Revivals of musicals set in pre-Holocaust Berlin and post-Holocaust Paris feature prominently in the recently announced nominations for this year’s Independent Reviewers of New England Awards.
At the same time, the selections for the 23rd annual ceremony include new plays dealing with a famous Jewish playwright, a Jewish Gloucester radio host, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
An outstanding small stage revival of the landmark Kander and Ebb musical “Cabaret” by Moonbox Productions in Cambridge has garnered 11 nominations. The performance nominees include Best Actor for Phil Tayler as Emcee – who ends up in a concentration camp – and Jewish actor Jared Troilo as Clifford, who escapes the approaching Holocaust.
An Ogunquit Playhouse large stage production of “An American in Paris” – in which the French flag quickly replaces swastikas – is also cited 11 times. Julie Eicher has a Best Actress nomination for playing dancer Lise Dassin, who hid her Jewish identity during World War II. Jeremy Greenbaum has earned a Best Supporting Actor nod for portraying Oscar Levant-like Jewish pianist Adam Hochberg. Ogunquit also received a 12th nomination for veteran actor Hal Linden’s supporting performance in a musical version of “Grumpy Old Men.”
“Moulin Rouge!,” a Broadway-bound large stage new musical staged by Emerson Colonial Theatre set in 19th century Paris, has received 12 nominations, including Best Supporting Actor for Danny Burstein, who plays Jewish impresario Harold Zidler. Another large stage nominee – the Reagle Music Theatre’s revival of “Anything Goes” – features a best actor nomination for Troilo. His third nomination – small-stage and also for Best Actor – recognizes his work as the male title hero in Wheelock Family Theatre’s revival of “Beauty and the Beast.” In addition, Steve Bergman is a nominee for Best Music Director.
Elsewhere, SpeakEasy Stage’s staging of “Fun Home” – with book by Jewish talent Lisa Kron, who collaborated on its score as well – has received 11 nominations, including Best Small Stage Musical. Luke Gold, who plays one of the focal Bechdel family’s children, is a contender for best promising young performer. Lyric Stage Company of Boston’s revival of the Kander and Ebb show “Kiss of the Spider Woman” – cited for Franklin Meissner Jr.’s lighting design – also is another Best Musical contender. Company Theatre of Norwell is up for its staging of “Ragtime,” with pivotal Jewish character Tateh.
At Greater Boston Stage Company of Stoneham, Ilyse Robbins’ choreography for “Being Earnest,” a musical version of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” has been nominated.
A large stage nomination has gone to the new Bernard Weintraub play “Fall” – staged by the Huntington Theatre Company – which centers on liberal activist Arthur Miller’s disturbing reluctance to recognize his paternity for a son with Down’s syndrome.
Ken Riaf, a Jewish Gloucester native, earned a small stage new play nod for “My Station in Life,” a Gloucester Stage Company world premiere about eccentric and spirited radio personality Simon Geller. Veteran Jewish actor Ken Baltin, who plays Geller, is in the running for Best Actor-Midsize Production.
Prolific Israeli playwright Joshua Sobol is also receiving small stage new work consideration for his world premiere “The Last Act,” a provocative drama offered by Israeli Stage. So it goes for artistic director Guy Ben-Aharon and actress Mariana Bassham.
Huntington Theatre Company’s area premiere of “Man in the Ring” dominates the large stage categories with 11 nominations. The Michael Cristofer play, which focuses on the conflicted boxing champion Emile Griffith, has been cited for Jewish director Michael Greif’s work and Gordon Clapp’s portrayal of Jewish manager Howard Albert. David Zinn’s scenic design, which includes a boxing ring, is also a nominee.
Other large stage contenders include Zack Winokur for directing “The Black Clown” at American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge and Megan Sandberg-Zakian for helming “Skeleton Crew” for Huntington. Mark Zeisler has received a supporting actor nomination for playing Dr. Watson in Huntington’s production of “Sherlock Holmes’ Last Case,” and Bobbie Steinbach is up for supporting actress honors for the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company revival of “Richard III.”
The IRNE awards ceremony will be held at 7:30 p.m. April 8 at the Inn at Brookline. For a complete list of nominees, visit www.theatermirror.net.