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Norton nominations embrace variety

Company One’s “The Flick” (with, from left, Alex Pollock, Brenna Fitzgerald, and Peter Andersen) received five nominations.

Liza Voll

Company One’s “The Flick” (with, from left, Alex Pollock, Brenna Fitzgerald, and Peter Andersen) received five nominations.

Call it a sign of the variety of theater in Boston.

Four different productions tied with the most nominations for the 32d annual Elliot Norton Awards this year: one show by a large theater company, two by small or fringe companies, and one from South Africa.

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Receiving five nominations each were American Repertory Theater’s “The Heart of Robin Hood,” Company One Theatre’s “The Flick,” Boston Playwrights’ Theatre’s “Windowmen,” and from Cape Town, the Baxter Theatre Centre’s “Mies Julie,” presented by ArtsEmerson.

The ART got the most nominations of any theater with 10. Company One, Zeitgeist Stage Company, and ArtsEmerson netted eight, and the Huntington Theatre Company received seven.

The Boston Theater Critics Association will announce the winners in a ceremony on May 19 at The Wheelock Family Theatre.

The nominees for outstanding production by a large resident theater were “All the Way” and “The Heart of Robin Hood” by the ART and “Venus in Fur” by the Huntington. “All the Way” is currently on Broadway; star Bryan Cranston was nominated for outstanding actor here, and the show was also nominated for outstanding ensemble.

For outstanding production by a midsize theater, the nominees were “Tribes” by the SpeakEasy Stage Company, “Imagining Madoff” by New Repertory Theatre, and “The Cherry Orchard” by Actors’ Shakespeare Project.

For outstanding production by a small theater, the nominees were “Windowmen,” “The Flick,” and Company One’s “How We Got On.” “The Flick” won the Pulitzer Prize for drama this week for playwright Annie Baker. For outstanding production by a fringe theater, the nominees were Zeitgeist’s “Punk Rock” and “The Normal Heart” along with “The Libertine” from Bridge Repertory Theater.

For outstanding musical by a large theater, the nominees were the touring “Once” presented by Broadway in Boston, the Huntington’s “The Jungle Book,” and the ART’s “Witness Uganda.” Nominees for outstanding musical by a midsize, small, or fringe company were Stoneham Theatre’s “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” Gold Dust Orphans’ “It’s a Horrible Life,” and Wheelock Family Theatre’s “Hairspray.”

The nominees for outstanding visiting production were all presented by ArtsEmerson: “Mies Julie,” “Waiting for Godot” from the Gare St Lazare Players and Dublin Theatre Festival, and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” from Bristol Old Vic in association with Handspring Puppet Company.

In the large-theater category, the nominees for outstanding actor were Cranston, Bongile Mantsai in “Mies Julie,” and Denis O’Hare in “An Iliad” from Homer’s Coat, presented by ArtsEmerson.

For outstanding actress, Hilda Cronje of “Mies Julie” and Christina Bennett Lind of “The Heart of Robin Hood” were nominated with Andrea Syglowski of the Huntington’s “Venus in Fur.”

In mid-size theater, the actor nominees were John Kuntz of SpeakEasy’s “The Whale,” Steven Barkhimer of “The Cherry Orchard,” and Jeremiah Kissel of “Imagining Madoff.” The actress nominees were Erica Spyres of SpeakEasy’s “Tribes,” Georgia Lyman of “The Whale,” and Marianna Bassham of “The Cherry Orchard.”

In small or fringe theater, the actor nominees were Phil Gillen for “Punk Rock,” Victor Shopov for “The Normal Heart,” and Alex Pollock for three different plays at three different companies: “Windowmen,” “The Flick,” and Gloucester Stage Company’s “This Is Our Youth.” The nominated actresses were Maureen Adduci for “The Normal Heart,” Brenna Fitzgerald for “The Flick,” and Cloteal Horne for “How We Got On.”

Nominees for outstanding musical performance by an actor were Andre De Shields for “The Jungle Book,” Paul Melendy for “It’s a Horrible Life,” and Francis Jue for “Miss Saigon” at North Shore Music Theatre. For actresses, the nominees were Melody Betts for “Witness Uganda,” Ephie Aardema for “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” and Aimee Doherty for both “Hairspray” and Lyric Stage Company of Boston’s “On the Town.”

The nominees for outstanding new script were Barkhimer’s “Windowmen,” “Absence” by Peter M. Floyd (produced by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre), and “Breaking the Shakespeare Code,” by John Minigan (Vagabond Theatre Company)

This year’s recipient of the Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence will be Paul Daigneault, the founder and producing artistic director of SpeakEasy Stage Company, which received six nominations. Actress Olympia Dukakis will receive a lifetime achievement award, and her cousin, former governor Michael Dukakis, will speak at the event.

Norton was a renowned newspaper theater critic for nearly half a century in Boston, as well as host of “Elliot Norton Reviews” on WGBH-TV. He retired in 1982 and died in 2003 at age 100. The awards are given in his honor by the association, which now numbers 10 Boston critics, including the Globe’s Don Aucoin.

Tickets are $30 at 617-879-2300 or online at www.nortonawardsboston.com.

Joel Brown can be reached at jbnbpt@gmail.com.
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