2018 Theater Award Winners

Motif-188This year saw a number of records broken at the Motif Theater Awards. The number of voters was the most yet, with 4,565 readers weighing in on their favorite performers and performances. The event filled McVinney, the 728-seat auditorium in downtown PVD, with a spirit of cheering camaraderie that carried through the entire night. You can see the list of winners below, but one of the themes was that everyone who came out was a winner – theaters were cheering one another, and companies were offering passes to other companies. Almost every theater company in the region was represented, and the afterparty at Hotel Providence was awash in theatrical energy and networking between companies.

Performances represented some of the best work from local theaters, and included boffo showstoppers from a full cast of Newsies by the Academy Players, a show-defining original song, “Everything that Matters,” from Empire Revue’s Benny’s the Musical, stirring solos from Trinity Rep’s Ragtime and Stadium Theatre’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, medleys from Granite’s Jesus Christ Superstar and Theatre by the Sea’s Chicago, a piratical mashup from Penzance by the Wilbury Group and an ever-optimistic rendition of “Tomorrow” from Community Players’ Annie. Every single number managed to stir or inspire the crowd of fellow thespians.

Guided by showrunner Terry Shea and veteran MCs Kevin Broccoli and Reba Mitchell, presenters included Karen Kessler, Samantha Gaus, Beth and David Jepson, Paula Faber, Vince Petronio, Rita Murray Maron, Leonard Schwartz, Kira Hawkridge, Ted Clement, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley, Joanne Fayan, Angelique Dina, a beat-boxing Rudy Rudacious, a heartfelt Tony Annicone, Cheryl and Charles Cavalconte, and Tom Gleadow and Fred Sullivan.


Spoken word winner Christopher Johnson rededicated his award to Vatic Kuumba, and Lynn Collinson, recipient of the Unsung Hero award, gave a rousing speech about community and teamwork, also announcing her new project that will focus on roles for mature women.

The afterparty jammed out to the tunes of Westminster Yacht Club and included a few more personal award presentations. Culinary treats from Julians restaurant and brews from Narragansett Brewers rounded out the night.

2018 Lighting Design – College
Jessica Winward – Eurydice, URI
2018 Set Design – College
Katryne Hecht – Beauty and the Beast, RIC
2018 Sound Design – College
Anna Drummond, Eurydice, Brown Trinity MFA
2018 Costume Design – College
Marcia Zammarelli – Beauty and the Beast, RIC
2018 Male Performance – College
Brooks Shatraw – Bert, Mary Poppins, URI
2018 Female Performance – College
Emily Turtle – Mary Poppins, URI
2018 Choreography – College
Nicole Chagnon – Mary Poppins, URI
2018 Direction – College
Bill Wilson – Beauty and the Beast, RIC
2018 Production of the Year – College
Mary Poppins, URI

2018 Lighting Design – Community
Megan Ruggiero & Doug Greene – American Strippers,
Attleboro Community Theatre
2018 Set Design – Community
Danny Rodrigues – You Can’t Take It with You, Portsmouth Community Theater
2018 Sound Design – Community
Terry Shea – Isn’t It Romantic, Barker
2018 Costume Design – Community
Johnny Cagno – Sweeney Todd, RISE
2018 Supporting Male – Community
John Brennan – Mr. DePinna, You Can’t Take It with You, Portsmouth Community Theater
2018 Supporting Female – Community
Katrina Rossi – Susan, The Crazy Time,
Newport Playhouse
2018 Male Lead – Community
Brian Mulvey – The Grandfather, You Can’t Take It with You, The Community Players
2018 Female Lead – Community
Vivienne Carrette – Athena, American Strippers, Attleboro Community Theatre
2018 Direction – Community
Cindy Killavey – Love, Loss and What I Wore, Portsmouth Community Theater
2018 New Work – Community
Murder at the Coal Mines by Gloria Schmidt – Portsmouth Community Theater
2018 Production of the Year – Community
You Can’t Take It with You, Community Players
2018 Lighting Design – Semi-Pro
Marc Tiberiis II – ESCAPE, OUT LOUD Theatre
2018 Set Design – Semi-Pro
Christopher J Simpson – Rosencrantz
& Guildenstern Are Dead, Contemporary
Theater Company
2018 Sound Design – Semi-Pro
Ryan Stevenson – The Healing, Epic Theatre
2018 Costume Design – Semi-Pro
Kira Hawkridge – King Lear, OUT LOUD Theatre
2018 Supporting Male – Semi-Pro
David Sackal – King Lear, OUT LOUD Theatre
2018 Supporting Female – Semi-Pro
Natasha Cole – King Lear, OUT LOUD Theatre
2018 Male Lead – Semi-Pro
Kevin Broccoli – Wolf Hall, Epic Theatre
2018 Female Lead – Semi-Pro
Valerie Westgate – Vanda, Venus in Fur,
Burbage Theater Company
2018 Direction – Semi-Pro
Kira Hawkridge – King Lear, OUT LOUD Theatre
2018 New Work (or significant adaptation) –
Semi Pro & Pro
Marshall by Kevin Broccoli – Epic Theatre
2018 Production of the Year – Semi-Pro
Wolf Hall, Epic Theatre

2018 Lighting Design – Professional
Amith Chandrashaker – Othello, Trinity Rep
2018 Set Design – Professional
Eugene Lee – Ragtime, Trinity Rep
2018 Sound Design – Professional
Mikhail Sulaiman –  Othello, Trinity Rep
2018 Costume Design – Professional
Kara Harmon – Ragtime, Trinity Rep
2018 Supporting Male – Professional
Jeff Church – As You Like It, Gamm
2018 Supporting Female – Professional
Phyllis Kaye – Death of a Salesman, Trinity Rep
2018 Male Lead – Professional
Tony Estrella – Vanya, Uncle Vanya, Gamm
2018 Female Lead – Professional
Lauren Weinberg – Belle, Beauty and the Beast,
Theatre By The Sea
2018 Direction – Professional
Tony Estrella and Rachel Walshe – As You Like It, Gamm
2018 Production of the Year – Professional
Ragtime, Trinity Rep

2018 Stage Manager Award
Max Ponticelli
2018 Improv / Audience Participation
Bring Your Own Improv
2018 Most Bombastic Fight Choreography
Normand Beauregard – As You Like It, Gamm
2018 Social Media Campaign
Benny’s the Musical, Empire Revue
2018 Favorite Spoken Word Artist
Christopher Johnson
2018 Favorite Concessions
Trinity Rep
2018 Favorite Fest
2018 Youth Production of the Year
The Lion King Jr., Academy Players of RI
Most Exciting Creative Collaboration of 2018
Murder at the Coal Mines – Portsmouth Community
Theater and Portsmouth Historical Society
2018 Favorite Variety Show / Cabaret
Theatre By the Sea Cabaret
2018 Favorite Ensemble
Pirates of Penzance, Wilbury
2018 Unsung Hero Award
Lynn Collinson
2018 Devised Theater Award
The Sea Pageant, Strange Attractor
2018 Nazo Award for
Boundary Defying Theater
Red Speedo, Epic Theatre

2018 Principal Male Dancer
Alex Lantz, Festival Ballet
2018 Principal Female Dancer
Kirsten Evans, Festival Ballet
2018 Production of the Year – Dance
Little Mermaid, Festival Ballet

2018 Supporting Male in a Musical
Alvaro Beltran – Bernardo, West Side Story,
Stadium Theater
2018 Supporting Female in a Musical
Chantal Arraial – Anita, West Side Story, Stadium
2018 Male Lead in a Musical
Jack Cappadona – Quasimodo, Hunchback
of Notre Dame, Stadium Theatre
2018 Female Lead in a Musical
Rachael Warren – Mother, Ragtime, Trinity Rep
2018 Choreography Award
Jennifer Webb – A Chorus Line, Stadium Theater
2018 Musical Production Number
“Out There” – Hunchback of Notre Dame,
Stadium Theatre
2018 Musical Direction
Mark Colozzi – Hunchback of Notre Dame,
Stadium Theatre
2018 Director of a Musical
Becca Donald – Hunchback of Notre Dame, Stadium
2018 Musical of the Year
Hunchback of Notre Dame, Stadium Theatre

Editors’ Picks
These special, fun awards were selected by our editors to
reflect some of their favorite work from the year:
2018 Dynamic Duo
Rachel Tondreault and Cam Torres – Senga
and Ever, Dancing Lessons, 2nd Story Theatre
2018 King of the Year
Alan Hawkridge – King Lear, King Lear, OUT LOUD Theatre
2018 Sensational Scene Stealer
Becky Gibel – Evelyn Nesbitt, Ragtime,
Trinity Rep
2018 Jury Selection
Nick Menna – Juror #3, 12 Angry Jurors, Barker
All Hail the Queen
Valerie Tarantino – The Player, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Contemporary Theater Company
Musical Accompaniment
Julia Egan – The Troubadour, Isabella,
Counter Productions Theater Company
Comedic Gold
Ben Church – Feste, Twelfth Night,
Burbage Theater Company