Theater dept. brings in nine nominations

Kim McMurray

The Villanova Theatre Department received nine Barrymore Award nominations this year. Eight nominations were accepted for the April 2004 production of “Parade” and one for the November 2003 production of “Don Juan.”

“The Barrymore Awards are basically the ‘Tonies’ of the Philadelphia area,” Sue Winge, director of marketing for the theatre department, said.

Out of over 30 professional theatres in the area, the University placed fifth for the most nominations.

The Barrymore Awards are the area’s only theatre-awards program and are given for Excellence in Theatre in over 25 categories. This year, the nominating committee reviewed upwards of 100 productions by 33 professional theatres. Of the many productions, 73 were chosen to be nominated for awards.

Peter M. Donahue, O.S.A., theatre department chairperson and director of “Parade,” was nominated for Outstanding Direction of a Musical. This is Donahue’s fifth nomination in the category. In 2002, he won an award for his direction of “Chicago.”

Janus Stefanowicz, the University’s resident costume designer and costume shop manager, was honored with her 12th nomination for Outstanding Costume Design. Charlotte Cloe Fox Wind also received a nomination in this category for her work with costumes in “Don Juan.”

Barby Hobyak Roche, a dance teacher at the University, received her first nomination for Outstanding Choreography/Movement.

Two graduate students, Nina Donze and Josh Saurman, received nominations for Leading Actress in a Musical and Leading Actor in a Musical.

They portrayed Lucille Frank and Leo Frank respectively in “Parade.” Donze’s other roles with the Villanova theatre includes Velma in “Chicago” and Andromache in “The Trojan Women.”

“Parade” was Saurman’s third production with the University. Previously, he appeared as Mercutia in “Goodnight,” “Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)” and as Zanni in “Don Juan.”

In a new category this year for Outstanding Music Direction, John Baxidine and Ken Brill earned nominations.

“Parade” was also recognized for its 34 member cast in the Ensemble in a Musical Category and the Overall Production of a Musical.

“Parade” is based on the true story of Leo Frank, a Jew in Atlanta, Ga., in 1913. Frank is falsely accused of murdering 13-year-old Mary Phagan. His hanging, based on an unfair trial, becomes a huge tourist attraction.

According to Gina Pisasale, who plays Dramaturg in “Parade,” ” [The play] hands down a dark legacy with which we all must grapple and aspire to transcend.”

Besides the Barrymore Awards, “Parade” was very well received critically.

According to the article, “Powerful ‘Parade’ at Villanova Theatre” published in the Main Line Ticket on April 1, “Villanova Theatre’s annual musical is always a treat, but “Parade” goes a step further by brilliantly introducing this powerful piece to local audiences.”