The Normy nominating committee saw 24 plays at 12 different Monmouth County community and school theaters in 2006. Stiff competition in most of the categories made final selection difficult, but the committee persevered.
Best Group of Five Women Dressed Alike: Would you believe a tie vote? Imagine, ten women in only two outfits. But it happened…and at the same theater. Five Women Wearing the Same[Bridesmaid’s] Dress and five others in Nunsense habits all get Normys, as do their directors, John T. Gorsak and Adam Hayek. Both of these well-acted and directed plays made the Eatontown Playhouse a 2006 Destination Theater.
The ‘Move to Big Apple’ Award: Two plays transferred from community theaters to New York in ‘06. The above noted Five Women, and Joe Simonelli’s comedy Men Are Dogs, which had played at First Avenue Playhouse, Atlantic Highlands. Both were rumored to be in negotiations for world tours.
Outstanding Double-Duty Normy: Another tie. Defying the axiom about not directing yourself, both David Cruse and Stacy Coppola did just that. At First Avenue, Cruse directed and acted in the excellent Proof. Normys to him and to Keri Setaro, whose Catherine in the play was magnetic. In the Park System Barn, Ms. Coppola choreographed jazzy, sexy, dance routines for Sweet Charity – and then danced them terrifically in the leading role. The Jazzy Sexy Normy is hereby awarded to Stacy.
The O’Normy Award: Producer-director John Burke includes an Irish play every summer at Shadow Lawn Stage. Da captured the combination of comedy and pathos that marks the rich trove of Irish drama. The Award is yours, Dr. Burke.
Best Pair of British Police Inspectors: Jack Welsh played ‘em both, in admirable revivals of mysteries by Monmouth Players. Welsh’s cello-toned voice segued smoothly from Dial M for Murder to An Inspector Calls. He gets the British Copper Normy.
The (Un)dress for success Normy: As Janet and Brad in Rocky Horror, Nicole Cattoge and Rafael Ginebra get down to their skivvies under the spell of Thor Fister as Frank-n-Furter, who’s also in scanty attire. Very-honorable mention goes to Tatiana Johnson, who appeared in unmentionables in RBC’s excellent Noises Off. (Catholic school sure has changed since I was a kid.)
Skivvies? Scanty Attire? Unmentionables? Ha!
A naked Normy to the cast of Phoenix Productions’ Hair, all 20 of whom shed every stitch at the end of the first act. (The intermission was suspiciously long.)
Leafiest Musical-Comedy Star: The Normy goes to Audrey II, the carnivorous star of Little Shop of Horrors at Brookdale. She couldn’t have done it alone; her human co-stars Eric Pertgen, who played her feeder, and Audra Taliericio, a feedee, earned Normys too.
Best Trio of Founding Fathers: In Phoenix’s stirring 1776, James Marhold, Martin Grubman and Sal Giacchi played John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin. (Or was that really Dr. Franklin?) Normys to them – and to whomever made the decision to produce the under-rated musical.
Best 30-seconds in a Musical: This category is created for exceptional singer-actress Jo Ellen Miller who, as Abigail Adams, caused spine-chills for a very special half-minute near the end of Phoenix’s 1776. Her first Normy. Not, we suspect, her last.
The ‘Better Than Off-Broadway’ Normy: Holmdel Theatre Company earned this rarely-awarded Normy with The Musical of Musicals: the Musical. Producer-director Kelly Bird’s production of the musical spoof was actually better than the off-Broadway original.
Best Appearance by an Actor with an Auntie: Brandon Flynn was the young Patrick Dennis in Spring Lake Theatre’s Mame. Normys to him, to Carole Darche as Mame, and to whomever designed Darche’s classy red dress.
Play title most in need of a typographical error: Bullshot Drummond. (Holmdel Theatre Company certainly didn’t expect this play to win anything.)