Toronto is known for producing acclaimed stage productions that please all audiences. Every year, the Dora Mavor Moore Awards celebrate the best in Toronto theatre. This year’s ceremony was held at the Elgin Winter Garden Theatre, and it was an exciting evening. The Toronto Alliance produced the awards for the Performing Arts, which represents over 200 Toronto professional theatre, dance and opera companies. Actor/musician Raoul Bhaneja was the host, and he kept the show flowing.

2017 Dora Mavor Moore Awards
Dora Mavor Moore Awards 2017

The awards pay tribute to Dora Mavor Moore. She was a Canadian actress, teacher, and founder of various theatre companies and she helped shape theatre in Canada.

A total of 48 awards were given out throughout the evening.

The musical Come From Away, which is a now also a Broadway hit, was the Jon Kaplan Audience Choice Award winner. Created by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, and produced by Mirvish Productions and Yonge Street Theatricals, Come From Away tells the story of how the city of Gander, Newfoundland helped out the pilots stranded during the terrorist attacks of 9/11. It also won in the musical theatre categories for Outstanding Production, Best New Musical/Opera, and Best Female Performance by Jenn Colella.

Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts I, II, III) won for Outstanding Production in the General Theatre Division. It was produced by Soulpepper Theatre Company and is a trilogy about the American Civil War.

Rocking Horse Winner, produced by Tapestry Opera and Scottish Opera, is an opera based on the D.H. Lawrence short story. It won Outstanding Production in The Opera Division. It also was received awards for Outstanding Direction by Michael Hidetoshi Mori, Outstanding Performance – Male by Asitha Tennekoon, Outstanding Performance – Ensemble and Outstanding Lighting Design by Michelle Ramsay.
This is the Point, from Theatre Centre and Ahuri Theatre, won Outstanding Production and Outstanding Performance – Ensemble in the Independent Theatre Division. It focusses on the misconceptions about disability from two couples.

Peter Pan, a production of the children’s classic, from Bad Hats Theatre, won Outstanding Production in the Theatre for Young Audiences Division.

What It’s Like, from Adelheid and The Theatre Centre, won Outstanding Production in the Dance Division. It explores what brotherhood can really mean in an interactive setting.
887, created by Robert LePage and produced by Canadian Stage won for Outstanding Touring Production category. It’s a solo piece exploring LePage‘s past beginning with growing up in 1960’s Quebec City.
The Silver Ticket Award is given to someone who has devoted their career to the theatre. This year’s winner was Jane Marsland who has managed arts organizations and was General Manager of the Danny Grossman Dance Company.

We were fortunate to meet some of the talent attending the awards, including the adorable cast of Matilda, CTV‘s Andria Case, and Dora Award winner Anita Majumdar.

(photos by Sally Warburton

Some of the other award winners were:

Norma, produced by Canadian Opera Company, won Outstanding Performer-Female for Sondra Radvanovsky. The opera involves a love triangle between Norma, a druid high priestess, a Roman proconsul and a younger priestess.
Master Harold …and the Boys, produced by Obsidian Theatre Company, received two awards for Outstanding Performance – Male for André Sills and Outstanding Direction by Philip Akin in the General Theatre Division. It is set in South Africa during apartheid and involves the relationship between young Harold and his two middle-aged servants.

Incident at Vichy, produced by Soulpepper Theatre, won Outstanding Performance – Ensemble in the General Theatre Division. Written by Arthur Miller, the play is about a group of men sequestered in a room in 1941’s Vichy France and not told why they are there or when they will be able to leave.

The Last Wife, produced by Soulpepper Theatre, won Outstanding Performance – Female for Maev Beaty and Outstanding Scenic Design to Yannik Larivée in the General Theatre Division. The play is about the relationship between Henry VIII and his sixth and final wife.
Boys With Cars , produced by Nightswimmings and Young People’s Theatre, received two awards for Anita Majumdar for Outstanding New Play and Outstanding Performance – Individual. It is about a South Asian Canadian high school girl who is desperate to fit in.
Body Politic, produced by Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, awarded Nick Green for Outstanding New Play. It is about the famous Toronto LGBTQ newspaper, the Body Politic.
Superior Donuts, produced by Coal Mine Theatre, received Outstanding Performance – Male for Robert Persichini. The play is set in Chicago at a family donut shop.

Counting Sheep by The Lemon Bucket Orchestra won Outstanding Performance- Ensemble
Passing Strange, produced by The Musical Stage Company and Obsidian Theatre Company, was awarded Outstanding Performance – Male, to Jahlen Barnes. It is a coming of age story of a black teen in the late 1970’s in the world of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll.

(by Sally Warburton)

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