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article image'Once', 'Blood Wedding', 'Falstaff' win big at Toronto's Doras Special

By Jeff Cottrill     Jun 23, 2015 in Entertainment
Toronto - Federico García Lorca's 1932 play “Blood Wedding” was the biggest winner at last night's Dora Mavor Moore Awards: the recent co-production by Modern Times Stage Company and Aluna Theatre copped six Doras at the 36th annual Toronto theatre awards.
The Lorca play, about a runaway couple from warring families in rural Spain, won the awards for Outstanding Production, Direction (Soheil Parsa), Female Performance (Beatriz Pizano) and Scenic, Lighting and Costume Design, all in the Independent Theatre categories.
But the Canadian Opera Company's (COC) production of Giuseppe Verdi's Falstaff came in second, with five wins — for Outstanding Production, Male Performance (Gerald Finley), Ensemble Performance and Costume and Scenic Design, in the Opera categories. Meanwhile, the Mirvish production of the Broadway smash Once dominated the Musical Theatre categories, with wins for Outstanding Production, Female Performance (Trish Lindström) and Ensemble Performance.
The awards, colloquially known as the Doras, were handed out at the outdoor WestJet Stage at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre. This Hour Has 22 Minutes alumnus Gavin Crawford hosted.
“This is the longest I've ever been sober at the Doras,” Crawford quipped in the second half of the show.
Crawford opened the night in costume as Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, or “Queen Ontario Lesbian”, as he dubbed himself. “Tim Hudak was supposed to host tonight, but unfortunately, he had to be nowhere,” Crawford joked, referring to the Progressive Conservative candidate whom Wynne beat in last year's provincial election.
He also cracked wise about the government's plans to allow grocery stores to sell beer and wine. “We can't fund your [theatre] project,” he said in character as Wynne, “but we can fuel your rage about it.”
Crawford even took a swipe at recent scandals involving Canada's national broadcaster — referring to Judith Thompson's Watching Glory Die, a multiple nominee last night, as “the untold story of the CBC.”
Another key winner of the night was Soulpepper's production of Dario Fo's Accidental Death of an Anarchist, which won for Outstanding Production and Male Performance (Kawa Ada) in General Theatre. Ada's emotional acceptance speech was one of the highlights of the night.
“I am truly overwhelmed,” Ada said. “I would never have thought that a little gay boy from Afghanistan... could become a leading man. Never let them tell you you are too gay or too brown... It is possible.
“Thank you to this community for fighting for diversity on these stages because it is the right thing to do,” Ada added, to audience cheers.
Another passionate acceptance speech came from Norah Sadava, co-creator of Mouthpiece, which won Doras for Outstanding Ensemble Performance and Sound Design/Composition in Independent Theatre.
“We wanted to expose some s—t about being a woman that nobody's talking about,” said Sadava, urging the audience, “Let's f—k s—t up!”
Other major winners included: Beneath the Banyan Tree, for Outstanding Production for Young Audiences; So Blue, for Outstanding Dance Production; Hannah Moscovitch's Infinity and Jordan Tannahill's Concord Floral, for Outstanding New Play in General and Independent Theatre respectively; Spoon River, for Outstanding New Musical; Kiss & Cry, for Outstanding Touring Production; and Soulpepper's remount of Twelve Angry Men, for Outstanding Ensemble Performance in General Theatre.
The Silver Ticket Award, a lifetime-achievement Dora, went to veteran prop designer Fina MacDonell. Last year's winner, Diana LeBlanc, presented the award to her. The Audience Choice Award went to the Sheridan College musical Brantwood.
Last night's Doras took place on a cloudy Monday evening that began with sprinkles of rain, but the weather remained calm for most of the show. Despite a late start, things began to move quickly due to a lengthy array of no-show winners – including Moscovitch and iconic filmmaker Atom Egoyan, who won for Outstanding Direction in Musical Theatre/Opera for Die Walküre.
The COC was the top-winning theatre company — with five Doras for Falstaff and three for Die Walküre.
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