‘Blown away’ by nominations

The 2022 Otago Southland Theatre Awards (OSTAs) are being held in Gore next month. Gore Musical Theatre and the West Otago Theatrical Society are each in the running for about a dozen awards. Gore Musical Theatre’s production of Seussical Jr has been nominated in 12 different categories, while the West Otago Theatrical Society’s production of Phantom of the Opera earned 11 nominations across 10 categories. The Ensign reporter Michael Curreen spoke to the directors of both productions about their success.

Recognised . . . Nominated for best direction in last year’s Otago Southland Theatre Awards is Caleb Bell, director of Gore Musical Theatre’s Seussical Jr production last year. PHOTO: MICHAEL CURREEN

It is not often a junior show goes toe-to-toe with other productions, Gore Musical Theatre’s Seussical Jr director Caleb Bell says.

The junior production, which was put on in August last year, is up for 12 awards at last year’s Otago Southland Theatre Awards next month.

‘‘I was quite blown away actually to see 12,’’ Mr Bell said.

‘‘We’re punching right up there with some real big ones, so it’s a real compliment, I think.’’

It was an acknowledgement of the work that the production team put in.

‘‘We were really fortunate and lucky to have so many talented creatives working on that project across a whole heap of different departments.

‘‘And to be recognised for the work that each department did is a real testament to the Gore community, I feel.’’

He was proud to see some of the young performers also in the running for an award.

Whether they won the award or not, the nomination itself was a ‘‘significant acknowledgement of those kids and the show they put on’’.

Mr Bell was also up for an award himself, for best direction.

‘‘I’ve watched two other [shows I’ve been nominated against] . . .and watching those, I was really inspired.

‘‘So just to be up there with some incredible directors is really nice.’’

Whichever way the awards went, he was already pleased with the show’s success and to have inspired so many young performers.

‘‘It was such a wonderful three months of my life, and to have the fun and joy of that extended just a bit further into the award ceremony in February is a real blessing.’’

He was looking forward to the awards evening on February 11 at the Gore Town & Country Club.

‘‘It’s going to be a wonderful night, where we can all get together and celebrate our shows and the success that we’ve had, and just the return of theatre in the community after a few years of cancellations and postponements.’’

Class act . . . Nominated for best leading male in a musical in last year’s Otago Southland Theatre Awards is Jeff Rea for his performance of the Phantom in the West Otago Theatrical Society’s production of Phantom of the Opera. PHOTO: KIRSTEN MCINTYRE

What we see happening on stage is just the tip of the iceberg, the West Otago Theatrical Society’s Phantom of the Opera director Margie Rea says.

The production, put on in July last year, received 11 nominations at last year’s Otago Southland Theatre Awards, more than half of them for cast members’ performances.

Mrs Rea said it was an acknowledgement of the production’s ‘‘highly talented cast’’.

‘‘The nominations are great, and yet it’s the whole cast that have made them also shine as well.

‘‘So each of the nominations actually highlights and is held up by everybody else in the cast that also gave 110%.’’

She was pleased that the hard work that went on behind the scenes had also been recognised in the society’s other nominations.

‘‘They so deserve those accolades, because they’re sort of the unseen people of the show.

‘‘Everybody can see the cast performing, but it’s all those people that have . . .put in so much effort that are unseen behind stage that actually it’s really cool they get acknowledgement.’’

As the director, it had been humbling seeing all the different departments put in the time and effort to make the show come alive.

‘‘In every aspect, every department, the hours of time that people put in to make the show work is . . .astronomical.’’

The make-up team were just one example of this, having created the Phantom’s mask from scratch.

‘‘Of course, in our intimate theatre, people can see if it’s not right because they’re right close, so it has to be really well done.

‘‘They used latex and things to create the face on the Phantom that was behind the mask that’s revealed.

‘‘So there was a lot of technical work and research and working out how to do things.’’

Even though not every department had been nominated for an award, Mrs Rea said they were all deserving.

It was the hard work of all the departments that made the show successful.

‘‘What brings and makes the show successful is the input from not just one or two areas, but . . .all the departments working together.’’


Gore Musical Theatre’s Seussical Jr :

● Best make-up and hair

● Best properties

● Best lighting and visual augmentation

● Best wardrobe

● Best set

● Best vocal direction — Alicia Prescott

● Best ensemble number — Biggest Blame Fool 

● Best cameo performance — Alexander Geddes as Jungle Snake

● Best leading female in a musical — Lydia Blomfield as Cat in the Hat

● Best choreography — Nikoia McKelvie

● Best direction — Caleb Bell

● Best overall production

West Otago Theatrical Society’s Phantom of the Opera :

● Best make-up and hair

● Best properties

● Best sound

● Best vocal direction — Nicola Russell

● Best ensemble number — Masquerade 

● Best supporting male in a play — Rob Hall as Ubaldo

● Best supporting female in a musical — Claire Barton as Carlotta Giudicelli

● Best leading male in a musical — Jeff Rea as Phantom

● Best leading male in a musical — Craig Wadsworth as Raoul

● Best leading female in a musical — Kayla Wilcox as Christine

● Best overall production