Toronto’s Theatre Reviewers Play Favourites
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Toronto’s Theatre Reviewers Play Favourites

Spoon River, Mr. Burns, and The Motherf**ker With the Hat are among the winners of this year’s Toronto Theatre Critics Awards.

Soulpepper's rousing Spoon River has been named best musical production by the 2015 Toronto Theatre Critics Awards  Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

Soulpepper’s rousing Spoon River has been named best musical production by the 2015 Toronto Theatre Critics Awards. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

“Is your soul alive? Then let it feed!” Spoon River, Soulpepper Theatre’s exuberant musical set in a graveyard (and featuring that earworm of a chorus) is one of the big winners of the 2015 Toronto Theatre Critics Awards (TTCAs). The show, created by Soulpepper’s Mike Ross and Albert Schultz and based on the classic poems of Edgar Lee Masters, has been named Best Production of a Musical. The show’s imaginative immersive staging also won Schultz the award for Best Director of a Musical.

Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play, by powerhouse indie company Outside the March, is one of two winners for Best Production of a Play. The other winner is the Shaw Festival’s coruscating revival of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, co-produced by Mirvish Productions and presented last fall at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. Mr. Burns, an ingenious post-apocalyptic epic inspired by The Simpsons, also took the prize for Best Design. The show is still running at the Aztec Theatre (1035 Gerrard Street East).

The TTCAs, announced Wednesday, dubbed Tom at the Farm by Michel Marc Bouchard the Best New Canadian Play. Quebec playwright Bouchard’s disturbing rural thriller had its English-language debut, in a translation by Linda Gaboriau, at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. The award for international play went to The Motherf**ker With the Hat by New York writer Stephen Adly Guirgis, which received its Toronto premiere at the new Coal Mine Theatre on the Danforth.

David Ferry, a past TTCA winner, was chosen as Best Actor in a Play for his complex portrayal of a pedophile in Blackbird. Fiona Reid was deemed Best Actress for her hilarious portrayal of the Maggie Smith–channeling Sonia in Mirvish’s production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.

Juan Chioran, no less hilarious, got the Best Supporting Actor honours for playing the crazy cousin with a Jean-Claude Van Damme obsession in Motherf**ker. Beatriz Pizano was named Best Supporting Actress for her role as the proud mother in Blood Wedding. That revival of Federico García Lorca’s Spanish classic, a co-pro between Modern Times Stage Company and Aluna Theatre, also won the Best Director award for Soheil Parsa.

The musical acting awards go to Trish Lindström for her leading role as an inspiring Czech musician in Mirvish’s Canadian production of Once and Daren A. Herbert, who played the volatile vaudeville entertainer in Acting Up Stage and Obsidian Theatre’s The Wild Party. Herbert’s co-star, Susan Gilmour, won Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her turn as a flamboyant fading star. Jacob MacInnis hooked the supporting actor prize for his lovably timid Earthworm in Young People’s Theatre’s James and the Giant Peach.

The TTCAs, now in their fifth year, were chosen by the critics of the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Post, NOW Magazine, and Torontoist. The winners will be honoured June 8 at the Spoke Club (600 King Street West) at a party hosted by Marcello Cabezas. There are 14 spaces available for the general public, on a first come, first served basis. To RSVP, email [email protected]

Daren A  Herbert, right, with Cara Ricketts, won the Best Actor in a Musical award for The Wild Party  Photo by Rachel McCaig

Daren A. Herbert, right, with Cara Ricketts, won the TTCA’s Best Actor in a Musical award for The Wild Party. Photo by Rachel McCaig.

Here is the complete list of winners:

Best New Canadian Play

Tom at the Farm, by Michel Marc Bouchard (Buddies in Bad Times)

Best New International Play

The Motherf**ker With the Hat, by Stephen Adly Guirgis (Bob Kills Theatre Productions)

Best Production of a Play (tie)

Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play (Outside the March, in association with Starvox Entertainment and Crow’s Theatre)

Arcadia (Shaw Festival and Mirvish Productions)

Best Director of a Play

Soheil Parsa, Blood Wedding (Modern Times Stage Company and Aluna Theatre)

Best Actor in a Play

David Ferry, Blackbird (FilmBooth Productions)

Best Actress in a Play

Fiona Reid, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Mirvish Productions and Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre)

Best Supporting Actor in a Play

Juan Chioran, The Motherf**ker With the Hat

Best Supporting Actress in a Play

Beatriz Pizano, Blood Wedding

Best Design in a Play or Musical

Ken MacKenzie (set), Nick Blais (lighting), Lindsay Junkin (costumes), Samuel Sholdice (sound), and Marcus Jamin (puppets) for Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play

Best Production of a Musical

Spoon River (Soulpepper Theatre)

Best Director of a Musical

Albert Schultz, Spoon River

Best Actress in a Musical

Trish Lindström, Once (Mirvish Productions)

Best Actor in a Musical

Daren A. Herbert, The Wild Party (Acting Up Stage Company in association with Obsidian Theatre)

Best Supporting Actress in a Musical

Susan Gilmour, The Wild Party

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical

Jacob MacInnis, James and the Giant Peach (Young People’s Theatre)

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