarragon Theatre just as Charlotte was about to give birth to her first child. We caught up with her mid-quarantine to look back on everything that went into Guarded Girls.

Amy Keating
Outstanding Leading Performance in a Play
The Flick
A Dora-winning co-founder of the Outside the March, Amy has appeared in many of the site-specific company’s most lauded productions, including 2019’s The Flick, where she gave a deeply felt and naturalistic performance as Rose, an employee at the rundown movie theatre where the action takes place.

Matthew McKenzie & Simon Bracken
Outstanding New Work & Outstanding Leading Performance in a Play
The Particulars
Haunted by lost love and tormented by vermin, Simon Bracken embodied the role of Gordon, a man on the edge, in Matthew McKenzie’s The Particulars. Nominated for both New Work and Leading Performance, The Particulars becomes an even more relevant story today, reflecting our current situation of isolation and global grief.

Kat Sandler
Outstanding New Work
Kat Sandler is charming, witty, prolific and writes fast-paced, enjoyable plays that sneak up on you with their emotional and intellectual impact. She’s fantastic, which is why she’s one of the most-nominated artists in the history of these awards, winning Performer of the Year in 2014. This year she’s nominated for Yaga at the Tarragon.

The Ensemble of Portia’s Julius Caesar
Outstanding Ensemble
Portia’s Julius Caesar
Portia’s Julius Caesar ambitiously explored the inner lives and conflicts of the women who only glancingly appear in Shakespeare’s original. Kaitlyn Riordan’s imaginative feminist text required a large and committed cast, and she got that in the Hart House production, directed by Eva Barrie. All worked dynamically together to deliver the story.

The Ensemble of Dogfight
Outstanding Ensemble
First Act Productions has a knack for assembling strong ensembles but Dogfight might have been their strongest yet with rock solid leads and a fantastic team of supporting players delivering rich characters and incredibly tricky harmonies. We caught up with five members of the cast to reminisce about the show in a special podcast interview.

The Doll Play Team 
Outstanding Production/Ensemble
The Doll Play
The Doll Play is a deep, thoughtful exploration of power, mental health, and harm that also revels in being lively and witty. The script is daring but demanding, requiring a skilled ensemble to render the relationships at the heart of the play properly. The nominations reflect The Doll Play‘s wide-ranging success on both sides of the curtain.

Michael Ross Albert
Outstanding New Work
The Huns
Michael Ross Albert is one of my favourite playwrights full stop; the fact that he’s local, indie, and extremely prolific is just a bonus. His blistering three-hander about a toxic workplace with a cast of 12 offstage characters on speakerphone, which he also produced, was his third hit Toronto Fringe show in two years.

Nicole Underhay
Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Play
Hand to God
Nicole Underhay has long been one of my favourite actresses in the country. In Coal Mine Theatre’s hilarious and brutal Hand to God, she weaponized her natural sunniness to deliver a brilliantly dark and perfectly pitched performance as a grieving mother at the very end of her rope. We chatted with Nicole as she social isolates in Newfoundland.

Ryan Hollyman
Outstanding Leading Performance in a Play
C’Mon, Angie
Ryan’s haunting and complex performance in C’Mon, Angie with Leroy Street Theatre layered everyman appeal with everyman darkness to create a troubling portrait of a clueless abuser. Ryan’s thoughtfulness in embodying his character’s hurtful actions with empathy for his humanity was a performance we still can’t get out of our heads.

Robert Markus
Outstanding Performance in a Musical
Dear Evan Hansen
Robert singing ‘Waving Through a Window’ was on our Best of the Decade list. His performance as Evan Hansen was not only vocally masterful but nuanced and thoughtful as well. He’s nominated for the second year in a row because he’s great in everything, even one of the hardest roles in the contemporary musical theatre canon.

Taylor Hubbard
Outstanding Performance in a Musical
As Rose, the sensitive soul of Pasek & Paul’s 2012 Off-Broadway hit, Taylor Hubbard gave such a beautifully vulnerable performance that our hearts felt tied to hers from curtain up to curtain down. Tackling tough vocals and an even tougher emotional workload, Taylor made us smile and weep in equal measure.

Fiona Sauder
Outstanding Direction
Life in a Box 
Fiona’s work on the remount/expansion of Life in a Box was one of the fun and inventive highlights of our year in Toronto theatre. The original Fringe production was nominated for performance and new work last year and Fiona’s thoughtful eye and sense of adventure was exactly what the show needed to make it soar even higher.

Jake Epstein
Outstanding Solo Performance
Boy Falls From the Sky
Jake’s work has ranged from TV to Broadway. Last summer, he took things local and personal with his cabaret show Boy Falls From the Sky at the Fringe, which enjoyed a sold-out run and great reviews. He opens up about the experience of developing and performing this comedic but starkly honest examination of the actor’s life.

Felix Beauchamp
Outstanding Leading Performance in a Play
Portia’s Julius Caesar
Felix is a bilingual performer who has worked across Canada both onstage and on film. He’s a member of the Cirque du Soleil talent roster and the drummer for the indie rock band People Walking By. In Kaitlyn Riordan’s ambitious Portia’s Julius Caesar, he delivered a Brutus whose conflict was grounded and deeply humane.

Gillian Bartolucci
Outstanding Solo Performance
The Weight of it All
One of our favourite productions out of the 2019 Toronto Fringe Festival was Gillian Bartolucci’s one woman sketch show The Weight of it All. Beautifully constructed with a perfect blend of high-octane fun, clever commentary, and brutal honesty, we’re still thinking about Gillian’s technically impressive and emotionally wrought performance.

Marcel Stewart
Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Play
The Brothers Size
Nominated this year for Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Play for his powerful performance in Soulpepper’s brilliant production of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s  The Brothers Size, the dynamic and thoughtful Marcel Stewart is a mainstay of our awards season having appeared in many nominated productions over the years.

Laura Condlln
Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Play
Laura’s turn as Emilia in Othello was our favourite thing about the 2019 Stratford season, earning the perennial favourite a notable fifth nomination. Embracing Emilia’s strength and weakness in equal, empathetic measure, Laura illuminated and redefined a 400-year-old character and made her completely new.

Alicia Ault
Outstanding Performance in a Musical
Hook Up
Tapestry’s ambitious musical theatre/opera hybrid was one of the most unique productions of the year, tackling issues of consent on campus with searing insight and a light touch. The performance that stayed with us the most came from Alicia Ault who deftly captured the complexity of playing a supporting role in a friend’s trauma.

Sergio Di Zio
Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Play
Between Riverside and Crazy
Known primarily for his film and television work, the infinitely charming Sergio returned to the stage in 2019 to team up for a second Stephen Adly Guirgis project in a row with Coal Mine Theatre, earning his second nomination. His moral complexity and nuanced accent work made him the highlight of the piece.

Catherine Rainville
Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Play
Catherine is a multi-hyphenate artist whose work performing, directing, producing and designing for site-specific indie favourites Shakespeare Bash’d has never failed to thrill and surprise us. She’s nominated this year for her fierce and grounded performance as Desdemona in the company’s stirring production of Othello last February.

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