Last evening at the National Theatre's Helen Hayes Gallery, theatreWashington announced the 2015 Helen Hayes Awards nominees, recognizing the achievements of theater professionals throughout the Washington metropolitan area. Nominees were announced in 47 categories, reflecting the newly implemented rules and guidelines that roughly doubled the number of awards for the 2014 theater season.
The 2014 judging cycle (from January 1-December 31) featured 188 eligible productions from 50 theaters. A pool of 47 Helen Hayes Awards judges submitted 26,183 scores for 2,435 pieces of work, 1,417 of which were acting performances. From these shows, 264 artists, ensembles, and productions from 31 theaters were recognized with nominations.
Arlington, Virginia's Signature Theatre led the pack with 28 nominations for its season of productions, which included the world premiere stage adaptations of Beaches (7) and Diner (1), as well as productions of Elmer Gantry (2), Sex With Strangers (4), Tender Napalm (1), The Threepenny Opera (7), and Sunday in the Park With George (6). Honeymoon in Vegas star Brynn O'Malley garnered a Lead Actress nomination for her performance as Dot in Sunday in the Park With George, while Mitchell Jarvis (recently of Rock of Ages) was recognized for his leading performance in The Threepenny Opera, joining the category with Pippin alum Matthew James Thomas, who was nominated for his lead role in Diner.
Also at the top of the list is Synetic Theater with 23 nominations, Theater Alliance (20), Toby's Dinner Theater (18), Olney Theatre Center (17), Studio Theatre (17), and Arena Stage (16), whose list of nominees includes two-time Tony nominee Kathleen Turner (Mother Courage and Her Children).
The Kennedy Center's pre-Broadway production of Side Show also earned seven nominations including two Lead Actress nominations for Broadway costars Emily Padgett and Erin Davie. Alysha Umphress, who currently stars in Broadway's On the Town, joins her fellow Broadway ladies in the category for her performance in Signature Theatre's Beaches, along with her costar Mara Davi. Tony-winning director Susan Stroman earned a nomination as well for her choreography of the Kennedy Center world premiere musical Little Dancer — the show's only nod.
Flying V was named this year's recipient of the John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company. The ensemble-based company focuses on offbeat contemporary plays, drawing its inspiration from fiction, comic books, and other modern mythologies.