News Column

Wilmington Theater award nominees announced

December 5, 2013

YellowBrix

Dec. 05--The first year was an amazing miracle. The second year was an awesome good time.

Now in its third year, the StarNews Media Wilmington Theater Awards feels like it's on its way to becoming an institution. But before we get to this year's nominees, a little boilerplate.

On Jan. 23, 2014, StarNews Media, in association with Thalian Hall and with support from Opera House Theater Company, will host the third annual Wilmington Theater Awards at Thalian Hall.

Nominations are announced today, and tickets will go on sale at Thalian Hall.

Public online voting starts today as well at www.StarNewsOnline.com/TheaterVote.

All nominees were culled from suggestions by StarNews theater critics and local theater companies. Shows that opened on a stage in Southeastern N.C. between Nov. 15, 2012 and Nov. 14, 2013, ran at least two weekends and were reviewed by the StarNews were eligible.

Tough decisions

As the StarNews critic who saw the most shows I had final say over the nominees, and this is the part where I have to mention that in three years, this is the one part of my job that never gets any easier.

There were excruciating decisions that had to be made, decisions that resulted in some very worthy people and productions not being nominated. I spent way too much time poring and re-poring over these nominations, and I hope they are at least somewhere in the ballpark of fair.

The awards will be presented live on Jan. 23. Wilmington actor Jeff Phillips will emcee, Opera House's Lorene Walsh will provide musical direction for the show and Opera House's Alice Sherwood is helping plan the awards as well. Some exciting changes are in store for this year's show, the biggest of which will the be the on-stage presentation of all awards, not just the acting and directing awards and the awards for best play and best musical, as has been the case in the past.

As announced on Sunday, this year's recipient of the Lela Thompson Award for Enduring Contribution to Wilmington Theater is Tony Rivenbark.

Winners will be determined by one-third critics' votes, one-third theater company votes and one-third public online voting.

Without further ado, the nominees are:

BEST PLAY

"In the Next Room," Big Dawg Productions

"Other Desert Cities," Thalian Association

"Sordid Lives," UNCW Department of Theatre

"Venus in Fur," Imaginary Theater Co.

"William and Judith," Brown Coat Theatre

BEST MUSICAL

"Brooklyn: The Musical," City Stage

"How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying," Thalian Association

"Les Miserables," Opera House Theatre Co.

"Oklahoma!," Opera House Theatre Co.

"Spamalot," City Stage

BEST DIRECTOR, PLAY

Norman Aronovic, "Morning's at Seven," Big Dawg Productions

Nick Basta, "The Lieutenant of Inishmore," City Stage

Nicole Farmer, "William and Judith," Brown Coat Theatre

Lee Lowrimore, "Venus in Fur," Imaginary Theater Co.

Ed Wagenseller, "Sordid Lives," UNCW Department of Theatre

BEST DIRECTOR, MUSICAL

Tom Briggs, "Xanadu," Thalian Association

Debra Gillingham, "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying," Thalian Association

Ray Kennedy, "Oklahoma!", Opera House Theatre Co.

Anthony Lawson, "Brooklyn: The Musical," City Stage

Suellen Yates, "Les Miserables," Opera House Theatre Co.

BEST ACTOR, PLAY

Charles Auten as William Shakespeare, "William and Judith," Brown Coat Theatre

Cullen Moss as Padraic, "The Lieutenant of Inishmore," City Stage

Mike O'Neil as Thomas, "Venus in Fur," Imaginary Theater Co.

Kenneth Rosander as Daniel Henry, "A Contemporary American's Guide to a Successful Marriage 1959," Big Dawg Productions

Alex Wharff as Dr. Givings, "In the Next Room," Big Dawg Productions

BEST ACTOR, MUSICAL

Jon Berry as Jean Valjean, "Les Miserables," Opera House Theatre Co.

Leo Grinberg as Hedwig, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," City Stage

Adam Poole as J. Pierrepont Finch, "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying," Thalian Association

Nygel Robinson as Curly McLain, "Oklahoma!", Opera House Theatre Co.

Troy Rudeseal as King Arthur, "Spamalot," City Stage

BEST ACTRESS, PLAY

Christy Grantham as Judith, "William and Judith," Brown Coat Theatre

Rachel Lewis Hilburn as Brooke, "Other Desert Cities," Thalian Association

Rachael Moser as Catherine Givings, "In the Next Room," Big Dawg Productions

Anna Stromberg as Vanda, "Venus in Fur," Imaginary Theater Co.

Katherine Vernon as Jessie, " e_SSRqNight Mother," Big Dawg Productions

BEST ACTRESS, MUSICAL

Olivia James as Brooklyn, "Brooklyn: The Musical," City Stage

Kendra Goehring-Garrett as Laurey Williams, "Oklahoma!", Opera House Theatre Co.

Shannon Playl as Clio/Kira, "Xanadu," Thalian Association

Amy Tipton as Janet Weiss, "The Rocky Horror Show," City Stage

Amy Smith as Rosemary Pilkington, "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying," Thalian Association

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, PLAY

Rick Forrester as Pompey, "Measure for Measure," Cape Fear Shakespeare on the Green

Joe Gallison as Lyman Wyeth, "Other Desert Cities," Thalian Association

Craig Myers as Thor Swanson, "Morning's at Seven," Big Dawg Productions

J.R. Rodriguez as Orgon, "Tartuffe," Big Dawg Productions

Richard Smith as Brother Boy, "Sordid Lives," UNCW Department of Theatre

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, MUSICAL

Tracy Byrd as the Streetsinger, "Brooklyn: The Musical," City Stage

Jason Hatfield as Monsieur Thenardier, "Les Miserables," Opera House Theatre Co.

Brandon James as Bud Frump, "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying," Thalian Association

Michael Lauricella as Twimble, "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying," Thalian Association

Khawon Porter as Cousin Kevin, "Tommy," City Stage

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, PLAY

Jessica Farmer as Ferula, "Rosaline and Baldasar," Brown Coat Theatre

Michelle Gagliano as Veta, "Harvey," Big Dawg Productions

Kara Lashley as Sabrina Daldry, "In the Next Room," Big Dawg Productions

Jordan Mullaney, various roles, "History of Comedy: Part I," Pineapple-Shaped Lamps

Beth Raynor as CB's sister, "Dog Sees God," Brown Coat Theatre

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, MUSICAL

Caitlin Becka as Ilona Ritter, "She Loves Me," Opera House Theatre Co.

LaRaisha Burnette as Paradice, "Brooklyn: The Musical," City Stage

Emily Graham as Smitty, "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying," Thalian Association

Olivia James as Maureen, "Rent," Opera House Theatre Co.

Annie Marsh as Ado Annie Carnes, "Oklahoma!" Opera House Theatre Co.

BEST CHILDREN'S THEATER PRODUCTION

"13: The Musical," Performance Club Studio

"Cinderella," Thalian Association Children's Theatre

"Drury Lane," Pied Piper Theatre

"Shadows of Shakespeare," Cape Fear Shakespeare on the Green Youth Company

"Super Saturday Fun Time," TheatreNOW

BEST ENSEMBLE/CHORUS

"How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying", Thalian Association

"Oklahoma!," Opera House Theatre Co.

"Rent," Opera House Theatre Co.

"Spamalot," City Stage

"Tommy," City Stage

BEST NEWCOMER

Jon Berry, "Miracle on 34th Street," "Tommy," "Les Miserables" and "Little Shop of Horrors"

LaRaisha Burnette, "Brooklyn: The Musical" and "Tartuffe"

Jessica Farmer, "Rosaline and Baldasar," "Murder on the Set" and "Dog Sees God"

Leo Grinberg, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and "The Rocky Horror Show"

Brent Stimmel, "Pump Boys and Dinettes"

BEST MUSIC DIRECTION

Jonathan Barber, "Xanadu," Thalian Association

Amanda Hunter, "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying," Thalian Association

Chiaki Ito, "Aint' Misbehavin'," True 2 You Productions and City Stage

Chiaki Ito, "The Rocky Horror Show," City Stage

Lorene Walsh, "Oklahoma!", Opera House Theatre Co.

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

Tracy Byrd, "Ain't Misbehavin'," True 2 You Productions and City Stage

Kevin Green, "The Rocky Horror Show," City Stage

Judy Greenhut, "Spamalot," City Stage

Mary Beth Henderson, "Xanadu," Thalian Association

Ray Kennedy, "Oklahoma!," Opera House Theatre Co.

BEST SET DESIGN

Robert Alpers, "Private Fears in Public Places," UNCW Department of Theatre

Paul Bertelson, "Beauty and the Beast," Brunswick Little Theatre

Terry Collins, "Les Miserables," Opera House Theatre Co.

Lee Lowrimore, "Venus in Fur," Imaginary Theatre Co.

Max Lydy, "The Lieutenant of Inishmore," City Stage

BEST SOUND DESIGN

John Deveaux, "Les Miserables," Opera House Theatre Co.

Jonathan Graves, "Pump Boys and Dinettes," Thalian Association

Max Lydy, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," UNCW Department of Theatre

Nikki Myers, "William and Judith," Brown Coat Theatre

Mike O'Neil, "Venus in Fur," Imaginary Theatre Co.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Juli Harvey, "Les Miserables," Opera House Theatre Co.

Lance Howell, "Xanadu," Thalian Association

Dorothy Rankin, "Venus in Fur," Imaginary Theatre Co.

Debbie Scheu and Susanna Douthit, "Oklahoma!" Opera House Theatre Co.

Mark Sorensen, "Sordid Lives," UNCW Department of Theatre

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN

John Ambrosone, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," UNCW Department of Theatre

Gregg Alyn Buck, "Prom," UNCW Department of Theatre

Dallas LaFon, "Little Shop of Horrors," Opera House Theatre Co.

Dallas LaFon, "Tommy," City Stage

Jeff Loy, "Venus in Fur," Imaginary Theatre Co.

BEST ORIGINAL PRODUCTION

"Dracula Reimagined," by Richard Davis, Brown Coat Theatre

"History of Comedy: Part I," by Zach Pappas, Ben Henson, Jordan Mullaney, Devin DiMattia, Ryan P.C. Trimble, Alex Marden and Jake Steward, Pineapple-Shaped Lamps

"On Being Miss Chant, Claude and Minnie," by Joyce Grear, Tony Rivenbark and Cynthia Rogers, Cameron Art Museum

"One Up," by Ron Hasson, Brown Coat Theatre and Bad Trip Productions

"A Swing and a Miss," by Zach Hanner, TheatreNOW

___

(c)2013 the Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.)

Visit the Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.) at www.starnewsonline.com

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