Monday night’s 31st annual Elliot Norton Awards at the Paramount Center began with an exuberant medley from “Avenue Q," starting with the humorous “It Sucks to Be Me.” By contrast, the evening proved very serendipitous for the Lyric Stage Company of Boston’s very snappy revival of the puppet-rich Tony Award winning musical. In fact, the Norton’s joined the recent IRNE Awards in giving Lyric Stage best musical honors. Avenue Q was also cited for best mid-size, small or fringe ensemble.
Out two-time Tony Award winner Cherry Jones was on hand to accept the large theater ensemble award for American Repertory Theatre’s wonderfully fresh revival of “The Glass Menagerie.” Jones. who brilliantly portrays Amanda Wingfield, told Bay Windows that the A.R.T. revival—also honored for best large stage direction, to out director John Tiffany—will head to New York this fall. Another out director, Mikey DiLoreto, accepted the outstanding fringe theater production award for Happy Medium Theatre’s revival of “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead.” The Factory Theatre staging was also recognized for Kiko Samko, who garnered the outstanding fringe theater actress prize. The new script award went to out Gold Dust Orphans playwright Ryan Landry for “Mildred Fierce.” Landry spoke of taking his award winner to an East Village, New York venue soon.
Broadway Icon Chita Rivera received a lifetime achievement award for more than five decades of great performances in such landmark shows as “Chicago” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman.” The legendary actress —dancer, familiar to Hub audiences from many glorious pre —Broadway tryouts, noted, “I feel as though I’m a part of you. I take my hat off to Boston.” There were two surprise dance tributes to Rivera—one from Boston Youth Moves and the other from “Tappin' Thru Life “ star Maurice Hines and the gifted young Manzari Brothers —who displayed dazzling slide tap and en pointe work.. “Tappin' Thru Life” dances at the Cutler Majestic Theatre through the weekend. "Pippin" at A.R.T. won best large theater musical production prize.
The big winner of the night, Company One’s striking area premiere of the wrestling world-centered “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity ‘ took home four honors including small theater production, director-Shaun LaCount, actor-Ricardo Engermann, and design team. The Norton’s also joined the IRNE’s in honoring the benchmark Huntington Theater Company staging of “Our Town” with the large theater prize. The IRNE -honored director David Cromer will be returning with another Huntington Theatre Company effort next season. Hub veteran actor Will Lyman, acclaimed by the Norton’s as best actor-midsize theater, also accepted the 2013 Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence. His daughter Georgia Lyman garnered the solo performance prize, as she did with the IRNE’s for her strong work in “Chesapeake” at New Repertory Theatre.
For a full list of the 2013 Norton’s and more information, visit http://nortonawardsboston.com