Theatre Awards in the Berkshires
By: Charles Giliano - Nov 15, 2023
At an SRO ceremony held at Zion Lutheran Church in Pittsfield, the Board of the Berkshire Theatre Critics Association (BTCA) presented the Berkshire Theatre Awards, colloquially known as The Berkies, on the evening of Monday, November 13, 2023. This was the seventh time the awards have been presented to honor and celebrate the excellence and diversity of theatre in the greater Berkshire region. A total of 27 awards were presented in 22 categories.
The 2023 awards really display the commitment of regional theaters to presenting new and diverse work. Women and minorities were well represented among the nominees and the winners in all categories. Nominees represented theaters in Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, and Connecticut. Critics J. Peter Bergman and Macey Levin once again hosted the ceremony.
“Each year our job is tougher than the one before it. The quality of our regional theaters is excellent with wildly wonderful new plays and musicals mixed in with the standards our audiences adore,” Bergman, President of the BTCA, said. “This was a particularly fascinating season, most especially with new directors and designers filling our stages with shows we didn't know. I hope the season to come - which has already started, by the way - brings us the adventure of artistic ventures that will make us drool with expectation. and maybe leave us with some new tunes to hum as we make our exits.”
Several categories saw ties this year, including the top honors for Outstanding Musical Production and . Barrington Stage Company’s production of Cabaret and the Sharon Playhouse production of Something Rotten shared the musical award. Shakespeare & Company’s production of August Wilson’s Fences shared the top play production honors with Bridge Street Theatre’s East of Berlin.
There was an unprecedented three-way tie in the category Outstanding Direction of a play with Ariel Bock, director of Shakespeare & Company’s Dear Jack, Dear Louise, sharing the award with Ron Lagomarsino, director of The Happiest Man on Earth at Barrington Stage, and Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, director of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, theRep in Albany.
Cabaret was the big winner of the evening. In addition to sharing the Outstanding Production of a Musical prize, the classic Kander and Ebb show took home awards for Outstanding Direction of a Musical for Alan Paul, Outstanding Scenic Design for Wilson Chin, Outstanding Choreography for Katie Spelman, Outstanding Costume Design for Rodrigo Muñoz, and Outstanding Lighting Design for Philip S. Rosenberg. Krysta Rodriquez was honored as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical as Sally Bowles, and Richard Kline was recognized as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of Herr Schultz.
Robert Sugarman, who along with his late wife Sally was a founding member of the BTCA, died suddenly on November 2 at age 97, one month after his most recently produced play, Players, opened at The Bennington Theater. The Sally and Robert Sugarman Award for a World Premiere of a New Play or Musical was presented by their son, actor, producer, and author Paul Sugarman, to playwright Mark St. Germain for his play The Happiest Man on Earth, produced by Barrington Stage.
The Larry Murray Award for Community Outreach and Support through Theater went to Jean-Remy Monnay, founder and artistic director of the Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate New York, for diversity programming and audience development. The recipient of this award, named in honor of the late Larry Murray, BTCA founder, is selected by the Board of the BTCA.
2023 Berkshire Theatre Critics Association Awards
1. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play:
Sally McCarthy, Invitation to a March, Ghent Playhouse
2. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play:
Brian D. Coats, Fences, Shakespeare & Co.
3. Outstanding Scenic Design of a Play or Musical:
Wilson Chin, Cabaret, Barrington Stage Company
4. Outstanding Choreography:
Katie Spelman, Cabaret, Barrington Stage Company
5. Outstanding Direction of a Musical:
Alan Paul, Cabaret, Barrington Stage Company
6. Outstanding Costume Design of a Play or Musical:
Rodrigo Muñoz, Cabaret, Barrington Stage Company
7. Outstanding Solo Performance:
Kenneth Tigar, The Happiest Man on Earth, Barrington Stage Company
8. Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical:
Salome B. Smith, A New Brain, Barrington Stage Company
9. Outstanding Lighting Design of a Play or Musical:
Philip S. Rosenberg, Cabaret, Barrington Stage Company
10. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical:
Richard Kline, Cabaret, Barrington Stage Company
11. Outstanding Direction of a Play THREE WAY TIE
Ariel Bock, Dear Jack, Dear Louise, Shakespeare & Co.;
Ron Lagomarsino, The Happiest Man on Earth, Barrington Stage Company
Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, theRep-Albany
12. Outstanding Sound Design of a Play or Musical:
Brendan Aanes, The Happiest Man on Earth, Barrington Stage Company
13. Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical:
Krysta Rodriquez, Cabaret, Barrington Stage Company
14. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical:
Billy Rude, Million Dollar Quartet, Berkshire Theatre Group
15. Outstanding Ensemble Performance:
10x10 2023, Barrington Stage Company
16. Outstanding Production with Fewer Than Six Performances TWO WAY TIE
La Boheme, Berkshire Opera Festival
The Thanksgiving Play, Dorset Theatre Festival
17. Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play:
Mark H. Dold, Faith Healer, Barrington Stage Company
18. Sally and Robert Sugarman Award for a World Premiere of a NEW Play or Musical
The Happiest Man on Earth, Mark St. Germain, Barrington Stage Company
19. Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play:
Rebecca Brooksher, Photograph 51, Berkshire Theatre Group
20. The Larry Murray Award for Community Outreach and Support through Theater:
For extraordinary service to the community; awarded by the Board of the Organization
Jean-Remy Monnay Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate New York - for diversity programming and audience development
21. Outstanding Production of a Musical TWO WAY TIE
Something Rotten, Book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, Music and Lyrics by Karey Kirkpatrick and Wayne Kirkpatrick, Directed byAmy Griffin -Sharon Playhouse
Cabaret, Book by Joe Masteroff based on the play I Am a Camera by John van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood. Lyrics by Fred Ebb. Music by John Kander. Directed by Alan Paul - Barrington Stage Company
22. Outstanding Production of a Play TWO WAY TIE
East of Berlin, by Hannah Moscovitch. Directed by Margo Whitcomb - Bridge Street Theatre
Fences, by August Wilson. Directed by Christopher V. Edwards - Shakespeare & Co.