Is God Is and Harry Potter play lead Dora Award nominations

Italian Mime Suicide, Sweeney Todd, & Juliet and R.U.R. A Torrent Of Light also recognized at first in-person awards since 2019


Is God Is nominees Vanessa Sears (below) and Oyin Oladejo photographed by Elijah Nichols

The scorching hot drama Is God Is, the jaw-dropping spectacle Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, the immersive musical Sweeney Todd and the quirky Italian Mime Suicide are among the most-nominated shows at this year’s Dora Mavor Moore Awards, announced at a live press conference this morning at the Four Seasons Centre.

The full list of nominees is below. The ceremony itself takes place in a few weeks, on Monday, September 19, at the Elgin Theatre. Usually the Dora Awards happen in the spring, acknowledging productions from fall to spring. But because of the pandemic, this year’s ceremony recognizes work done from May 15, 2021 to August 15, 2022.

Despite some excellent digital/hybrid offerings, the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA), who put on the Doras, decided that “online performances would not be eligible for adjudication for the 2022 awards due to barriers of equal access, equality practices and resources.”

So I guess that means not everyone has access to computers, but that they’re fine to attend performances where masks and vaccination status might be optional?

harry potter and the cursed child
Harry Potter And The Cursed Child is still playing at the Ed Mirvish Theatre. (Photo by Evan Zimmerman)

General Theatre Division

It was a fantastic year – or rather 15 months – in this division, and it’s fitting that Obsidian, Necessary Angel and Canadian Stage’s scorching hot co-production of Aleshea Harris’s Is God Is should lead the nominations, with 10. I adored the show.

As well as recognizing production, Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu’s direction and the stellar designers Thomas Ryder Payne (sound design/composition), Raha Javanfar (lighting), Ming Wong (costumes) and Ken Mackenzie (sets) and Laura Warren (projections), jurors singled out many from the cast. Oyin Oladejo and Vanessa Sears both earned deserving nods for oustanding performance in a leading role, while Sabryn Rock and Tyrone Benskin were acknowledged for their work in featured roles. (Everyone was good, but it’s a shame Alison Sealy-Smith’s work wasn’t recognized in the featured category.)

The one-part version of the blockbuster Mirvish production Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, meanwhile, earned eight nods, including production, direction (John Tiffany) and featured performance nominations for Gregory Prest and Sarah Afful, neither of whom got to do very much in the show. What a shame that the production’s young breakout stars, Luke Kimball and Thomas Mitchell Barnet, not to mention Sara Farb, who plays the key role she did on Broadway, remain unacknowledged.

Other nominees for best production include Crow’s Theatre’s Orphans For The Czar (its single nomination, which must be unprecedented) and The Land Acknowledgement (As You Like It) as well as Factory Theatre’s Wildfire.

Leanna Brodie and David Paquet’s excellent Wildfire and Cliff Cardinal’s bold The Land Acknowledgement (called simply As You Like It during its run) are both up for Outstanding New Play, along with Chloé Hung’s Three Women Of Swatow, Jordan Tannahill’s Draw Me Close and Rosa Laborde’s Light.

Of the five production nominees, three received nominations for director as well: Harry Potter’s John Tiffany, Is God Is’s Otu and Wildfire’s Soheil Parsa. The other nominees are Three Women Of Swatow’s Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster and Pipeline’s Weyni Mengesha.

In addition to Is God Is’ Oladejo and Sears, the Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role includes ROOM‘s Alexis Gordon, Three Women Of Swatow’s Carolyn Fe, The Land Acknowledgement’s Cardinal, Mission Totally Possible‘s Hannah Spear (remarkable to single out a single performer from a sketch revue), Pipeline’s Tony Ofori and MixTape‘s Zorana Sadiq.

Besides Is God Is’ Rock and Benskin and Harry Potter’s Afful and Prest, Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role includes Light’s Christine Horne, Where The Blood Mixes‘ Craig Lauzon and Sheldon Elter (you might argue that the latter is a lead role) and Kamloopa’s Yolanda Bonnell. This last nomination is completely deserving, but it’s a shame Bonnell’s writing and performance weren’t acknowledged for her play White Girls In Moccasins.

Although Tony Ofori (left) got nominated for Pipeline, Akosua Amo-Adem didn’t. Photo by Dahlia Katz.

Snubs

Other snubs? It’s terrific that Soulpepper’s Pipeline was acknowledged for directing (Weyni Mengesha) and lead performance (Ofori), but where’s the production nomination? Or the love for actors Akosua Amo-Adem, Kristen Thomson, Chelsea Russell and Mazin Elsadig? Horne was absolutely radiant in Light, but it’s too bad Linda Kash’s complex work went unacknowledged. And I know some performances were affected by COVID-19 illnesses, but it’s a shame awards love couldn’t have gone to Where The Blood Mixes’ director Jani Lauzon, actor Valerie Planche or sound designer James Dallas Smith.

And I suppose it’s because there’s no Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble category in this division, but it would have been nice to acknowledge the absolute stunning artistry of the actors in Wildfire: Soo Garay, Paul Dunn and Zorana Sadiq.

Co-writer/director and performer Adam Paolozza’s Italian Mime Suicide won big at the Dora Awards nominations.

Independent Theatre Division

This big winners in this division were Bad News Days’s Italian Mime Suicide, which came away with eight nominations, and Theatre Gargantua’s A Tonic For Desperate Times, which was acknowledged with seven taps; both were nominated for Outstanding Production, Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble. What’s interesting is that Nautanki Bazaar/RISER’s An IMM-Permanent Resident, The Howland Company’s The Home Project and Cahoots Theatre’s Three Ordinary Men also got nominated in all three categories too.

Four of those five shows were also nominated for director: Adam Paolozza and Kari Pederson for Italian Mime Suicide, Jacquie P.A. Thomas for A Tonic, Miquelon Rodriguez for An IMM-Permanent Resident and Tanisha Taitt for Three Ordinary Men. The fifth slot went to André Sills for his work on ARC/Crow’s Theatre’s Gloria.

There aren’t separate categories for lead and featured performances, so the list of actors acknowledged for oustanding performance are: Cass Van Wyck, who received nominations for both The Huns and Two Minutes To Midnight; Craig Lauzon and Louise Lambert for Detroit (this makes Lauzon another double acting nominee, along with his Where The Blood Mixes nod); Layne Coleman for TRUE; Liz Der and Rhoma Spencer for The House Of Bernarda Alba; and Vivian Chong for Dancing With The Universe.

Obvious snubs include director Soheil Parsa for Bernarda Alba, director Ted Dykstra and the ensemble for Coal Mine Theatre’s The Antipodes (the show’s single nomination went to Nick Blais for scenic/projection design) and the ensemble for Gloria.

Sweeney Todd Talk is Free Theatre
Sweeney Todd swept musical direction. (Photo by Roman Boldyrev)

Musical Theatre Division

Talk Is Free Theatre’s glorious walkabout production of Sweeney Todd swept this division’s nominations with 13 nods, followed by Mirvish’s & Juliet (eight) and TIFT’s fall production of Into The Woods (seven), Mirvish and Past Future Production’s Boy Falls From The Sky (six) and Musical Stage Company/Obsidian Theatre’s Dixon Road (four).

No surprises here, except that it’s nice to see rising star Germaine Konji emerge with two Dora nods (lead for Dixon Road, featured role in Into The Woods), and TIFT’s Michael Torontow show his versatility with acting (lead for Sweeney Todd) and directing (Into The Woods).

And really, everyone involved in a live performance production deserves an honourary award for getting through this difficult year.


General Theatre Division

Outstanding Production

Harry Potter And The Cursed Child

Is God Is

Orphans For The Czar

The Land Acknowledgement (As You Like It)

Wildfire

Outstanding New Play

Three Women Of Swatow, by Chloé Hung

The Land Acknowledgement (As You Like It), by Cliff Cardinal

Draw Me Close, by Jordan Tannahill

Wildfire, by Leanna Brodie and David Paquet

Light, by Rosa Laborde

Outstanding Direction

Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster, Three Women Of Swatow

John Tiffany, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child

Mumbi Tindyebwa Otu, Is God Is

Soheil Parsa, Wildfire

Weyni Mengesha, Pipeline

Oustanding Performance in a Leading Role

Alexis Gordon, ROOM

Carolyn Fe, Three Women Of Swatow

Cliff Cardinal, The Land Acknowledgement (As You Like It)

Hannah Spear, Mission Totally Possible

Oyin Oladejo, Is God Is

Tony Ofori, Pipeline

Vanessa Sears, Is God Is

Zorana Sadiq, MixTape

Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role

Christine Horne, Light

Craig Lauzon, Where The Blood Mixes

Gregory Prest, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child

Sabryn Rock, Is God Is

Sarah Afful, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child

Sheldon Elter, Where The Blood Mixes

Tyrone Benskin, Is God Is

Yolanda Bonnell, Kamloopa

Outstanding Scenic/Projection Design

What You Won’t Do For Love: Projection Design (Jamie Nesbitt)

Harry Potter And The Cursed Child: Scenic Design (Christine Jones); Video Design (Finn Ross, Ash J. Woodward)

among men: Scenic Design (Joanna Yu)

Is God Is: Scenic Design (Ken Mackenzie); Projection Design (Laura Warren)

Draw Me Close: Scenic Design (Tom Paris, Andy Berry); Projection Design (Teva Harrison, Olie Kay)

Outstanding Costume Design

Justin Miller, Distant Early Warning

Katrina Lindsay, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child

Ming Wong, Is God Is

Samantha McCue, Kamloopa

Shannon Lea Doyle, Three Women Of Swatow

Outstanding Lighting Design

Arun Srinivasan, MixTape

Bonnie Beecher, ROOM

Kaitlin Hickey, Wildfire

Neil Austin, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child

Raha Javanfar, Is God Is

Outstanding Sound Design/Composition

Gareth Fry (Sound Design), Imogan Heap (composer/arranger), Harry Potter And The Cursed Child

Thomas Ryder Payne, Is God Is

Thomas Ryder Payne, MixTape

Thomas Ryder Payne, Wildfire

Independent Theatre Division

Outstanding Production

A Tonic For Desperate Times

An IMM-Permanent Resident

Italian Mime Suicide

The Home Project

Three Ordinary Men

Outstanding New Play

The Home Project, by Akosua Amo-Adem, Qasim Khan and Cheyenne Scott

An IMM-Permanent Resident, by Neha Poduval and Himanshu Sitlani

Three Ordinary Men, by Steven Elliott Jackson

Italian Mime Suicide, by the Company

A Tonic For Desperate Times, by the Ensemble

Outstanding Direction

Adam Paolozza and Kari Pederson, Italian Mime Suicide

André Sills, Gloria

Jacquie P.A. Thomas, A Tonic For Desperate Times

Miquelon Rodriguez, An IMM-Permanent Resident

Tanisha Taitt, Three Ordinary Men

Outstanding Performance by an Individual

Cass Van Wyck, The Huns

Cass Van Wyck, Two Minutes To Midnight

Craig Lauzon, Detroit

Layne Coleman, TRUE

Liz Der, The House Of Bernarda Alba

Louise Lambert, Detroit

Rhoma Spencer, The House Of Bernarda Alba

Vivian Chong, Dancing With The Universe

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble

Adam Paolozza, Nicholas Eddie, Rob Feetham, Ericka Leobrera, Italian Mime Suicide

Akosua Amo-Adem, Qasim Khan, Cheyenne Scott, The Home Project

Heather Marie Annis, Sierra Haynes, Alexandra Lainfiesta, Michael Gordon Spence, Nabil Traboulsi, A Tonic For Desperate Times

Jamar Adams-Thompson, Tristan Claxton, Jack Copland, Three Ordinary Men

Neha Poduval, Himanshu Sitlani, An IMM-Permanent Resident

Outstanding Scenic/Projection Design

Italian Mime Suicide: Scenic & Projection design (Evgenia Mikhaylova and Anahita Dehbonehie)

The Cold War: Scenic Design (Andrew Dollar), Projection Design (Maxim Luca Bortnowski)

Gloria: Scenic Design (Jackie Chau)

A Tonic For Desperate Times: Scenic Design (Michael Gordon Spence); Projection Design (Laird Macdonald)

The Antipodes: Scenic Design (Nick Blais)

Outstanding Costume Design

Allie Marshall and Evgenia Mikhaylova, Italian Mime Suicide

Anahita Dehbonehie and Niloufar Ziaee, 1184

Angela Thomas, The House Of Bernarda Alba

Claudia Tam, Three Ordinary Men

Melanie McNeill and Astrid Janson, The Cold War

Outstanding Lighting Design

André du Toit, Italian Mime Suicide

Andrew Dollar, The Cold War

Jareth Li, The Home Project

Jenny Jimenez, 1184

Laird Macdonald, A Tonic For Desperate Times

Outstanding Sound Design/Composition

Arif Mirabdolbaghi and Cheldon Paterson, Italian Mime Suicide

David DeLeary, The Home Project

Miquelon Rodriguez, An IMM-Permanent Resident

Thomas Ryder Payne with original compositions by the ensemble, A Tonic For Desperate Times

Musical Theatre Division

Outstanding Production

& Juliet

Boy Falls From The Sky

Dixon Road

Into The Woods

Sweeney Todd

Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role

Aidan deSalaiz, Into The Woods

Betsy Wolfe, & Juliet

Germaine Konji, Dixon Road

Glynis Ranney, Sweeney Todd

Jake Epstein, Boy Falls From The Sky

Lorna Courtney, & Juliet

Michael Torontow, Sweeney Todd

Tracy Michailidis, Into The Woods

Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role

Cyrus Lane, Sweeney Todd

Germaine Konji, Into The Woods

Jeff Lillico, Sweeney Todd

Kole Dumford, Killing Time: A Game Show Musical

Melanie La Barrie, & Juliet

Noah Beemer, Sweeney Todd

Richard Lam, Into The Woods

Tess Benger, Sweeney Todd

Outstanding New Musical

Divine Interventions, by Anika Johnson

Dixon Road, by Fatuma Adar

Boy Falls From The Sky, by Jake Epstein

Killing Time: A Game Show Musical, by Ben Kopp (music/lyrics) and Margot Greve (book)

Outstanding Musical Direction

Anika Johnson, Divine Interventions

Chris Tsujiuchi, Into The Woods

David Atkinson, Boy Falls From The Sky

Dominic Fallacaro, & Juliet

Ran Rutzen, Sweeney Todd

Outstanding Direction

Luke Sheppard, & Juliet

Margot Greve, Killing Time: A Game Show Musical

Michael Torontow, Into The Woods

Mitchell Cushman, Sweeney Todd

Robert McQueen, Boy Falls From The Sky

Outstanding Achievement in Design

Costume design (Laura Delchiaro), Sweeney Todd

Lighting design (Nick Blais), Sweeney Todd

Scenic design (Brandon Kleiman), Boy Falls From The Sky

Scenic design (Kathleen Black), Sweeney Todd

Scenic design (Soutra Gilmour), & Juliet

Outstanding Original Choreography

Cameron Carver, Sweeney Todd

Jennifer Weber, & Juliet

Matthew O’Connor and Bonnie Kim, Divine Interventions

Ray Hogg, Esie Mensah and Rosie Harbans, Dixon Road

R.U.R. A Torrent Of Light, photographed by Elana Emer

Opera Division

Outstanding Production

Gould’s Wall

La Traviata

R.U.R. A Torrent Of Light

The Magic Flute

The Queen In Me

Oustanding Performance by an Individual

Amina Edris, La Traviata

Anna-Sophie Neher, The Magic Flute

Gordon Bintner, The Magic Flute

Lauren Pearl, Gould’s Wall

Midori Marsh, The Magic Flute

Roger Honeywell, Gould’s Wall

Scott Belluz, R.U.R. A Torrent Of Light

Teiya Kasahara, The Queen In Me

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble

Canadian Opera Company Chorus, La Traviata

Caitlin Wood, Andrea Ludwig, Keith Klassen, Justin Welsh, Alice Malakhov, Gould’s Wall

Jamie Groote, Charlotte Siegel, Lauren Segal, The Magic Flute

Maeve Palmer, Annie Ramos, Jennifer Routhier, Sofu Gudino, Katherine Semchuk, Emily Spearing, Brayden Cairns, R.U.R. A Torrent Of Light

Outstanding New Opera

Gould’s Wall: Brian Current (composer); Liza Balkan (librettist)

R.U.R. A Torrent Of Light: Nicole Lizée (composer); Nicolas Billon (librettist)

The Queen In Me by Teiya Kasahara

Outstanding Musical Direction

Brian Current, Gould’s Wall

Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, The Queen In Me

Gregory Oh, R.U.R. A Torrent Of Light

Johannes Debus, La Traviata

Patrick Lange, The Magic Flute

Outstanding Direction

Andrea Donaldson and Aria Umezawa, The Queen In Me

Anna Theodosakis, The Magic Flute

Arin Arbus, La Traviata

Michael Hidetoshi Mori, R.U.R. A Torrent Of Light

Philip Akin, Gould’s Wall

Outstanding Achivement in Design

Lighting Design (Marcus Doshi), La Traviata

Projection Design (Cameron Davis), R.U.R. A Torrent Of Light

Scenic Design (Cameron Anderson), R.U.R. A Torrent Of Light

Scenic Design (Myung Hee Cho), The Magic Flute

Sound Design/Composition (Debashis Sinha), R.U.A. A Torrent Of Light

Dance Division

Outstanding Production

In My Body

La bulle

Legacy Tap Dance Concert

Sadhana/Tarana

This Is NOT A Remount (The Miserere Project)

Outstanding Original Choreography

Bagashree Vaze, Sadhana/Tarana

Casimiro Nhussi and Pulga Muchochoma, MUKUTHÔ

Christine Friday, Firewater Thunderbird Rising (Citadel Dance Mix 2021)

Crazy Smooth, In My Body

Travis Knights and Lisa La Touche, Legacy Tap Dance Concert

Outstanding Performance by an Individual

Bageshree Vaze, Sadhana/Tarana

Casimiro Nhussi, MUKUTHÔ

Christine Friday, Firewater Thunderbird Rising (Citadel Dance Mix 2021)

Kobena Aquaa-Harrison, MUKUTHÔ

Lisa La Touche, Legacy Tap Dance Concert

Piotr Stanczyk, in a state of vanishing (Sharing The Stage: Programme B)

Pulga Muchochoma, MUKUTHÔ

Travis Knights, Legacy Tap Dance Concert

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble

Jordan Alleyne, Yuichiro Inoue, Peter Kelly, Megumi Kokuba, Erin Poole, Devon Snell, Margarita Soria, Roberto Soria, welcome, we’ve been waiting

Julie Rock (Julie Benoît), Anyo (Jerick Collantes), Jayson Collantes, DKC (David Dundas), Bboy Vibz (Romain Gailhaguet), Tash (Natasha Jean-Bart), Crazy Smooth (Yvon Soglo), Nubian Néné (Nadine Sylvestre), Tiffany Leung, In My Body

Syreeta Hector, Jane Alison McKinney, Amanda Pye, on air

Tarika Nath, Ariaki Dandawata, Anindita Anaam, Shivani Badgi, Sadhana/Tarana

Outstanding Original Sound Composition

Bagheshree Vaze and Vineet Vyas, Sadhana/Tarana

Caroline Planté, Benjamin Barrile and Miguel Medina, Reflejos del Tiempo (Sevillanas) (Ayer y Hoy, Celebrating 40 Years!)

Casimiro Nhussi and Kobena Aquaa-Harrison, MUKUTHÔ

DJ Shash’U, In My Body

Mikael Karlsson, Crypto

Outstanding Achievement in Design

Lighting Design (Chantal Labonté), In My Body

Multimedia/Video Design (Thomas Payette), In My Body

Scenic Design (David Danzon, Carolin Lindner), La bulle

Scenic Design (Xavier Mary), In My Body

Sound Design (Donny Milwalkee), Legacy Tap Dance Concert

Theatre For Young Audiences Division

Outstanding Production

Alice In Wonderland

Fireside Munsch (’21)

MOBY: A Whale Of A Tale

MORE Fireside Munsch

Spoiiiiiing

Outstanding New Play

Annie Tuma and Lena Maripuu, MOBY: A Whale Of A Tale

Stories by Robert Munsch, adapted by M. John Kennedy (Fireside Munsch ’21)

Stories by Robert Munsch, adapted by M. John Kennedy (MORE Fireside Munsch)

Outstanding Direction

Alex Montagnese, MOBY: A Whale Of A Tale

Dahlia Katz, Fireside Munsch (’21)

Dahlia Katz, MORE Fireside Munsch

Kitt Johnson, Spoiiiiiing

Tyler J. Seguin, Alice In Wonderland

Outstanding Performance by an Individual

Kiana Woo, Alice In Wonderland

M. John Kennedy, Fireside Munsch (’21)

M. John Kennedy, MORE Fireside Munsch

Samuel Gustavsson, Spoiiiiiing

Sture Ericson, Spoiiiiiing

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble

Amaka Umeh, Annie Tuma, Jamar Adams-Thompson, Lena Maripuu, Alex Millaire, Kaitlin Milroy, MOBY: A Whale Of A Tale

Anne-Marie Krytiuk, Cayne Kitagawa, Lauren Wolanski, Michael Williamson, Muhaddisah, Alice In Wonderland

Outstanding Achievement in Design

Costume Design (Gabriel Vaillant), MOBY: A Whale Of A Tale

Lighting Design (Mogens Kjempff), Spoiiiiiing

Costume Design (Nancy Anne Perrin), Alice In Wonderland

Puppetry (Nancy Anne Perrin), Alice In Wonderland

Scenic Design (Nancy Anne Perrin), Alice In Wonderland

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