Norton Awards Honor Excellence

Boston's theater community gathered at the Cutler Majestic Theatre on May 23 for the 23rd annual Elliot Norton Awards, honoring excellence in Boston-area theatre.  Joyce Kulhawik, arts and entertainment reporter for CBS4, once again hosted.  One of her first duties was to introduce Boston's Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who received a rousing hand for his long term dedication to the arts in the city.

The evening marked a farewell, of sorts, for Oscar Eustis, Artistic Director at Trinity Rep, who received the Norton Prize For Sustained Excellence.   Eustis soon departs New England for an exciting new challenge as Artistic Director of the Public Theatre in New York.  In an impassioned speech, he spoke from the heart about his time in Providence, as well as his love and respect for his colleagues.

This year's stellar celebrity Guest of Honor, Elaine Stritch, had to send her apologies and accept via videotape.  Although she initially agreed to make the trip to Boston, she had to bow out when a memorial celebration for the late Cy Coleman was subsequently scheduled in New York.  Her electronic thanks were, like Stritch, sincere, but with wit.

Presented by the Boston Theatre Critics Association, the awards included:

Outstanding Actress - Large Resident Company
Phylicia Rashad for "Gem of the Ocean"

Outstanding Actress - Small Resident Company
Andrea C. Ross for her performances in "A Little Night Music," "Ramona Quimby" and "The Sound of Music"

Outstanding Actor - Large Resident Company
John Kelly for "Dido, Queen of Carthage"

Outstanding Actor - Small Resident Company
Benjamin Evett for his performances in "Richard III," "Permanent Collection" and "Quills"

Outstanding Solo Performance:
Pamela Gien for "The Syringa Tree"

Outstanding Production - Large Resident Company
"The Miser" at American Rep

Outstanding Production - Small Resident Company
"The Sanctuary Lamp" from Sugan Theatre

Outstanding Production - Local Fringe Company
"Blue/Orange" from Zeitgeist Stage Company

Outstanding Production - Visiting Company
"The Far Side of the Moon," Ex Machina at the American Rep

Outstanding New Script
Melinda Lopez for "Sonia Flew" at the Huntington

Outstanding Directing - Large Company
Kent Gash for "Topdog/UnderDog" at Trinity Rep and New Rep

Outstanding Directing - Small Company
Adam Zahler for "Permanent Collection" at New Rep

Outstanding Set Design - Large Company
Adam Stockhausen for "Sonia Flew" and "36 Views"

Outstanding Set Design - Small Company
Richard Chambers for "The Glider"

Special Citations were also bestowed on
CityStage for its 30 years of work with children
"Shear Madness" in celebration of 25 years of whodunit hijinks, starting here in Boston and reaching around the globe.

The Boston Theatre Critics Association includes: Terry Byrne, Carolyn Clay, Iris Fanger, Joyce Kulhawik, Jon Lehman, Bill Marx, Ed Siegel and Caldwell Titcomb.

This ceremonies this year were produced and directed by Tony McLean, late of Broadway in Boston. Electronic visuals complementing each category were nicely done by Bob Nesti.  A favorite among Boston's theatre folk, McLean added a polish to the ceremonies, which included two musical numbers -- one a medley from the Lyric Stage production of "A Little Night Music" and the second featuring a tribute to Stephen Sondheim. 

The night was capped with an on-stage reception where guests mingled, winners accepted congrats and Barry Rocklin, The Piano Man himself, played the night away.

-- OnStage Boston


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