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Venus In Fur
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Of Human Bondage
Sometimes the planets align and things like awards nominations actually seem fair and well-considered. That's the case with this year's Dora Mavor Moore nominations, just announced this morning at the Sony Centre. While I have some grumblings about a couple of categories, overall the nominees are very deserving.
In general theatre, the clear winner is the Tarragon Theatre, whose production of The Double (co-produced with TheatreRUN) earned five nods, with four apiece for Lungs and A God In Need Of Help. Other justly praised productions include Soulpepper's Of Human Bondage (nine nominations), Mirvish's Les Misérables and Canadian Stage's London Road (11 each).
In the indie theatre category, the glory was shared by a quintet of shows: Outside the March's Vitals, UnSpun Theatre's The Tin Drum and VideoCabaret's Trudeau And The FLQ each came away with five nominations, while Ahuri Theatre's Ralph + Lina and Suburban Beast's All Our Happy Days Are Stupid got four each.
The Canadian Opera dominated the opera division, although it's nice to see the fierce indie company Against The Grain's marvelous production of Figaro's Wedding compete against the COC's big budget operas in some categories.
In the Theatre for Young Audiences division, Young People's Theatre's production of Sultans Of The Street is the clear leader, with seven nods.
And DanceWorks dominated the Dance division, with the group show with a trace being nominated for a whopping 10 awards.
The ensemble acting categories have been in place for a couple of years now, and this year they're stronger than ever. I can't recall so many shows that featured such great casts that it was hard to single out any performer in them. Among this year's nominated ensembles are The Gay HeritageProject, London Road, Of Human Bondage, Passion Play, The Tin Drum, All Our Happy Days Are Stupid and Figaro's Wedding.
Oddly absent are the Soulpepper shows Angels In America (probably the biggest snub of the year) and Idiot's Delight, as well as Harold Green's New Jerusalem, Acting Up Stage's Elegies and Studio 180's God Of Carnage and Cock.
Other things that make me happy: five nominations for Damien Atkins (including best actor in a play and a musical, for Angels In America and London Road, respectively), the fact that actor Ron Pederson was acknowledged for his superb work in Pith!, and the fact that Camellia Koo and Lorenzo Savoini dominate the scenic design categories in general theatre for three and two separate shows.
I'm disappointed that FeverGraph's excellent production of Look Back In Anger was shut out. It's also odd that Tarragon's production of The Valley got no love. Speaking of snubs, surely James Monroe Iglehart's performance as the Genie in Aladdin (he's a front-runner for the Tony Awardthis Sunday) rates a nomination? Guess not.
And while it's heartening to see such love for Red One Theatre's sizzling production of After Miss Julie, it's disappointing that Christopher Morris didn't get a nod opposite the justly nominated Claire Armstrong.
No one would argue that it was a good year for new musicals, but the absence of Ross Petty Production's critically-acclaimed The Little Mermaid seems churlish. On the other hand, it's telling that the original musical Arrabal got no nominations, even for its stunning choreography.
Also announced at today's ceremony were winners of three special prizes: the Pauline McGibbon Award went to designer Karyn McCallum; the Barbara Hamilton Memorial Award went to writer, director and performer David S. Craig; and the Leonard McHardy and John Harvey Award was presented to Meredith Potter, who currently manages Volcano, Peggy Baker Dance Projects and Nova Dance.