Tuesday, 27 June 2017

My night at the Doras.

By Darren Stewart-Jones

It was a thrill to attend this year's Dora Mavor Moore Awards, which honour excellence on stage in the Toronto area. - Kinda like our version of the Tony Awards, I like to say.

I've always considered myself a bit of an outsider in the Toronto theatre community. I have my finger in many pies but none of them are fully baked. I run a ten minute play festival in Hamilton - HamilTEN; I produce an LGBTQ theatre festival in Toronto - Gay Play Day; I write a theatre blog (this one); I'm a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada; I run my own theatre production production company - Baby Gumm Productions; and I have had the good fortune of working with some of the GTA's top talent - Sheila McCarthy, David Ferry, Elley-Ray Hennessy, Jennifer Walls, Nick Green, Shawn Hitchins and Nonnie Griffin, to name just a few. But I still usually feel like I'm on the outside looking in.

Attending this year's Doras was a chance for me to be part of the "in crowd", even if it was just for one night. And, yes, perhaps I was only there as a member of the media, relegated to the last two rows of seating at the historic Elgin theatre for the ceremony. But who cares? I was still there and it was a thrill to be in the presence of such a talented group of people.

The evening was just as I expected it to be. - Pre-show mingling over nibbles and cocktails with Toronto's theatre elite. Then the ceremony celebrating excellence in dance, opera and theatre, which went on a bit too long. (What awards ceremony doesn't?) And then more mingling with the theatre crowd afterwards, many of them now walking around the reception area with their Dora statuettes in tow.

Some of the evening's highlights for me:

- The empty "reserved" theatre seat placed stage left with Jon Kaplan's name on it. Kaplan, NOW Magazine's beloved theatre critic, passed away a few months ago and it was obvious throughout the evening just how much he will be missed by Toronto's theatre community.

- Shaking Albert Schultz's hand and congratulating him on Soulpepper Theatre Company's multiple nominations.  - I had a crush on him back in the day when he was one of the resident hotties on CBC's Street Legal.

- Nick Green's acceptance speech for Body Politic, which won Outstanding New Play (General Theatre Division). Nick memorialized the 49 victims of the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando last year, a horror that he woke up to on the day of the closing matinee performance of Body Politic at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre.

- Blues singer Jackie Richardson singing a duet with the evening's host, Raoul Bhaneja as a lead-in to the In Memoriam segment of the evening. Love her!

- The cast of Counting Sheep serenading the audience during their acceptance speech for Outstanding Performance - Ensemble (Musical Theatre Division).

- Oh, and the complimentary red wine. Did I mention the red wine?

Congrats to all of the winners and nominees!

Thank you, Dora Mavor Moore Awards. I like you. I really like you.

No comments:

Post a Comment