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Reviews of theatre and art in Nova Scotia and beyond

The Bridge and The Color Purple lead 2019 Merritt Award nominations

2bnep - the bridge - media photos-045Shauntay Grant’s The Bridge, produced by 2b theatre and Neptune Theatre in association with Obsidian Theatre, is up for best new Nova Scotian play and outstanding production. (Stoo Metz)

The Color Purple (Neptune Theatre) and Shauntay Grant’s The Bridge (2b theatre and Neptune Theatre in association with Obsidian Theatre) have each received multiple nominations for the annual Robert Merritt Awards.

Also on the nomination list are emerging companies Keep Good (Theatre) Company, Highland Arts Theatre in Sydney, Theatre Baddeck, That’s Us Collective, Kick At The Dark, Below the Salt and Terra Novella Theatre.

Theatre Nova Scotia announced nominations in 13, professional theatre categories for the annual Robert Merritt Awards Monday afternoon. The gala, produced by Ken Schwartz, is Monday, March 30, in the McInnes Room, Dalhousie Student Union Building.

The 20 nominated performers in newly de-gendered categories include local and national actors including Janelle Cooper, Ronica Sajnani, Jacob Sampson, Jackie Torrens, Taylor Olson and Sherry Smith.

Vying for the award for original play by a Nova Scotian playwright are Catherine Banks, Dan Bray, Gillian Clark, Shauntay Grant and Daniel MacIvor.

Robert Merritt Award Nominations 2020: 

Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role (name, character, show):
Jacob Sampson, John Solomon,  The Bridge
Ronica Sajnani, Asha, A Brimful of Asha, Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre
Mauralea Austin, Rose, The Children, Keep Good (Theatre) Company
Martha Irving, Hazel, The Children
Tara Jackson, Celie, The Color Purple
Burgandy Code, Claudius, Hamlet, Below The Salt
Jackie Torrens, Hamlet, Hamlet
Burgandy Code, Dr. Thomasina Burke, In This Light, Two Planks and a Passion Theatre
Taylor Olson, Adam/various, Monster. That’s Us Collective
Kelly Holiff, Hook, Peter Pan, Neptune Theatre

colorpurpleJanelle Cooper, Sofia, and Tara Jackson, Celie, The Color Purple (Stoo Metz)

Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role: 
Jim Codrington, Reverend Eli, The Bridge
Daniel Ellis, Samuel, The Bridge
Sophia Walker, Anna, The Bridge

Karen Burthwright, Shug Avery, The Color Purple
Janelle Cooper, Sofia, The Color Purple
Samantha Walkes, Nettie, The Color Purple
Breton Lalama, Ash, Pleasureville,  Neptune Theatre
Sherry Smith, Rose, Pleasureville
Gil Anderson, Pony Jones, The Realistic Joneses, KAZAN Co-op
Matthew Lumley, John Jones, The Realistic Joneses

pleasureville3Breton Lalama, Julia Topple and Sherry Smith in Pleasureville by Ellen Denny. (Stoo Metz)

Outstanding Choreography:
Veronique Mackenzie, Ben Hur, Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre
Veronique Mackenzie, The Children, Keep Good (Theatre) Company
Tracy Fanous, Miss ‘N Me (by Catherine Banks), Eastern Front Theatre
Stephanie Graham, Peter Pan, Neptune Theatre
Sarain Fox, Rings Through Water, Xara Choral Theatre

Outstanding Costume Design:
Rachel Forbes, The Bridge
Tamara Marie Kucheran, The Color Purple
Kaelen MacDonald, Fox, The Villain’s Theatre
Janet MacLellan, The Last Wife, Neptune Theatre
Emlyn Murray, Miss ‘N Me, Eastern Front Theatre
The Last Wife3Janet MacLellan designed the costumes for The Last Wife. (Stoo Metz)

Outstanding Direction: 
Pamela Halstead, Bed and Breakfast, Ship’s Company Theatre
Anthony Black, The Bridge, 2b theatre and Neptune Theatre in
association with Obsidian Theatre
Laura Vingoe-Cram, The Children, Keep Good (Theatre) Company
Kimberley Rampersad, The Color Purple, Neptune Theatre
Heidi Malazdrewich, He’d Be Your Mother’s
Father’s Cousin, Theatre Baddeck

Outstanding Lighting Design:
Leigh Ann Vardy, The Bridge
Vicky Williams, The Children
Leigh Ann Vardy, The Color Purple
Ingrid Risk, The Last Wife
Vicky Williams, Peter Pan

Outstanding Musical Direction:
Murleta Williams, The Bridge
Eszter Horvath, Brundibár, Halifax Theatre for Young People
Sean Mayes, The Color Purple
Lisa St. Clair, Peter Pan
Christina Murray, Rings Through Water, Xara Choral Theatre

Outstanding New Play by a Nova Scotian:
Shauntay Grant, The Bridge 2b theatre and Neptune Theatre in
association with Obsidian Theatre
Catherine Banks (based on Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen),
In This Light Two Planks and Passion Theatre
Daniel MacIvor, An Ordinary Afternoon in 1974, Mulgrave Road Theatre
Gillian Clark, The Ruins, Two Planks and Passion Theatre
Dan Bray, Zomblet, The Villain’s Theatre

Outstanding Original Score:
Aaron Collier, Bed and Breakfast Ship’s Company Theatre
Carolyn Curry, Firebird: The Musical, Terra Novella Theatre
Allen Cole and Ken Schwartz, Frankenstein by Fire, Two Planks and a Passion Theatre
Keke Beatz, Miss ‘N Me, Eastern Front Theatre
Jenny Trites and Deantha Edmunds, Rings Through Water Xara Choral Theatre

Outstanding Scenic Design:
Rachel Forbes, The Bridge
Stephen Osler, assisted by Patricia Vinluan, The Children
Tamara Marie Kucheran, The Color Purple
John Dinning, Noises Off, Neptune Theatre
Jess Lewis and Anna Shepard (video), tiny, Zuppa Theatre, presented by
Eastern Front Theatre

Outstanding Sound Design:
Aaron Collier, Bed and Breakfast
Tori Morrison, The Children

Miquelon Rodriguez, The Color Purple
Aaron Collier, Lo (or Dear Mr. Wells), Neptune Theatre
Aaron Collier, Miss ‘N Me
Outstanding Production by a New or Emerging Company
Bunny, Hannah Moscovitch, Highland Arts Theatre
The Children, Lucy Kirkwood, Keep Good (Theatre) Company
Every Brilliant Thing, Duncan Macmillan with Jonny
Donahoe, Kick At The Dark Theatre Co- Operative
He’d Be Your Mother’s Father’s Cousin, Mary-Colin Chisholm, Theatre Baddeck
Rings Through Water, Lisa Nasson, Deantha Edmunds,
Sarain Fox, Christina Murray and Jenny Trites, Xara Choral Theatre

Outstanding Production:
The Bridge, Shauntay Grant, 2b theatre and Neptune Theatre in
association with Obsidian Theatre
A Brimful of Asha Ravi Jain, Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre
The Children, Lucy Kirkwood Keep Good (Theatre) Company
The Color Purple, based on the novel by Alice
Walker. Book by Marsha Norman, music & lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, Neptune Theatre
In This Light, Catherine Banks, (based on Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen)
Two Planks and a Passion Theatre
Other awards to be presented at the gala include the Outstanding Stage Manager and Technician Awards and the Theatre Nova Scotia Legacy Award. Also being announced will be recipients of the TNS Scholarship, the Wes Daniels Design Award and the Neptune Chrysalis Emerging Artist Award.
Gala tickets are open to the public. Call: Theatre Nova Scotia: 902-425-3876 or go online (www.merrittawards.ca). Price: $25 each or $200 for a table of 10.

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