23 nominations in theatre awards

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East Otago and Oamaru thespians are on tenterhooks as they eagerly await the Otago Southland Theatre Awards (Osta) prizegiving in West Otago in February.
Of the 100 Osta nominations announced recently, nine went to Musical Theatre Oamaru’s theatre restaurant production of Four Weddings and a Divorce.
East Otago Musical Theatre and its production of Anything Goes garnered a total of 14 nominations in recognition of performances and backstage efforts.
From the MTO cast, Mark Burgher (Elvis) received a best cameo performance nomination, Maxine Rakiraki (Bertha) was named in the best supporting female in a play or musical category, Robertina Collins (Kayleigh) received a nomination for best leading female in a play or revue, and Josh Cunningham
(Nigel), Kyle Thompson-Connell (Lionel) and Daniel Martin (Mark) all received nominations in the best leading male in a play or revue category.
The backstage crew for the MTO show received nominations in three categories: best properties, best sound and best set.
Director Alison Morgan said it was an honour to be named alongside bigger-budget shows and musicals, and it was an acknowledgement of all the hard work and effort put into the show.
“We have a really good team in Oamaru and people were really committed to the roles and backstage work,” she said.
“They were a wonderful group of people to work for as they came out at every rehearsal, even in the middle of winter.”
Despite a long career treading the boards in Oamaru, this was Ms Morgan’s first directorial production with adults.
“I have worked a lot in high school productions but this was the first time I had directed adults and everyone was just fantastic,”
Her next challenge will be that of production manager for MTO’s next production, Mama Mia, and she is hoping more young men (aged 17 to mid-20s) will come along to auditions because they are desperately needed for the show.
“The girls are all keen but we have no boys yet,” Ms Morgan said.
East Otago Musical Theatre’s production of Anything Goes, a Cole Porter musical, earned nominations in the best leading male in a musical category for George Keen (Sir Evelyn Oakley) and Alex Keen (Moonface Martin).
Victoria Bernard, playing Bonnie, earned a nomination in the best supporting female in a play or musical category.
Helen Horsnell is nominated for the best direction category and Sam van Betuw picked up two nominations in the best musical direction category, for Anything Goes and for the Alexandra Musical Society’s production of Grease.
Emma Holloway earned a nomination for best choreography and the show garnered further nominations for best vocal work by a company, best ensemble number and best overall production.
Backstage, the East Otago crew earned a raft of nominations in the best hair and make-up, best properties, best sound, best wardrobe and best set categories.
The black tie awards dinner to recognise excellence and talent in the Otago-Southland musical theatre community will be held in the West Otago Community Centre in Tapanui on February 24.