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SpeakEasy Stage, Huntington Theater and Gloucester Stage share the spotlight at the 39th Elliot Norton Awards

Last night, the Boston Theater Critics Association announced the 39th Elliot Norton Awards for more than two dozen outstanding actors, directors, designers, ensembles and productions. The ceremony capped a season that saw a vigorous return to live theater.

The Huntington Theater Company won a total of six awards, including three for The Bluest Eye, written by playwright Lydia Diamond and adapted from Toni Morrison’s long-lived debut novel. The SpeakEasy Stage Company received seven awards for productions such as “People, Places, and Things”, “BLKS” and the musical “Once on This Island”. The Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s annual free summer Shakespeare production, ‘The Tempest’, was recognized by an Actor for Outstanding Contribution to a Major Theatre. That was for John Douglas Thompson’s performance as Prospero. Thompson, hailed by many as the nation’s leading Shakespearean actor, was also this year’s recipient of the Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence.

The storm
John Douglas Thompson as Prospero in The Tempest

Evgenia Eliseeva, courtesy of the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company

Special mentions went to Julianne Boyd, the tireless co-founder and artistic director of the Barrington Stage Company, who is retiring this year, and to Arlekin Players Theatre, the small Needham theater company that has been gaining international attention thanks to its pandemic with talent like Mikhail Baryshnikov got into the virtual theater.

The full list of winners follows.

Elliot Norton Award for Sustainable Excellence
John Douglas Thompson

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Arlekin Players Theater & Zero Gravity (zero-G) Virtual Theater Lab, Artistic Director Igor Golyak for pushing the boundaries of digital space to create a new genre of theater, and actress Darya Denisova for her performances performed in the original productions virtually with a global audiences interact “State vs. Natasha Banina”, “chekhovOS” and “Witness”.

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Julianne Boyd, co-founder and outgoing Artistic Director of the Barrington Stage Company, for her 27 years at the helm of Pittsfield’s award-winning theater, an incubator of ambitious new work and Broadway hits.

Outstanding guest production
Hadestown, Broadway in Boston

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Guest Production
Kevin Morrow, “Hadestown” Presented By Broadway In Boston

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Guest Production
Somi Kakoma, “Dreaming Zenzile” presented by ArtsEmerson

Outstanding music production
“All Is Quiet”, Greater Boston Stage Company

Outstanding production by a major theatre
“The Bluest Eye”, Huntington Theater Company

Outstanding production by a medium-sized theatre
“People, Places and Things”, SpeakEasy Stage Company

Outstanding production of a small or fringe theatre
“Little Beautiful Things”, Gloucester Stage Company

Outstanding ensemble, great theatre
“The Bluest Eye”, Huntington Theater Company

Excellent ensemble, medium sized theatre
“BLKS”, SpeakEasy Stage Company

Outstanding ensemble, small or small theatre
“The Importance of Being Serious”, Apollinaire Theater Company

Outstanding solo performance
Jasmine M. Rush, “Queens Girl in the World,” a co-production of The Nora at Central Square Theatre, The Front Porch Arts Collective and The Hangar Theater Company

Outstanding direction for a great theatre
Awoye Timpo, “The Bluest Eye”, Huntington Theater Company

Outstanding direction for a medium-sized theater
David R. Gammons, “People, Places, and Things,” SpeakEasy Stage Company

Excellent direction for a small or small theater
Lyndsay Allyn Cox, “Little Beautiful Things”, Gloucester Stage Company

Outstanding Musical Performance by an Actor
Anthony Pires Jr., “Passing Strange”, Moonbox Productions

Outstanding Musical Performance by an Actress
Whitney White, “Macbeth in Stride”, American Repertory Theatre

Outstanding Performance by an Actor for a Major Theatre
John Douglas Thompson, “The Tempest”, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company

Outstanding Performance by an Actress for a Major Theater
Shannon DeVido, “Teenage Dick”, Huntington Theater Company

Outstanding performance by an actress for a medium-sized theater
Marianna Bassham, “People, Places and Things”, SpeakEasy Stage Company

Outstanding performance by an actor for a medium-sized theater
Sharmarke Yusuf, “BLKS”, SpeakEasy Stage Company

Outstanding Performance by an Actress for a Small or Small Theater
Celeste Oliva, “Tiny Beautiful Things”, Gloucester Stage Company

Outstanding Performance by an Actor for a Small or Small Theater
Malcolm Ingram, “Reparations”, Gloucester Stage Company

Outstanding New Screenplay
“Black Beans Project” by Melinda Lopez and Joél Pérez, Huntington Theater Company

Outstanding design for a large theater
“Witch”, Huntington Theater Company (Set Design by Luciana Stecconi; Costume Design by Chelsea Kerl; Lighting Design by Mary Louise Geiger; Sound Design by Melanie Chen Cole)

Excellent design for a medium sized theater
“BLKS”, SpeakEasy Stage Company (Set Design by Jenna McFarland Lord; Costume Design by Cassandra Queen; Lighting Design by Kat C. Zhou; Sound Design by Anna Drummond)

Outstanding musical direction
Julius LaFlamme, “Passing Strange”, Moonbox Productions

Outstanding choreography
Jazelynn Goudy, “Once on This Island”, SpeakEasy Stage Company

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