A new musical which had its world premiere in Vancouver this year has pulled off a near-sweep at the Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards. Onegin, an adaptation of the Tchaikovsky opera/Pushkin poem, took home 10 awards Monday night – winning all but one of the Jessies in the large theatre category. That is a first for the Jessies, according to event organizers.
Co-created by Vancouver theatre stalwarts Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille, the musical won for outstanding production, direction (for Gladstone), lead actor (Alessandro Juliani), lead actress (Meg Roe), supporting actor (Josh Epstein), set design (Drew Facey), costume design (Jacqueline Firkins), lighting design (John Webber) and original composition (Hille and Gladstone). The live band that performed onstage during the show – Veda Hille and the Ungrateful Dead – received the award for significant artistic achievement for outstanding musical direction and musical ensemble.
Onegin was a hit with audiences (it was held over twice) and critics (The Globe and Mail gave it four stars).
In the one category that Onegin did not win, Colleen Wheeler took the award for best supporting actress for Peter and the Star Catcher. Both shows were produced by the Arts Club Theatre Company at the BMO Theatre Centre, its new small stage that opened this season – giving the Arts Club a sweep in the large theatre category.
In the small theatre category, The North Plan (Upintheair Theatre) won three Jessies – for outstanding production of a play, direction (Chelsea Haberlin) and lead actress (Genevieve Fleming).
Miss Shakespeare (Musical Theatreworks and the Escape Artists) won for outstanding musical. Matthew MacDonald-Bain won best lead actor for The Out Vigil (Twenty Something Theatre) which also won for outstanding sound design (Jay Clift and Julie McIsaac). Gabrielle Rose won best supporting actress for The Rivals (Blackbird Theatre Company) and Curtis Tweedie won best supporting actor for Bright Blue Future (Hardline Productions).
Joel Sturrock won the award for significant artistic achievement – small theatre for outstanding choreography for Tender Napalm (Twenty Something Theatre).
In the theatre for young audiences category, Théâtre la Seizième's Mathieu Mathématiques won three Jessies – for outstanding production, performance (Vincent Leblanc-Beaudoin, Emilie Leclerc and Zack Tardif) and set design (Facey again). Delinquent Theatre's Our Time won outstanding artistic creation (Laura McLean) and Green Thumb Theatre's Still/Falling won the significant artistic achievement award for a socially relevant commission.
James Gordon King won best original script for RIVULETS: 3 short plays about a flood – which also won the Sydney Risk Prize for outstanding original script by an emerging playwright.
The dance work Betroffenheit, co-created by Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young and co-produced by Kidd Pivot and the Electric Theatre Company, won the Georgia Straight Critics' Choice Innovation Award.
The new Vancouver Now Representation and Inclusion Award went to Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre's artistic director Donna Yamamoto for outstanding leadership in developing work by three Asian-Canadian playwrights in the Cultch's 2015-16 season.
The GVPTA Career Achievement Award went to Cree/Saulteaux performer and writer Margo Kane. The Sam Payne Award for most promising newcomer went to actor Daniel Doheny, and the Ray Michal Prize for most promising new director went to Milton Lim.