Come From Away prevailed at the Dora Mavor Moore Awards on Monday night where it fell short at the Tony Awards.
Irene Sankoff and David Hein's musical set in Newfoundland was named the outstanding production of musical theatre of the 2016-17 season at Toronto's annual theatre, dance and opera awards.
The Canadian couple's uplifting Broadway hit was also named the best new musical or opera of the season, while Jenn Colella, who played a pilot named Beverly stuck in Gander the week following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in the show, won the Dora award for outstanding performance in a musical (female).
Jahlen Barnes, however, beat out Come From Away's Chad Kimball for the outstanding performance in a musical (male) Dora for his show-stopping work as a young black man finding his way in the world of art in Passing Strange, which was presented by Obsidian Theatre and Musical Stage Company in January.
Unlike most of the winners at this year's Dora Awards, audiences will have a second chance to see Come From Away: Mirvish Productions is set to bring the musical back to Toronto in early 2018 in a new Canadian production.
In the play categories, Soulpepper had a triumphant night ahead of its upcoming trip down to New York next month. The Toronto theatre company's critically lauded production of Suzan-Lori Parks's Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts I, II and III) was named the best of the year – while its production of Arthur Miller's Incident at Vichy picked up the award for outstanding ensemble, an award that many view as meaning "second-best production."
Maev Beaty won the outstanding performance (female) Dora for her turn as Henry VIII's sixth and final wife, Catherine Parr, in Kate Hennig's The Last Wife – a role she originated at the Stratford Festival before reprising it at Soulpepper. Yannick Larivée won a Dora for his scenic design of that production, while Victoria Wallace picked up one for the costumes she designed for another Soulpepper show, A Doll's House.
The Obsidian Theatre/Shaw Festival co-production of "Master Harold"… and the Boys picked up two awards: Phil Akin was named outstanding director, while André Sills was honoured for his lead performance in the Athol Fugard drama set in the early years of apartheid. The two had already won best director and best lead actor at the Toronto Theatre Critics Awards (TTCAs) earlier this month. (There are no supporting- or featured-performer awards at the Doras.)
In the opera division, Tapestry Opera – Soulpepper's neighbours in Toronto's distillery district – were the major winners of the evening. Composer Gareth Williams and librettist Anna Chatterton's Rocking Horse Winner was named the outstanding production of the season – and picked up four other Doras, including ones for singer Asitha Tennekoon and director Michael Mori.
The Canadian Opera Company, meanwhile, picked up four awards – three of which were for their new production of Vincenzo Bellini's Norma.
In the indie and dance divisions, the interdisciplinary Theatre Centre flexed its muscle – its co-production with Ahuri Theatre of This is the Point being named outstanding production in the former, and its co-production with Adelheid of what it's like named outstanding production in the latter.
The Company Theatre's TTCA-winning production of Annie Baker's John picked up an award for Nora McLellan's performance and Shannon Lea Doyle's scenic design in the indie-theatre division, while Robert Lepage's exquisite autobiographical show 887 was named the outstanding touring production of the year.
The outstanding new plays of the year were deemed to be Nick Green's Body Politic (in the general-theatre division), Ngozi Paul's The Emancipation of Ms Lovely (in the indie division) and Anita Majumdar's Boys With Cars (in the theatre for young audiences division).