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2020 Philadelphia Theater Critic’s Awards — The Nominees

 From the beginning of the abbreviated 2020 theater year in Philadelphia, sterling performances were seen in several shows.

      I noted some of them when posting nominees and recipients of the 2019 Philadelphia Theater Critic’s Awards.

      Thirty-four shows turned out to be plenty to make choosing five nominees in each of six categories a chore.  The labor may have been increased from previous years because the possibilities were so few and the memory of the plays and performances so vivid.

     As always, an expanded list, a Top Fifteen for 2020, will be published when recipients are announced, which will be within a few days.

      Compact though it was, the 2020 year in Philadelphia was quite impressive. I look so forward to resuming chronic theatergoing at companies spring back to action this summer and fall.

       Here are the nominees for the 2020 Philadelphia Theater Critic’s Award.

BEST PRODUCTION

THE BAND’S VISIT by David Yazbek and Itamar Moses — National Tour — Academy of Music, Philadelphia

THE CHILDREN by Lucy Kirkwood — People’s Light & Theatre Company, Malvern, Pa.

DESCRIBE THE NIGHT by Rajiv Joseph — Wilma Theater, Philadelphia

GOODNIGHT NOBODY by Rachel Bonds — McCarter Theatre Company, Princeton, N.J.

SLEUTH by Anthony Shaffer — McCarter Theatre Company, Princeton, N.J.

BEST DIRECTOR

ABIGAIL ADAMS, The Children, People’s Light & Theatre Company, Malvern, Pa.

DAVID CROMER, The Band’s Visit, National Tour, Academy of Music, Philadelphia

ADAM IMMERWAHR, Sleuth, McCarter Theatre Company, Princeton, N.J.

TYNE RAFAELI, Goodnight Nobody, McCarter Theatre Company, Princeton, N.J.

BLANKA ZIZKA, Describe the Night, Wilma Theater, Philadelphia

BEST ACTOR

JOHN BOLTON, Hello Dolly!, National Tour, Academy of Music, Philadelphia

LEE SELLARS, Conscience, George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick, N.J.

DEREK SMITH, Sleuth, McCarter Theatre Company, Princeton, N.J.

GRAHAM SMITH, The Children, People’s Light & Theatre Company, Malvern, Pa.

JOHN TUFTS, Sleuth, McCarter Theatre Company, Princeton, N.J.

BEST ACTRESS

CAROLEE CARMELLO, Hello Dolly!, National Tour, Academy of Music, Philadelphia

HARRIET HARRIS, Conscience, George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick, N.J.

ELLEN McLAUGHLIN, Midwives, George Street Playhouse, New Brunswick, N.J.

MARCIA SAUNDERS, The Children, People’s Light & Theatre Company, Malvern, Pa.

SATCHEL WILLIAMS, A Hundred Words for Snow, Inis Nua Theatre, Philadelphia

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

ROSS BESCHLER, Describe the Night, Wilma Theater, Philadelphia and In Splendid Error, Philadelphia Artists Collective and Theatre in the X, Philadelphia

KEITH CONALLEN, Describe the Night, Wilma Theater, Philadelphia

JOE JOSEPH, The Band’s Visit, National Tour, Academy of Music, Philadelphia

NATE MILLER, Goodnight Nobody, McCarter Theatre Company, Princeton, N.J.

STEVEN RISHARD, Describe the Night, Wilma Theater, Philadelphia

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

JANIS DARDARIS, The Children, People’s Light & Theatre Company, Malvern, Pa.

KENDAL HARTSE, The Band’s Visit, National Tour, Academy of Music, Philadelphia

HOLLIS HEATH, Renaissance in the Belly of a Killer Whale, Wilma Theater, Philadelphia

KATIE KLEIGER, Everything is Wonderful, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Philadelphia

JAYLENE CLARK OWENS, Renaissance in the Belly of a Killer Whale, Wilma Theater, Philadelphia

Sadly, Graham Smith, who contributed dozens of excellent performances during a generous tenure at People’s Light & Theatre Company receives his nomination posthumously. Mr. Smith died during 2020. He leaves an enviable legacy of portrayals, all done with a simplicity that showed sincerity and wit in intelligent restraint.

Blanka Zizka, Derek Smith, and Janis Dardaris are previous recipients of the Philadelphia Theater Critic’s Award.

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