Soulpepper’s Rose grabs four Dora Awards

Soulpepper’s Rose grabs four Dora Awards
Soulpepper Theatre and the Canadian Opera Company (COC) were the biggest winners at the 2019 Dora Mavor Moore Awards, taking home eight and seven awards respectively. The awards, which honour excellence in Toronto theatre, opera, and dance, were presented at a ceremony on Tuesday, June 25 at the Sony Centre for the Arts, hosted by actor/writer Rick Miller.

In the musical theatre category, Soulpepper’s production of Rose picked up awards for outstanding new musical (writer Sarah Wilson and writer/composer Mike Ross), direction (Gregory Prest), performance in a featured role (Peter Fernandes), and scenic design (Lorenzo Savoini). Soulpepper’s production of The Royale picked up three design awards (sets, Ken MacKenzie; lighting, Michelle Ramsay; sound/composition, Thomas Ryder Payne) and Gillian Gallow won for her costume design of Orlando, all in the general theatre division.

The COC’s production of Eugene Onegin was the big winner in the opera category, taking home honours as outstanding production and for its direction (Robert Carsen), lighting design (Christine Binder), and a double win for Michael Levine for his scenic and costume designs. Rufus Wainwright and Daniel MacIvor’s Hadrian, produced by the COC, was named outstanding new opera, and Gerald Finley won for outstanding performance award in an opera for the COC’s Otello.

The year’s other double winner is also a designer: Anahita Dehbonehie was awarded for her scenic design of Puzzle Piece’s production of The Little Prince: Reimagined in the theatre for young audiences division, and of the Coal Mine Theatre production of Hand to God in the independent theatre division.

The Brothers Size and School Girls are big Toronto Theatre Critics Award winners

School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play (Obsidian Theatre in association with Nightwood Theatre) won big in the general theatre division with awards for outstanding production and direction (Nina Lee Aquino).

Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman’s Guarded Girls (Tarragon Theatre in association with Green Light Arts) was named best new play in the general theatre division. The Runner, a Human Cargo production (with the support of Theatre Passe Muraille) won three big awards — outstanding production, new play, and direction — in the independent theatre division.

For the first time, this year’s Doras performance nominations and awards were gender-inclusive, meaning that a single award was given in each performance category without the winners’ genders being specified. In the general theatre division, Virgilia Griffiths won the outstanding performance in a leading role award for Tarragon Theatre’s production of Harlem Duet, while Amaka Umeh’s performance in the Howland Company/Crow’s Theatre co-production of The Wolves was named outstanding performance in a featured role. Augusto Bitter’s turn in his one-man show CHICHO (Pencil Kit Productions/Theatre Passe Muraille/Aluna Theatre) was named outstanding performance by an individual in the independent theatre division. The acting company of Coal Mine Theatre’s The Wonder Pageant was named outstanding ensemble in the same division.

The Musical Stage Company staging (presented by David Mirvish) of Next to Normal was named outstanding musical theatre production, and its star Ma-Anne Dionisio won top performance honours in that division. Next to Normal also won the only Dora prize voted on by the public — the Jon Kaplan Audience Award, named for the late NOW magazine theatre critic.

While it was nominated for nine Doras, Dear Evan Hansen won only one (for Japhy Weideman’s lighting design), further evidence that this musical did not resonate in Toronto as it in New York, where it picked up six 2017 Tony Awards and is still running. The Toronto production, produced by Stacey Mindich and David Mirvish, is closing earlier than had been planned, on July 21.

New Owner by the Australian company The Last Great Hunt (presented at Harbourfront’s Junior Festival) was named the outstanding production for young audiences, while Dance Works/Kaha:wi Dance Theatre’s Blood Tides was named outstanding dance production. Grand Finale, by the U.K.-based Israeli choreographer Hofesh Schechter (presented in Toronto by Canadian Stage), was named best touring production.

Celebrating their 40th anniversary year, the Doras are produced by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts. A full list of winners is available at .
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