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The Recipients — Helen and Morris Zoren Awards 2014-2015

untitled (119)A glorious season is celebrated by citing some of the best productions and performances seen during it.

Awards are a round-up of sorts,. They compact cherished memories and give a point of reference for shows, fine acting, and astute directing that took place in a given year.

For 2014-2015, the recipients of the Helen and Morris Zoren Awards for World Theatre are an eclectic bunch, two from Broadway, but neither of whom was nominated for a Tony Award, one from local stages in Philadelphia, another a journeyman performer who has graced Philadelphia and Princeton markedly in recent seasons. The Helen and Morris Zoren Awards are chosen from 214 qualifying productions seen between May 2014, when “Chapter Two” opened at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pa. to June 2015 with the late-season opening of “The Three Christs of Manhattan” for Philadelphia’s InterAct Theatre. The geographic area for the Awards extends from Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario to Washington, D.C. The one performance seen in Europe this year, a ballet, “Valmont,” in Prague, was not counted because dramatic though it was, it didn’t qualify as theater, as an opera would have.

Some omissions may be curious. Speaking of “curious,” one might be the absence of the excellent and creative “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” That’s because budget constraints forced me to limit Broadway visits this season and Simon Stephen’s marvelous adaptation of Mark Haddon’s novel was included in the 2012-2013 Awards, from when I saw “Curious” in London. The 2012-2013 Awards also cover Peter Morgan’s play, “The Audience,” and citations to Helen Mirren and Richard McCabe, who was the 2012-2013 recipient of the Helen and Morris Zoren Award as the Best Supporting Actor of that season.

Here are the recipients of the Helen and Morris Zoren Awards for World Theater in 2014-2015:

BEST PRODUCTION

JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK, The Show Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario

BEST ACTOR

BEN DIBBLE, for Herringbone, Flashpoint Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.

BEST ACTRESS

ZAINAB JAH, for Hamlet, Wilma Theater, Philadelphia, Pa.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

JAY ARMSTRONG JOHNSON, for On the Town, Barrington Stage, Pittsfield, Mass, Lyric Theatre, Broadway, NYC

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

LINDSAY DUNCAN, for A Delicate Balance, John Golden Theatre, Broadway, NYC

BEST DIRECTOR

CHRISTOPHER WHEELDON, for An American in Paris, Palace Theatre, NYC

In addition to naming recipients, the Helen and Morris Awards for World Theatre cite 30 leaders in each category to honor the general excellence the theater exemplifies everyday.

BEST PRODUCTION

  1. JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK, The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the Lake, Ontario
  2. The Rape of Lucrece, Philadelphia Artists’ Collective, Philadelphia, Pa.
  3. An American in Paris, Palace Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  4. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Theater Exile, Philadelphia, Pa.
  5. The Philadelphia Story, The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
  6. On the Town, Barrington Stage, Pittsfield, Mass,, Lyric Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  7. When We Are Married, The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
  8. Hamlet, Wilma Theater, Philadelphia, Pa.
  9. Fences, People’s Light & Theatre Company, Malvern, Pa.
  10. Sizwe Banzi is Dead, McCarter Theatre, Princeton, N.J.
  11. Kinky Boots, National Tour, Forrest Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  12. Five Mile Lake, McCarter Theatre, Princeton, N.J.
  13. On the Twentieth Century, Roundabout, American Airlines Theatre, NYC
  14. Doubt: A Parable, Lantern Theater, Philadelphia, Pa.
  15. Ragtime, Bristol Riverside Theatre, Bristol, Pa.
  16. Arcadia, Lantern Theater, Philadelphia, Pa.
  17. Disgraced, Lyceum Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  18. Indian Ink, Roundabout, Laura Pels Theatre, off-Broadway, NYC
  19. Oscar, Opera Philadelphia, Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pa.
  20. Michael & Edie, Villanova Theatre, Villanova, Pa.
  21. The Matchmaker, Temple Theaters, Philadelphia, Pa.
  22. The Hairy Ape, Ego-Po Classical Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  23. Something Rotten!, St. James Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  24. A Delicate Balance, John Golden Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  25. The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane, InterAct Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  26. Blood Wedding, Philadelphia Artist’s Collective, Philadelphia, Pa.
  27. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Wilma Theater, Philadelphia, Pa.
  28. As You Like It, Quintessence Theatre Group, Philadelphia, Pa.
  29. Into the Woods, Theatre Horizon, Norristown, Pa.
  30. To the Moon, 1812 Productions, Philadelphia, Pa.

BEST ACTOR

  1. BEN DIBBLE, Herringbone, Flashpoint Theatre; Doubt: A Parable, Lantern Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  2. Michael Cerveris, Fun Home, Public Theatre, Circle-in-the-Square, Broadway, NYC
  3. Robert Fairchild, An American in Paris, Palace Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  4. Dan Hodge, The Rape of Lucrece, Philadelphia Artists’ Collective, Philadelphia, Pa.
  5. Matteo Scammell, The Hairy Ape, Ego-Po Classical Theatre; Beauty and the Beast, Arden Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa
  6. Atandwa Kani, Sizwe Banzi is Dead, McCartrer Theatre, Princeton, N.J.
  7. Michael Genet, Fences, People’s Light & Theatre Company, Malvern, Pa.
  8. Steven Booth, Kinky Boots, National Tour, Forrest Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  9. Firdous Bamji, Indian Ink, Roundabout, Laura Pels Theatre, off-Broadway, NYC
  10. Pearce Bunting, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Theatre Exile, Philadelphia, Pa.
  11. Jim Mezon, Juno and the Paycock, The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
  12. Kyle Taylor Parker, Kinky Boots, Forrest Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  13. Ewan McGregor, The Real Thing, Roundabout, American Airlines Theatre, NYC
  14. Tobias Segal, Five Mile Lake, McCarter Theatre, Princeton. N.J.
  15. Robert Jason Jackson, The Matchmaker, Temple Theaters, Philadelphia, Pa.
  16. Tony Yazbeck, On the Town, Barrington Stage, Pittsfield, Mass., Lyric Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  17. Christopher Sutton, Memphis, Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  18. Wade McCollum, Ernest Shackleton Loves Me, George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick, N.J.
  19. Joseph Marcell, King Lear, National Tour, The Annenberg Center, Philadelphia, Pa.
  20. Scott Greer, To the Moon, 1812 Productions; The Whale, Theatre Exile, Philadelphia, Pa,
  21. John Lithgow, A Delicate Balance, John Golden Theatre, NYC
  22. David Daniels, Oscar, Opera Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa.
  23. Hari Dhillon, Disgraced, Lyceum Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  24. Peter Gallagher, On the Twentieth Century, Roundabout, American Airlines Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  25. Gord Rand, The Philanderer, The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
  26. John Epperson, Lypsinka: Show Trash, off-Broadway, NYC
  27. Jeffrey Coon, Catch Me If You Can, Eagle Theatre, Hammonton, N.J.; The Addams Family, Media Theatre, Media, Pa.; Mary Poppins, Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa
  28. J Hernandez, Blood Wedding, Philadelphia Artists’ Collective; The Taming of the Shrew, Lantern Theater, Philadelphia, Pa.
  29. Curtiss Cook, Jr., Brownsville Song (B-Side for Tray), Philadelphia Theatre Company. Philadelphia, Pa.
  30. Kyle Branzel, Murder for Two, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Philadelphia, Pa.

BEST ACTRESS

  1. ZAINAB JAH, Hamlet, Wilma Theater, Philadelphia, Pa.
  2. Moya O’Connell, The Philadelphia Story, The Philanderer, The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
  3. Rosemary Harris, Indian Ink, Roundabout, Laura Pels Theatre, off-Broadway, NYC
  4. Mary Haney, Juno and the Paycock, The Shaw Festival. Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
  5. Kristin Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century, Roundabout, American Airlines Theatre, NYC
  6. Catharine Slusar, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Theatre Exile, Philadelphia, Pa.
  7. Kathleen McNenny, Outside Mullingar, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Philadelphia, Pa.
  8. Chita Rivera, The Visit, Broadway, NYC
  9. Mary Martello, Doubt: A Parable, Lantern Theater, Philadelphia, Pa.
  10. Julie Czarnecki, The Matchmaker, Temple Theaters, Philadelphia, Pa.
  11. Tina Packer, Women of Will, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Center Valley, Pa.
  12. Erin Davie, Side Show, The Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.
  13. Glenn Close, A Delicate Balance, John Golden Theatre, NYC
  14. Jennie Eisenhower, Field Hockey Hot, 11th Hour Productions, Passion, Arden Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.; The Addams Family, The Miracle Worker, Media Theatre, Media, Pa.
  15. Kristen Bush, Five Mile Lake, McCarter Theatre, Princeton, N.J.
  16. Melissa Dunphy, iHamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  17. Jessica Wagner, Always…Patsy Cline, Bristol Riverside Theatre, Bristol, Pa.
  18. Ashley Everage, In the Blood, Theatre Horizon, Norristown, Pa.
  19. Margo Seibert, Ever After, Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn, N.J.
  20. Vanessa Bell Callaway, Letters from Zora, Crossroads Theatre, New Brunswick, N.J.
  21. Kathleen Wallace, Private Lives, Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  22. Kristen Bailey, The Metamorphosis, Quintessence Theatre Group, Philadelphia, Pa.
  23. Aimé Donna Kelly, The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane, InterAct Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  24. Rachel Camp, The Fair Maid of the West, Philadelphia Artists’ Collective, Philadelphia, Pa.; Into the Woods, Theatre Horizon, Norristown, Pa.
  25. Fiona Reid, The Sea, The Charity That Began at Home, The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
  26. Michael Learned, Mothers and Sons, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Philadelphia, Pa.; Love Letters, Delaware Theatre Company, Wilmington, Del.
  27. April Woodall, Souvenir, Montgomery Theatre, Souderton, Pa.
  28. Corinna Burns, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, Azuka Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  29. Liz Filios, Passion, Arden Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  30. Carla Belver, The Glass Menagerie, Act II Playhouse, Ambler, Pa.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  1. JAY ARMSTRONG JOHNSON, On the Town, Barrington Stage, Pittsfield, Mass., Lyric Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  2. Brad Oscar, Something Rotten!, St. James Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  3. Max von Essen, An American in Paris, Palace Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  4. Jake Blouch, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Theatre Exile, Philadelphia, Pa.; Unnecessary Farce, Act II Playhouse, Ambler, Pa.
  5. Stanley Bahorek, Baskerville, McCarter Theatre, Princeton, N.J.
  6. Benedict Campbell, Juno and the Paycock, The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
  7. Ed Swidey, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Wilma Theater, Philadelphia, Pa.
  8. Justin Guarini, Paint Your Wagon, Encores, City Center, NYC
  9. James-Patrick Davis, As You Like It, Quintessence Theatre Group, Philadelphia, Pa.
  10. Derrick Cobey, Ragtime, Bristol Riverside Theatre, Bristol, Pa.
  11. David St. Louis, Side Show, Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.
  12. Pete Pryor, Biloxi Blues; The Cherry Orchard, People’s Light & Theatre Company, Malvern, Pa.
  13. Andy Karl, On the Twentieth Century, Roundabout, American Airlines Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  14. Charl Brown, Ever After, Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn, N.J.
  15. Patrick Galligan, The Sea; When We Are Married, The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
  16. Kelly Briggs, Les Misérables; Hello Dolly, Media Theatre, Media, Pa.
  17. Mncedisi Shabangu, Sizwe Banzi is Dead, McCarter Theatre, Princeton, N.J.
  18. Andrew Betz, As You Like It; Richard II: Edward III, Quintessence Theatre Group, Philadelphia, Pa.
  19. Akeem Davis, In the Blood, Theatre Horizon, Norristown, Pa.; The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane; The Three Christs of Manhattan, InterAct Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.; Unnecessary Farce, Act II Playhouse, Ambler, Pa.
  20. Brandon Pierce, Milk Like Sugar, Simpatico Theatre; Hands Up, Flashpoint Theatre; The Fair Maid of the West, Philadelphia Artists’ Collective, Philadelphia, Pa.
  21. John Riddle, The Visit, Lyceum Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  22. Graham Smith, The Cherry Orchard, People’s Light and Theatre Company, Malvern, Pa.
  23. Clyde Alves, On the Town, Barrington Stage, Pittsfield, Mass., Lyric Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  24. Dan Hodge, The Fair Maid of the West, Philadelphia Artists’ Collective; The Three Christs of Manhattan, InterAct Theatre; Private Lives, Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.; The 39 Steps, Hedgerow Theatre, Rose Valley, Pa.
  25. Brandon Uranowitz, An American in Paris, Palace Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  26. Forrest McClendon, In the Blood, Theatre Horizon, Norristown, Pa.
  27. Troy Cook, Don Carlo, Opera Philadelphia, Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pa.
  28. Bruce Graham, Lost in Yonkers, Bristol Riverside Theatre, Bristol, Pa.
  29. Aaron Bell, Hands Up, Flashpoint Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  30. Bob Balaban, A Delicate Balance, John Golden Theatre, Broadway, NYC

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  1. LINDSAY DUNCAN, A Delicate Balance, John Golden Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  2. Romola Garai, Indian Ink, Roundabout, Laura Pels Theatre, off-Broadway, NYC
  3. Deirdre Madigan, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope, Pa.
  4. Kate Hennig, A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur; When We Are Married, The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
  5. Jill Paice, An American in Paris, Palace Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  6. Melanye Finister, Fences, People’s Light & Theatre Company, Malvern, Pa.
  7. Mary Haney, When We Are Married, The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
  8. Tamara Anderson, Ghost, Media Theatre, Media, Pa.
  9. Liz Filios, Into the Woods, Theatre Horizon, Norristown, Pa.; Arthur and the Tale of the Red Dragon, People’s Light &Theatre Company, Malvern, Pa.; Andy: A Popera, Bearded Ladies Cabaret, Philadelphia, Pa.
  10. Sofie Yavorsky, Bad Jews, Walnut Street Theatre Independence on 3, Philadelphia, Pa.
  11. Veanne Cox, An American in Paris, Palace Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  12. Mahira Kakkar, Five Mile Lake, McCarter Theatre, Princeton, N.J.
  13. Catrina Ganey, Brownsville Song (B-Side for Tray), Philadelphia Theatre Company, Philadelphia, Pa.
  14. Elisa Matthews, Les Misérables; Hello Dolly, Media Theatre, Media, Pa.
  15. Angela Brown, Yardbird, Opera Philadelphia, Perelman Theater, Philadelphia, Pa.
  16. Lynette R. Freeman, The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane, InterAct Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  17. Jo Twiss, Always…Patsy Cline, Bristol Riverside Theatre, Bristol, Pa.
  18. Emilie Krause, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Theatre Exile, Philadelphia, Pa.
  19. Amanda Schoonover, The Glass Menagerie, Act II Playhouse, Ambler, Pa.
  20. Kimber Sprawl, Memphis, Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  21. Clare Mahoney, QED; Doubt: A Parable, Lantern Theater, Philadelphia, Pa.; Biloxi Blues, People’s Light & Theatre Company, Malvern, Pa.
  22. Bi Jean Ngo, Caught, InterAct Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  23. Marsha Mason, Deathtrap, Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope, Pa.
  24. Harveen Sandhu, The Philanderer, The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
  25. Lexi Gwynn, The Miracle Worker, Media Theatre, Media, Pa.
  26. Alana Hibbert, The Mountaintop, The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
  27. Martha Plimpton, A Delicate Balance, John Golden Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  28. Emily Skeggs, Fun Home, Public Theatre, Circle-in-the-Square, Broadway, NYC
  29. Deborah Jean Templin, Mary Poppins, Walnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  30. Sung Yun Cho, Brownsville Song (B-Side for Tray), Philadelphia Theatre Company, Philadelphia, Pa.

BEST DIRECTOR

  1. CHRISTOPHER WHEELDON, An American in Paris, Palace Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  2. John Rando, On the Town, Barrington Stage, Pittsfield, Mass, Lyric Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  3. Jackie Maxwell, Juno and the Paycock, The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
  4. Dennis Garnhum, The Philadelphia Story, The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
  5. Joe Canuso, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Theatre Exile, Philadelphia, Pa.
  6. Emily Mann, Five Mile Lake, McCarter Theatre, Princeton, N.J.
  7. John Kani, Sizwe Banzi is Dead, McCarter Theatre, Princeton, N.J.
  8. Blanka Zizka, Hamlet; Rosencrantz and Guidenstern Are Dead, Wilma Theater, Philadelphia, Pa.
  9. Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots, National Tour, Forrest Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  10. Joseph Ziegler, When We Are Married, The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
  11. Kamilah Forbes, Fences, People’s Light & Theatre Company, Malvern, Pa.
  12. Lisa Peterson, The Philanderer, The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
  13. Pam McKinnon, A Delicate Balance, John Golden Theatre, Broadway, NYC
  14. Casey Nicholaw, Something Rotten!, St. James Theatre, Broadway, NYC; The Book of Mormon, National Tour, Forrest Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  15. Brenna Geffers, The Hairy Ape, Ego-Po Classic Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  16. Keith Baker, Ragtime: Lost in Yonkers, Bristol Riverside Theatre, Bristol, Pa.
  17. Jesse Cllne, Les Misérables; Ghost: The Miracle Worker, Media Theatre, Media, Pa.
  18. Kevin Newbury, Oscar, Opera Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa.
  19. James Ijames, Michael & Edie, Villanova Theatre, Villanova, Pa.
  20. Damon Bonetti, Blood Wedding, Philadelphia Artist’s Collective, Philadelphia, Pa.; The Gun Show: The Goldilocks Zone, Passage Theatre, Trenton, N.J.; The 39 Steps, Hedgerow Theatre, Rose Valley, Pa.
  21. David Stradley, Bad Jews, Walnut Street Theatre Independence Studio on 3, Philadelphia, Pa.
  22. Casey Perloff, Indian Ink, Roundabout, Laura Pels Theatre, off-Broadway, NYC
  23. Kathryn MacMillan, Doubt: A Parable; Arcadia, Lantern Theater, Philadelphia, Pa.
  24. Douglas C. Wager, The Matchmaker, Temple Theaters, Philadelphia, Pa.
  25. Matthew Decker, Into the Woods, Theatre Horizon, Norristown, Pa.; Great Expectations, Arden Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  26. Scott Ellis, On the Twentieth Century, Roundabout, American Airlines Theatre NYC
  27. Eric Tucker, Women of Will, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Center Valley, Pa.
  28. Mark Brokaw, Lady Be Good, Encores, City Center, NYC
  29. Pirronne Yousefzadeh, In the Blood, Theatre Horizon, Norristown, Pa,; The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane, InterAct Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
  30. Rebecca Wright, The Metamorphosis, Quintessence Theatre Group, Philadelphia, Pa.

HONORABLE MENTION

To Jeffrey Coon for conceiving and bringing about his swinging big-band “The Cape May Summer Club.”

To Dan Hodge and Damon Bonetti of Philadelphia Artists’ Collective for being so prolific as actors, directors, and producers.

To Leonard C. Haas and the amount of good he’s done as a philanthropist backing the theater community he serves so well as an actor

To Jennie Eisenhower for showing how varied, versatile, and wunderbar a performer’s season can be.

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