"Cabaret" at Mason Street Warehouse.

The 2016 Wilde Awards Honor Michigan Theatre

Mason Street Warehouse, Planet Ant Theatre, and Ringwald Theatre were the big winners of the night.

ANN ARBOR, MICH.: The 15th annual Wilde Awards, which honored the 2015-16 Michigan theatre season, were held on Monday Aug. 29. EncoreMichigan.com presented the event, during which 37 artists and 26 productions from 20 theatres, earned awards.

“Although it might look like we’re trying to spread the number of awards across as many theatres and artists as possible, that’s certainly never our intent,” said cofounder of the Wilde Awards Donald V. Calamia in a statement. “But when you have more than a dozen critics spanning out across the state reviewing nearly 250 shows produced or presented by more than five dozen theatres like we did this past season, it becomes very tough for one artist, one show, or one company to win multiple awards. And to me, that’s a good thing, because it’s a sign that great work is happening in theatres of every size, shape, and budget—and they’re being recognized for it.”

The top winners were Mason Street Warehouse, Planet Ant Theatre, and Ringwald Theatre—earning for awards each. Mason’s production of Cabaret was the most-honored production of the evening, with four prizes in total.

Calamia hosted the presentation, which included performances of songs from the shows nominated for best musical, and an original mini-production created by Brandy Joe Plambeck of Ringwald Theatre.

“It’s been a long-standing tradition to poke fun of ourselves at the Wilde Awards, and Brandy Joe’s spoof of Romeo and Juliet did just that,” said Calamia in a statement. “While the awards themselves we take seriously, we can’t help but laugh at ourselves and our industry at an event such as this, since it’s not often that the community comes together in a single spot to celebrate what ties us together. And laughter is the best medicine, after all!”

EncoreMichigan.com is a web-based local arts publication established in 2008. The winners of the Wilde Awards were determined by a team of 14 theatre critics, who reviewed 241 theatre productions across 66 professional companies.

A complete list of the winners is below.

Best Musical
Cabaret, Kurt Stamm, director; Mason Street Warehouse

Best of the Bard
Henry IV, Janice L. Blixt, director; Michigan Shakespeare Festival

Best One-Person Show
From Broadway to Obscurity, Brian P. Sage, director; Detroit Public Theatre

Best Opera
The Passenger, Rob Kearley, director; Michigan Opera Theatre

Best Original Production or One-Act
Antenna, Mike McGettigan, director; Planet Ant Theatre

Best Play
A Streetcar Named Desire, Randy Wolfe, director; What A Do Theatre
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Suzi Regan, director; Performance Network Theatre

Best Theater for Young Audiences
Charlotte’s Web, Lauren Mounsey, director; Wild Swan Theater

Best Touring Production
A Christmas Carol, Graham McLaren, director; University Musical Society

Best Performance—One-Person Show
Sebastian Gerstner, Chesapeake; Theatre Nova
Richard Payton, Buyer & Cellar; The Ringwald Theatre

Best Performance—Opera
Adrienn Miksch, The Passenger; Michigan Opera Theatre

Best Performance—Original Production or One-Act
Lauren Bickers, Antenna; Planet Ant Theatre

Best Performance—Rising Star
Maxim Vinogradov, BFs!; Slipstream Theatre Initiative

Best Performance—The Bard
David Montee, As You Like It; Interlochen Shakespeare Festival

Best Performance—Theatre for Young Audiences
Sandy Ryder, Charlotte’s Web; Wild Swan Theater

Best Performance, Lead Actor—Musical
Christopher Behmke, Cabaret; Mason Street Warehouse

Best Performance, Lead Actor—Play
Joe Bailey, The Whale; UDM Theatre Company and The Ringwald Theatre
John Seibert, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; Performance Network Theatre

Best Performance, Lead Actress—Musical
Stacey Harris, Cabaret; Mason Street Warehouse

Best Performance, Lead Actress—Play
Jamie Warrow, A Streetcar Named Desire; The Ringwald Theatre

Best Performance, Supporting Actor—Musical
Vince Kelley, Heathers: The Musical; The Ringwald Theatre

Best Performance, Supporting Actor—Play
Dax Anderson, Orson’s Shadow; Planet Ant Theatre

Best Performance, Supporting Actress—Musical
Shinnerrie Jackson, Ghost the Musical; Barn Theatre

Best Performance, Supporting Actress—Play
Wendy Katz Hiller, The Rivals; Michigan Shakespeare Festival
Allison Megroet, Precious Little; Matrix Theatre Company

Best Choreography
Kurt Stamm, Cabaret; Mason Street Warehouse

Best Design—Costumes
Laura Heikkinen, R.U.R.; Puzzle Piece Theatre
Melanie Schuessler, The Rivals; Michigan Shakespeare Festival

Best Design—Lights
Andrew Carson, Mary Poppins; Barn Theatre

Best Design—Props
Thomas Koehler, August: Osage County; What A Do Theatre

Best Design—Sets
Shy Iverson, Mary Poppins; Barn Theatre

Best Design —Sound or Video
Mike Eshaq, Antenna; Planet Ant Theatre
Tom Whalen and Noelle Stollmack, 2AZ; The Purple Rose Theatre Company

Best Music Direction
Tyler Driskill, Into the Woods; The Encore Musical Theatre

Best New Script
David Wells and R. Mackenzie Lewis, Irrational; Theatre Nova

SPECIAL AWARDS:

Critics’ Choice Award
Meadow Brook Theatre
George Cvetanovski
7 Brothers Bar

Founders Award for Excellence
Hal Soper
Planet Ant

Jim Posante Community Pride Award
Scott Myers

Council Cargle Award for Dedication to the Michigan Theatre Community
David Regal

Publisher’s Award
Tom and Kathy Vertin
The Snug and Riverbank Theatres

  • Caroline Bardenhagen

    This is fantastic! Having been involved in community theatre, I hope that something like this would be done to honor all of the huge talent that is within even small communities in all aspects of the performances some day. From costumes to lighting, directors to actors, and pit band to ensemble, it is absolutely amazing to me the saturation of talent that is within one production, not to mention man hours! I wish that I’d have seen Cabaret and that my kids could have seen Charlotte’s Web! Congratulations to all recipients and well done to the committee that organized the massive undertaking of honoring them. Very nice bit of news to read about.

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