The Theatre Reader got into the room where it happened: the 38th Annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards. The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre was abuzz with members of the performing arts community Monday night, celebrating and honouring the best of Toronto’s theatre, dance and opera in the past year. The gorgeous Vaudevillian theatre quickly filled up a little after 7:30 p.m. before being greeted by the night’s M.C. Raoul Bhaneja. Before any words were spoken, a special onstage theatre seat was reserved in memory of NOW Magazine’s senior theatre writer Jon Kaplan who was constantly on the minds of everyone that night.
Bhaneja greeted the rousing audience with humour, music (backed by his band The Big Time), and hilarious stories of his past Dora Awards experiences from being nominated to getting the key stuck in the door at Berkeley Street Theatre almost 20 years ago.
Soulpepper and Tapestry Opera led the night with five awards each including Outstanding Production in the General Theatre Division for Father Comes Home From the Wars (Part I, II, III) and Outstanding Production for Rocking Horse Winner. The Theatre Centre also had a big night with six wins: three for what it’s like, including Outstanding Production in the Dance Division and two for This Is the Point in the Independent Theatre Division which included Outstanding Production.
The phenomenal hit musical Come From Away nabbed three Doras including Outstanding Production in the Musical Theatre division, Outstanding New Musical awarded to husband and wife duo Irene Sankoff and David Hein, and to Jenn Colella for her role as Captain Beverley Bass.
Bad Hats Theatre led the Theatre for Young Audiences division with three awards, including Outstanding Production, for its incredible work in Peter Pan.
Beautiful moments of the night included Anita Majumdar’s speech after both of her wins for Nightswimming’s Boys With Cars where she reminisced on her last encounter with Jon Kaplan. Nick Green, winning Outstanding New Play for Body Politic, recounts the day after last year’s Pulse Nightclub shooting and reaffirms the importance and necessity of live theatre when tragedy strikes. After This Is the Point’s big win, this sentiment was spoken so strongly, in a speech about diversity and inclusiveness in the performing arts community: “Inclusion means you’re willing to change.”
The Silver Ticket Award was presented to Jane Marsland for her immense contribution to the theatre community for the past five decades. The Jon Kaplan Audience Choice Award, renamed in honour of the writer, was presented to Come From Away.
For a full list of winners, visit: http://tapa.ca/blog/announcement-recipients-of-the-38th-annual-dora-mavor-moore-awards-announced-tapa/