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Spelling Bee scores w-i-n at Vancouver theatre awards

Alison MacDonald, Josh Epstein and Tracy Neff in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

David Cooper

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was the big winner in the large theatre category at Monday night's Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards in Vancouver, picking up three awards, including outstanding production and outstanding direction for Michael Shamata.

The Arts Club Theatre Company/Belfry Theatre (Victoria) co-production also received the Jessie for significant artistic achievement for its ensemble cast, including Michael Blake, Jeremy Crittenden, Josh Epstein, Sara-Jeanne Hosie, Brian Linds, Alison MacDonald, Tracy Neff, Rosie Simon and Vincent Tong.

The Arts Club won a total of 10 Jessies in the large theatre category, including both lead acting awards: Gerard Plunkett for his role as Levene in Glengarry Glen Ross and Deborah Williams for her portrayal of Becky in Becky's New Car.

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The Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company won both supporting actor awards, for Bob Frazer (Biff Loman) in Death of a Salesman and Jennifer Clement (Roxy) in The Trespassers, which was a co-production with the Belfry Theatre.

The Arts Club's Tear the Curtain! (produced in association with Electric Company Theatre) won for outstanding lighting design (Alan Brodie and Brian Johnson) and outstanding original script (Kevin Kerr and Jonathon Young).

The Arts Club's The Philanderer picked up two awards - for set design (Alison Green) and costume design (Phillip Clarkson). And The Graduate, also an Arts Club production, won for outstanding sound design or original composition (Ivory Sky).

In the small theatre category, Glass City Theatre's Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train was named outstanding production and also won Jessies for best actor (Robert Olguin) and lighting design (Itai Erdal).

Susan Bertoia was named best actress for the Firehall Arts Centre's Mambo Italiano (co-produced with Western Canada Theatre), Simon Webb won a supporting actor Jessie for the Honest Fishmongers Equity Co-op's production of Hamlet, and Barbara Pollard won for supporting actress for A Lie of the Mind. The Main Street Theatre Equity Co-op production also won for direction, for Stephen Malloy.

Pacific Theatre won the significant artistic achievement Jessie for small theatre, for curation and execution of an outstanding season of theatre. It also won a Jessie for set design for its production of Playland (Drew Facey).

Touchstone Theatre's Mimi, or a Poisoner's Comedy won for costume design (Farnaz Khaki-Sadigh), one2theatre's The Busy World Is Hushed won for best sound design or original composition (David Mesiha).

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In the theatre for young audiences category, Carousel Theatre's Bird Brain won for best production, outstanding artistic creation (Carole Higgins, direction) and outstanding design (Heidi Wilkinson, set and properties design). And Carousel Theatre's Pharaoh Serket & the Lost Stone of Fire's design team won the award for significant artistic achievement.

Georgina Beaty won for outstanding performance in Green Thumb Theatre's The Shape of a Girl.

Neworld Theatre and Leaky Heaven Circus's production of Peter Panties picked up the Critics' Choice Innovation Award.

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About the Author
Western Arts Correspondent

Marsha Lederman is the Western Arts Correspondent for The Globe and Mail, based in Vancouver. She covers the film and television industry, visual art, literature, music, theatre, dance, cultural policy, and other related areas. More

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