Winnipesaukee sweeps fifth NH Theatre Awards
By Heidi Masek firstname.lastname@example.org
New Hampshire’s northern thespians extended an invite to their southern counterparts at the fifth New Hampshire Theatre Awards Friday, Feb. 2, at the Palace Theatre in Manchester. And, judging by the awards, they might have a point.
Between the Winnipesaukee Playhouse’s professional summer company and their community production arm, Winni Players, this Weirs Beach outfit took nine awards home. Two couples related by marriage, the Halperins and the Pankhursts, started the playhouse in 2004 and the company also offers youth programs.
Kevin Roberge’s new Pirate Stage troupe made its presence felt during the event from Roberge’s antics as a presenter to bringing their entire ensemble on stage to accept their best community musical trophy for producing The Rocky Horror Show in Nashua. That show also basked in the award for best supporting actor in a musical for Ryan Hagen and a best actor award for Billy Butler, who, after partially singing a few bars of “I’m a wild and an untamed thing,” declared: “I’ve done Hamlet. I’ve done Cuckoo’s Nest. I’ve done The House of Yes and yet Frank N. Furter in The Rocky Horror Show....” This was well after he declared that he had been “drinking out back” after rushing up to accept an award for an absent Scarlett Ridgeway Savage for best original play, She F@&%#$ Hates Me, presented by Women in Theater.
There were more family connections at the event, which attracted almost 800 people. Roberge’s wife Marisa took the award for best actress in a community musical for Manchester’s New Thalian Players’ production of Hot Mikado. The Roberges along with Wayland Bunell took an award for best community original review for Musical Mom. New Thalian founder Beth Ann O’Hara, who came out of directing retirement to stage Hot Mikado, won best director. The show also won best music direction for Joel Mercier. Neither was present. O’Hara was in California; her daughters Sarah and Laura Silverman’s TV show, The Sarah Silverman Show, premiered on Comedy Central this week. The cast also performed a number during the presentation. Actorsingers also performed a medley from Cats, and Peacock Players performed a scene from Aida.
Jennifer Mallard took best supporting actress in a professional musical for Seacoast Repertory’s Fiddler on the Roof. She was also in the cast of Pirate Stage’s Rocky. Her father, Brett, was nominated for best community actor for Actorsingers’ Cats.
The Actorsingers of Nashua’s Cats production won community awards for best set design for John McAllister, Dennis Schneider and Paul Metzger and best costume design for Tracy Smith and Kathleen Gorham.
Bryan Halperin won community awards for best director forOur Town by Winni Players. Best supporting actress went to Dorothy Piquado and her husband John Piquado won best supporting actor. Teagin Morin won best actress for a play.
New Hampshire’s arts commissioner, Van McLeod was given the lifetime achievement award. In the 1980s he helped found the North Country Center for the Arts Papermill Theatre, a professional outfit that won five awards Feb. 2.
Dr. Patricia Lindberg was given the Excellence in Children’s Theatre award, and Kevin Riley, who did much of the awards organization, was given the Special Award for Vision and Tenacity. Peacock Players and The Barnstormers were given general excellence awards for community and professional categories, respectively.
Each company that submits a performance to be judged supplies volunteers who are assigned to adjudicate at other performances. There are five adjudicators each, and the lowest and highest scores are thrown out. Riley announced that this year there will be adjudicator training held throughout the state.
Next year will also include an award for sound.
Visit nhtheatreawards.com for a complete list of winners.