Musicals staged by the Blue Barn Theatre and the Omaha Community Playhouse led the annual Theatre Arts Guild award nominations unveiled Monday night at the Pizza Shoppe Collective in Benson.
“Spring Awakening,” a musical about teens coming to grips with their sexuality in a repressive culture, was the most honored show, with 17 nods. They include Blue Barn director Susan Clement-Toberer, music director Mitch Fuller, choreographer Roxanne Nielsen and nine cast members, plus ensemble, lighting, costumes and prop design.
Close behind, with 15 nominations, was the Playhouse's 1960s integration musical “Hairspray.” Director Susan Baer Collins, music director Jim Boggess and choreographer Kathy Wheeldon were honored, along with nine cast members. The show's scenic design and an ensemble number were also remembered.
Other best-musical nominees were all Playhouse shows: “The Fantasticks,” with 10; “Chicago,” with nine; and “Altar Boyz,” with three.
The Playhouse snagged nearly half the total nominations — 73 of 150 nods. Another quarter of the nominations, 37, went to the Blue Barn Theatre, including three best-show nominees.
“Lend Me a Tenor,” a madcap farce, led the comedy field with 13 nods, including those for Playhouse director Carl Beck and seven cast members. Other best-comedy nominees were the Blue Barn's “In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play),” with 11 nominations; the Playhouse's “Becky's New Car,” with seven, and “On Golden Pond,” with four; and the Brigit St. Brigit's “Tartuffe,” with one.
The Blue Barn's “Bug,” a dark psychological tale, topped best-drama nominees with nine, including for director Clement-Toberer and three cast members. Completing the best-drama field: the Playhouse's “A Streetcar Named Desire,” with six nods; SNAP's “The Paris Letter,” with five; the Playhouse's “Flyin' West,” with two; and the University of Nebraska at Omaha's “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” with one.
The Rose's musical “Seussical” missed the best-musical category but earned seven nominations.
The awards cover shows that opened from late June 2011 to mid-June 2012. Nominations in 30 categories were voted on by guild members, and ballots were weighted by how many shows and theaters each voter attended. After a second round of balloting, winners will be announced Aug. 12.
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