Happiness as ‘Les Miserables’ wins supreme theatre award

Musical Theatre Dunedin president Dean Driver shows off the five Otago Southland Theatre Awards...
Musical Theatre Dunedin president Dean Driver shows off the five Otago Southland Theatre Awards won by its production of Les Miserables on Saturday night. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
It turns out the judges of this year’s Otago Southland Theatre Awards did hear the people sing as a Dunedin production of Les Miserables won best overall production at Saturday’s virtual award ceremony.

Musical Theatre Dunedin (MTD) president Dean Driver said the prize was a deserved reward for the entire cast and crew of what had been an eventful production.

Producers had to deal with postponing the show six weeks before its original March 2020 opening date, and then bear tens of thousands of dollars in ticket refunds after the failure of Ticket Rocket.

The company was unbowed by these travails, and Mr Driver said he was proud of the show they put on.

"We talk about One Day More, it was the show that just kept giving.

"To take [the top prize] out was just fantastic."

The production won four other awards alongside best overall production.

Scott Bezett won best supporting male in a musical for his portrayal of Enroljas, while the entire company won the ensemble award for its performance of One Day More.

The backstage crew was also awarded, winning best sound and best lighting and visual augmentation.

The awards night, now in its eighth year, was moved online after a gala awards night in Gore was cancelled due to Covid-19 precautions.

Judges considered 78 nominations across 22 categories from 13 eligible productions.

Invercargill Musical Theatre also staged Les Miserables during the eligibility period and that production won two key awards.

Dave McMeeking’s Jean Valjean won best leading male in a musical, and Clare Lenihan won Best Musical Direction.

Winning five awards and tying for most wins with MTD’s Les Miserables was the Invercargill Repertory Society’s production of Blackadder: The Golden Age.

Its awards included acting prizes for Callum Fowler, Maggie Pirie and Travis Luke, and trophies for sets and props.

The Taieri Musical Society took home three prizes for Kate Sheppard musical That Bloody Woman, as well as the youth production prize for Moana Junior.

Regional productions were also represented, as Showbiz Queenstown’s production of Legally Blonde won three awards, and Gore Musical Society won two for Chicago.


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