Ian Merrill Peakes, Maboud Ebrahimzadeh, Anthony Mustafa Adair, and J Paul Nicholas in Theatre Exile's production of 'The Invisible Hand' by Ayad Akhtar. (Photo by Paola Nogueras)

Theatre Exile Leads Winners at 2016 Barrymore Awards

The annual awards ceremony for Philadelphia professional theatre was held on Monday.

PHILADELPHIA: Theatre Philadelphia held its 2016 Barrymore Awards, which honored Philadelphia-area theatre, on Monday at the Merriam Theater. The top winners were Theatre Exile, which received five awards for its production of The Invisible Hand by Ayad Akhtar, and Theatre Horizon, which received three Barrymores for its production of Black Nativity by Langston Hughes.

In addition to the competition awards, there were also honorary prizes. R. Eric Thomas took home the Virginia Brown Martin Philadelphia Award for his play Time Is on Our Side, about Philadelphia’s history with gay rights. It was produced by Simpatico Theatre. The award recognizes a production that “demonstrates the ability of theatre to illuminate the ways we live and interact with others as we seek to build community.” It comes with $25,000. There were also four finalists for the award, each of whom received $2,500. The finalists were Exit Strategy by Ike Holter at Philadelphia Theatre CompanyA Knee That Can Bend by Emma Goidel at Orbiter 3Machinal by Sophie Treadwell at EgoPo Classic Theater; and White Guy on the Bus by Bruce Graham at Passage Theatre Company.

Local actor/educator Bi Jean Ngo received the F. Otto Haas Award for an emerging Philadelphia theatre artist, which comes with$15,000. The 2016 finalists were actor and composer/musician Alex Bechtel, playwright and Orbiter 3 co-founder Emma Goidel, actor and Berserker Resident Justin Jain, and actor and director Mary Tuomanen.

The June and Steve Wolfson Award for an evolving theatre company went to Azuka Theatre. The prize comes with $10,000 and recognizes growing theatre companies, with a maximum annual budget of $400,000.

The 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Sara Garonzik, who has headed Philadelphia Theatre Company for 35 years. She is stepping down at the end of the 2016-17 season.

This year also included a new honorary award. The Victory Award for an outstanding theatre education program, which comes with $7,500, was presented to 1812 Productions for their 1812 Outreach program.

The Barrymore Awards recognized productions from the 2015-16 season. A team of theatre artists, critics, and scholars saw 103 professional productions, which featured the work of more than 600 artists throughout the Greater Philadelphia region.

The complete list of winners is below.

Outstanding Overall Production of a Play
The Invisible Hand (Theatre Exile)

Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical
The Secret Garden (Arden Theatre Company)

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

Outstanding Direction of a Musical
Matthew Decker for The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (Arden Theatre Company)

Outstanding Leading Actor in a Play
Maboud Ebrahimzadeh for The Invisible Hand (Theatre Exile)

Charlotte Cushman Award for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Play
Ashley Izard for Happy Days (Quintessence Theatre Group)

Outstanding Leading Actor in a Musical
Scott McPheeters for Andy: A Popera (The Bearded Ladies Cabaret and Opera Philadelphia)

Outstanding Leading Actress in a Musical
Jennifer Childs for I Will Not Go Gently (1812 Productions)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play
Paul Nicholas for The Invisible Hand (Theatre Exile)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play
Jaylene Clark Owens for An Octoroon (The Wilma Theater)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical
Jake Blouch for See What I Wanna See (11th Hour Theatre Company)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical
Malgorzata Kasprzycka for Andy: A Popera (The Bearded Ladies Cabaret and Opera Philadelphia)

Outstanding Scenic Design
Luke Hegel-Cantarella for Auctioning the Ainsleys (People’s Light)

Outstanding Costume Design
Marla Jurglanis for Sense and Sensibility (People’s Light)

Earl Girls Award for Outstanding Lighting Design
Ryan O’Gara for Man of La Mancha (Bristol Riverside Theatre)

Clear Sound Award for Outstanding Sound Design
Michael Kiley for The Invisible Hand (Theatre Exile)

Outstanding Original Music
Josh Tortora for He Who Gets Slapped (Philadelphia Artists’ Collective)

Outstanding Choreography/Movement
Jenn Rose for Black Nativity (Theatre Horizon)

Outstanding Music Direction
Will Brock for Black Nativity (Theatre Horizon)

Outstanding Ensemble in a Play
The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning (Inis Nua Theatre Company)

Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical
Black Nativity (Theatre Horizon)

Independence Foundation Award for Outstanding New Play/Musical
Eric Thomas for Time Is On Our Side (Simpatico Theatre)

Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Philadelphia Theatre Artist
Bi Jean Ngo

Virginia Brown Martin Philadelphia Award
Time Is On Our Side (Simpatico Theatre)

June and Steve Wolfson Award for an Evolving Theatre Company
Azuka Theatre

Victory Foundation Award for Outstanding Theatre Education Program
1812 Outreach (1812 Productions)

Lifetime Achievement Award
Sara Garonzik

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