TAPA Announces VIP Presenters For Dora Awards; Astrid Van Wieren to Host

TAPA Announces VIP Presenters For Dora Awards; Astrid Van Wieren to HostJacoba Knaapen, Toronto Alliance or the Performing Arts (TAPA) Executive Director and Dora Mavor Moore Awards Producer, announced the VIP presenters today for the 39th Annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards, to be held on Monday, June 25 at the Winter Garden Theatre of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre.

The Dora Mavor Moore Awards celebrate Toronto's vibrant performing arts scene. This year's celebration is hosted by acclaimed actor Astrid Van Wieren, currently playing the role of "Beulah" in the award-winning Canadian musical Come From Away on Broadway. Come From Away is a "Best Musical" winner all across North America. It won the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical, 5 Outer Critics Circle Awards (NYC) including Outstanding New Broadway Musical, 3 Drama Desk Awards (NYC) including Outstanding Musical, 4 Helen Hayes Awards (D.C.) including Outstanding Production of a Musical, 3 Toronto Theatre Critics Awards, 3 Dora Awards (Toronto) including Outstanding New Musical/Opera, Outstanding Production and more.

The 39th Annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards celebrates excellence in theatre, dance and opera in a glittering ceremony that includes 48 Dora Awards, the Silver Ticket Award, the Pauline McGibbon Award and the Jon Kaplan Audience Choice Award. A swanky After-Party in the Cascading Lobbies of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre winds up Toronto's biggest opening night of the year!

The show is written by the multi-talented Emmy, Gemini and Dora-nominated Diane Flacks for the third year in a row while acclaimed theatre director, actor and writer Ed Roy takes the helm as director for his sixth time. Multi-award-winning lighting and production designer Andrea Lundy returns for her 17th consecutive year.

Among the VIP presenters and special guests at this year's awards ceremony are acclaimed actors Samson Brown (2018 Dora nomination for Roseneath Theatre's Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls ensemble, transgender star of Secrets of a Black Boy), Kim Coates (2018 Dora nomination for Outside the March/Company Theatre's Jerusalem, FX hit series Sons of Anarchy star), Trish Fagan (applauded 13-year Soulpepper Theatre Company veteran), Lisa Horner (currently starring in Come From Away at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, 2013 Dora Award for The Wizard of Oz), Nora McLellan (2017 Dora Award and Toronto Critics' Award for Company Theatre's John), Michelle Monteith (Dora Award for Soulpepper's Of Human Bondage - Ensemble, Toronto Critics Award for Summerworks' Little One) and Ngozi Paul (Global TV's hit comedic drama 'da Kink in my Hair);

Extraordinary dancers/choreographers Peggy Baker (Governor General's Lifetime Achievement Award, 2018 Dora nomination for unmoored), Yvonne Ng (multi-nominated Dora Award winner, dance: made in canada/fait au canada artistic director) and Bageshree Vaze (trailblazing Indo-Canadian dancer and musician);

Artistic Directors Keith Barker (of Native Earth Performing Arts, Métis theatre artist, Yukon Arts Audience Award for Best Art for Social Change), Catherine Hernandez (of b current performing arts, playwright and author whose Scarborough made the "best of 2017" lists for The Globe and Mail and National Post, among others) and Kelly Thornton, long-time Artistic Director of Nightwood Theatre, Toronto's feminist theatre company (and Canada's oldest professional women's theatre);

Powerhouse singer Alana Bridgewater (Soulpepper's Idomeneus, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Spoon River; Gemini nomination for CBC's Gospel Christmas CBC) and multi-award-winning playwright and director Morris Panych (3-time Dora winner, up for two 2018 Doras for The Overcoat - a musical tailoring as writer and director);

Widely respected actors and directors Ravi Jain (founding Artistic Director of lauded Why Not Theatre, Tarragon's A Brimful of Asha performer and director) and Nigel Shawn Williams (who performed for 6 seasons at the Stratford Festival and who directs its current hit production of To Kill A Mockingbird);

Monica Esteves, Managing Director of Crow's Theatre; Beth Hannah, CEO of Ontario Heritage Trust; Clyde Wagner, President and CEO of Toronto Civic Theatres and Maureen Adamson, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport and Deputy Minister of Women's Issues and the Ontario150 Secretariat.

Jon Kaplan AUDIENCE CHOICE AWARD: TAPA's Audience Choice Award was renamed the Jon Kaplan Audience Choice Award last year in honour of the late and beloved long-time NOW Magazine senior theatre writer. The Jon Kaplan Audience Choice Award is co-sponsored 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 https://nowtoronto.com/doras2018 through to June 20 at 12 midnight.

The Doras are named for Dora Mavor Moore (1888-1979), a well-loved teacher and director who helped establish Canadian professional theatre in the 1930s and 1940s. Recognizing the outstanding achievements in Toronto's performing arts industry, the Doras honour the creators of almost 200 theatre, dance and opera productions annually in the following Divisions: General Theatre, Independent Theatre, Musical Theatre, Dance, Opera and Theatre for Young Audiences.

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