Theater & art

ART wins 4 Norton Awards; ‘Flick’ and ‘Hairspray’ 3

Erica Spyres and Joey Caverly starred in SpeakEasy Stage Company’s “Tribes,” named outstanding production by a midsize theater.
Erica Spyres and Joey Caverly starred in SpeakEasy Stage Company’s “Tribes,” named outstanding production by a midsize theater.

The American Repertory Theater took the most honors at Monday’s 32d annual Elliot Norton Awards for the best in local theater.

The ART was named a winner four times by the Boston Theater Critics Association in ceremonies at the Wheelock Family Theatre.

Company One Theatre’s “The Flick,” co-presented by Suffolk University, about the employees of a fading Central Massachusetts movie house, and Wheelock’s “Hairspray,” about a 1960s TV dance show, earned the most awards for an individual production, with three each. The fringe Zeitgeist Stage Company took three awards for two of its productions, “Punk Rock” and “The Normal Heart.” Huntington Theatre Company also garnered three awards that cited three different productions.


Speakeasy Stage Company won two Norton awards for its show “Tribes,” and its founder and producing artistic director, Paul Daigneault, was given the 2013 Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence.

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Lowell native and Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis, who began her theater career in Boston, was awarded the 2014 Elliot Norton Lifetime Achievement Award.

The ART’s historical drama “All the Way” was named outstanding production by a large resident theater, and Bryan Cranston, the star of television’s “Breaking Bad,” was named outstanding actor for his performance as President Lyndon Johnson. The show eventually went on to Broadway, and Cranston has since been nominated for a Tony Award.

“Tribes,” about a deaf young man coming to terms with his family, was named outstanding production by a midsize theater, while “The Flick” won for small theaters and Zeitgeist’s “Punk Rock,” about an act of school violence, won for fringe theaters.

Huntington Theatre Company’s “The Jungle Book” was named outstanding musical by a large theater, while “Hairspray” won for midsize, small, or fringe theaters.


The Baxter Theatre Centre’s “Mies Julie,” presented by ArtsEmerson, was named outstanding visiting production. The Baxter center is in Capetown.

Andrea Syglowski of the Huntington’s “Venus in Fur” was named outstanding actress in a large theater. Jeremiah Kissel of New Repertory Theatre’s “Imagining Madoff” and Erica Spyres of “Tribes” won the midsize-theater acting categories.

Alex Pollock spread his honors around, winning outstanding actor at a small or fringe theater for three separate performances: “This Is Our Youth” at Gloucester Stage Company, “Windowmen” at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, and “The Flick.” Maureen Adduci was named outstanding actress at a small or fringe theater for Zeitgeist’s “The Normal Heart.”

In musicals, Francis Jue was named outstanding actor for “Miss Saigon” at the North Shore Music Theatre, while Aimee Doherty was named outstanding actress for her performances in “On the Town” at the Lyric Stage Company and “Hairspray.”

Awards for outstanding ensemble acting went to the Huntington’s “The Seagull” and Wheelock’s “Hairspray.”


Gisli Örn Gardarsson was named outstanding director at a large theater for “The Heart of Robin Hood” at the ART. Ilyse Robbins won in the midsize category for “Thoroughly Modern Millie” at Stoneham Theatre. In the small or fringe category, director David J. Miller won for “Punk Rock” and “The Normal Heart,” both at Zeitgeist.

Design-team awards went to “The Heart of Robin Hood” and “The Flick.”

“Windowmen,” written by veteran local actor Steven Barkhimer, was named outstanding new script.

The awards are given in honor of Norton, a renowned theater critic in Boston, who retired in 1982 and died in 2003 at 100. The association includes 10 Boston critics, including the Globe’s Don Aucoin.

Joel Brown can be reached at jbnbpt@

Because of a reporting error, an earlier version of this story misstated the number of awards won by Zeitgeist Stage Company.