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POP! And The Orphans’ Home Cycle Win Big At Connecticut Circle Awards

Yale Rep's original musical, "POP!" and Hartford Stage's production of Horton Foote's marathon "The Orphans' Home Cycle" are big winners of the 20th annual Connecticut Critics Circle. Between them, Yale and Hartford took 11 awards out of a total of 19, with Yale pulling off a first-time feat of copping both outstanding play and musical. Other winners are Jenn Gambatese for her performance in the title role of "Annie Get Your Gun" at Goodspeed Musicals, which also won for Noah Racey's choreography, and director Mark Lamos and costume designer Candice Donnelly for The Westport Country Playhouse production of "She Loves Me."

A number of winners had also received accolades in New York. "Orphans," honored by CCC for its lead actor Bill Heck, its director Michael Wilson, its set designers Jeff Cowie and David Barber, and recipient of a special award for Extraordinary Theatrical Experience, had an extended run at the Signature Theater Company. It was cited by the N. Y. Drama Critics Circle as Best Play. Kevin Adams, a co-winner for lighting design for his work on "POP!," also won a Tony for "American Idiot." The Connecticut group's most prestigious award, the Tom Killen, named for the late reviewer, went to the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, which also won the regional theater Tony. The center's Executive Director, Preston Whiteway, personally accepted both the CCC and Tony awards.

Hosted by Connecticut actors Mia Dillon and Keir Dullea, the CCC ceremony, held at The Westport Country Playhouse, Monday, June 14, was highlighted by music from the five nominated musicals. Featured was outstanding actor in a musical, Brian Charles Rooney, who sang the haunting "Candy's Lament" from "POP!"

CCC is an organization of professional critics who review Equity productions in newspapers and blogs, as well as on radio. It also maintains a Web site,
The full list of winners follows:

Play: "Eclipsed" (Yale Repertory Theatre)
Musical: "POP!" (Yale Repertory Theatre)
Actress in a play: Nilaja Sun ("No Child," Long Wharf Theatre)
Actor in a play: Bill Heck ("The Orphans' Home Cycle," Hartford Stage)
Actress in a musical: Jenn Gambatese ("Annie Get Your Gun," Goodspeed Musicals)
Actor in a musical: Brian Charles Rooney (""POP!" Yale Repertory Theatre)
Director of a play: Michael Wilson ("The Orphans' Home Cycle," Hartford Stage)
Director of a Musical: Mark Lamos ("She Loves Me," Westport Country Playhouse)
Choreography: Noah Racey ("Annie Get Your Gun," Goodspeed Musicals)
Set design: Jeff Cowie and David Barber ("The Orphans Home Cycle," Hartford Stage)
Lighting design (tie): Kevin Adams ("POP!" Yale Repertory Theatre and
Robert Wiertzel ("The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," Hartford Stage)
Costume design: Candice Donnelly ("She Loves Me," Westport Country Playhouse)
Sound design: Chad Raines ("Battle of Black and Dogs," Yale Repertory Theatre)
Ensemble: Tamela Aldridge, Teagle F. Bougere, Miche Braden,
Kimberly Hébert Gregory ("Gee's Bend," Hartford Stage)
Road Show: "In the Heights" (The Bushnell)
Debut: Jenilee Simons Marques ("The Miracle Worker," Ivoryton Playhouse)
Special Achievement Award for Extraordinary Theatrical Experience to
"The Orphans' Home Cycle" (Hartford Stage)
Tom Killen award for outstanding contribution to Connecticut theater:
The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center

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