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The Barrymore Awards are back.
After shutting down for the pandemic for three years, a ceremony honoring the best in Philadelphia regional theater happened Monday night at FringeArts in Old City.
The big winner of the night was the Delaware Theatre Company’s production of the musical “The Man of La Mancha,” winning seven awards: Outstanding Production of a Musical, Outstanding Ensemble of a Musical, Outstanding Director of a Musical (Matt Silva), Outstanding Lead in a Musical (Victor Rodriguez Jr.), Outstanding Supporting Performance (Justin Yoder), Outstanding Music Direction (Ryan Touhey), and Outstanding Lighting Design (Alyssandra Docherty).
Other big winners were Lantern Theater’s production of The Royale, a play about the true story of boxer Jack Johnson, which received three Barrymores: Outstanding Overall Production of a Play, Outstanding Lead Performance in a Play (Phillip Brown), and Outstanding Choreography and Movement in a Play (director Zuhairah McGill).
Theatre Exile won two awards for its premiere of “Abandon,” a new play by the Pulitzer-winning writer James Ijames. The company also won the Victory Award for Theater Education, for its community programs.
Another standout was Steve Pacek, who was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor way back in 2010 for his eccentric portrayal of the character William Barfee in the musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at Theater Horizon in Norristown.
In the solo number “Magic Foot,” Barfee consults his own foot to help him spell words. Pacek gives the character a distinctive speech impediment.
“He suffers from a rare mucous membrane disorder,” Pacek explained. “He’s a very specific individual.”
Pacek did not win that Barrymore Award in 2010, but thirteen years later he was asked to revive the same role with the same quirks at the Arden Theatre. This time he won.
The Arden Theatre also won two Barrymores for its production of “Clyde’s”: Outstanding Director of a Play (Malika Oyetimein) and Outstanding Ensemble of a Play.
Simpatico Theatre won the special Philadelphia Award for Social Insight, formerly called the Brown Martin Philadelphia Award, recognizing theater which “illuminates the way we live and interact with others as we seek to build community.” The winning play was “The Shadow That Broke the Light,” a solo show written and performed by Charlie DelMarcelle based on his relationship with his brother, who died of an opioid overdose.
DelMarcelle said he wanted to overcome the social stigma associated with drug addiction.
“I think the reason we haven’t been able to have any substantive policy discussions on how to save people’s lives is because of that stigma,” he said during the show’s run last January. “And not being able to talk openly about it.”
Simpatico Theater received $25,000 as part of the award. The Award for Social Insight is one of two Barrymore awards that come with a cash prize: The F. Otto Haas Award for Emerging Artist comes with a $15,000 prize. It went to actor Anthony Martinez-Briggs, who has performed with many companies in Philadelphia, primarily in the HotHouse company of the Wilma Theater, the Bearded Ladies Cabaret, and the hip hop collective Ill Doots.
There were four finalists for the Emerging Artist award, who each received $2,000: Ang Bey, Newton Buchanan, Tanaquil Marquez, and Pax Ressler.
Here is the complete list of 2022-2023 Barrymore Recipients:
Outstanding Overall Production of a Play
“The Royale” – Lantern Theater Company
Outstanding Ensemble in a Play
“Clyde’s” – Arden Theatre Company
Outstanding Direction of a Play
Malika Oyetimein – “Clyde’s,” Arden Theatre Company
Outstanding Leading Performance in a Play
Melanye Finister – “Abandon,” Theatre Exile
Phillip Brown – “The Royale,” Lantern Theater Company
Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Play
Sarah Gliko – “Eternal Life Pt. 1,” Wilma Theater
Brandon Pierce – “Eternal Life Pt. 1,” Wilma Theater
Outstanding Original Production
“Abandon,” Theatre Exile
Outstanding Choreography/Movement in a Play
Zuhairah McGill – “The Royale,” Lantern Theater Company
Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical
“Man of La Mancha” – Delaware Theatre Company
Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical
“Man of La Mancha” – Delaware Theatre Company
Outstanding Direction of a Musical
Matt Silva – “Man of La Mancha,” Delaware Theatre Company
Outstanding Leading Performance in a Musical
Hanna Gaffney – “Mary Poppins,” Quintessence Theatre Group
Victor Rodriguez – “Man of La Mancha,” Delaware Theatre Company
Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Musical
Justin Yoder – “Man of La Mancha,” Delaware Theatre Company
Steve Pacek – “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” Arden Theatre Company
Outstanding Choreography/Movement in a Musical
Devon Sinclair – “Mary Poppins,” Quintessence Theatre Group
Outstanding Musical Direction
Ryan Touhey – “Man of La Mancha,” Delaware Theatre Company
Outstanding Lighting Design
Alyssandra Docherty – “Man of La Mancha,” Delaware Theatre Company
Outstanding Scenic Design
Jian Jung – “Kiss,” Wilma Theater
Outstanding Costume Design
Rebecca Kanach – “Alice in Wonderland: A Musical Panto,” People’s Light
Outstanding Sound Design
Larry Fowler & Adiah Hicks – “a hit dog will holler,” Azuka Theatre
Outstanding Media Design
Alan Price – “Kiss,” Wilma Theater
Outstanding Original Music
Alex Bechtel – “Alice in Wonderland: A Musical Panto,” People’s Light
Outstanding Outdoor Production
“Dreamgirls” – Theatre in the X
Otto Haas Award for Emerging Artist
Victory Award for Theatre Education
The Philadelphia Award for Social Insight
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