Nominations for the 37th Green Room Awards have been announced, celebrating outstanding achievement in Melbourne’s live performance sector across opera, theatre, musicals, dance and cabaret in 2019.

In Opera, five singers have been nominated for Best Female Lead. For Melbourne Opera, mezzo-soprano Jacqueline Dark’s Adalgisa in Norma and soprano Lee Abrahmsen’s Senta in The Flying Dutchman see them both recognised, with Abrahmsen a repeat nominee after last year’s nod for her Marschallin in MO’s Der Rosenkavalier. For Opera Australia, soprano Jane Ede’s Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte and South Korean soprano Karah Son’s Liù in Turandot see them both nominated. For her turn as the sorceress Kundry in Victorian Opera’s Parsifal, Swedish mezzo Katarina Dalayman has also been recognised.

Samuel Sakker and Jacqueline Dark. Photo © Robin Halls

In the running for Best Male Lead this year are bass-baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes, for his Méphistophélès in OA’s Faust, bass-baritone Derek Welton, for his Klingsor in VO’s Parsifal, Mongolian baritone Amartuvshin Enkhbat for the title role in OA’s Rigoletto, tenor Rosario La Spina for his Erik in MO’s The Flying Dutchman, and English bass-baritone Darren Jeffery for the title role in the same production.

The Green Room Awards has combined the female and male categories for Best Supporting Role this year, with the new category now Artist in a Supporting Role. The nominees are baritone Luke Gabbedy, for his Albert in OA’s Werther; Eddie Muliaumaseali’i, for Oroveso in MO’s Norma; Teddy Tahu Rhodes, for Titurel in VO’s Parsifal; mezzo Anna Dowsley, for Siébel in OA’s Faust, and soprano Lisette Bolton for Olive in Lyric Opera of Melbourne’s Fly.

In the race for Best Production, OA is represented by both Faust and Il Viaggio a Reims, while VO is nominated for its Parsifal, Lyric Opera of Melbourne for Fly and MO for The Flying Dutchman. The nominees for Best Direction track closely, with David McVicar nominated for OA’s Faust, Damiano Michieletto for OA’s Il Viaggio a Reims and Lara Kerestes for Lyric Opera’s Fly, the only surprise being Cameron Menzies for his production of The Selfish Giant for VO.

FlyLyric Opera of Melbourne’s Fly. Photo © Lachlan Woods

In the running for Best Conductor are Christian Badea for OA’s Turandot, Guillaume Tourniaire for OA’s Faust, Anthony Negus for MO’s The Flying Dutchman, Raymond Lawrence for MO’s Norma and Daniel Smith for OA’s Il Viaggio a Reims.

A further two new categories have been introduced for Opera, with Outstanding Musical Achievement now appearing to take the place of categories like Contribution to the Development of Opera in Victoria and Best New Australian Work. The nominees are VO’s The Selfish Giant, recognised twice for Youth Ensemble and New Australian Opera; OA’s Il Viaggio a Reims for Ensemble Cast; and Lyric Opera’s Fly for Programming.

In the newly created Lighting, Set and Costume Design category, Rob Sowinski has been recognised for his Lighting in MO’s The Flying Dutchman; Tom Petty and Richard Vabre for Sets and Lighting in Lyric Opera’s Fly; James Browne for Set and Costumes for VO’s The Selfish Giant; Paolo Fantin, Carla Teti, Alessandro Carletti for Sets, Costumes and Lighting in OA’s Il Viaggio a Reims; and Charles Edwards, Brigitte Reiffenstuel and Paule Constable for Sets, Costumes and Lighting for OA’s Faust.

Barbara and the Camp DogsBarbara and the Camp Dogs at Belvoir, Sydney, 2017. Photograph © Brett Boardman

In Theatre, Melbourne Theatre Company’s A View from the Bridge and Golden Shield, Belvoir’s Barbara and the Camp Dogs, Red Stitch Actors’ Theatre’s Pomona and Back to Back Theatre’s The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes are all in the running for Best Production.

Taking its cue from Best Production, the nominees for Best Direction are Iain Sinclair for MTC’s A View from the Bridge, Leticia Cáceres for Belvoir’s Barbara and the Camp Dogs, Bruce Gladwin for Back to Back Theatre’s The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes, Sarah Goodes for MTC’s Golden Shield and Gary Abraham for RSAT’s Pomona.

In yet another newly created category, with two winners to be announced, the nominees for Outstanding Performance are Jing-Xuan Chan (MTC’s Golden Shield), Michael Wahr (MTC’s Shakespeare in Love), Ursula Yovich (Belvoir’s Barbara and the Camp Dogs), Steve Bastoni (MTC’s A View from the Bridge), Daniela Farinacci (RSAT’s Oil), Natasha Herbert (Malthouse Theatre and Black Swan State Theatre Company’s Cloudstreet), Naomi Rukavina (RSAT’s Control), Zahra Newman (Malthouse Theatre’s Wake in Fright), William McKenna (Sonia Friedman Productions’ Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and Carly Sheppard (Performing Lines’ Anthem).

Zahra Newman, Wake in FrightZahra Newman in Malthouse Theatre’s Wake in Fright. Photo © Pia Johnson

For Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role, Andrew Coshan (MTC’s A View from the Bridge), Natalie Gamsu (RSAT’S Dance Nation), Elaine Crombie (Belvoir’s Barbara and the Camp Dogs), Helen Morse (Cameron Lukey & Neil Gooding Productions’ 33 Variations) and Yuchen Wang (MTC’s Golden Shield) are this year’s nominees.

In Best Writing/Adaptation for the Australian Stage, Alana Valentine and Ursula Yovich (Belvoir’s Barbara and the Camp Dogs), Finegan Kruckemeyer (MTC’s A Violent Outburst That Drew Me To You), Michael Chan, Mark Deans, Bruce Gladwin, Simon Laherty, Sarah Mainwaring, Scott Price, Sonia Teuben (Back to Back Theatre’s The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes), Nakkiah Lui (Sydney Theatre Company’s Black is the New White), and Anchuli Felicia King (MTC’s Golden Shield) are those nominated.

In Musical Theatre, five productions are in the running for Best Production – Pursued By Bear’s Bright Star, Junkyard Dog Productions and Rodney Rigby’s Come From Away, James Terry Collective’s Legally Blonde, Global Creatures and Sydney Theatre Company’s Muriel’s Wedding, and The Production Company’s Ragtime.

Best Direction nominations have gone to Sonya Suares and Dean Drieberg for Watch This’ Sunday In The Park With George, Roger Hodgman for The Production Company’s Ragtime, Michael Kantor for The Production Company’s Lazarus, Christopher Ashley for Junkyard Dog Productions and Rodney Rigby’s Come From Away, and Simon Phillips for Global Creatures and STC’s Muriel’s Wedding.

Just two musicals have been nominated this year for Original Australian Writing – Drew Downing for book, music and lyrics to Starlight Productions’ Rebel and PJ Hogan (book) and Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall (music and lyrics) to Global Creatures and Sydney Theatre Company’s Muriel’s Wedding.

Muriel’s Wedding. Photo © Jeff Busby

The nominees for Best Musical Direction are David Butler (Antipodes Theatre Company’s Ghost Quartet), Katie Weston (James Terry Collective’s Legally Blonde), Luke Hunter (for his body of work), Nathan Firmin (Pursued By Bear’s Bright Star), and Phoebe Briggs (Victorian Opera’s A Little Night Music).

In the newly created category Lead Role, with two winners to be announced, the nominees are Kurt Kansley (The Production Company’s Ragtime), Vidya Makan (Watch This’s Sunday in the Park with George), Richard Piper (Junkyard Dog Productions and Rodney Rigby’s Come From Away), Natalie Abbott (Global Creatures and STC’s Muriel’s Wedding), Ainsley Melham (MTC’s Kiss of the Spider Woman), Zoe Gertz (Junkyard Dog Productions and Rodney Rigby’s Come From Away), Ryan Gonzales (Dodger Theatricals’s Jersey Boys), Georgina Hopson (The Production Company’s Ragtime), Sam Hagen (James Terry Collective’s Legally Blonde), and Anthony Warlow (TEG and Life Like Company’s Sweeney Todd).

The nominees for Best Supporting Role are Stefanie Jones (Global Creatures and STC’s Muriel’s Wedding), Adam-Jon Fiorentino (for his body of work), John O’May (The Production Company’s Ragtime), Queenie Van De Zandt (The Production Company’s Thoroughly Modern Millie), Sam Skuthorp (Manilla Street Productions’ The Beautiful Game), Kirby Burgess (Storyboard Entertainment’s Barnum), Cameron McDonald (Dodger Theatricals’ Jersey Boys), Willow Sizer (for her body of work), Verity Hunt-Ballard (VO’s A Little Night Music), and Evan Lever (James Terry Collective’s Legally Blonde). As with Lead Role, two winners will be announced.

In Dance, Joel Bray’s Biladurang, Marrugeku’s Le Dernier Appel/The Last Cry, Vicki Van Hout’s Plenty Serious Talk Talk, Chunky Move’s Token Armies, Sarah Aiken and Rebecca Jensen’s What Am I Supposed To Do? have been nominated for Best Production.

Melanie Lane’s WOOF. Photograph © Pedro Greig

The nominees for the Shirley McKechnie Award for Choreography are Melanie Lane (Sydney Dance Company’s Woof), Thomas E.S. Kelly (Arts House and Karul Projects’s CO_EX_EN), Russell Dumas (Dancehouse’s Cultural Residues 2020) and Siobhan McKenna (Dancehouse’s Utterance).

In the running for Best Performer, with two winners to be announced, the nominees are Benedicte Bemet (for her year’s work for The Australian Ballet), Marlo Benjamin (for Stephanie Lake Company’s Skeleton Tree), Joel Bray (for his own Biladurang), Tra Mi Dinh (Lucy Guerin Inc’s Make Your Own World), Rebecca Jensen (Lucy Guerin Inc’s Make Your Own World), Marcus Morelli (The Australian Ballet’s Sylvia), Dalisa Pigram (Marrugeku’s Le Dernier Appel/The Last Cry), Thomas E.S. Kelly (Arts House and Karul Projects’s CO_EX_EN), Vicky Van Hout (for her Plenty Serious Talk Talk), and Paul White (Narelle Benjamin’s Cella).

The winners of the annual special Green Room Awards Association awards are Daniel Clarke, for Outstanding Contribution to Cabaret; Caitlin Dullard, for Geoffrey Milne Award for Outstanding Contribution to Independent Theatre; Emily O’Brien, for Technical Achievement; and writer and director Jenny Kemp, for Lifetime Achievement.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony held at the Melbourne Comedy Theatre on March 30.


Full list of nominations