BPA’s ‘Amadeus’ wins critics’ ‘Best Play’ award

Amadeus,” Bainbridge Performing Arts‘ ambitious winter-spring 2016 production, has been recognized by the South Sound Critics Association as the “Best Play” of their 2015-16 season.

“Amadeus,” directed by Kate Carruthers and featuring an award-winning Supporting Actor performance by Luke Walker (Mozart) and a nominated Lead Actor effort by Nelsen Spickard (Salieri), was one of two BPA offerings nominated for “Best Play,” along with the 2015 holiday-season production of “Mary Poppins.”

The production, which the Kitsap Sun’s review called “rich and incredibly detailed,” featured an evocative set by Will Langemack, period costumes by Barbara Klingberg and atmospheric lighting by Tess Malone, is technically a non-musical. It does feature a soundtrack of music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and other composers of the era, but normally is perforDSC_0592_grandemed with that soundtrack pre-recorded.

That’s where the ambition comes in. BPA employed a chamber orchestra, with fresh orchestration by Jon Brenner, and a choir/ensemble, both live on stage with pianists Josh Anderson (the musical director) and Elizabeth Faye.

BPA’s “Amadeus,” according to the Sun’s review, was “crisp and comprehendable, draped in luxurious visuals and accompanied by exquisite playing and singing throughout.”

(For the record, the Sun and its theater reviewer, Michael C. Moore, are not affiliated with South Sound Critics Association. The Sun annually publishes its own “best of” survey, but culls its nominees from the calendar year — January to December — instead of the fall-to-spring theater season. The Sun will run its “best of” compilation at the end of 2016.)

Shannon Burch, a frequent contributor at Paradise Theatre, won Best Actress honors for her role in the Gig Harbor company’s “Next to Normal.” The chamber musical was another Best Play nomination, and also earned a Supporting Actor nomination for Taylor Herbstritt and a Supporting Actress nod for Ashley Roy.

Spickard was one of three actors with Kitsap ties to earn Best Actor nominations. The others were Pete Benson (for BPA’s recent “Bard at Bloedel” production of “Much Ado About Nothing“) and Jeffrey Bassett (for Paradise’s “Scrooge the Musical“).Joseph Grant, playing Willie Loman in the Lakewood Playhouse’s “Death of a Salesman,” was the Best Actor honoree.

Lisa Mandelkorn, who played the title role in BPA’s “Mary Poppins,” joined Burch among the Best Actress nominees. Jenna McRill, who’s appeared in several shows at Paradise, was a Best Actress nominee for her title-role performane in “Romeo and Juliet” at Tacoma’s New Muses Theatre.

Bremerton’s Diana George was a Supporting Actress nominee for the Lakewood Players’ production of “Noises Off!”

Other best play nominees came from Tacoma Little Theatre (“Second Samuel”), Lakewood Players (“Death of a Salesman”) and Tacoma Musical Playhouse (“Mary Poppins”).

— MM

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