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A.R.T. Goes ‘All The Way’ With LBJ At Norton Awards; So Does Annie Baker’s ‘The Flick’

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BOSTON — Diane Paulus and Annie Baker added to their accolades at the 32nd Elliot Norton Awards Monday night at Wheelock Family Theatre. Paulus’s American Repertory Theater won four awards, two each for “All the Way” and “The Heart of Robin Hood.” Time Magazine had recently named Paulus one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Baker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Flick” won three awards, including Outstanding Small Production, in its sterling incarnation by Company One, copresented by Suffolk University.

“All the Way” was voted Outstanding Large Production and Bryan Cranston, playing Lyndon Johnson in the time between the Kennedy assassination and the 1964 election, was Outstanding Large Actor. “The Heart of Robin Hood” won for director (Gisli Örn Gardarsson) and design team in the large categories.

Bongile Mantsai and Hilda Cronje in "Mies Julie." (Mark Wessels)

Bongile Mantsai and Hilda Cronje in “Mies Julie.” (Mark Wessels)

ArtsEmerson had the visiting production category to itself and won for “Mies Julie.” “Tribes,” a riveting play focusing on a hearing-impaired young man and his eccentric family, was Outstanding Midsize Production, and the razor-sharp Zeitgeist Stage Company production of “Punk Rock,” about a school killing, was Outstanding Fringe Production.

The Boston Theater Critics Association, who administer the awards and of which I’m a member, voted the Huntington Theatre Company’s “The Jungle Book” Outstanding Large Musical and Wheelock’s “Hairspray” Outstanding Small Musical. Steven Barkhimer’s “Windowmen” at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre won as Outstanding New Script.

Two of Boston’s rising double threats as actor-singers, Aimee Doherty and Erica Spyres, really broke through this year, Doherty as a singer in “Hairspray” and the Lyric Stage Company of Boston’s “On the Town”; Spyres as a Midsize actress in “Tribes.” Both, not so coincidentally, are costarring in the Lyric’s “Into the Woods.” “Hairspray” also won for Outstanding Small Ensemble while the Huntington took the large ensemble honors for “The Seagull.”

Peter Andersen and Alex Pollock in "The Flick" by Company One at the Modern Theatre. (Courtesy, Company One)

Peter Andersen and Alex Pollock in “The Flick” by Company One at the Modern Theatre. (Courtesy, Company One)

In addition to outstanding production honors, “The Flick” won for design and actor. Alex Pollock won in that category for “Windowmen” and “This Is Our Youth” at Gloucester Stage Company,” along with “The Flick.”

Zeitgeist also won in two Small categories — Maureen Adduci for Actress in “The Normal Heart” and David Miller, as director of both “Punk Rock” and “Normal Heart.”

Francis Jue was the winner of Outstanding Musical Performance by an Actor in “Miss Saigon” at North Shore Music Theatre and Ilyse Robbins as Midsize director for “Thoroughly Modern Millie” at Stoneham Theatre.

Andrea Syglowski and Chris Kipiniak in the Huntington Theatre Company’s production of "Venus in Fur." (T. Charles Erickson)

Andrea Syglowski and Chris Kipiniak in the Huntington Theatre Company’s production of “Venus in Fur.” (T. Charles Erickson)

Jeremiah Kissel was the Outstanding Midsize Actor for his lead role in the morality tale, “Imagining Madoff,” and Andrea Syglowski as Outstanding Actress, Large, for her steamy “Venus in Fur” at the Huntington.

Olympia Dukakis (Bob Bond)

Olympia Dukakis (Bob Bond)

Paul Daigneault is this year’s recipient of the Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence (Kissel is a former winner). Olympia Dukakis was the guest of honor, delivering a remembrance of growing up Greek in Massachusetts and how she got into the arts.

Her cousin, Michael, former governor of Massachusetts, made an introductory speech that drew on Olympia’s spirit and her desire to break out of the pack. Boston Mayor Martin Walsh also joined in the festivities, citing the growing importance of the arts in Boston. Awards were given out in this year in honor of three local stalwarts who passed away this past year — Nicholas Martin, former director of the Huntington; Jeremy Geidt, a former member of the company at the A.R.T.; and Julie Harris, who graced many local stages, including the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater.

The cast of "Hairspray." (Gary Ng)

The cast of “Hairspray.” (Gary Ng)

Productions were eligible that opened between April of 2013 and March of 2014.

The list:

Elliot Norton Lifetime Achievement Award: Olympia Dukakis

Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence: Paul Daigneault

Outstanding Visiting Production:
“Mies Julie,” Baxter Theatre Centre; presented by ArtsEmerson

Outstanding Production by a Large Resident Theater:
“All the Way,” American Repertory Theater

Outstanding Production by a Midsize Theater:
“Tribes,” SpeakEasy Stage Company

Outstanding Production by a Small Theater:
“The Flick,” Company One; co-presented by Suffolk University

Outstanding Production by a Fringe Theater:
“Punk Rock,” Zeitgeist Stage Company

Outstanding Design, Large Theater:
“The Heart of Robin Hood,” American Repertory Theater
Set design by Börkur Jónsson, Costumes by Emma Ryott, Lighting by Björn Helgason, Sound by Jonathan Deans.

Outstanding Design, Midsize, Small or Fringe Theater:
“The Flick,” Company One; co-presented by Suffolk University
Scenic design by Cristina Todesco, Lighting by Jen Rock, Costumes by Amanda Maciel Antunes, Sound by Edward Young, Props Master Anita Shriver.

Outstanding Musical Production by a Large Theater:
“The Jungle Book,” Huntington Theatre Company

Outstanding Musical Production by a Midsize, Small or Fringe Company:
“Hairspray,” Wheelock Family Theatre

Outstanding Musical Performance by an Actor:
Francis Jue, “Miss Saigon,” North Shore Music Theatre

Outstanding Musical Performance by an Actress:
Aimee Doherty, “On the Town” (Lyric Stage Company of Boston) and “Hairspray” (Wheelock Family Theatre)

Outstanding New Script:
“Windowmen” by Steven Barkhimer, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre

Outstanding Director, Large Theater:
Gisli Örn Gardarsson, “The Heart of Robin Hood,” American Repertory Theater

Outstanding Director, Midsize Theater:
Ilyse Robbins, “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” Stoneham Theatre

Outstanding Director, Small or Fringe Theater:
David J. Miller, “Punk Rock” and “The Normal Heart,” Zeitgeist Stage Company

Outstanding Actor, Large Theater: Awarded in honor of Jeremy Geidt
Bryan Cranston, “All the Way,” American Repertory Theater

Outstanding Actress, Large Theater: Awarded in honor of Julie Harris
Andrea Syglowski, “Venus in Fur,” Huntington Theatre Company

Outstanding Actor, Midsize Theater:
Jeremiah Kissel, “Imagining Madoff,” New Repertory Theatre

Outstanding Actress, Midsize Theater:
Erica Spyres, “Tribes,” SpeakEasy Stage Company

Outstanding Actor, Small or Fringe Theater:
Alex Pollock, “This Is Our Youth” (Gloucester Stage Company), “Windowmen” (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre),
and “The Flick” (Company One; co-presented by Suffolk University)

Outstanding Actress, Small or Fringe Theater:
Maureen Adduci, “The Normal Heart,” Zeitgeist Stage Company

Outstanding Ensemble, Large Theater: Awarded in honor of Nicholas Martin
“The Seagull,” Huntington Theatre Company

Outstanding Ensemble, Midsize, Small or Fringe Theater
“Hairspray,” Wheelock Family Theatre

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