The 2009 Green Room Awards were presented on Monday night in a long but generally entertaining ceremony that was full of optimism and good will.

Mega musical ‘Jersey Boys’ swept the Music Theatre category, with seven awards including Best Production. Melbourne boy Luke Hunter, a popular and well deserving winner for Musical Direction, was the only one of the six ‘Jersey Boys’ creative team winners on hand to accept his award. This raises the question as to whether the Green Award panel should restrict nominees to local artists so as to support and encourage our industry. Winners like Des McAnuff (Best Director) performed their principal work several years ago in New York and have been lauded for it there.

It was thrilling for all present to see two original Australian musicals in the mix. Dean Bryant and Matthew Frank’s ‘Once We Lived Here’ took out Best New Australian Musical with Esther Hannaford recognized for her leading role of Amy. Look out for the cd releases of both ‘Once We Lived Here’ and Anthony Costanzo’s ‘Life’s A Circus’ (produced by Magnormos) very soon.

In the Theatre – Companies segment, MTC’s ‘August: Osage County’ was honoured with three gongs, as was the new Australian play ‘When The Rain Stops Falling’. Simon Phillips spoke passionately about Technical Achievement winners Geoff McGregor and Colin Penn, craftsmen of great renown who have devoted themselves to excellence in creating props for MTC shows for the past twenty years.

The length of the awards show, which started at 7.30pm and finished at 10.55pm, draws attention to the number of categories being included. The distinction between Theatre – Independent and Theatre – Alternative and Hybrid is not exactly clear, and Cabaret seems possibly better suited for recognition elsewhere. No one can deny the chance for each of the winners to shine but when there are so many it can lessen the impact and significance.

One feature that is very evident is the sheer love and hard work that goes into running the organisation for the year and staging the awards show. The ‘Vale’ segment was beautifully presented and clearly represented hours of painstaking work.

Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Lauris Elms, gave a beautiful speech about her career in opera and her memories of the city of Melbourne.

The full list of winners follows:

MUSIC THEATRE

Production Jersey Boys(Dodger Theatricals, Newtheatricals, Dainty Consolidated Entertainment and Michael Watt)

Direction Des McAnuff – Jersey Boys (Dodger Theatricals, Newtheatricals, Dainty Consolidated Entertainment and Michael Watt)

Female Artist in a Leading Role Esther Hannaford (Amy) Once We Lived Here (Bryant and Frank Productions)

Male Artist in a Leading Role Matt Hetherington (Freddy Benson) Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (The Production Company)

Artist in a Featured Role Luke Joslin (Nikki / Trekkie Monster) Avenue Q (Arts Asia Pacific in Association with Power Arts)

Featured Ensemble or Full Ensemble Performance Male Ensemble – CHICAGO The Musical (The Gordon/Frost Organisation)

Musical Direction Luke Hunter – Jersey Boys (Dodger Theatricals, Newtheatricals, Dainty Consolidated Entertainment and Michael Watt)

Choreography in a Musical Sergio Trujillo – Jersey Boys (Dodger Theatricals, Newtheatricals, Dainty Consolidated Entertainment and Michael Watt)

Costume and/or Set Design Klara Zieglerova (Scenic Design) Jersey Boys (Dodger Theatricals, Newtheatricals, Dainty Consolidated Entertainment and Michael Watt)

Lighting Design Howell Binkley – Jersey Boys (Dodger Theatricals, Newtheatricals, Dainty Consolidated Entertainment and Michael Watt)

Sound Design Steve Canyon Kennedy – Jersey Boys (Dodger Theatricals, Newtheatricals, Dainty Consolidated Entertainment and Michael Watt)

New Australian Musical Once We Lived Here Bryant and Frank Productions

THEATRE – COMPANIES

Production When the Rain Stops Falling – Brink Productions/Melbourne Theatre Company in association with Melbourne International Arts Festival

Direction Simon Phillips August: Osage County (Melbourne Theatre Company)

Female Performer Robyn Nevin (Violet) – August: Osage County (Melbourne Theatre Company)

Male Performer Mark Jones (Bones) – Goodbye Vaudeville Charlie Mudd (Malthouse Theatre/Arena Theatre Company)

Female Supporting Performer Rebekah Stone (Ivy Weston) – August: Osage County (Melbourne Theatre Company)

Male Supporting Performer Ashley Zukerman (Joseph) – B.C. (FULL TILT at the Arts Centre in association with The Hayloft Project)

Set Design Hossein Valamanesh When the Rain Stops Falling (Brink Productions/Melbourne Theatre Company in association with Melbourne International Arts Festival)

Composition / Sound Design Mark Jones (Composer) & Jethro Woodward (Sound Design) Goodbye Vaudeville Charlie Mudd (Malthouse Theatre/Arena Theatre Company)

Lighting Design Niklas Pajanti When the Rain Stops Falling (Brink Productions/Melbourne Theatre Company in association with Melbourne International Arts Festival)

THEATRE – INDEPENDENT Production

Alice in Wonderland Four Larks Theatre

Direction Bagryana Popov Progress and Melancholy (Bagryana Popov presented by fortyfivedownstairs)

Female Performer Helen Morse (Sharon/3rd Isaiah/Donna) – Prophet and Loss (Creative Ministries Network, Centre for Theology & Ministry and Here Theatre)

Male Performer Todd Macdonald (Lopahin) – Progress and Melancholy (Bagryana Popov presented by fortyfivedownstairs)

Ensemble Alice in Wonderland – Four Larks Theatre

Design Marg Horwell Wretch (La Mama)

Lighting Design Richard Vabre Progress and Melancholy (Bagryana Popov presented by fortyfivedownstairs)

Sound/Composition Darrin Verhagen, Martin Kay, Nick van Cuylenburg (Sound Design & Composition) – Poet #7 FULL TILT at the Arts Centre (a Daniel Schlusser production)

Best New Venue The Dog Theatre

THEATRE – ALTERNATIVE AND HYBRID PERFORMANCE

Production en route – bettybooke

Creative Collaboration en route – bettybooke

Composition and/or Sound Design Iain Grandage (composer & performer) & Luke Smiles (composition & sound designer) – Lawn (Splintergroup – Malthouse Theatre in Association with Arts House presents a Brisbane Powerhouse and Dancenorth Production)

Projection and/or Video Design Martyn Coutts (video artist) – The Harry Harlow Project (FULL TILT and Insite Arts)

Lighting Design Bluebottle & Jenny Hector Miracle (BalletLab)

Set and/or Costume Design Zoë Atkinson (designer) – Lawn (Splintergroup – Malthouse Theatre in Association with Arts House presents a Brisbane Powerhouse and Dancenorth Production)

OPERA Production

Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk – Opera Australia Direction

Francesca Zambello Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Opera Australia)

Female in a Leading Role Susan Bullock (Katerina Lvovna Ismailova) – Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Opera Australia)

Male in a Leading Role Tobias Cole (Xerxes) – Xerxes (Victorian Opera)

Female in a Supporting Role Antoinette Halloran (Stella Kowalski) – A Streetcar Named Desire (Opera Australia)

Male in a Supporting Role Stuart Skelton (Harold “Mitch” Mitchell) – A Streetcar Named Desire (Opera Australia)

Conductor Sir Richard Armstrong Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Opera Australia)

Set and/or Costume Design Hildegard Bechtler (Set) and Tess Schofield (Costume) – Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Opera Australia)

Lighting Design Jean Kalman Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Opera Australia)

New Australian Opera

Rembrandt’s Wife – Andrew Ford and Sue Smith (Victorian Opera) DANCE

Concept & Realisation Roadkill – Splintergroup (Presented by Arts House and Mobile States)

Male Dancer Grayson Millwood Roadkill & Lawn Splintergroup (Presented by Arts House and Mobile States and Malthouse Theatre in Association with Arts House presents a Brisbane Powerhouse and Dancenorth Production)

Female Dancer Lana Jones Dyad 1929 & Firebird (The Australian Ballet)

Dance Ensemble Lawn (Splintergroup – Malthouse Theatre in Association with Arts House presents a Brisbane Powerhouse and Dancenorth Production)

Betty Pounder Award for Choreography Graeme Murphy Firebird (The Australian Ballet)

Music/Sound Composition and Performance David Chisholm & Myles Mumford Miracle (BalletLab)

Design Mark Howett & Benjamin Cisterne (lighting) – Roadkill (Splintergroup, Presented by Arts House and Mobile States)

CABARET

Production Songs from the 86 Tram The Bedroom Philosopher (City of Melbourne and Nan & Pop Records)

Artiste Tim Minchin

Ensemble The Suitcase Royale Space Show (The Suitcase Royale and Red Wall)

Musical Direction Iain Grandage Wunderschön (Australian National Academy Of Music)

Original Songs Ready For This Tim Minchin (Fox in the Snow)

Innovative Use of Form The Suitcase Royale

The Kristian Fredrikson Scholarship for Design in The Performing Arts Victoria Lamb

GREEN ROOM AWARD ASSOCIATION AWARDS

New Writing for the Australian Stage When the Rain Stops Falling – Andrew Bovell (Brink Productions/Melbourne Theatre Company in association with Melbourne International Arts Festival)

Technical Achievement Award Geoff McGregor and Colin Penn

Lifetime Achievement Award

LAURIS ELMS AM OBE Hon D.Mus. (Syd)

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