Well, here we are, my friends: the end of another year and the closing of another decade. 2009 has brought many blessings for The Way I See It, and it was filled with many incredible theatrical moments that I am sure to cherish for a long time to come. It seems like everyone is reflecting back and making lists, so I thought that in the spirit of the season, I should give out some gold stars of my own to pay tribute to those who I think have shone particularly brightly this year.
1. GOLD STAR to Jeigh Madjus for breathing fresh, new life into Stephen Schwartz’s song “Defying Gravity” in a performance that proved once again that he has the ultimate star power.
2. GOLD STAR to LunaSea Theatre’s production of Twelfth Night for the most genuinely hilarious Shakespearean comedy I have ever seen. Shout out to: Martha Irving and Vanessa Walton-Bone
3. GOLD STAR to Steve Ross for his brilliant portrayal of Orson Welles in Orson’s Shadow (Pilot Group Theatre)
4. GOLD STAR to Dan Chameroy for Nurse PlumBum in the Ross Petty Pantomime Robin Hood.
5. GOLD STAR to Brendan Gall for the best play yet to be produced: Wide Awake Hearts, from a reading at Tarragon Theatre.
6. GOLD STAR to the entire cast and crew of The Princess and the Handmaiden, at Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People, the best children’s theatre I have seen in eons. As a bonus, the musical is a Canadian original (By Leslie Arden) and the cast was an assemblage of the most talented actors in the business.
7. GOLD STAR to Mark Meer (and Mike Fly) for the best piece of Canadian theatre in under 5 Minutes. Click Here.
8. GOLD STAR to Mirvish Productions for August: Osage County, an incredible piece of theatre with particularly brilliant performances by Estelle Parsons and Shannon Cochran.
9. GOLD STAR to Kristopher Turner for his brave and heart wrenching performance in That Face (Nightwood at the Berkeley Street Theatre)
10. GOLD STAR to Pat Thornton for 24 hours of stand-up comedy at the Comedy Bar, all for a great cause!
11. GOLD STAR to Gary Rideout Jr. for turning his dream for a legitimate venue for sketch and Improv in Toronto into The Comedy Bar, which in 2009 alone has become the very hub of the comedy community, booking acts seven days a week.
12. GOLD STAR to Impromptu Splendor (The National Theatre of the World: Naomi Snieckus, Matt Baram and Ron Pederson) for (in 2009 alone) improvising brand new Canadian plays at the Comedy Bar, at Theatre Passe Muraille, in Summerworks, in Edmonton, in Chicago and in Los Angeles. Next stop… Broadway?
13. GOLD STAR to the Soulpepper Academy for their beautiful collective creation: e.e. cummings: rebirth in song, the sold-out performances at the Canwest Cabaret Festival (Albert Schultz also receives a GOLD STAR for the entire Festival- awesome!). ee cummings: rebirth in song was one of the most breathtaking and gorgeous pieces of theatre I have ever seen.
14. GOLD STAR to Christian Barry for his terrifying direction of Theatrefront’s The Mill: Part Two: The Huron Bride. I was cowering in my seat.
15. GOLD STAR to Daniela Vlaskalic, Beth Graham and Natascha Girgis for The Drowning Girls at the Tarragon, which was incredibly creative and thought provoking. I wish I could have seen it twice.
16. GOLD STAR to Jenny Young for her epic performance as Josie Hogan in Moon for the Misbegotten at the Shaw Festival. GOLD STAR also to Jim Mezon for his equally bewildering performance as Phil Hogan.
17. GOLD STARS to Sharron Matthews and George Masswohl for the hysterical “A Little Priest” number in Sondheim in September.
18. GOLD STAR to Sherry Smith for her performance in the gem of the Atlantic Fringe Festival Sunnyside Cafe.
19. GOLD STARS to Soulpepper Theatre for the brilliant production of Glengarry Glen Ross and the wildly charming and incredibly smart Travesties. Shout outs to: Albert Schultz, Eric Peterson, Diego Matamoros, David Storch and Krystin Pellerin.
20. GOLD STAR to Kristen Thomson for I, Claudia (Crow’s Theatre/Young Centre) Pretty near perfect.
21. GOLD STAR to Daryl Cloran’s Ubuntu (Tarragon/Theatrefront) for creating a beautiful piece of theatre and strong, inventive physical staging and characterizations. Shout outs to: Michelle Monteith, Mbulelo Grootboom and Andile Nebulane for their incredible performances.
22. GOLD STARS to Michael Hughes, Bryce Kulak, Sharron Matthews, Thom Allison, Melanie Doane and Patricia Zentilli for proving that the Toronto Cabaret scene can and will give New York a run for its money.