Barrington Stage Company dominates first Berkshire Theatre Awards

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PITTSFIELD — Pittsfield-based Barrington Stage Company has swept the first Berkshire Theatre Awards, winning 19 out of a possible 25 awards for its productions of "The Pirates of Penzance," "American Son," "Broadway Bounty Hunter" and "Kimberly Akimbo."

"Pirates" leads the way with eight awards, among them outstanding musical production — large theater; and outstanding actor (Will Swenson), direction, choreography, musical direction and supporting performance by a female actor (Scarlett Stratten, a co-winner with Nehassaiu DeGannes for her performance in "Or," at Shakespeare & Company).

"American Son" and "Broadway Bounty Hunter" nabbed five awards each — including outstanding production of a play (large theater), new play, musical (intimate theater) and new musical. Debra Jo Rupp was honored as outstanding female actor — intimate theater, for her leading performance in "Kimberly Akimbo."

The remaining five awards went to Shakespeare & Company for its intimate theater production of "Cry "Havoc!" (outstanding production of a play, performance by a male actor (Stephen Wolfert), and direction (Eric Tucker); and, in addition to the aforementioned DeGannes, John Hadden, outstanding supporting performances by an actor in "The Two Gentlemen of Verona," a tie with Andre Ware in "American Son."

The winner of the special Larry Murray Award, to be given to a person or theater project that advances social, political, or community issues, will not be announced until the Winners' Celebration at 5 p.m. on Nov. 13 at Mr. Finn's Cabaret in Barrington Stage Company's Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden Ave. in Pittsfield.

Under consideration for the honor are Julianne Boyd, founding artistic director of Barrington Stage; Kristen van Ginhoven, founding artistic director of WAM Theatre; and the artistic and producing directors of the three Vermont theaters — Northern Stage Company, Dorset Theatre Festival and Weston Playhouse Theater Company — for their collaborative presentation of the three plays in Alan Ayckbourn's "The Norman Conquests."

Seventeen arts journalists voted on 120 nominees in 25 categories chosen from 75 theater productions mounted in Berkshire County and adjacent areas in Vermont, New York and northwest Connecticut between Oct. 1, 2015 and Sept. 30, 2016.

"If these awards indicate who is doing the best work in the Berkshires, then Barrington Stage and Shakespeare & Company have to be at the top of anyone's list," said awards organizer, Larry Murray of BerkshireOnStage.com, in a news release. "Those two companies received the majority of wins, with WAM Theatre and Berkshire Theatre Group also receiving recognition of their work. That the Williamstown Theatre Festival came close in many categories without securing its own place in the awards will undoubtedly be cause for speculation. It seems the critics have spoken."

Many of the votes, Murray said, were "extremely close."

Berkshire Theatre Awards voters included Mark G. Auerbach, Westfield News Group; Peter Bergman, Berkshire Bright Focus and The Berkshire Edge; Jeffrey Borak, The Berkshire Eagle; Bob Bruyr, theater historian; Dan Dwyer, Off Script; Helen Epstein, Arts Fuse; Bob Goepfert, WAMC; Charles Giuliano; Berkshire Fine Arts; Rex Hearn, The Berkshire Record; Macey Levin, Berkshire on Stage; Gloria Miller, Curtain Up; Larry Murray, Berkshire on Stage; Chris Rohmann, The Valley Advocate; Fred Sokol, Talkin' Broadway; Stephen Sorokoff, Broadway World; Bob Sugarman, Theatre Talk; and Sally Sugarman, WBTN and More Theatre Talk.

Also participating in the program but not voting are Gail M. Burns and Ed Sedarbaum.

THE WINNERS

• Outstanding Production of a Play — Large Theater: "American Son" (Barrington Stage Company)

• Outstanding Production of a Play — Intimate Theater: "Cry 'Havoc!'" (Shakespeare & Company)

• Outstanding Production of a Musical — Large Theater: "The Pirates of Penzance" (Barrington Stage Company)

• Outstanding Production of a Musical — Intimate Theater: "Broadway Bounty Hunter" (Barrington Stage Company)

• Outstanding Production of a New Play: "American Son" (Barrington Stage Company)

• Outstanding Production of a New Musical: "Broadway Bounty Hunter" (Barrington Stage Company)

• Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor — Large Theater: Will Swenson, "The Pirates of Penzance" (Barrington Stage Company)

• Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor — Intimate Theater: Stephan Wolfert, "Cry 'Havoc!'" (Shakespeare & Company)

• Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor — Large Theater: Tamara Tunie, "American Son" (Barrington Stage Company)

• Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor — Intimate Theater: Debra Jo Rupp, "Kimberly Akimbo" (Barrington Stage Company)

• Outstanding Supporting Performance by a Male Actor — Large Theater: John Hadden, "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" (Shakespeare & Company); and Andre Ware, "American Son" (Barrington Stage Company)

• Outstanding Supporting Performance by a Male Actor — Intimate Theater: Jeff McCarthy, "Broadway Bounty Hunter" (Barrington Stage Company)

• Outstanding Supporting Performance by a Female Actor — Large Theater: Nehassaiu DeGannes, "Or," (Shakespeare & Company); and Scarlett Strallen, "The Pirates of Penzance" (Barrington Stage Company)

• Outstanding Supporting Performance by a Female Actor — Intimate Theater: Dana Harrison, "Holy Laughter" (WAM Theatre)

• Outstanding Direction of a Play — Large Theater: Julianne Boyd, "American Son" (Barrington Stage Company)

• Outstanding Direction of a Play — Intimate Theatre: Eric Tucker for Cry Havoc (Shakespeare & Company)

• Outstanding Direction of a Musical — Large Theater: John Rando, "The Pirates of Penzance" (Barrington Stage Company)

• Outstanding Direction of a Musical — Intimate Theater: Julianne Boyd, "Broadway Bounty Hunter" (Barrington Stage Company)

• Outstanding Choreography — Large Theater: Joshua Bergasse, "The Pirates of Penzance" (Barrington Stage Company)

• Outstanding Choreography — Intimate Theater: Jeffrey Page for Broadway Bounty Hunter (Barrington Stage Company)

• Outstanding Scenic Design for Play or Musical: Beowulf Borritt for The Pirates of Penzance (Barrington Stage Company)

• Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play or Musical: Jason Lyons, "The Pirates of Penzance" (Barrington Stage Company)

• Outstanding Costume Design for a Play or Musical: Jess Goldstein, "The Pirates of Penzance" (Barrington Stage Company)

• Outstanding Sound Design for Play or Musical: Scott Killian, "Constellations" (Berkshire Theatre Group)


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