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COME FROM AWAY and MATILDA Receive 14 Dora Award Nominations - See All The Nominees!

At a press conference held May 30 in the lobby of the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) announced 235 nominations for the 38th Annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards, which recognize excellence in the performing arts in Toronto.

For the 2016-2017 season, 129 producing companies registered 210 eligible productions. On Monday, June 26 at the Elgin Theatre, 48 Dora Mavor Moore Awards will be presented in a glittering ceremony hosted by the talented actor and musician Raoul Bhaneja. Additionally, the Silver Ticket Award (also known as the Lifetime Achievement Award) will be presented. For the past 11 years, the Dora Awards have also given out an Audience Choice Award, co-sponsored by NOW Magazine and Yonge-Dundas Square. In honour of beloved, long-time NOW Magazine theatre critic Jon Kaplan who passed away April 28, Jacoba Knaapen, Executive Director of TAPA, announced that the award will be renamed the Jon Kaplan Audience Choice Award.


Soulpepper Theatre Company heads the nominations list with a whopping 23 nominations in the General Theatre Division with Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts I, II, III) garnering 8: Outstanding Production, Outstanding Direction for Weyni Mengesha, Outstanding Performance - Male for Daren Herbert, Outstanding Performance - Female for Lisa Berry, Outstanding Performance - Ensemble, Outstanding Scenic Design for Lorenzo Savoini (who earns the same for Soulpepper's A Doll's House as well as a Lighting Design nod for The Testament of Mary), Outstanding Costume Design for Dana Osbourne and Outstanding Lighting Design for Kevin Lamotte. The 39 Steps receives 4 nods: Outstanding Performance - Ensemble as well as for Costume Design (Jackie Chau), Lighting Design (André du Toit) and Sound Design/Composition (Verne Good). Incident at Vichy and The Last Wife each earn 3 taps: Outstanding Production, Outstanding Direction for Alan Dilworth and Outstanding Performance - Ensemble for Incident at Vichy; Outstanding Performance - Male for Joseph Ziegler, Outstanding Performance - Female for Maev Beaty and Outstanding Scenic Design for Yannik Larivée for The Last Wife. Soulpepper's A Doll's House also earns Outstanding Performance - Female for Katherine Gauthier and Outstanding Costume Design for Victoria Wallace while Cage earns an Outstanding Sound Design/Composition nod for Richard Feren.

Nightwood Theatre and Obsidian Theatre Company tie for the runner-up spot in this division with 5 nominations each. Nightwood's Mouthpiece (with Quote Unquote Collective) earns 3 nods - Outstanding Production, Outstanding Performance - Ensemble and Outstanding Sound Design/Composition for James Bunton and Amy Nostbakken - while Unholy by Diane Flacks earns a tap for Outstanding New Play and Quiver garners a hit for Outstanding Sound Design/Composition for Mike Rinaldi. Obsidian's "Master Harold"...and the Boys (presented in association with the Shaw Festival) earns all of its 5 taps: Outstanding Production, Outstanding Direction for Philip Akin, Outstanding Performance - Male for both André Sills and James Daly, and Outstanding Scenic Design for Peter Hartwell. (Obsidian also earns 8 nominations in Musical Theatre for 13 taps in total.)

Following closely with 4 knocks each are Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and Factory Theatre. Buddies earns 3 for Body Politic (Outstanding Production, Outstanding New Play for Nick Green, Outstanding Performance - Female for Diane Flacks) and a nod to the Ensemble of Black Boys (presented by Buddies and Saga Collectif). Factory Theatre earns 2 for acquiesce (Outstanding New Play for David Yee and Outstanding Direction for Nina Lee Aquino) and 2 for Little Pretty and the Exceptional (Outstanding Performance - Male for Sugith Varughese and Outstanding Performance - Female for Shruti Kothari).

Other taps in the General Theatre Division go to both Theatre Passe Muraille and to Crow's Theatre and Talk is Free Theatre Production for Outstanding New Play: the former for Stupidhead! A Musical Comedy by Katherine Cullen and Britta Johnson and the latter for The Wedding Party by Kristen Thomson. ARC & Theatre Smash (in association with Canadian Stage) also earn a nod for Outstanding Direction for KISS, with Ashlie Corcoran director and Christopher Stanton associate director.


In Musical Theatre, Mirvish Productions leads the pack with 14 nods, 8 of which are for Come From Away (produced by Junkyard Dog Productions, Jerry Frankel, Latitude Link, Smith & Brant Theatricals, Steve & Paula Reynolds, David Mirvish, Michael Rubinoff, Yonge Street Theatricals, Sheridan College, Allan Detsky & Rena Mendelson and Just for Laughs Theatricals) and 6 of which are for Matilda: the Musical (produced by David Mirvish, Royal Shakespeare Company and the Dodgers). (And with 1 nod in the General Theatre Division for Outstanding Costume Design for The Audience, Mirvish Productions tallies in with 15 hits in total.)

Come From Away's 8 nominations are Outstanding Production, Outstanding New Musical/Opera for Irene Sankoff and David Hein, Outstanding Direction for Christopher Ashley, Outstanding Performance - Male for Chad Kimball, Outstanding Performance - Female for both Astrid van Wieren and Jenn Colella, Outstanding Lighting Design for Howell Binkley and Outstanding Musical Direction for the team of Gareth Owen/Irene Sankoff and David Hein.

Matilda: the Musical's 6 nominations are Outstanding Production, Outstanding Performance - Male (Dan Chameroy), Outstanding Performance - Ensemble, Outstanding Choreography (Peter Darling) and Outstanding Scenic Design and Costume Design (both Rob Howell).

Acting Up Stage Company and Obsidian Theatre Company are the runner-ups in Musical Theatre with 8 nods for their co-production of Passing Strange (tied with Come From Away), including Outstanding Production, Outstanding Direction for Philip Akin, Outstanding Performance - Male for both Jahlen Barnes and Beau Dixon, Outstanding Performance - Female for Sabryn Rock, Outstanding Performance - Ensemble, Outstanding Lighting Design for Steve Lucas and Outstanding Choreography for Kimberley Rampersad (who is up for the same award for Young People's Theatre's Seussical).

An Outstanding Production nod also goes to The Lemon Bucket Orkestra's Counting Sheep which garners a total of 3 Musical Theatre hits including Outstanding Performance - Ensemble and Outstanding Choreography. Young People's Theatre's (YPT) Seussical also pulls in 3 nods including Outstanding Production, Outstanding Choreography noted above and Outstanding Performance - Female for Arinea Hermans. With 2 knocks for James and the Giant Peach (Outstanding Performance - Female for Amaka Umeh, Outstanding Costume Design for Joanna Yu), Young People's Theatre tallies 5 for Musical Theatre (and 7 in total counting 2 in the Theatre for Young Audiences Division outlined below).

And Outstanding New Musical/Opera taps go to Against The Grain Theatre's A Little Too Cozy (translated and adapted by Joel Ivany) and to Theatre Passe Muraille's (in association with Cahoots Theatre) John & Waleed (written and composed by John Millard and Waleed Abdulhamid).


In the Independent Theatre Division, four different companies tie for the lead with 6 nominations each: Crow's Theatre, Public Recordings Performance Projects, The Spadina Avenue Gang and The Theatre Centre - with the first three having their 6 taps go to one show while The Theatre Centre spreads the love around between two co-productions.

Crow's Theatre earns 6 nods for The Emancipation of Ms. Lovely: Outstanding Production, Outstanding New Play (by Ngozi Paul), Outstanding Performance - Female (Ngozi Paul), Outstanding Scenic Design (Judith Bowden), Outstanding Lighting Design (Kaileigh Krysztoflak) and Outstanding Sound Design/Composition (Waleed Abdulhamid and DJ L'Oqenz).

Public Recordings Performance Projects' Other Jesus is up for Outstanding New Play (by Evan Webber), Outstanding Direction (Frank Cox-O'Connell), Outstanding Performance - Ensemble, Outstanding Scenic Design and Outstanding Costume Design (both for Sherri Hay) and Outstanding Sound Design/Composition (Christopher Willes).

The Spadina Avenue Gang's Tough Jews is up for Outstanding Production, Outstanding New Play (by Michael Ross Albert), Outstanding Direction (Benjamin Blais), Outstanding Performance - Ensemble, Outstanding Scenic Design (Adam Belanger) and Outstanding Costume Design (Lindsay Dagger Junkin).

The Theatre Centre shares 4 nominations for This is the Point, a co-production between Ahuri Theatre and The Theatre Centre (including Outstanding Production, Outstanding New Play, Outstanding Direction for Karin Randoja and Outstanding Performance - Ensemble), and shares as well 2 taps for The Magic Hour, co-produced by The Theatre Centre and Jess Dobkin. (The Theatre Centre also earns 4 taps in the Dance Division bringing their grand total up to 10 nods while Ahuri Theatre earns 3 in the Theatre for Young Audiences Division, bringing its tally to 7.)

Two companies tie for the runner-up position: ARC with 5 nods for Pomona and Why Not Theatre with 5 nods for Prince Hamlet with each up for Outstanding Production, Outstanding Performance - Ensemble and Outstanding Direction (Christopher Stanton for Pomona and Ravi Jain for Prince Hamlet). Prince Hamlet's Christine Horne also earns a tap for Outstanding Performance - Female. (And as noted in the General Theatre Division, ARC earns a nod for Outstanding Direction for KISS, bringing its grand total to 6.)

The Company Theatre tallies in with 4 hits for John: Outstanding Performance - Ensemble, Outstanding Performance - Male for Philip Riccio and is up against itself for Outstanding Performance - Female with both Nancy Beatty and Nora McLellan nominated.

Additionally, Coal Mine Theatre is up against itself for 3 Outstanding Performance - Male awards: 2 for Superior Donuts (Nabil Rajo and Robert Persichini) and 1 for Orphans (Tim Dowler-Coltman). Eldritch Theatre's Eric Woolfe is up for Outstanding New Play for The Harrowing of Brimstone McReedy and Outstanding Performance - Male in same. And Everything But the Bard gets a tap for Outstanding Performance - Female for Elley-Ray Hennessy in The Death of Mrs. Gandhi and the Beginning of New Physics (a political fantasy).


In the Opera Division, Canadian Opera Company (COC) productions lead overall with a total of 13 nominations as well as another 14 in the shared Musical Theatre/Opera Division, making for a total of 27 nods spread out over 5 productions.

The COC's Götterdämmerung tallies in with 8 knocks while its Norma earns 6; Ariodante and Tosca each weigh in with 5 and Louis Riel (a co-production with Canada's National Arts Centre) garners 3.

Ariodante, Götterdämmerung, Norma and Tosca all vie for Outstanding Production as well as for Outstanding Performance - Female (Jane Archibald, Christine Goerke, Sondra Radvanovsky and Adrianne Pieczonka respectively).

Götterdämmerung, and Tosca do the same for Outstanding Musical Direction (Johannes Debus, Stephen Lord and Keri-Lynn Wilson respectively) while Götterdämmerung and Louis Riel do the same for Outstanding Direction (Tim Albery and Peter Hinton respectively). For Outstanding Performance - Male, Götterdämmerung's Ain Anger and Andreas Schager are both up as is Louis Riel's Russell Braun and Tosca's Marcelo Puente.Norma

Outstanding Scenic Design sees Ariodante (Ultz, who also is tapped for Outstanding Costume Design), Götterdämmerung (Michael Levine) and Norma (David Korins) compete for the honour. Further COC nominations include Outstanding Costume Design for Norma and Tosca, Outstanding Lighting Design for Götterdämmerung and Norma, and Outstanding Choreography for Ariodante.

For Outstanding Performance - Ensemble, the COC's Louis Riel is up against the Canadian Children's Opera Company's Brundibar, Opera Atelier's Dido and Aeneas as well as Tapestry Opera's Rocking Horse Winner (as noted below).

Tapestry Opera earns 9 taps over the two divisions, all for its production of Rocking Horse Winner, which leads the pack for most nods for Opera productions: Outstanding New Musical/Opera (written by Anna Chatterton, composed by Gareth Williams), Outstanding Production, Outstanding Direction (Michael Hidetoshi Mori), Outstanding Performance - Male (Asitha Tennekoon), Outstanding Performance - Female (Carla Huhtanen), Outstanding Performance - Ensemble, Outstanding Scenic Design (Camellia Koo), Outstanding Lighting Design (Michelle Ramsay) and Outstanding Musical Direction (Jordan de Souza).


In the Dance Division, DanceWorks hits top spot with 12 nominations for 5 productions including 4 for In Search of the Holy Chop Suey (DanceWorks / Yvonne Ng / tiger princess dance projects), 3 nods each for Kittly-Bender (DanceWorks / CoWorks Kemi) and Ylem (3 Eggs Ago) (Lina Cruz for DanceWorks / Fila 13), and 1 nod each for Various Concert (DanceWorks / Throwdown Collective / Lina Cruz / Fila 13: Outstanding Performance - Ensemble) and Holy Cows! (DanceWorks / inDANCE Outstanding Performance - Male: Paul Charbonneau).

In Search of the Holy Chop Suey's 4 taps are for Outstanding Production, Outstanding Lighting Design (Arun Srinivasan) Outstanding Original Choreography and Outstanding Performance - Female with Yvonne Ng up for both the latter two.

Kittly-Bender's 3 nods are for Outstanding Production, Outstanding Original Choreography and Outstanding Performance - Female with Jennifer Dallas also up for the latter two. Ylem (3 Eggs Ago) vies for Outstanding Performance - Ensemble, Outstanding Original Choreography (Lina Cruz) and Outstanding Sound Design/Composition (Philippe Noireaut).

The runner-up spot is tied by three companies with 4 nods each: adelheid and The Theatre Centre co-production of what it's like, Kaeja d'Dance's Crave (CRAVE / DEFIANT), and Canadian Stage whose nods are shared between 3 for Dollhouse (a Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie production presented by Canadian Stage) and 1 for Meeting.

Vying with DanceWorks' Outstanding Production noms above are Dollhouse, Meeting and what it's like. what it's like also gets on board for Outstanding Original Choreography (Heidi Strauss), Outstanding Performance - Ensemble and Outstanding Lighting Design (Simon Rossiter, competing against himself for the same for Noisy from Toronto Dance Theatre, which also steps in with an Outstanding Performance - Ensemble nod for Chiasmata as does Rock Bottom Movement for MANICPIXIEDREAMGIRLS).

Crave's Karen Kaeja, Michael Caldwell and Stephanie Tremblay-Abubo also jump in the ring for Outstanding Original Choreography, Outstanding Performance - Male and Outstanding Performance - Female respectively. Dollhouse's Bill Coleman, l'inanité des bibelots / love would only slow me down (Blue Valentine)'s Andrew Hartley (Common People) and Bakari I. Lindsay, for his performance in Older & Reckless (Harbourfront Centre's NextSteps in association with MOonhORsE Dance Theatre), all weigh in for Outstanding Performance - Male while Swan Lake Syndrome's Linnea Swan (CORPUS) and Margie Gillis for her performance in Older & Reckless wade in for Outstanding Performance - Female.


The Theatre for Young Audiences Division sees Roseneath Theatre lead the pack with 5 nods for two shows: 3 for Meet Cute (Outstanding New Play - Erin Norah Thompson, Outstanding Direction - Jillian Harper and Aaron Willis, Outstanding Performance - Ensemble) and 2 for Birds of a Feather (Outstanding New Play - Robert Watson, Outstanding Performance - Individual - Bria McLaughlin).

Five other companies in this division each earn 3 nods for one show. For What Dream it Was, Ahuri Theatre earns taps for Outstanding Production, Outstanding Performance - Ensemble and Outstanding Direction (Dan Watson), bringing its total to 7 as noted in the Independent Theatre Division. Bad Hats Theatre's Peter Pan gets taps for Outstanding Production, Outstanding Performance - Ensemble and Outstanding Direction (Severn Thompson). Nightswimming's Boys With Cars (in association with Young People's Theatre) gets on board with Outstanding Direction (Brian Quirt) as Anita Majumdar gets nods for both Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Performance - Individual. Solar Stage's 3 hits are all for Outstanding Performance - Individual for Treasure Island (Kit Boulter, M. John Kennedy, Shakura Dickson) while Théâtre français de Toronto's Les Zinspirés: cinq sur cinq earns nods for Outstanding New Play, Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Performance - Ensemble.

Two Outstanding Production nods in this division go to Theatre Direct: for Hup and Nest. Young People's Theatre also tallies 2: Outstanding Production for Still/Falling (a Green Thumb Theatre production) and Outstanding New Play for Munschtime! (and with its 5 knocks in Musical Theatre, it tallies 7 in total as noted above). The Second City earns 1 nod for Outstanding Performance - Ensemble for Superdude and Doctor Rude.


Canadian Stage leads in the Outstanding Touring Production award race with 2 nominations: Cirkopolis (A Canadian Stage and Sony Centre for the Performing Arts presentation) and 887 (bringing its tap total to 7 with 4 in the Dance Division as outlined above and 1 in the General Theatre Division for Outstanding Lighting Design for Kimberley Purtell for Concord Floral). James I: The Key Will Keep the Lock (Luminato Festival), Metis Mutt (Native Earth Performing Arts) and Wrestling Jerusalem (Sara Schwartz Geller Productions) round out the competition.


The Bluma Appel Community Trust continues its special gift: a $5,000 prize will be awarded at the Dora Awards ceremony on June 26 to the winning playwright of Outstanding New Play in the General Theatre Division for the eleventh year in a row, in addition to the continuation of Bluma's Indies comprised of a cash prize of $1,000 per winning category in the Independent Theatre Division.

For the third year in a row, the Pat and Tony Adams Freedom Fund for the Arts will provide a cash prize of $1,000 each to the recipients of Outstanding Performance - Female and Outstanding Performance - Male in the General Theatre Division.


In addition, the recipients of the George Luscombe Mentorship Award, Leonard McHardy and John Harvey Award, and Pauline McGibbon Award were announced.

Toronto-based set and costume designer Joanna Yu is the recipient of the 2017 Pauline McGibbon Award, created in honour of former Lieutenant Governor Pauline McGibbon. It includes a $7,000 prize and a medal designed by Dora de Pédery-Hunt and is presented to a member of Ontario's professional theatre community in the early stages of his or her career who has displayed a unique talent and a potential for excellence. The award is given each year by the Province of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism and is administered by the Ontario Arts Council. Joanna has designed costumes and sets for a variety of performing arts organizations across Ontario and has also served as an assistant designer at the Stratford Festival (four seasons), the Canadian Opera Company (two seasons), Soulpepper and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Her passionate vision, unique design aesthetic and collaborative approach enhance every project she works on, whether for a show or as a guest artist/designer/lecturer for college- and university-level theatre programs, including York University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) in Theatre Design and Production.

The recipient of the George Luscombe Mentorship Award is multi-disciplinary theatre artist Marjorie Chan, current Artistic Director of Cahoots Theatre. Named in honour of Toronto Workshop Productions' revolutionary theatre founder and artistic director, the award is administered by TAPA and comes with original artwork by Theo Dimson, a copy of the book Conversations with George Luscombe: Steven Bush in conversation with the Canadian Theatre visionary and a $1,000 prize. As an artistic leader, Marjorie Chan has focused her attention on mentorship, artist incubation, new play development and accessibility with outreach to newcomers, marginalized youth and advocacy for a broader and more rigorous approach to inclusiveness for all a priority. To that end, she spearheaded the comprehensive online guide DATT, the Deaf Artists & Theatres Toolkit. Marjorie has served as a mentor for the AMY Project - Artists Mentoring Youth - many times, including in 2017. The AMY Project seeks to build the leadership and unique voice of young women and non-binary youth in Toronto by supporting them early in their careers. While Play Creation Unit Director for Carlos Bulosan Theatre from 2010-2012, she mentored writers from a Filipino background. Marjorie has also been an Artist-in-Residence at the Banff Playwrights' Colony, Tapestry New Opera, Theatre Direct Canada, SUNY (Geneseo, New York), Theatre du Pif (Hong Kong) and Cahoots Theatre.

The recipient of the 2017 Leonard McHardy and John Harvey Award (LMJH Award) is visionary arts producer and administrator Mitchell Marcus, one of Toronto's foremost cultural leaders and Artistic and Managing Director of The Musical Stage Company (formerly Acting Up Stage Company). The award recognizes the important work of theatre, dance and opera administrators and is named after the founders of Toronto's Theatrebooks (1975 to its closure in 2014). The winner receives a plaque and a cheque for $1,000 through the generous sponsorship of the late Elizabeth Comper. Recipients of the LMJH Award have at least 10 years of demonstrated commitment to the performing arts, in addition to having made an impact on the industry in Toronto. Mitchell Marcus has proven his exceptional leadership and unwavering commitment to Toronto's arts and culture landscape in a myriad of artistic, management and mentoring positions. In 2004, he founded The Musical Stage Company where he has created a thriving arts organization, and mentored young producers and artistic directors. As an Associate Producer for the inaugural six years of Luminato, Mitchell helped establish one of the pre-eminent arts festivals in North America.


As noted above, it was announced that the Audience Choice Award is renamed the Jon Kaplan Audience Choice Award in honour of the beloved, long-time NOW Magazine theatre critic. TAPA's Audience Choice Award is co-sponsored once again this year by NOW Magazine and Yonge-Dundas Square. The public is invited to choose a winner and vote for their favourite show from the list of nominees for Outstanding Production - or they can choose their own! Theatre, dance and opera fans can cast their votes online at from June 1 to June 21. ...The winner is announced at the Dora Awards show ceremony and receives a special plaque from NOW Magazine.

The Dora Mavor Moore Awards are administered by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA). In addition to the Doras, other programs and services provided by TAPA include: the city-wide arts app TOnight "a box office in your pocket";; Toronto's Official Theatre Guide; hipTIX, offering $5 tickets to students between the ages of 14 and 29; citySPECIAL, offering free tickets to newcomers and marginalized communities; the Commercial Theatre Development Fund; and the Travel Retreat Initiatives Program - TRIP.

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