The 29th Annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards Nominations Press Conference, June 5 @ Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
By Matt McGeachy
*UPDATED: In the general theatre category, CanStage had 20 total nominations (Fire had seven nominations and December Man had five. Soulpepper’s Top Girls took seven nominations, while the Soulpepper company tallied 14 nominations*
What do you get when you put a bunch of theatre critics, actors, publicists and muffins in a room together? Well, for one thing, a lot of time for smoke breaks, but for another: a press conference for the 29th annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards (honouring Toronto theatre, sponsored by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts).
Prior to the announcement of the nominees, three special awards were presented to actor Fiona Reid (Barbara Hamilton Memorial Award for excellence in the performing arts, for acting as an ambassador of the arts in Canada), notable dramaturge and character-about-town Iris Turcott (George Luscombe Award for mentorship in theatre), and the artistic producer of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Jim LeFrancois (The Leonard McHardy and John Harvey Award for arts administration).
The Doras are divided into five general divisions, each with a jury of six to ten theatre professionals: General Theatre, Opera, Dance, Independent Theatre, and Theatre for Young Audiences, and nominations were read by Danial MacIvor and Tracy Wright.
In the General Theatre category, the Canadian Stage Company (Fire, The December Man) had a very strong showing, with a total of seven nominations. These included an Outstanding Production nomination for their version of The December Man, and Outstanding Musical for Little Shop of Horrors, and a nomination for Micheline Chevrier for Outstanding Direction of The December Man. Soulpepper (Top Girls) also showed strongly, tying CanStage for seven nominations in this category.
Two of my favourite shows of the year, DanCap Productions Inc.’s The Drowsy Chaperone and Theatre Replacement in association with Factory Theatre’s production of Sexual Practices of the Japanese were both nominated for Outstanding Touring Production.
In the Opera Division, Opera Atelier’s Idomeneo led the pack, confirming what I earlier thought: I might be the only person in Toronto who didn’t like this production. But, Atelier and Measha Brueggergosman (nominated for Outstanding Performance against Isabel Bayrakdarian and Russell Braun — both from the COC’s Pelleas et Melisande) can do no wrong in this town. The COC was also nominated in Outstanding Production for their Pelleas et Melisande (truly excellent), From the House of the Dead, and Don Carlos.
The Dance Division was the most mystifying to me, because — naughty boy — I didn’t catch a single one of the productions nominated! DanceWorks received nine nominations in total, including Outstanding Performance and Outstanding Production. [Art Ed's note: you can read tons of dance articles from MONDO's Leandra de Valois-Franklin.]
Independent theatre seems destined to honour VideoCabaret’s production of Laurier (I want a remount. It was that good!), which nabbed nominations for Outstanding New Play, Outstanding Production, Costume Design, Lighting Design, Sound Design, and Direction. Other notables in this category include Modern Times Stage Company’s production of Waiting for Godot, which took nominations in Outstanding Production, Direction, Set Design, Costume Design, and Lighting Design (yay, it is very well deserved!).
In the Theatre for Young Audiences division, the Ensembles had it! Ensemble nominations for Outstanding Performance include TOUGH!, Offensive Fouls, and Love You Forever…and More Munsch.
All told, it will make for a wonderful night on June 30th, and there is not a single show nominated (my previously stated dislike for Idomeneo notwithstanding) that doesn’t deserve recognition for helping to make Toronto theatre lively, interesting and damn fun for audiences and critics alike.
The Dora Mavor Moore Awards will be held on June 30th at the Winter Garden Theatre, and will be hosted by actor Sharron Matthews, with special guest Thom Allison (of RENT fame). The full list of nominees can be found here.