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Geelong’s

Virtual Oscars





Glamour in Cyberspace for our 2015 Virtual Oscars

       

This is the time of year when this website chooses the best plays, shows, actors and directors we’ve seen in our region during 2015 to award them with our ‘Virtual Oscars’.
It’s our way of recognising and acknowledging excellence in our region’s performing arts.
They may take place in cyberspace, but the Geelong Virtual Oscars are every bit as glamorous as their Hollywood counterparts. So our fleet of software limousines have slid through clusters of adoring cyberfans to our virtual venue and delivered the chosen Geelong celebrities to our glittering red carpet. And they clearly had a ball at the event - as our photos show.  Above are a trio of winners from Geelong Rep’s July play
Exit The King in Ben Mitchell, Stacey Carmichael and Georgia Chara.  But although that high-energy absurd comedy took out the best director (Stacey), best actor (Ben) and most refreshing newcomer (Georgia), it didn’t take out our Best Production Oscar.

That went to the Geelong Lyric Theatre Society’s big happy musical Legally Blonde, which was staged at GPAC in May.  At the time Lyric’s Legally Blonde was described by our reviewer as ‘high-octane musical theatre with a brilliant young cast delivering fun with a full-bodied professional sheen…’  It took the top honour ahead of two close runners-up, Footlight’s Miss Saigon and Geelong Rep’s A Few Good Men.

Our entertainmentgeelong.com Virtual Oscars are our region’s only theatre awards, they are all-embracing, covering every play, musical and production assessed by our reviewers. 

As stated, our 2015 Best Director Virtual Oscar went to Stacey Carmichael, for her innovative staging of Rep’s Exit The King. Stacey’s choice was hardly a surprise - she  was in the ‘Best Director’ frame three times this year, for three different companies. As well as Rep, she  co-directed Theatre Of The Winged Unicorn’s Two Gentlemen of Verona as well as Torquay Theatre Troupe’s Away. Stacey took the award in front of last year’s winner - Footlight’s Chris Parker who almost carried off consecutive wins with his pared-back  staging of Miss Saigon. And Stacey has form. She’s a two-time winner, having previously taken our ‘Best Director’ VO in 2011 for Lyric’s Pirates Of Penzance.


Our Best Lead Male Actor award was also taken by a multiple-nominee - Ben Mitchell took the award for  his barnstorming performance in Exit The King that was described at the time as… ‘a high-energy, physical blockbuster performance of intensity and skill…’ But he was also in the frame for his performance in TOWU’s Two Gentlemen Of Verona, which he adapted for the stage as well as co-directed with Stacey.  Ben took the top honour ahead of runners-up Andrew Lorenzo (Miss Saigon) and Simon Finch (Wuthering Heights).

Our Best Female Lead Actor went to Rose Sejean for her role in Rep’s A Few Good Men, which earned high praise from our reviewer... ‘Rose Sejean carried a believably intense cerebral passion for justice throughout her role as prickly overseer turned courtroom ally....’ Rose took the Best Female VO ahead of Mikaila Briggs (Miss Saigon) and Stacey Thomsett (Legally Blonde).

For the first time in our award’s seven-year history, our Best Supporting Male Actor Oscar has gone to a group of players - the male ensemble from Miss Saigon. That’s Douglas Costello, Ryan Bentley, Jonathon Lawrence, Xavier McGettigan, Josh McGuane, Thomas McGuane, Charlie McIntyre, Greg Shawcross and Jesse Simpson. And in another, coincidental first, Xavier and Josh were runners up in the same category - but that was for their roles in A Few Good Men.

Our Best Supporting Female Actor went to Lisa Berry for her role in TTT’s A Skull In Connemara -  a performance that had our reviewer purring ... ‘Lisa’s portrayal of a whiskey-loving, bingo fanatic granny was simply superb. She was so comfortable in the role that even when it became clear she had other motives she lost not a shred of credibility...’
Lisa took the VO
ahead of Miss Saigon’s female ensemble and Jenn Stirk from Legally Blonde.

The coveted Most Innovative Feature was taken by Blink Dance Company’s Jess Lesosky and Lyndel Quick for their planning and staging of Soft Landing, their multimedia multivenue dance/theatre event based on the company’s former mill venue in Newtown. That’s company founder Lyndel on the red carpet with her two Virtual Oscars - the previous one was for the same category in 2013. Jess and Lyndel took the award ahead of Jules Hart’s set design for Lost In Yonkers and Ben Mitchell’s script adaptation of Two Gentlemen Of Verona for TOWU.

And our final category, Most Refreshing Newcomer, was taken by Georgia Chara, for her Queen in Exit The King. Georgia played her Queen with cool, aloof  knowing detachment that also put  her in the frame for our Best Lead Actress VO, an astonishing place for her first stage part.  Georgia took the award ahead of Dylan Mazurek and Callum Padgett from A Few Good Men.

And the full list of Nominees were...


Best Production


Miss Saigon, Footlight Productions, January

Lost In Yonkers, Geelong Rep, Woodbin, February

A Few Good Men, Geelong Rep, Woodbin, April

Two Gentlemen Of Verona, TOWU, Ceres, May

Legally Blonde - The Musical, Lyric, Playhouse, May

A Skull In Connemara, TTT, Torquay Theatre, May
Soft Landing, Blink Dance Theatre, June
Exit The King, Geelong Rep, Woodbin, July

Evita, CenterStage Geelong, Playhouse,  July

Forbidden Broadway, CenterStage, Warehouse 26, November

Away, Torquay Theatre Troupe, Price St Theatre, November




Best Director


Christopher Parker, Miss Saigon, Footlight, January

Judy Ellis, Lost In Yonkers, Rep, Woodbin, February

Greg Shawcross, A Few Good Men, Rep, Woodbin, April

Ben Mitchell/Stacey Carmichael, 2 Gentlemen, TOWU, Ceres, May

Andrew Cook, Legally Blonde, Lyric, Playhouse, May

Glen Barton, Skull In Connemara, TTT, Torquay, May

Stacey Carmichael, Exit The King, Rep, Woodbin, July

Bryce Baumgarten, Evita, CenterStage,  July

Elaine Mitchell, Wuthering Heights, TOWU, Ceres, October

Stacey Carmichael, Away, TTT, Torquay, November



Best Male Lead Actor


Winston Hillyer, Miss Saigon, Footlight, January

Andrew Lorenzo, A Few Good Men, Rep, Woodbin, April

Ben Mitchell, Two Gentlemen Of Verona, TOWU, Ceres, May

Connor Sheedy, Legally Blonde, Lyric, Playhouse, May
Fred Preston, Skull In Connemara, TTT, Torquay, May
Ben Mitchell, Exit The King, Rep, Woodbin, July

Christian Cavallo, Evita, CenterStage,  July

Simon Finch, Wuthering Heights, TOWU, Ceres, October


Best Female Lead Actor


Mikaila Briggs, Miss Saigon, Footlight, January

Cherie Mills, Lost In Yonkers, Rep, Woodbin, February

Janine McLean, Lost In Yonkers, Rep, Woodbin, February
Rose Sejean, A Few Good Men, Rep, Woodbin, April

Hannah Verspaandonk Two Gentlemen, TOWU, Ceres, May

Stacey Thomsett, Legally Blonde, Lyric, Playhouse, May
Elise Wilkinson, Soft Landing, Blink, June
Georgia Chara, Exit The King, Rep, Woodbin, July
Madelaine Field, Exit The King, Rep, Woodbin, July

Sarah Crosser, Evita, CenterStage,  July

Lisa Berry, Away, TTT, Torquay, November

Maryanne Doolan, Away, TTT, Torquay, November
Lauren Anne Crute, Daylight Saving, Rep, November



Best Supporting Male Actor


Ensemble, Miss Saigon, Footlight, January

Liam Erck, Lost In Yonkers, Rep, Woodbin, February

Colten Dunn, Lost In Yonkers, Rep, Woodbin, February

David Mackay, A Few Good Men, Rep, Woodbin, April
Tom Reed, A Few Good Men, Rep, Woodbin, April
Cameron Allen, A Few Good Men, Rep, Woodbin, April
David Senftleben, A Few Good Men, Rep, Woodbin, April
Josh McGuane, A Few Good Men, Rep, Woodbin, April
Xavier McGettigan, A Few Good Men, Rep, Woodbin, April

Simon Finch, Two Gentlemen Of Verona, TOWU, Ceres, May

Shane Lee, Legally Blonde, Lyric, Playhouse, May

Lachlan Vivian-Taylor, Skull In Connemara, TTT, May
Lachy Joyce, Exit The King, Rep, Woodbin, July

Jon Sebistian, Evita, CenterStage,  July

Michael Baker, Away, TTT, Torquay, November

Glen Barton, Away, TTT, Torquay, November

Sean Sexton, Away, TTT, Torquay, November




Best Supporting Female Actor


Ensemble, Miss Saigon, Footlight, January

Amelia McBride Baker, Two Gentlemen, TOWU, Ceres, May

Julie Fryman, Two Gentlemen, TOWU, Ceres, May

Jenn Stirk, Legally Blonde, Lyric, Playhouse, May
Bronte Wright, Legally Blonde, Lyric, Playhouse, May
Cassie Chappell, Legally Blonde, Lyric, Playhouse, May

Lisa Berry, Skull In Connemara, TTT, Torquay, May

Mandy Calderwood, Away, TTT, Torquay, November

Cassia Webster, Daylight Saving, Geelong Rep, November



Most Innovative Feature


John Shawcross, music, Miss Saigon, Footlight, January
Scott Allen, lighting design, Miss Saigon, Footlight, January
Rhiannon Irving, costume design, Miss Saigon, Footlight, January

Jules Hart, set design, Lost In Yonkers, Rep, Woodbin, February

Lachy Turner, lighting design,Yonkers, Rep, Woodbin, February

Maxine Urquhart, costumes, Few Good Men, Rep, Woodbin, April

Ben Mitchell, script, Two Gentlemen, TOWU, Ceres, May
Stuart & Ingrid Pett, venue rework, 2 Gentlemen, TOWU, Ceres

Kai Mann-Robertson, choreography, Legally Blonde, May

Liz Kearney, vocal direction, Legally Blonde, May

Phil Kearney, musical direction, Legally Blonde, May

Sally Smith, costumes, Legally Blonde, May

Jessica Lesosky, Lyndel Quick, producer/planners, Soft Landing,  June
Alard Pett, design, Exit The King, Rep, Woodbin, July
The Entire Chorus, Evita, CenterStage,  July

Entire Ensemble, Forbidden Broadway, CenterStage, Nov

Brad Treloar, MD Forbidden Broadway, CenterStage, Nov
Maxine Urquhart, costumes, Forbidden Broadway, Nov

Matt Biscombe, live link music Away, TTT, November




Most Refreshing Newcomer 


Cameron Allen, A Few Good Men, Rep, Woodbin, April

Dylan Mazurek, A Few Good Men, Rep, Woodbin, April
Callum Padgett, A Few Good Men, Rep, Woodbin, April
P J White, Skull In Connemara, TTT, Torquay, May
Georgia Chara, Exit The King, Rep, Woodbin, July
Lachlan Blair Forbidden Broadway, CenterStage, Nov
Ryan Tracey, Away, TTT, Torquay, November
Jessica Senftleben, Away, TTT, Torquay, November