In the White Rock Players’ 75th year of production, the club’s hit farce A Comedy of Tenors swept most of the major comedy or drama categories at the 2018-2019 Community Theatre Coalition Awards – held Sept. 14 at its base of operations, White Rock’s Playhouse.
The bravura February production of Ken Ludwig’s operatic comedy, set in 1930s Paris, won best production, and also best director honours for Julianne Christie.
Also honoured were Jacques Lalonde (best actor in a leading role for his performance as volatile Italian tenor Tito Morelli and his double, Beppo); Launi Bowie (best actress in a leading role for her portrayal of Merelli’s equally impassioned wife, Maria) and Dann Wilhelm (best performance by an actor in a supporting role as Saunders, a stressed-out tenor striving to make peace amid the mayhem).
Bringing to six the number of awards taken home by Players Club actors was a best supporting actor in a musical award to Reginald Pillay for his delightfully dopey turn as Prince John in last December’s pantomime, Robin Hood and the Skytrain of Doom.
The first annual Gordon Mantle Memorial Scholarship, established in honour of the late Players Club stage manager and board member who passed in 2018, was presented to Emily Brown, who has appeared with many regional community theatre groups and is currently working toward a diploma in arts and entertainment management at Capilano University.
Matching the Players Club at six CTC awards was Surrey-based FVGSS – A Musical Theatre Company, for another production that set the bar high for community theatre in the past season, the dynamic, high-energy hit Seussical staged this spring at the White Rock Playhouse.
It was judged the best musical production and also won best director (for a musical) for first-timer Brad Dewar.
Seussical was also recognized for best musical direction (Timothy Tucker) and best choreography (Tamara Jaune and Elizabeth Lay), while Kaden Burgart got the nod for best actor in a lead musical role for his appealingly empathetic Horton the elephant, and Jessie Chan won best actress in a lead musical role for her spunky portrayal of Jojo.
Best supporting actress in a non-musical went to well-known regional player Mahara Sinclaire for Langley Players’ Irish drama Dancing at Lughnasa, which also won best set decoration for Karen McTavish and Shelley Moore.
The award for best supporting actress in a musical went to Katherine Matlashewski for King Arthur’s Court, produced by Vancouver’s Metro Theatre.
Two other Metro productions were also recognized with awards; Persuasion, which won best costume design for its Regency-era clothing for Catherine E. Carr, and the surreal thriller Communicating Doors, which won best set design and best lighting design for Les Erskine.
New Westminster-based Vagabond Players’ production of the scary The Haunting of Hill House won best sound design for Jeremy Heynen and best poster graphic design for Gayle Brawne.
Stage 43 Theatrical Society’s version of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple (female version) won best programme graphic design for Paddy Tennant.