York alumni net numerous nods for Dora Mavor Moore Awards

A full cast and crew of York Faculty of Fine Arts alumni will shine among Toronto’s performing arts glitterati at the 31st annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards on June 28.

Celebrated as Toronto’s “biggest opening night of the year”, the event recognizes outstanding productions in theatre, dance and opera from the past season. The star-studded evening in the Bluma Appel Theatre in the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts will be hosted for the second consecutive year by York alumnus Jian Ghomeshi (BA ’95).

Left: Jian Ghomeshi

Established in 1978 by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, the Doras are the local equivalent of New York City’s Tony Awards. Each award category – general theatre production, independent theatre production, dance, opera, musical theatre and theatre for young audiences – is judged by a volunteer peer jury. This year, a record-breaking 225 productions are in the running for Dora Awards.

York alumni have received an impressive 20 nominations.

Anusree Roy (BA Spec. Hons. ’06) garnered two nods in the general theatre production division as playwright and performer for Letters to my Grandma, a one-woman play about religious rivalry that crosses generations and continents and which she started writing during her time at York. Two years ago, Roy took home two Doras in the independent theatre division for her earlier solo work, Pyaasa, which, like Letters, also graced the stage of Theatre Passe Muraille (see YFile, July 16, 2008).

Right: Anusree Roy

Two theatre grads are competing for the outstanding direction of a play/musical prize: Richard Rose (BFA Spec. Hons. ’78) and Alan Dilworth (BEd ’96, MFA ’09) for their work on Courageous and If We Were Birds, respectively. Both shows were produced by Tarragon Theatre where Rose is artistic director. If We Were Birds earned a total of five nominations, including one for outstanding performance by Tara Rosling (BFA Spec. Hons. ’93) and another for outstanding original sound design/composition by Thomas Ryder Payne (BA Spec. Hons. ’95). Maurice Dean Wint’s (BFA Spec. Hons. ’87) performance is one of four nominations garnered by Courageous, bringing Tarragon’s total tally to an impressive 11 nominations.

Left: Alan Dilworth

Last but not least in the general theatre production section, Oliver Dennis (BFA Spec. Hons. ’84) was recognized for his performance in Soulpepper Theatre Company’s Parfumerie, and Laura de Carteret (BFA Spec. Hons. ’86) for her role in Necessary Angel Theatre Company’s Hamlet.

York talent also shines in the nominee list for the musical theatre division. In the production category, Acting Up Stage Company, helmed by fine arts cultural studies alumnus (and Luminato Festival associate producer) Mitchell Marcus (BA Hons. ’04), received a nod for The Light in the Piazza, which featured set and lighting design by theatre Professor Phillip Silver. Brian Goldenberg’s (BFA Spec. Hons. ’04) Angelwalk Theatre picked up an outstanding production nomination for Altar Boyz. In the new musical/opera category, Spy Dénommé-Welch (MA ’06) was recognized for scripting and co-composing Giiwedin, an original, trilingual opera written in Anishinabe Mowin, French and English, and Second City veteran Melody Johnson (BFA Spec. Hons. ’89) was nominated for co-writing the darkly comical and murderous musical Mimi.

Left: Melody Johnson

The independent theatre production division likewise boasts a host of York nominees in various performance and production categories.

Former theatre student Nina Lee Aquino was nominated for outstanding direction for her work on eastBOUNDtheatre’s The Making of St. Jerome. Actors Ginette Mohr (MFA ’05) and Christine Horne (BFA Spec. Hons. ’04) were tapped for their performances in Keystone Theatre’s The Belle of Winnipeg and DVxT Theatre Company’s The Turn of the Screw, respectively.

Set designer Gillian Gallow (BFA Spec. Hons. ’04) and costume designer Dana Osborne (BFA Spec. Hons. ’96) were recognized for their work on Theatrefront’s production of The Mill, and lighting designer Arun Srinivasan (BFA Spec. Hons. ’94) earned a nod for k’Now Theatre’s Pu-Erh. Payne received his second nomination for sound design/composition for Aluna Theatre’s La Comuniòn.

In the dance division, York alumna Andrea Nann (BFA Spec. Hons. ’88) is in the running for outstanding performance for her show Tumbling Dice: Uncollected Dances by Andrea Nann and Friends.

Left: Andrea Nann

The nominees will be toasted with a special fête before the Dora Awards ceremony at the Rosewater Supper Club, with post-show celebrations taking place under the stars on Front Street outside the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. A limited number of tickets to the show and/or the after-party are available to the public by calling the St. Lawrence Centre Box Office at 416-366-7723.