The Four Horsemen rode off with a quartet of wins at the 28th annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards, celebrating the fine work of Toronto's theatre, dance and opera communities. They were presented last night (Monday, June 25) at the Winter Garden Theatre.
The big winner in the independent theatre was The Four Horsemen Project, based on the work of the 70s Canadian poetry group and presented by Volcano in association with Crooked Figure Dances, Factory Theatre and Global Mechanic, picked up prizes for outstanding new play, production, direction (Kate Alton and Ross Manson) and lighting (Itai Erdal).
In the same category, the acting awards went to a surprised and emotional Ryan Kelly (Will The Real J.T. LeRoy Please Stand Up?) and Sarah Dodd (Marion Bridge), who began her acceptance speech by saying she was glad to have sprung for a babysitter.
Camellia Koo won for The Sheep And The Whale's set design, Robin Fisher for costumes for 36 Views and Waylen Miki took sound design/composition for SARSical.
Awards were more scattered in the general theatre division. The Tarragon picked up three – production (a co-pro with the National Arts Centre) and Richard Rose's direction for the superb Scorched; Michael Healey's Generous won for new play.
The Queen-based We Will Rock You took production of a musical, while Florence Gibson and Shawn Byfield's tapdance-and-text i think i can, produced by Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People, was chosen outstanding new musical. LKTYP also got awards for Allen MacInnis's direction of Seussical and Corrine Koslo's performance in the same show; it's the second year in a row she's won for a LKTYP show, and the second playing an animal.
In the acting category, Daniel MacIvor won for Here Lies Henry and Seana McKenna for Orpheus Descending, while Adam Brazier walked away with performance in a musical for Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show and Jane Spidell took home the featured-role honours for her work in Leaving Home.
Christopher House's Timecode Break swept the dance division, taking production, new choreography and sound design/composition (Phil Strong). The performance award went to Ramon Martinez for Esencia Flamenca.
The Canadian Opera Company's Elektra took both opera awards, for production and performer (Susan Bullock).
In the theatre for young audiences division, winners were the production of Comet In Moominland (presented by LKTYP in association with the Manitoba Theatre for Young People), while performer Christine Brubaker got the nod for The Babysitter (Theatre Direct Canada in association with Eldritch Theatre).
The Silver Ticket Award went to retiring Theatre Passe Muraille head Layne Coleman, and scenic artist Lindsay Anne Black won the Pauline McGibbon Award. The Audience Choice Award, voted online and co-sponsored by NOW and Yonge-Dundas Square, went to Evil Dead The Musical.
Evening highlights? Multi-talented host Rick Miller offering a 25-person rendition of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, channeling everyone from Bob Dylan and Neil Young to Leonard Cohen and Barney the Dinosaur. He closed the evening with part of his MacHomer show, in which he plays all the Simpsons characters in a version of Macbeth.
Best improvised patter by presenters? Richard Greenblatt and Ted Dykstra (2 Pianos, 4 Hands).
Best acceptance speech? Choreographer Shawn Byfield tapping his thanks for the award for i think i can; Michael Healey, who won the next award, mused aloud that it was inhuman to have to follow such an act.
Best timed acceptance speech? At the end of the two-and-a-half-hour evening, the Tarragon's Camilla Holland picked up the evening's last award for Richard Rose. She gave us only the first and last three sentences of his acceptance speech; people could read the rest at the post-show party, she said, for she was going to tape it to her back.
For a full list of Dora winners see www.tapa.ca/doras.