Kate Czajkowski and Scott Greer in Theatre Exile's production of "The Whale" by Samuel D. Hunter. (Photo by Paola Nogueras)

Theatre Exile Wins Big at 2015 Barrymore Awards

Theatre Philadelphia honored area theatre at its annual awards ceremony.

PHILADELPHIA: Philly was out in full swing on Monday night as Theatre Philadelphia hosted the 2015 Barrymore Awards at the Merriam Theatre. Theatre Exile led the pack with five prizes, including outstanding production of a play for The Whale by Samuel D. Hunter.

Exile’s The Whale won four prizes total, more than any other play. Another big winner was Theatre Horizon, which received four awards for its production of Stephen Sondehim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods, the most prizes for any musical that evening, including outstanding production of a musical.

In addition to the competitive awards, actor Akeem Davis took home the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Philadelphia Theatre Artist, which includes $15,000. The 2015 finalists are actor/composer/musician Alex Bechtel, actor and Team Sunshine Performance Corporation co-founder Benjamin Camp, costume designer and teaching artist Katherine Fritz, and actor and teaching artist Bi Jean Ngo.

InterAct Theatre Company’s world premiere production of Jen Silverman’s The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane won the Virginia Brown Martin Philadelphia Award, a prize given for a work that demonstrates theatre’s ability to illuminates the way we live and interact with others as we seek to build community. The award includes $25,000. This year’s finalists, each of whom received $2,500, were The Gun Show at Passage Theatre Company, In the Blood at Theatre Horizon, Speech & Debate at Azuka Theatre, and The Whale at Theatre Exile.

Philadelphia Artists’ Collective won the June and Steve Wolfson Award for an Evolving Theatre Company, which includes $10,000. The Life Achievement Award was presented to longtime Philadelphia actor, director, and retired/tenured University of the Arts associate theatre professor Johnnie Hobbs Jr.

Theatre Philadelphia also announced the creation of a brand new Barrymore Award called the Victory Award for Outstanding Theatre Education Program, which is sponsored by the Victory Foundation and includes $7,500. The first-ever winner will be announced at the 2016 ceremony.

The Barrymores were previously hosted by Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, which disbanded in 2011. Theatre Philadelphia is a coalition of local artistic and managing leaders. For the Barrymore Awards, a volunteer group of artists, critics, and scholars saw 105 professional productions at 34 professional theatre companies in the 2014–15 season.

A complete list of winners is below.

Outstanding Overall Production of a Play
The Whale (Theatre Exile)

Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical
Into the Woods (Theatre Horizon)

Outstanding Direction of a Play
Matt Pfeiffer for The Whale (Theatre Exile)

Outstanding Direction of a Musical
Matthew Decker for Into the Woods (Theatre Horizon)

Outstanding Leading Actor in a Play
Scott Greer in The Whale (Theatre Exile)

Charlotte Cushman Award for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Play
Catharine Slusar in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Theatre Exile)

Outstanding Leading Actor in a Musical
Ben Dibble in Herringbone (Flashpoint Theatre Company)

Outstanding Leading Actress in a Musical
Liz Filios in Passion (Arden Theatre Company)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play
Dan Hodge in The Fair Maid of the West (Philadelphia Artists’ Collective)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play
Campbell O’Hare in Rapture, Blister, Burn (The Wilma Theater)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical
Michael Philip O’Brien in Field Hockey Hot (11th Hour Theatre Company)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical
Leah Walton in Field Hockey Hot (11th Hour Theatre Company)

Outstanding Set Design
Kristen Robinson for Rapture, Blister, Burn (The Wilma Theater)

Outstanding Costume Design
Marla Jurglanis for Bach at Leipzig (People’s Light)

Outstanding Lighting Design
Russell H. Champa for brownsville song (b-side for tray) (Philadelphia Theatre Company)

Clear Sound Award for Outstanding Sound Design
Christopher Colucci for The Whale (Theatre Exile)

Outstanding Original Music
ILL DOOTS for Hands Up: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments (Flashpoint Theatre Company)

Outstanding Choreography/Movement
Samantha Reading for Bach at Leipzig (People’s Light)

Outstanding Music Direction
Amanda Morton for Into the Woods (Theatre Horizon)

Outstanding Ensemble in a Play
Little Rock (Passage Theatre Company)

Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical
Into the Woods (Theatre Horizon)

Independence Foundation Award for Outstanding New Play
Caught by Christopher Chen (InterAct Theatre Company)

F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Philadelphia Theatre Artist
Akeem Davis

Virginia Brown Martin Philadelphia Award
The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane (InterAct Theatre Company)

June and Steve Wolfson Award for an Evolving Theatre Company
Philadelphia Artists’ Collective

Lifetime Achievement Award
Johnnie Hobbs Jr.

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