Arts and Entertainment

Bainbridge Performing Arts nominated for ‘Local Theatre of the Year’

The cast of the nationally recognized musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” now being considered for a Broadwayworld.com regional award. From left is Ryan O’Donnell as Leaf Coneybear; Lauren Stone as Marcy Park; James Sgambati as Chip Tolentino; Michelle Abad as Loggaine Schwartzandgrubenierre; Justin Lynn as William Barfee and Colleen Gillon as Olive Ostrovsky.   - Photo courtesy of BPA
The cast of the nationally recognized musical “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” now being considered for a Broadwayworld.com regional award. From left is Ryan O’Donnell as Leaf Coneybear; Lauren Stone as Marcy Park; James Sgambati as Chip Tolentino; Michelle Abad as Loggaine Schwartzandgrubenierre; Justin Lynn as William Barfee and Colleen Gillon as Olive Ostrovsky.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of BPA

Bainbridge Performing Arts may just be the best local theatre around.

No seriously, it might be. There’s a vote going on and everything.

BPA has been nominated, one of only 19 such organizations, for the 2013 Broadwayworld.com regional award for Seattle “Local Theatre of the Year.”

It was the production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” earlier this year that seems to have put BPA on the national map. The production was nominated for “Best Musical (Local).”

The show was also well-received locally, and has resulted in several more Broadwayworld.com nominations for the company.

“We’re really honored to be nominated for doing what we love,” said BPA operations manager Shannon Dowling. “I loved that show [“Spelling Bee”], we knew we had a good thing going. We feel like we served the community by bringing something new and fresh.”

Ken Michaels, director of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” has been nominated for “Best Direction of a Musical (Local).”

BPA favorite Justin Lynn has been nominated for “Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Local)” for his role in the production, as has Gina Russell who was nominated for “Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Local).”

“They send out a committee of directors and actors and reviewers who nominate the people they think they deserve it,” Lynn explained. “A lot of people who worked on ‘Spelling Bee’ have been nominated. It’s turned into a big opportunity for Bainbridge.”

Lynn, who recently starred in the title role of the BPA production of “Shrek: The Musical,” credits the critical and popular success of the “Spelling Bee” production to the overall ability of the dedicated cast and crew members.

“The production was amazing,” he said. “The BPA does amazing shows, it’s an incredible theatre. I’ve acted in a lot of places, and there’s no better place for an actor. It’s a great place, so while we were doing the show they brought together this great group of actors.”

As for the recognition he has personally received, Lynn said that he’s taking it all in stride.

“It feels pretty good,” he said. “It’s really cool to get recognized for your work as an actor since it’s not necessarily a high priority on other people’s list unless you’re doing movies. It’s very nice to be recognized.”

Dowling said that the nomination validates the hard work going on at the theatre.

“We are honored,” she said. “It’s an honor to serve this community, and we are very proud of all of the people who have brought talent to our stage.”

Dowling also praised the work of the crew and backstage volunteers.

“It is very important for us that we are looking out for our actors as well as our technical crew. We see what we do as serving the community and all of those people are part of that community,” Dowling said.

Winners in each category will be chosen from the nominations based on popular vote.

The polls are open until Tuesday, Dec. 31. To cast your vote, visit www.broadwayworld.com and search “Vote 2013 Seattle.”

Winners are slated to be announced in early January.

Since 1956, BPA has been an artistic staple of Bainbridge Island and is a community theater in the very best sense of the phrase. The talented and creative collaborations of actors, musicians, singers, writers, poets, dancers and designers produce spectacular sights and sounds that fill the stage each month.

 

 

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