Fourth Annual Berkshire Theatre Awards
By: Charles Giuliano - Nov 13, 2019
Fourth Annual Theatre Awards
During an unseasonably cold Monday evening the pews of Pittsfield’s Zion Lutheran Church were packed. The heating system, however, malfunctioned.
The occasion was organized by Berkshire Theatre Critics Association (BTCA) which presented the fourth annual Berkshire Theatre Awards. The Berkies, as they have come to be known, were a concept of the late theatre critic, Larry Murray. He was on hand for the first ceremony crammed into the basement cabaret of Barrington Stage Company.
Launching the now annual event he presented the Larry Murray Award for Community Outreach and Support through Theatre to Julianne Boyd, artistic director of BSC. The 2019 award was presented to Tina Packer, the founding artistic director of Shakespeare & Company, by Murray’s nephew, Pearce Rowley.
Some thirty plus critics vote for the awards. Results were tabulated by computer, unlike prior years, so winners were unknown until being presented. An exception was Packer who was “present” via of a brief video. She is in Oregon with her two-hander “Women of Will.” With whimsy she indicated that had she known sooner she would have arranged to attend. The same was true for Boyd who was in NY that night for Barrington’s annual fundraiser.
The season for shows eligible for consideration for the 2019 Berkshire Theatre Critics’ Awards began Oct. 1, 2018 and ended Sept. 30, 2019. The season included roughly 105 productions at more than three dozen venues in Western Massachusetts, New York, Vermont and Connecticut.
Barrington Stage Company was the evening’s top winner with a total of seven awards, followed in order by Mac-Haydn Theatre (Chatham, N.Y.) and Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, 5 each; then Berkshire Opera Festival (Great Barrington), Berkshire Theatre Group (Stockbridge/ Pittsfield), Chester Theatre Company, Dorset (Vt.) Theatre Festival, Sharon (Conn.) Playhouse, and Williamstown Theatre Festival, one each.
Mac-Haydn Theatre’s Ragtime and Shakespeare & Company’s production of Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog/ Underdog, took home top honors as Outstanding Musical Production and Outstanding Play Production, respectively.
While accepting an award, Allyn Burrows, artistic director of Shakespeare & Company, noting the frigid space quipped that “You could cut glass with my nipples.” Based on body heat, however, it was noted that the temperature rose by some five degrees during the first hour.
As is too often with awards ceremonies they went on too long. Yet again the evening began with standup by co-hosts J. Peter Bergman and Macey Levin. It was a half hour before the first award. After two hours the last one was presented at 9 PM.
There were two wonderful interludes of music. A fifteen minute intermission after the first one, roughly midway through the program, would have been welcome. The evening equated to a two hour, one act play. Part of that entailed technical glitches with projected Power Point and the Packer video.
Bergman told us that it all worked during rehearsal. There were less than smooth transitions between projecting categories and aspects of presentation. It would have helped to have a tech person on stage to manage computer projections.
With so many “stars” in the audience it was a missed opportunity not to enlist them as presenters. That’s the norm for award ceremonies.
A major upgrade this time, however, entailed two segments of musical performances.
The first paired David Joseph (Times Stands Still at Shakespeare & Company) and Greg Boover (Twelfth Night at Shakepeare & Company). Joseph belted a soulful performance of the Marvin Gaye standard “Let’s Get it On.” Boover accompanying himself on guitar sang original music from Twelth Night.
After another eight presentations there were more performance by nominees.
Monica M. Wemitt, a co-winner for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical (Curtains at Mac-Haydn Theatre) knocked our socks off with a dramatic “Some People.” Gabe Belyeu, nominated for Ragtime at Mac-Hayden sang the plaintive “I Am What I Am.” Rachel Rhodes-Devey, winner of Lead Actress in a Musical (Ragtime at Mac-Haydn), displayed daunting pipes with “We Can Never Go Back to Before.”
During the busy summer season many professionals travel to perform in the Berkshires. Because of distance and other commitment many awards were accepted by surrogates. But there was a sincere effort to attend.
Regge Light, director of Topdog/Underdog, won for several categories. Then in graduate school at NYU he was among the first generation to work with Shakespeare & Company. He has resided in the Berkshires for decades. It was a big night for him but Life informed us of commuting for an early morning class in Boston.
While a Big Chill prevailed in the church a gathering of theatre’s faithful proved to be a heartwarming experience.
2019 Berkshire Theatre Awards
(Winners in BOLD)
Outstanding Solo Performance
Tara Franklin - On The Exhale - Chester Theatre Company
Steven Patterson - Shylock - Bridge Street Theatre
Jayne Atkinson - Ann – WAM Theatre
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical (Tie)
Maya Cuevas - Sarah - Ragtime – Mac-Haydn Theatre
Monica M. Wemitt - Carmen Bernstein - Curtains – Mac-Haydn Theatre
Dorcas Leung - Little Red -Into the Woods - Barrington Stage Company
Amy Fiebke - Betty - The Great American Trailer Park Musical - Theater Barn
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play
Cloteal L. Horne - Mistress Quickly - The Merry Wives of Windsor - Shakespeare & Company
Mary Stout - Herda - Gertrude and Claudius - Barrington Stage Company
Mandi Madsen - Ruth - Raisin in the Sun - Williamstown Theatre Festival
Elizabeth Aspenlieder - Ellen - The Waverly Gallery - Shakespeare & Company
Laura Jordan - Holly - If I Forget - Barrington Stage Company
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical
Rob Brinkmann - Jud Fry - Oklahoma! – Mac-Haydn Theatre
Sam Heldt - Felix Cushman - Fall Springs - Barrington Stage Company
Kevin Toniazzo-Naughton - Prince Charming - Into the Woods - Barrington Stage Company
Pepe Nufrio - Prince - Into the Woods - Barrington Stage Company
Clay Singer - Jack - Into the Woods - Barrington Stage Company
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play
Arnie Burton - Ron - Before the Meeting - Williamstown Theatre Festival
James Barry - Doc - The Night Alive - Chester Theatre
Robert Zuckerman - Lou Fischer - If I Forget - Barrington Stage Company
David Gow - Daniel - The Waverly Gallery - Shakespeare & Company
Gregory Boover - Feste - Twelfth Night - Shakespeare & Company
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical
Rachel Rhodes-Devey - Mother - Ragtime – Mac-Haydn Theatre
Ellen Harvey - Beverly Cushman - Fall Springs - Barrington Stage Company
Amanda Lea LaVergne - Polly - Crazy For You - Sharon Playhouse
Mara Davi - Baker’s Wife - Into the Woods - Barrington Stage Company
Mary Stout - Sister Mary Regina - Nunsense - Sharon Playhouse
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical
Gabe Belyeu - Tateh - Ragtime – Mac-Haydn Theatre
Colin Pritchard - Lt. Cioffi - Curtains - MacHaydn Theatre
Mykal Kilgore - Witch - Into the Woods - Barrington Stage Company
Jonathan Raviv - The Baker - Into the Woods - Barrington Stage Company
Justin Boccitto - Bobby - Crazy For You - Sharon Playhouse
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play
Deidre O’Connell - Gail - Before the Meeting - Williamstown Theatre Festival
Jennifer Van Dyck - Stevie - The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? - Berkshire Theatre Group
Diane Prusha - Hazel - The Children - Shakespeare and Company
Andrea Syglowski - Megan - Dig - Dorset Theatre Festival
Lilli Hokama - Margie - Now Circa Then - Chester Theatre Company
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play
David Adkins - Martin - The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? - Berkshire Theatre Group
David Joseph - James Dodd - Time Stands Still - Shakespeare & Company
Luke Hofmaier - Gideon - Now Circa Then - Chester Theatre Company
Anthony Crane - Michael - If I Forget - Barrington Stage Company
Andre Braugher - Smokey - A Human Being, Of a Sort - Williamstown Theatre Festival
Outstanding Ensemble Performance (Tie)
America Version 2.1 . . . Barrington Stage Company
Working - Berkshire Theatre Group
Time Flies and Other Comedies - Barrington Stage Company
The Brothers Size - Ancram Opera House
Topdog/Underdog - Shakespeare & Company
Outstanding Scenic Design of a Play or Musical
Christopher and Justin Swader - Dig - Dorset Theatre Festival
Brian Prather - Into the Woods - Barrington Stage Company
Mark Wendland - Before the Meeting - Williamstown Theatre Festival
Lee Savage - Private Lives - Dorset Theatre Festival
Lawrence E. Moten III - A Human Being, Of A Sort - Williamstown Theatre Festival
Outstanding Costume Design of a Play or Musical
Jen Caprio - Into the Woods - Barrington Stage Company
Sara Jean Tosetti - Gertrude and Claudius - Barrington Stage Company
Elivia Bovenzi - Time Flies and Other Comedies - Barrington Stage Company
Kiki Smith - The Merry Wives of Windsor - Shakespeare and Company
Outstanding Lighting Design of a Play or Musical
Sherrice Mojgani - Into the Woods - Barrington Stage Company
Lara Dubin - Lady Randy – WAM Theatre
Matthew Adelson - Curve of Departure - Chester Theatre Company
John Sowle - The Letters - Bridge Street Theatre
Outstanding Sound Design of a Play or Musical
Beth Lake - Selling Kabul - Williamstown Theatre Festival
Matt Kraus - Into the Woods - Barrington Stage Company
Nathan Schilz - Oklahoma! – Mac-Haydn Theatre
Sebastiani Romagnolo - Ragtime – Mac-Haydn Theatre
Justin Boccitto - Crazy For You - Sharon Playhouse
Sebastiani Romagnolo - Grease – Mac-Haydn Theatre
Freddy Ramirez - The Full Monty - Capital Repertory Theatre
Outstanding Direction of a Musical
John Saunders - Ragtime – Mac-Haydn Theatre
Joe Colarco - Into the Woods - Barrington Stage Company
James Barry - Working - Berkshire Theatre Group
Randal Myler - Rock and Roll Man - Berkshire Theatre Group
Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill - The Full Monty - Capital Repertory Theatre
Outstanding Direction of a Play
Regge Life - Topdog/Underdog - Shakespeare & Company
David Auburn - The Skin of Our Teeth - Berkshire Theatre Group
Keira Naughton - Curve of Departure - Chester Theatre Company
Theresa Rebeck - Dig - Dorset Theatre Festival
James Warwick - The Children - Shakespeare & Company
Eric Hill - The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? - Berkshire Theatre Group
Outstanding New Play
Dig by Theresa Rebeck - Dorset Theatre Festival
Before the Meeting by Adam Bock - Williamstown Theatre Festival
America v.2.1: The Sad Demise & Eventual Extinction of the American Negro by Stacey Rose -
Barrington Stage Company
Selling Kabul by Sylvia Khoury - Williamstown Theatre Festival
Lucy’s Wedding by Randolyn Zinn - The Living Room Theatre
Outstanding Production of a Musical
Ragtime – Mac-Haydn Theatre
Into the Woods - Barrington Stage Company
Working - Berkshire Theatre Group
Crazy For You - Sharon Playhouse
Outstanding Production of a Play
Topdog/Underdog - Shakespeare and Company
Before the Meeting - Williamstown Theatre Company
The Brothers Size - Ancram Opera House
The Skin of Our Teeth - Berkshire Theatre Group
America, v. 2.1: The Sad Demise & Eventual Extinction of the American Negro -
Barrington Stage Company
Slow Food by Wendy MacLeod - Dorset Theatre Festival
Outstanding Production running FEWER than 6 performances
Don Pasquale - Berkshire Opera Festival
Breakwater – Great Barrington Public Theater
The Larry Murray Award for Community Outreach and Support Through Theater