“The Light in the Piazza” sweeps Barrymore’s

    The show won seven awards. Meanwhile the only two actors in The Breath of Life squared off for the best actress award.

    The big winner Monday night at the 16th Annual Barrymore Awards was The Light In The Piazza. The musical produced by the Philadelphia Theater Company won seven awards, including best musical and best actress.

    It was a packed house at the Walnut Street Theater as people in formal wear applauded the best of regional theater. Small companies were on the same footing as the city’s showcase productions. A modest production The Breath Of Life at the Lantern Theater starred only two people – Ceal Phelan and Cheryl Williams. They competed against each other for best actress. Cheryl Williams won.

    “It was really odd. What was a thrill, was that we were nominated for best ensemble, and there were just two of us.”

    The best actress in a musical went to Sherri Edelen, in A Light In The Piazza, which also won best direction, best overall production, and best music direction. Edelen, who lives in Washington, DC, was breathless when accepting the award.

    “This is a thriving theater community – all very close-knit, a community where the most talented group of actors I’ve ever witnessed. I wish we could build a bridge between Philly and DC and just all go back and forth all the time.”

    The Barrymores are produced by the Greater Philadelphia Theater Alliance, which honored Sarah Sanford with the emerging artist award. Sanford is known for her work in the alternative Pig Iron Theater Company.

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