Three shows should head up the list of nominees, with nods for new play and production.Stephen Guy-McGrath's and Steven Mayoff's Bully took schoolyard pranks to a new dimension by combining them with Stephen Hawking's physics. Guy-McGrath's uplifting performance (quite literally, since he was suspended in a harness) should net him an acting nod.
Like Guy-McGrath, Mike McPhaden deserves to be a double nominee as playwright and performer in Poochwater. Playing an amnesiac war vet, he began with bizarre comedy and ended with poignant revelations. We vote for director Patrick Conner, too, who shifted the play's emotional gears with ease.
Richard Sanger's Two Words For Snow, revolving around the Peary expedition to the North Pole, was an ambitious look at exploitation and father-son relationships. Nigel Shawn Williams is a shoo-in for an acting nod, as are Teresa Przybylski and Bonnie Beecher,, who made us see all the emotional colours in white, for design nominations.
A dark horse candidate for new play is Matthew MacFadzean's richardthesecond, a cautionary work that updates and replicates the mood of Shakespeare's philosophizing ruler. Look for MacFadzean to score an actor nomination, too, and possibly one for Rebecca Brown for directing.
One play not eligible for new-play recognition but deserving production honours is The Laramie Project, which uses a small town and documentary-style reporting to create a moving exposé of prejudice and homophobia.
Joel Greenberg could get a nod for directing. But don't rule out the strong acting ensemble (particularly Kimwun Perehinec, Alison Lawrence and Jonathan Goad) in numerous roles.
Other deserving productions? Mump & Smoot In Flux proved a canoe could become a tent and monstrous Boolawas really exist, while the experimental, site-specific The Observation documented 20 years of DNA Theatre's history.
In acting categories, we'd acknowledge Tara Rosling for her luminous turn as a stripper in 1002 Nights and Mary Francis Moore's verbally nimble ex-circus performer in Grendelmaus. Dark horses include Fides Krucker, who turned songs into emotional epics in A Little Rain Never Hurt No One, and possibly Marcello Cabezas, riveting as a violent teen in Vladeck.
Little Mercy"s First Murder, the noir musical by Morwyn Brebner, Paul Sportelli and Jay Turvey, should clean up nominations in the under-represented musical categories, including script and production. We also wouldn't mind nominations for director Eda Holmes and featured actor Jeff Lillico.
A quartet of shows should sweep the straight play categories for production and new play.
Sonja Mills expanded her range with The Danish Play, a moving tale inspired by her great-aunt, poet and resistance fighter Agnete Ottosen. There's no justice if Kate Hennig doesn't walk away with a lead acting nomination (and possibly the award). Featured actors Christine Brubaker and/or Randi Helmers deserve recognition. Kelly Thornton's name should be on the directors list.
Yet another artist growing in new directions is Matthew Edison. Better known as an actor (he could cop a featured acting nomination in Proof), Edison debuted as a playwright in The Domino Heart, a touching look at three characters linked by a transplanted heart. Rosemary Dunsmore's guilt-ridden widow is a shoo-in as female lead.
Finally, two new plays examined domestic drama with comic touches. Adam Pettle's Sunday Father cleverly juxtaposed three generations of fathers and sons, while Morris Panych's Girl In The Goldfish Bowl used a young girl's perspective to look at a family falling apart.
Father could bring David Storch a directing nomination, though he could also get acting nods for A Chorus Of Disapproval and The Winter"s Tale.
Playwright Panych should get a nomination for director as well, and Ken MacDonald's design - part rooming house, part underwater pier - was also outstanding. The acting ensemble was strong, notably John Jarvis and Brenda Robins. Ironically, both did good work in other shows - Jarvis in In The Wings, Robins in The Beard Of Avon and Home Is My Road.
Other shows that deserve kudos: Through The Eyes (production, actor Richard McMillan, director Brian Quirt, designers Carolyn M. Smith and Paul Mathiesen); Absolutely Chekhov (production, new play); In The Freedom Of Dreams: The Story Of Nelson Mandela (production; director Guillermo Verdecchia; actors George Seremba, Andrew Moodie and Ngozi Paul); and Gagarin Way (actors Shawn Doyle and Matthew MacFadzean).
We'd hate to have to choose which role stands out for the following versatile actors: Brooke Johnson (The Gwendolyn Poems, In The Wings); Oliver Becker (Absolutely Chekhov, Side Man); Nancy Palk (The Winter's Tale, The Maids); Martha Burns (The Maids; Kingfisher Days; Absolutely Chekhov); Eric Peterson (Chronic, The Blues, Boy Gets Girl); Jane Spidell (Side Man, Miss Julie).
Let the voting begin.