The Huntington Theatre Company and SpeakEasy Stage Company lead the field with nine nominations each for the 35th edition of the Elliot Norton Awards, announced Monday by the Boston Theater Critics Association.
The awards ceremony will be held May 15 at the Huntington’s BU Theatre, with Tony- and Emmy-winning actress Cherry Jones as the guest of honor and American Repertory Theater artistic director Diane Paulus as this year’s recipient of the Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence. The awards are named for the longtime Boston theater critic, who died in 2003 at the age of 100. The Boston Theater Critics Association has chosen “Alternative Acts” as the theme of this year’s event, in deference to the current political climate, and a portion of the evening’s proceeds will be donated to the Boston Arts Academy.
The Huntington’s production of Suzan-Lori Parks’s “Topdog/Underdog” snagged five individual nominations, but it was followed closely by the American Repertory Theater’s “Fingersmith,” Israeli Stage’s “Oh, God,” Lyric Stage Company’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s “Edward II,” and SpeakEasy’s “Hand to God” and “The Scottsboro Boys,” all of which garnered four nominations.
In the large theater division, the nominees for outstanding production are “Fingersmith,” “Topdog/Underdog,” and Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” Nominated for outstanding director are Billy Porter for “Topdog/Underdog,” Bill Rauch for “Fingersmith,” and Garry Hynes for Druid Theatre Company’s “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” (presented by ArtsEmerson). The outstanding actor nominees all appeared in Huntington productions, Tyrone Mitchell Henderson and Matthew J. Harris in “Topdog/Underdog” and Russell Harvard in “I Was Most Alive With You.” For outstanding actress, the nods go to Kristine Nielsen in “Fingersmith,” Amanda Plummer in the ART’s “The Night of the Iguana,” and Karen MacDonald in the Boch Center’s “Finish Line” (in association with Boston Theater Company). And for outstanding design in this division, the nominees are “Fingersmith,” the Boch Center Wang Theatre’s “An American in Paris,” and “Topdog/Underdog.”
In the midsize theater division, “Hand to God” will compete with “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “Edward II” for outstanding production. The outstanding director nominees are Paul Daigneault for SpeakEasy’s “Dogfight,” “Significant Other,” and “The Scottsboro Boys”; David R. Gammons for “Hand to God” and “Edward II”; and Scott Edmiston for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” The outstanding actor nominees are Maurice Emmanuel Parent in “Edward II,” Eliott Purcell in “Hand to God,” and Steven Barkhimer in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” For outstanding actress, it’s Marianna Bassham in “Hand to God” and Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s “Hamlet,” Paula Plum in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” and Celeste Oliva in Lyric Stage’s “Stage Kiss.”
“Oh God” joins Gloucester Stage Company’s “Lettice and Lovage” and Company One Theatre’s “We’re Gonna Die” as the nominees for outstanding production by a small theater. Nominated for outstanding production by a fringe theater are Off the Grid Theatre Company’s “Blasted,” Flat Earth Theatre’s “Silent Sky,” and Take Your Pick Productions’ “The Little Dog Laughed.”
The small or fringe theater nominees for outstanding director are Guy Ben-Aharon for “Oh God” and Bridge Repertory Theater’s “Dog Paddle,” Danielle Fauteux Jacques for Apollinaire Theatre Company’s “Brilliant Adventures,” and John Kuntz for “Blasted.” In that same division, the outstanding actor nominees are Christopher James Webb in “Blasted,” Barlow Adamson in Boston Playwrights’ Theatre’s “The Honey Trap,” and Will Lyman in “Oh God.” And for outstanding actress, it’s Maureen Keiller in Boston Playwrights’ Theatre’s “Faithless” and “The Honey Trap” and Israeli Stage’s “Oh God,” Kippy Goldfarb in Company One Theatre’s “Really” (in partnership with Matter & Light Fine Art), and Erin Eva Butcher in “Silent Sky.”
For outstanding design, midsize, small or fringe theater, the nominees are Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s “The School for Scandal” and “Edward II” and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre’s “The Atheist.”
In the musical division, the Huntington’s “Sunday in the Park With George,” Fiddlehead Theatre Company’s “Show Boat,” and North Shore Music Theatre’s “Spamalot” are nominated for outstanding musical production, large theater. Outstanding musical production by a midsize, small or fringe theater nominees are New Repertory Theatre’s “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The Scottsboro Boys,” and Wheelock Family Theatre’s “Billy Elliot.” The nominees for outstanding musical performance by an actor are Jeremiah Kissel in “Fiddler on the Roof,” De’Lon Grant in “The Scottsboro Boys,” and Seth Judice in “Billy Elliot.” Outstanding musical performance by an actress contenders are Shoshana Bean in North Shore Music Theatre’s “Funny Girl,” Alejandra M. Parrilla in “Dogfight,” and Jenni Barber in “Sunday in the Park With George.”
The outstanding new script nominees are Melinda Lopez’s “Mala” for ArtsEmerson, Anna Deavere Smith’s “Notes From the Field: Doing Time in Education” for the ART, and Craig Lucas’s “I Was Most Alive With You” for the Huntington. Up for outstanding solo performance are Obehi Janice in “We’re Gonna Die,” Anna Deavere Smith in “Notes From the Field: Doing Time in Education,” and Georgia Lyman in “The Atheist.” And the nominees for outstanding ensemble are New Repertory Theatre and Stoneham Theatre’s “Regular Singing,” “The Scottsboro Boys,” and “The Beauty Queen of Leenane.”
Jeffrey Gantz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.