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20th Annual IRNE Awards Nominees Are Announced - A.R.T.'s THE GREAT COMET, NICE WORK at Ogunquit, BILLY ELLIOT at NSMT and More!

The Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) today announced the nominees for the 20th Annual IRNE Awards, which honors the best of the previous year's actors, directors, choreographers, designers and companies across the full spectrum of large, mid-size and fringe theater companies.

The winners will be announced at the 20th Annual IRNE Awards, held on Monday, April 11th, at 7:30 p.m. at the 1200 Hotel Ballroom (Holiday Inn) in Brookline, MA, just outside Kenmore Square. Tickets, as always, will be free, but because of space limitations at the new venue registration is required. Attendees should go to Theater Mania at to reserve free tickets.

This year's IRNE's will be dedicated to the memory of the late Barbara Meek, the longtime member of Trinity Repertory Company who won an IRNE Award for her 1997 portrayal of Sadie in the company's production of Having Our Say. Her 40-year acting career included stints on Broadway as well as world premieres at Vienna's English Theater and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Ms. Meek passed last fall.

"The nomination process - as is the case with most years - was a contentious one, with so many worthy candidates to select from, particularly in the midsize and fringe theater categories" said IRNE co-founder Beverly Creasey of Boston Arts Review. "But we believe we have come up with a fairly representative cross section of the best performances of 2015 with our nominees."

A.R.T's Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 was nominated for Best Musical in the Large Theater categories, along with the Huntington Theatre Company's A Little Night Music (11 nominations); Billy Elliot, (North Shore Music Theatre); Nice Work If You Can Get It (Ogunquit Playhouse); The Little Mermaid (Fiddlehead Theatre); and Crossing and Waitress (A.R.T.). In the Best Play in the Large Theater category, Come Back Little Sheba was joined by a pair of other Huntington productions, The Colored Museum and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, as well as The Outgoing Tide (Merrimack Repertory Theater); Father Comes Home from the Wars (A.R.T.); and King Lear (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company).

In the Mid-Size category, Lyric Stage Company earned 23 nominations spread over a half-dozen productions (My Fair Lady, Light Up the Sky, Saturday Night/Sunday Morning, Intimate Apparel, City of Angels, Buyer and Cellar) and Speakeasy Stage Company garnered 13 with five productions (Mothers & Sons, Big Fish, Appropriate, Casa Valentina, and A Future Perfect).

In the Fringe category, no fewer than five works achieved the triple play of Best Acting/Directing/Play nominations: Academy Fight Song (Centastage); Dying City (Happy Medium Theatre); The Farnsworth Invention (Flat Earth Theatre); Kimberly Akimbo (Moonbox Productions); and The Submission (Zeitgeist Stage).
The complete list of nominations is below:

About IRNE Awards

The Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Awards was founded by Beverly Creasey of the Journal Newspapers and Larry Stark of TheaterMirror in 1995. Each year the IRNE Awards recognize the extraordinary wealth of talent in the Boston theatre community - from fringe companies to large scale visiting productions. IRNE Awards are presented to actors, directors, choreographers, design disciplines, and theater companies in 54 categories across the full spectrum of large, mid-size and small/fringe theater companies that comprise Boston's theater scene.

IRNE Reviewers include Sheila Barth(Independent Newspaper Group, Jewish Journal, Theater Mirror), Jules Becker (Jewish Advocate, Bay Windows, Boston Theater Wings) , Al Chase (White Rhino Report), Michael Cox (Independent), Jack Craib (South Shore Critic), Beverly Creasey (Boston Arts Review), Cathy Scrizzi Driscoll* Cape Cod Times (Stage Door), Shirley Esthimer* (Walpole Times), Rich Fahey (On Boston Stages), Guy Giampapa (Preview), Nancy Grossman (Broadway World, Talkin' Broadway), Mike Hoban (Events Insider), Robert Israel (The Arts Fuse), Beatrice Lee (Sino-American Times), Charles Munitz (Boston Arts Diary) and Larry Stark (Theater Mirror).
*Denotes non-voting member

For spelling corrections on nominations, contact Beverly Creasey at 617-254-4482.


20TH IRNE Nominations - Large Stage

New Play

Crossing- Matthew Aucoin-American Repertory Theatre
Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1, 2 & 3 - Suzan-Lori Parks-A.R.T.
Melancholy Play: A Chamber Musical-Sarah Ruhl and Todd Almond-Trinity Repertory Company
Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812-Dave Molloy-A.R.T.
The Second Girl-Ronan Noone- Huntington Theatre Company
Waitress-Book by Jessie Nelson, Music and Lyrics by Sara Bareilles-A.R.T.

Set Design

Stephen Dobay-Come Back, Little Sheba- Huntington
Mimi Lien-Natasha, Pierre- A.R.T.
Santo Loquasto-The Second Girl- Huntington
Clint Ramos-After All the Terrible Things I Do- Huntington
Michael Carnahan-I and You- Merrimack Repertory Theatre

Costume Design

Tracy Christensen-The Heidi Chronicles-Trinity Rep
Robert Morgan-A Little Night Music-Huntington
Anita Yavitch-The Colored Museum-Huntington
Paloma Young- Natasha, Pierre-A.R.T.
Suttirat Larlarb- Waitress-A.R.T.

Lighting Design

Ken Billington-The Last Two People on Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville-A.R.T.
Mike Durst-Come Back, Little Sheba-Huntington
Bradley King-Natasha, Pierre-A.R.T.
Alex Nichols-Ernest Shackleton Loves Me-Arts Emerson
Driscoll Otto-The Colored Museum-Huntington
Scott Pinkney-Ulysses on Bottles-Israeli Stage

Sound Design

Brian Fairley-The Grand Parade-Double Edge Theatre/Arts Emerson
Matt Hubbs-Natasha,Pierre-A.R.T.
Jonathan Mastro-Come Back, Little Sheba-Huntington
David Remedios-Out of the City-Merrimack
Jon Weston-A Little Night Music-Huntington

Projection Design

Zachary G. Borovay-The Colored Museum-Huntington
Brian Fairley-The Great Parade-Double Edge Theatre/Arts Emerson
Sven Ortel-A Confederacy of Dunces-Huntington
Finn Ross-Crossing-A.R.T.
Stephen Terry-Guys and Dolls-Goodspeed


Rachel Bertone-Guys and Dolls-Reagle Music Theatre
Peggy Hickey-Nice Work If You Can Get It-Ogunquit Playhouse
Adam Pelty-Billy Elliot-North Shore Music Theatre
Daniel Pelzig-A Little Night Music-Huntington
Sam Pinkleton-Natasha,Pierre-A.R.T.
Kira Cowan Troilo-The Little Mermaid-Fiddlehead

Solo Performance

Tangela Large-Mr. Joy-Arts/Emerson
Audra McDonald-An Evening with Audra McDonald-Celebrity Series of Boston
Anthony Rapp- Without You-Commonwealth Shakespeare Company at Babson Arts
Benjamin Scheuer-The Lion-Merrimack


Billy Elliot-North Shore Music Theatre
The Colored Museum-Huntington
Come Back, Little Sheba-Huntington
A Little Night Music-Huntington
It's a Wonderful Life-Merrimack

Supporting Actress-Musical

Brittain Ashford-Natasha,Pierre-A.R.T.
Sarah De Lima-Billy Elliot-North Shore Music Theatre
Shana Dirik-Disney's The Little Mermaid-Fiddlehead Theatre Company
McCaela Donovan-A Little Night Music-Huntington
Lori L'Italien-Guys and Dolls-Reagle Music Theatre
Keala Settle-Waitress-A.R.T.
Sally Struthers-Nice Work If You Can Get It-Ogunquit
Morgan Kirner-A Little Night Music-Huntington

Supporting Actor-Musical

James Beaman-Nice Work-Ogunquit
Jay Kelley-The Little Mermaid-Fiddlehead
Brad Peloquin-Guys and Dolls-Reagle
Matthew Rodin-Saturday Night Fever-North Shore
Lucas Steele-Natasha,Pierre-A.R.T.
Eric LaJuan Summers-Dreamgirls-North Shore Music Theatre


Denee Benton-Natasha,Pierre-A.R.T.
Katie Clark-Wonderful Town-Reagle
Tessa Grady-Saturday Night Fever-North Shore
Haydn Gwynne-A Little Night Music-Huntington
Jessie Mueller-Waitress-A.R.T.
Bryonha Marie Parham-Dreamgirls-North Shore


Brett Barrett-Guys and Dolls-Reagle Summer Theatre
Stephen Bogardus-A Little Night Music-Huntington
Elijah Rock-Breath and Imagination-Arts Emerson
Joey Sorge-Nice Work-Ogunquit
Scott Stangland-Natasha,Pierre-A.R.T.
Jared Troilo-The Little Mermaid-Fiddlehead

Supporting Actress-Play

Anita Gillette-A Confederacy of Dunces-Huntington
Julie Halston-A Confederacy of Dunces-Huntington
Deb Martin-King Lear-Commonwealth Shakespeare
Marie Polizzano-Come Back, Little Sheba-Huntington
Madeline Wise-Choice-Huntington
Haneefah Wood-Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike-Huntington

Supporting Actor-Play

David Adkins-The Outgoing Tide-Merrimack
Phillip James Brannon-A Confederacy of Dunces-Huntington
Joel Colodner-It's A Wonderful Life-Merrimack
Nathan Lee Graham-The Colored Museum-Huntington
Mauro Hantman-The Heidi Chronicles-Trinity Rep
Jeremiah Kissel-King Lear-Commonwealth
Michael Knowlton-Come Back, Little Sheba-Huntington


Tina Chilip-After All the Terrible Things I Do-Huntington
Marcia DeBonis-Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike-Huntington
Jenny Jules-Father Comes Home From the Wars-A.R.T.
Adrianne Krstansky-Come Back, Little Sheba-Huntington
Felicity LaFortune-The Outgoing Tide-Merrimack Rep
Tina Packer-Mother of the Maid-Shakespeare & Company


Ross Bickel-The Outgoing Tide-MRT
Benton Greene-Father Comes Home from the Wars-A.R.T.
Derek Hasenstab-Come Back, Little Sheba-Huntington
Will Lyman-King Lear-Commonwealth
Martin Moran- Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike-Huntington

Music Director

Nadia DiGiallonardo-Waitress-A.R,.T.
Or Matias-Natasha,Pierre-A.R.T.
Jonathan Mastro-A Little Night Music-Huntington
Charles Peltz-West Side Story-Fiddlehead
Dan Rodriguez-Guys and Dolls-Reagle
James Sampliner-The Colored Museum-Huntington

Visiting Play- Larger

Beautiful-Broadway in Boston
The Book of Mormon-Broadway in Boston
Kinky Boots-Broadway in Boston
Newsies-Broadway in Boston
Once-Citi Center for Performing Arts

Visiting Play-Large

Chopin Without Words- Arts Emerson
Ernest Shackleton Loves Me-Arts Emerson
Green Porno,Live on Stage-Arts Emerson
Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin-Arts/Emerson
The Hypocrites' The Mikado-A.R.T.

Visiting Actress

Abby Mueller-Beautiful-Broadway in Boston
Isabella Rossellini-Green Porno-Arts Emerson
Meow Meow-An Audience with Meow Meow- Arts Emerson
Valerie Vigoda-Ernest Shackleton Likes Me- Arts Emerson
Barbara Wysocka-Chopin Without Words-Arts Emerson

Visiting Actor

Hershey Felder-Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin-Arts/Emerson
Jacob Kemp-Newsies-Broadway in Boston
Dominic Marsh-Kneehigh'sTristan & Yseult-Arts Emerson
Wade McCollum-Ernest Shackleton Loves Me-Arts Emerson
Kyle Taylor Parker-Kinky Boots-Broadway in Boston


Peter DuBois-A Little Night Music-Huntington
Rachel Chavkin-Natasha,Pierre-A.R.T.
Diane Paulus-Waitress-A.R.T.
Larry Raben-Nice Work-Ogunquit
Stacey Stephens-The Little Mermaid-Fiddlehead


Jo Bonney-Father Comes Home from the Wars-A.R.T.
David Cromer-Come Back, Little Sheba
Steve Maler-King Lear-CSC
Billy Porter-The Colored Museum
Jessica Stone (after Nicholas Martin)-Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike-Huntington
Charles Towers-The Outgoing Tide-Merrimack Rep


Billy Elliot-North Shore Music Theatre
The Little Mermaid-Fiddlehead Theatre
A Little Night Music-Huntington Theatre Company
Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812-A.R.T.
Nice Work If You Can Get It-Ogunquit Playhouse

The Colored Museum-Huntington
Come Back, Little Sheba-Huntington
The Outgoing Tide-Merrimack Rep
Father Comes Home from the Wars-A.R.T.
King Lear-Commonwealth Shakespeare
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike-Huntington

Promising Young Performer

Vincent Crocilla and Anthony Rosenthal-Newsies-Broadway
Nicholas Dantes and Brooks Landegger-Billy Elliot-North Shore
Lauren Weintraub-A Little Night Music-Huntington

20TH IRNE Nominations - Small Stage
New Play

Academy Fight Song-Andrew Clarke-Centastage
A Crack in the Blue Wall-Jacqui Parker-Hibernian Hall
The Draft-Peter Snoad-Hibernian Hall
Gloucester Blue-Israel Horovitz-Gloucester Stage Company
Lifers-Maureen Connell and John Shea-Argos Productions
The Misadventures of Spy Matthias-Joe Byers-Theater on Fire

Set Design

Erik D. Diaz-Mothers & Sons-SpeakEasy Stage Company
Janie E. Howland-Light Up the Sky-Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Arianna Knox-A Taste of Honey-Boston Center for American Performance
Christopher Ostrom-Neville's Island-Stoneham Theatre
Cristina M. Tedesco-Appropriate-SpeakEasy

Costume Design

Charles Baldwin-Shrek! - Wheelock Family Theatre
Gail Astrid Buckley-Light Up the Sky-Lyric Stage
Tyler Kinney-Henry VI, Part 2-Actors Shakespeare Project
Cotton Talbot-Minkin-Kerplop! The Tale of the Frog Prince-Imaginary Beasts
Elisabetta Polito-Saturday Night/Sunday Morning-Lyric Stage

Lighting Design

Chris Bocchiaro-Terra Nova-Flat Earth
Jeff Adelberg-God's Ear-Actors Shakespeare Project
John R. Malinowski-Matchless and the Happy Prince-Underground Railway Theatre
Wen -Ling Liao-Grounded-Nora Theatre
Franklin Meissner, Jr.-Snow Queen-New Repertory Theatre
Russ Swift-The Flick -Gloucester

Projection Design

Deirdre Benson and Terry Torres-The Misadventures of Spy Matthias-Theater on Fire
Johnathan Carr-City of Angels -Lyric Stage Company
Garrett Herzig-Albatross-New Repertory Theatre
Kathryn Lieber-Colossal-Company One
Seaghan McKay-Big Fish-SpeakEasy

Sound Design

Alex Dietz-Kest-The Diary of Anne Frank-Boston Children's Theatre
Arshan Gailus-Appropriate-SpeakEasy
Joel Simches-Shockheaded Peter-Company One
Brad Smith-Terra Nova-Flat Earth Theatre
Darby Smotherman-Colossal-Company One
Mischa Stanton-From the Deep-Boston Public Works Theatre

Puppetry Design

Eric Bornstein-Shockheaded Peter-Company One
David Fichter-Matchless and the Happy Prince-Underground Railway


Patricia Manalo Bochnak-Shrek!-Wheelock
Gabriel Nesser-A Little Orphan Trannie Christmas-Gold Dust Orphans
Ilyse Robbins-How to Succeed...-Stoneham Theatre
Kiki Samko-A Winter's Tale-Maiden Phoenix Theatre

Solo Performance

Ben Evett-Albatross-New Rep; originally at Poets' Theatre
Obehi Janice-Fufu & Oreos-Bridge Repertory Theatre
Robbie McCauley-Bad Ass: Jazz'n Class-Sleeping Weazel
Celeste Oliva-Grounded-Underground Railway
Phil Tayler-Buyer and Cellar-Lyric Stage


Casa Valentina-SpeakEasy
The Diary of Anne Frank-Boston Children's Theatre
The Farnsworth Invention-Flat Earth
Intimate Apparel-Lyric Stage
Saturday Night/Sunday Morning-Lyric Stage
Shockheaded Peter-Company One

Supporting Actress-Play-Fringe

Shana Dirik-Kimberly Akimbo-Moonbox
Paula Langton-A Taste of Honey-BCAP
Caroline Rose Markham-A Winter's Tale-Maiden Phoenix
Cassandra Meyer-A Winter's Tale-Maiden Phoenix
Tracy Oliverio-Academy Fight Song-Centastage
Christine Power/Gillian Mackay-Smith-Greenland-Apollinaire Theatre

Supporting Actor-Play-Fringe

Steven Auger and Michael Kelly-The Thanksgiving Play-Apollinaire
John Geoffrion-Loot-HubTheatre Company of Boston
Colin Hamel-The Return of the Winemaker-Tir Na Theatre
Derek Jackson-A Crack in the Blue Wall-Hibernian Hall
R. Nelson Lacey-Spy Matthias-Theater on Fire
Bob Mussett-The Boys in the Band-Zeitgeist
Matthew Zahnzinger-The Polish Joke-Titanic Theatre Company


Aina Adler-The Submission-Zeitgeist Stage
Juliet Bowler-A Winter's Tale-Maiden Phoenix
Ashley Risteen-The Big Meal-Zeitgeist
Kiki Samko-Dying City-Happy Medium Theatre
Sheriden Thomas-Kimberly Akimbo-Moonbox Productions
Veronica Anastasia Wiseman-The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia?-Bad Habit Productions


Steve Barkhimer-Equus-Off the Grid Theatre
Michael Fisher-The Farnsworth Invention-Flat Earth Theatre
Charles Linshaw-From the Deep-Boston Public Works Theatre
Craig Mathers-Academy Fight Song-Centastage
Robert Orzalli-Laughing Wild-Hub Theatre Company of Boston
Victor Shopov-The Submission-Zeitgeist Stage
Michael Underhill-Dying City-Happy Medium Theatre

Supporting Actress-Play-Midsize

Ramona Lisa Alexander-Saturday Night/Sunday Morning-Lyric Stage
Marianna Bassham-God's Ear-ASP
Marge Dunn-Three Sisters-Wellesley
Jennifer Ellis-Out of Sterno-Gloucester
Cheryl Singleton-Intimate Apparel-Lyric Stage

Supporting Actor-Play-Midsize

Jon Davin-Three Sisters-Wellesley
Greg Maraio-Casa Valentina-SpeakEasy
Nael Nacer-Intimate Apparel-Lyric Stage
Eddie Shields-Casa Valentina-SpeakEasy
Vincent Siders-Mr. g-Underground Railway
Derry Woodhouse-The New Electric Ballroom-GSC


Angela Bilkic-Three Sisters-Wellesley
Maria Jan Carreon-Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them-Company One
Nancy E. Carroll-Mothers and Sons-SpeakEasy
Amanda Collins-Out of Sterno-Gloucester
Jade Guerra-Saturday Night/Sunday Morning-Lyric Stage
Lindsey McWhorter-Intimate Apparel-Lyric Stage


Johnny Lee Davenport-Beowulf-The Poets' Theatre
Elbert Joseph-The Taste of Sunrise-Wheelock
Michael Kaye-Mothers and Sons-SpeakEasy
Johnnie McQuarley-Othello-ASP
Nael Nacer-The Flick-GSC
Alejandro Simoes-Light Up the Sky-Lyric Stage
Robert Walsh-Gloucester Blue-GSC

Supporting Actress-Musical

Leigh Barrett-City of Angels-Lyric Stage
Aimee Doherty-How to Succeed-Stoneham
Maureen Keiller-Snow Queen-New Rep
Erin McMillen-1776-Company Theatre
Ceit Zweil-How to Succeed...-Stoneham

Supporting Actor-Musical

Robert Case-1776-Company Theatre
Neil A. Casey-How to Succeed-Stoneham
Andrew Giordano-1776-Company Theatre
Maurice Emmanuel Parent-Snow Queen-New Rep
Mark Linehan-Shrek!-Wheelock
Jared Troilo-My Fair Lady-Lyric Stage
J.T. Turner-My Fair Lady-Lyric Stage

Ephie Aardema-How to Succeed...-Stoneham
Jessica Barstis-A Little Orphan Trannie Christmas-Gold Dust Orphans
Shonna Cirone-Shrek!-Wheelock Family Theatre
Jennifer Ellis-My Fair Lady-Lyric Stage
Alexandria King-Shockheaded Peter-Company One

Christopher Chew-Shrek-Wheelock Family Theatre
Bob DeVivo-1776-Company Theatre
Tyler Bradley Indyck-How to Succeed...-Stoneham
Adam Schuler-Merrily We Roll Along-F.U.D.G.E. Theatre
Sam Simahk-Big Fish-SpeakEasy
Phil Tayler-City of Angels-Lyric Stage

Music Director

Michael Joseph-1776-Company Theatre
Jay Mobley-Beowulf-Poets Theatre
Hankus Netsky-The King of Second Avenue-New Rep
Walter Sickert-Shockheaded Peter-Company One
Catherine Stornetta-City of Angels-Lyric Stage
Matthew Stern-Shrek!-Wheelock


Joe Antoun-Academy Fight Song-Centastage
Alison Olivia Choat-Kimberly Akimbo-Moonbox
Cameron Cronin-Dying City
Darren Evan-Spy Matthias-Theater on Fire
Sarah Gazdowicz-The Farnsworth Invention-Flat Earth
Brett Marks-Lifers-Argos
David J. Miller-The Submission-Zeitgeist


Paul Daigneault-Mothers and Sons
Thomas Derrah-God's Ear-ASP
M. Bevin O'Gara-Appropriate
Bridget O'Leary-The Flick-Gloucester
Marta Rainier-Three Sisters-Wellesley
Summer Williams-Intimate Apparel

Visiting Production

Bedlam's St. Joan-Underground Railway
Wrestling Jerusalem-Rina Greenbaum Jewish Community Center

Visiting Performer

Adam Davidman-Wrestling Jerusalem-Greenbaum JCC
Andrus Nichols-Bedlam's St. Joan-Underground Railway


Steven Bogart-Shockheaded Peter-Company One
Shelley Bolman-Shrek!-Wheelock
Caitlin Chantry-Guys and Dolls-Longwood Players
Scott Edmiston-My Fair Lady-Lyric Stage
Ilyse Robbins-How to Succeed...-Stoneham
Spiro Veloudos-City of Angels-Lyric Stage


How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying-Stoneham Theatre
My Fair Lady-Lyric Stage
1776-Company Theatre
Shockheaded Peter-Company One


Academy Fight Song-Centastage
The Boys in the Band-Zeitgeist Stage
Dying City-Happy Medium
The Farnsworth Invention-Flat Earth Theatre
Kimberly Akimbo-Moonbox
The Submission-Zeitgeist


The Flick-Gloucester
God's Ear-ASP
Intimate Apparel-Lyric Stage
Mothers and Sons-SpeakEasy
Three Sisters-Wellesley Repertory

Promising Actor

Devin Bean-Forum-Stoneham
Audree Hedequist-Shrek!-Wheelock
Uatchet Jin Juch-A Future Perfect-SpeakEasy
Alec Shiman- I Don't Know Where We're Going But I Promise We're Lost-Boston Teen Acting Troupe
Zehava Younger-The Diary of Anne Frank-Boston Children's Theatre

Congrats to all of the nominees!

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