Vertigo’s Demon Barber and Lunchbox’s Peril in Paris lead Betty nominations
A murderous baritone barber, a moustache-twirling melodrama set in early 20th-century Paris and a homegrown theatrical puck de resistance were among the big winners Tuesday, when nominations for the 2012 Betty Mitchell Awards were announced.
Vertigo’s Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Lunchbox Theatre’s production of Perils of Paris, by Eric Rose and Ethan Cole, each snagged eight nominations, including nods for Best Musical, Musical Direction, Actress in a Musical (Jamie Konchak for Peril and Elizabeth Stepkowski-Tarhan for Sweeney) and Performance by an Actor in a Musical (Kevin Aichele in Sweeney, Scott Shpeley in Peril).
Outgoing Vertigo artistic director Mark Bellamy received a nomination for his direction of Sweeney Todd, his final show as Vertigo’s artistic director.
“I am thrilled,” Bellamy said, in an e-mail. “Having a play that you’re so passionate about be recognized by your community makes the honour of being nominated even more meaningful. Receiving nominations in eight categories is a testament to the incredible team that we had on this show.”
For Bettys steering committee chair Trevor Rueger, “the thing that stuck out for me was the number of first time nominees. People like Daniel Mallett in Perils of Paris, Cheryl Hutton of SHE, Scott Shpeley (in Perils in Paris).”
For Verb Theatre’s co-artistic director Jamie Dunsdon, who directed double nominees Haysam Kadri (for leading actor) and Shawna Lori Burnett (for leading actress) in Col Cseke’s Jim Forgetting, a drama about the emotional impact of early onset Alzheimer’s, being recognized with multiple Betty nominations means a lot.
“Calgary has a warm and welcoming and inviting theatre community,” she said, “and the Bettys are a way of formalizing that — hey, we noticed you! It’s nice to be noticed. It makes me happy to be from Calgary.”
Playing With Fire: The Theo Fleury Story, was one of seven Alberta Theatre Projects productions to receive nominations. It was nominated for best play, new play, director (Ron Jenkins), actor in a drama (Shaun Smyth), set design (David Fraser) and sound design (Matthew Skopyk).
Other ATP shows receiving nominations were Ash Rizin’ (five), The Wizard of Oz (five), Mary’s Wedding (five), True Love Lies (two), Good Fences (a co-production with Downstage) (two), Drama: Pilot Episode (two) and Penny Plain (one).
It all added up to 29 nominations for ATP, or more than double the next highest company, Lunchbox, which had 11.
Vertigo received the third most nominations with nine, with Forte Musical Guild (five), Theatre Calgary (six), Urban Curvz (four), Downstage (three), Sage (three), Calgary Opera (three), Ghost River (two), Verb (two) and Ground Zero (two) all receiving multiple nominations.
Y Stage, Trepan, Stage West and the Shakespeare Company received single nominations.
Kevin Rothery received a best supporting actor nomination for playing the part of Martin in Sage Theatre’s production of Fool for Love, a role he first played almost two decades ago, in a Theatre Junction production of the same show.
“It was fun to revisit (the part of Martin) as a more mature man,” he said. “He’s not a man of action, but he tries his best.”
For Karen Johnson-Diamond, who earned her fifth Betty nomination for her role in Edmonton playwright Stewart Lemoine’s When Girls Collide, the thrill lay in performing a play by one of her favourite writers.
“I feel indebted to (director) Trevor Rueger, who is an excellent leader of Lemoine,” she said, “and to Lemoine himself.”
Johnson-Diamond also was thrilled that Lunchbox Theatre received the second-most nominations, and also by the quality of the new work this city produced this year, pointing to the best new play nominations, which were all written by Calgary playwrights, including Karen Hines (Drama: Pilot Episode), Rose and Cole (Peril in Paris), The Downstage Creation Ensemble (Good Fences), Kirstie McLellan Day (Playing With Fire) and Joe Slabe (Jeremy de Bergerac).
“Isn’t it phenomenal?” she asked.
The Bettys will be presented Aug. 27 at Stage West.