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The Canadian Opera Company's production of Billy Budd, Benjamin Britten's epic saga of good and evil, was the musical darling of the 22nd annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards last night, walking away with six Doras.

But its harvest of victory in the general-theatre category was eclipsed in the independent-theatre category by DVxT Theatre Company's seven Doras -- a virtual sweep.

At a gala evening at Toronto's Pantages Theatre, hosted by writer/actor Jonathan Wilson and comic opera diva Mary Anne Fallis, the COC's Budd earned Doras for outstanding production of a musical; direction of a musical (Neil Armfield); set design (Brian Thomson); lighting design (Nigel Levings); music direction (Richard Bradshaw); and performance by a male in a principal role (Russell Braun).

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In the general-theatre category, Mirvish Productions was the next major winner, taking four Doras. These included two for Mamma Mia! -- performance by a female in a principal role-musical (Louise Pitre) and choreography in a play or musical (Anthony Van Laast) -- and two for Stones in His Pockets -- direction of a play (Ian McElhinny) and performance by a male in a principal role (Conleth Hill).

Three Doras were also handed out to Tarragon Theatre for two productions. Kristen Thomson's one-woman show I, Claudia won outstanding new play and Thomson herself won for performance by a female in a principal role. The outstanding sound design Dora went to Gregg Coffin for Slavs!

Soulpepper Theatre Company also garnered some gold -- winning two Doras for Platonov -- outstanding production of a play and outstanding performance by a male in a featured role, play or musical (Diego Matamoros).

The biggest loser of the evening was Tapestry New Opera Works' production of Iron Road. Nominated in nine categories, it took just one Dora -- outstanding new musical (for writers Chan Ka Nin and Mark Brownell).

In the independent-theatre division, DVxT won seven of nine awards. The two exceptions were outstanding new play or musical, which went tothe Night Company's Radio:30, by Chris Earle; and lighting design, to Steve Lucas and Sandra Marcroft for Go Chicken Go's Boxhead. DVxT's The Doll's House took everything else: outstanding production, direction (Vikki Anderson); set design (Vikki Anderson); performance by a male (Ben Carlson); performance by a female (Fiona Byrne); costume design (Shawn Kerwi); and sound or music (John Gzowski).

In the dance division, Benoît LaChambre won a Dora for outstanding new choreography for Delire Defait and LaChambre himself was awarded a Dora for outstanding performance in the same production.

In the theatre-for-young-audiences division, the Dora went to Young People's Theatre for The Beauty Machine. This year, for the first time, that win also included a Canada Council prize of $10,000.

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The Silver Ticket, annually awarded to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the stage in Toronto and vicinity, was given to Astrid Janson, one of Canada's most versatile set and costume designers. -** -**

CORRECTION

The Dora awards gala co-host was comic opera diva Mary Lou Fallis. Incorrect information ran in Globe Review yesterday. (Wednesday, June 27, 2001, Page A2)

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