University of the Arts Faculty, Alumni Earn Barrymore Nominations

August 4, 2010

Faculty and alumni from the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts at the University of the Arts earned a handful of nominations for Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theater when the slate for the 16th annual event honoring Philadelphia's best stage productions was announced recently at the New Freedom Theatre.

"The roster of Barrymore nominees once again includes a significant number of University faculty and alumni, a testament to the contribution that the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts continues to make to the quality and vitality of the professional theater scene in Philadelphia," said Brind School Director Charles Gilbert, himself a multiple-time Barrymore Award nominee.

Barrymore Award winner Pete Pryor '90 (Theater Arts) [pictured below right] earned a special recognition award for his selection as a Lunt-Fontanne Fellow. As a fellow, Pryor participated in an intensive Shakespeare-focused retreat and master class with actor Barry Edelstein and eight of the country's top regional theatre actors. The second annual retreat was held July 11-18 in Genesee Depot, Wis., at Ten Chimneys, the estate of the acting team of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. Additionally, Pryor was nominated in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play category for playing Mickey in "Any Given Monday," staged by the Act II Playhouse and Theatre Exile.

Pete Pryor (right) plays Mickey in "Any Given Monday" with fellow actor Joe Canuso as Lenny. Photo by Paolo Nogueras.

Theater Arts Senior Lecturer Eric Ebbenga was nominated twice in the Outstanding Music Direction category for "The Light in the Piazza" at the Philadelphia Theatre Company and "Sunday in the Park with George" at the Arden Theatre Company. Two-time Barrymore Award winner and six-time nominee Amanda Schoonover '97 (Acting) was one of five nominees for the F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Philadelphia Theatre Artist.

Brind School lecturer Ben Dibble '00 (Theater Arts), the 2006 Haas Award winner, earned a nomination in the Outstanding Leading Actor in a Musical category for his turn as Freddy Benson in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" (right) at the Walnut Street Theatre.

Dibble (pictured left) with actors Jessica Rush and Paul Schoeffler in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels." Photo by Mark Garvin.

John Bellomo '94 (Acting) and J. Alex Cordaro '97 (Acting), both protégés of stage combat master and Brind School Professor Charles Conwell, earned nominations in the Outstanding Choreography/Movement category; Bellomo for "The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity" at the InterAct Theatre Company and "Hunter Gatherers" at Theatre Exile, and Cordaro for "Henry IV, Part I" at the Lantern Theater Company.

1812 Productions, founded by faculty member and alumna Jennifer Childs '90 (Theater Arts) and Pryor, was nominated in the Excellence in Theatre Education and Community Service Award category for its 1812 Outreach program.

Brind School founder Walter Dallas, Freedom Theatre's former artistic director, was nominated in the Outstanding Direction of a Play category for his work with "Blue Door," which was staged at the Arden Theatre Company and starred Brind School Professor Johnnie Hobbs Jr.

Nominations were spread among more than 140 actors, directors and designers representing 49 companies and over 145 productions. Produced by the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, the award show will be held Monday, October 4 at the Walnut Street Theatre. Named after Philadelphia's legendary Barrymore family, the awards have recognized and celebrated Philadelphia theaters and artists since its inception in 1994. Each year, over 100 productions, produced by local professional theatres, are reviewed by the Barrymore voting committee. Since 1995, the Barrymore Awards have recognized 58 organizations, 526 productions and 750 artists for the excellence and vitality that they have brought to Greater Philadelphia.

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