2015 a good year for 1865
IT WAS an Actor Boy Awards ceremony that no one in attendance at the Jamaica Pegasus, New Kingston, especially the University Singers, led by Franklin Halliburton, will forget any time soon.
Their production, 1865, was nominated for 15 awards, and when the curtains came down on Jamaica’s thespians’ annual crowning glory on Monday night, they were recipients of nine, including the prestigious Best Production for 2015.
They also received awards for Best Original Song, Best Score, Best Tragedy, Best Musical, Best Drama, and Best New Jamaican Play. Quindell Ferguson received Best Costume Design for her work on 1865, and Roy Thompson got the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Halliburton was overwhelmed.
“I am just over the moon! Not even in my wildest imagination would I think that we would have walked away with so many awards. It is phenomenal because this is our first time into something like this,” Halliburton said during one of several trips to the stage.“We are just a regular choir ... And now we try our hands at something different and, oh my gosh!”
Duppy Whisperer won Best Comedy, Best Lighting Design (Patrick Brown), and Best Actor in a Lead Role went to Glen Campbell.
At the Barricade won twice, with Robin Baston awarded Best Set Design and Neisaha-yen Jones Best Choreography.
Completing the list of winners were Force Ripe (Best Children’s Theatre); the University Dramatic Arts Society’s The Lion & the Jewel (Best Ensemble Cast); Bangarang (Terri Salmon taking Best Actress in a Supporting Role); Ol’ Fyah Stick(Best Actress in a Lead Role to Deon Silvera); and Riot Act (Michael Holgate for Best Director).
The lone entry for the Revue category, The Black That I Am, Naturally, received the award.
The high-quality ceremony was held under the theme Celebrating Musical Theatre. The programme commenced with a first-class opening number, One Big Story, done by a combined cast of performers from Ashe, Nexxus and the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.
Throughout the evening, they made other welcome appearances on the stage. They were joined by the very talented hosts, Teisha Duncan and Akeem Mignott.
Both were excellent in executing what seemed to be a well written script, fit for their showmanship. Like the full cast Duncan and Mignott were excellent in their acting and singing, engaging in playful sarcasm along with numerous costume changes.
Also adding value to the programme was a musical tribute from the Broadway musical Wicked to theatre personalities who passed away last year. Michael Sean Harris, Justine Rookwood and Andrew Bailey were entrusted with the song. There was also the reading of the judges' report by chief judge Michael Reckord and the Actor Boy Awards administrator's report, presented by Susan Beadle.
The 2016 honoree was Jon Williams. He received a musical tribute and an award for not only his contribution to the music industry but also theatre, through productions such as those staged by Father Ho Lung and Friends, among others. Williams was gracious in his brief, humorous reply, also congratulating the organisers for a wonderful show.