Mary Tuomanen in "Fun Home" at Arden Theatre Company in 2018. (Photo by Ashley Smith, Wide Eyed Studios)

People’s Light Leads Winners at 2018 Barrymore Awards

The annual awards ceremony celebrating the Philadelphia theatre community was held on Monday.

PHILADELPHIA: Theatre Philadelphia has announced the 2018 recipients for the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre, recognizing productions in the 2017-18 season. In total, $118,000 was awarded to both Philadelphia-area artists and organizations at a ceremony and celebration last night, Nov. 5. Top winners were Arden Theatre Company, which received 5 awards for its production of Fun Home, and People’s Light with 4 awards for Morning’s at Seven and 3 wins for Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole.

In addition to the competition awards, the Barrymores also awarded honorary prizes. The Brown Martin Philadelphia Award, given to work that promotes connection and understanding to the community, was awarded to two productions for the first time. Fun Home at Arden Theatre Company and Human Rites at InterAct Theatre Company shared the $25,000 prize.

Actor Taysha Marie Canales took home the F. Otto Haas Award for Emerging Philadelphia Theatre Artist, with a $15,000 prize.

The Victory Foundation Award for Outstanding Theatre Education Program, with a $10,000 prize, was given to Wilma Theater’s Wilmagination program.

Tribe of Fools received the June and Steve Wolfson Award for Evolving Theatre Company  with a $10,000 cash award.

Paul Meshejian, artistic director of PlayPenn, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

This year the performance awards were gender inclusive, and two winners were named in each acting category. Also, this was the first year of awarding media design, recognizing work in projections, video, and digital media onstage.

The complete list of winners is below:

Outstanding Overall Production of a Play
Mornings at Seven, People’s Light

Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical
Fun Home, Arden Theatre Company

Independence Foundation Award for Outstanding New Play/Musical
The Gap by Emma Goidel, Azuka Theatre

Outstanding Direction of a Play
Abigail Adams, Mornings at Seven, People’s Light

Outstanding Direction of a Musical
Terrence J. Nolen, Fun Home, Arden Theatre Company

Charlotte Cushman Award Outstanding Leading Performance in a Play
Melanye Finister, Skeleton Crew, People’s Light and Scott Greer, Every Brilliant Thing, Arden Theatre Company

Outstanding Leading Performance in a Musical
Dulé Hill, Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole, People’s Light and Jamar Williams, Passing Strange, Wilma Theater

Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Play
Tina Brock, By the Bog of Cats, Irish Heritage Theatre and Akeem Davis, A Doll’s House, Arden Theatre Company

Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Musical
Kim Carson, Fun Home, Arden Theatre Company and Daniel J. Watts, Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole, People’s Light

Outstanding Scenic Design
Luke Cantarella, Morning’s at Seven, People’s Light

Outstanding Costume Design
Theresa Ham, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Delaware Theatre Company

Earl Girls Award for Outstanding Lighting Design
Maria Shaplin, The Wild Duck, Quintessence Theatre Group

Bauder Audio Award for Outstanding Sound Design
Michael Kiley, The Gap, Azuka Theatre

Outstanding Media Design
Freckled Sky, Front Pictures, and Shawn Sagady, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Delaware Theatre Company

Outstanding Original Music
Mel Hsu, Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes, Almanac Dance Circus Theatre

Outstanding Choreography/Movement
Jared Grimes and Edgar Godineaux, Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole, People’s Light

Outstanding Music Direction
Amanda Morton, Passing Strange, Wilma Theater

Temple University Award for Outstanding Ensemble a Play
Mornings at Seven, People’s Light

Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical
Fun Home, Arden Theatre Company