When critics’ awards come out at the end of every calendar year, Dobama Theatre is among the most recognized theatres in the region. Northeast Ohio's professional Off-Broadway Theatre continues to produce top-quality productions of important new plays.
See below for past recognition.
2018 Year-End Theatre Awards
CLEVELAND CRITICS’ CIRCLE
BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY
Ananias J. Dixon - "Sunset Baby"
BEST ACTRESS IN A PLAY
*Anjanette Hall, "Grounded"
Catherine Albers, "John"
Mary Francis Miller, "Sunset Baby"
Tracee Patterson, "Appropriate"
(* = WINNER Best Actress in a Play)
BEST DIRECTOR OF A PLAY
Alice Reagan - "Grounded"
BEST SCENIC DESIGN
*Cameron Michalak, "John" & "The Effect"
(* = WINNER Best Scenic Design)
BEST PROJECTION DESIGN
*T. Paul Lowry - "Ella Enchanted"
T. Paul Lowry - "The Effect"
T. Paul Lowry - "Sunset Baby"
(* = WINNER Best Projection Design)
Dorothy Silver’s five-minute monologue on why her character went crazy,
in "John" at Dobama Theatre
THE PLAIN DEALER
Top 10 Productions of 2018
CLEVELAND JEWISH NEWS
Best Performance by an Actress in a Drama
In local playwright George Brant’s one-woman drama, Anjanette Hall played an ace Air Force pilot whose career flying an F-16 into combat is scuttled due to an unexpected pregnancy. Her performance of 90 minutes of uninterrupted epic poetry that transformed the literal into the abstract was absolutely spell-binding. Her masculine physicality, foul mouth and confident swagger got our initial attention. But it was Hall’s attention to small details in her phrasing and pacing, under Alice Reagan’s direction, that held it and it was the emotional fragility that slowly took over that kept our eyes riveted to the stage.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy
Abraham McNeil Adams
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and MacArthur Fellow “genius” grant recipient who the New Yorker compared to Sam Shepard, Eugene O’Neill, Tracy Letts and Tennessee Williams. It all shows in the brilliant prose and poetry that fill the dialogue in the dark comedy “Appropriate,” with Abraham McNeil Adams being a primary recipient in the role of Franz. The play begins after the patriarch of a white Arkansas family has died in his run-down ancestral plantation home and his grudge-bearing adult children (Tracee Patterson, Tom Woodward and Adams) and their families (Ursula Cataan, Kelly McCready, Ireland Derry, Miles Pierce) arrive to divide the estate. Adams played the black sheep of the family and did so, under Nathan Motta’s direction, with a wonderful vulnerable that had the audience laughing with him as much as it laughed at him.
Best Design – Scenic
As previously noted, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ play begins after the patriarch of a white Arkansas family has died in his run-down ancestral plantation home and his three grudge-bearing adult children arrive to supervise the auction of the home and the dividing of the estate. The family’s historical toxicity is evident in the decaying, mold-covered walls of the Southern Gothic mansion designed by Cameron Michalak, which then brilliantly self-destructed at the end of the play to depict the future of the house once its occupants and its racist history have been exorcised.
Best Design – Projections
T. Paul Lowry
In the cinematic Disney version of “Cinderella,” it’s possible for a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage and a plain country bumpkin and a prince to join in marriage. But the true bibbidi-bobbidi-boo to be found in Dobama’s rendition of the knock-off musical “Ella Enchanted,” under Nathan Motta’s fairy godmother-like direction, is the turning of something middling (the script and score) into something magical (this production). This was largely accomplished by T. Paul Lowry’s animated images of big skies and sweeping landscapes that were projected on a rear screen and other imagery projected on the proscenium. All this helped transport the audience to an inviting and absolutely enchanting world set for storytelling.
Grounded, Dobama Theatre
BEST SINGLE PERFORMANCES
Anjanette Hall, Grounded, Dobama Theatre
BEST DUO PERFORMANCES
Mary Francis Miller and Ananias J. Dixon, Sunset Baby, Dobama Theatre
Catherine Albers and Dorothy Silver, John, Dobama Theatre
Justin Emeka, Sunset Baby, Dobama Theatre
Laley Lippard, The Effect, Dobama Theatre
BEST SCENIC DESIGN
Cameron Michalak, John, Dobama Theatre
Douglas Puskas, Ella Enchanted, Dobama Theatre
BEST SOUND DESIGN
Jeremy Dobbins, The Effect, Dobama Theatre
BEST PROJECTION DESIGN
T. Paul Lowry, Ella Enchanted, Dobama Theatre
CLEVELAND CRITICS CIRCLE
2017 Theatre Awards
Best Non-Musical Production:
Winner! – The Flick
Superior Achievement – Hand to God
Superior Achievement – How To Be A Respectable Junkie
Superior Achievement – brownsville song (b-side for tray)
*4 of 6 shows recognized were Dobama Theatre productions
Best Actor – Non-Musical:
Winner! – Christopher M. Bohan, The Flick
Superior Achievement – David Peacock, The Night Alive
Superior Achievement – Luke Wehner, Hand to God
*3 of 5 people recognized from Dobama Theatre productions
Best Actress – Non Musical:
Superior Achievement - Lisa Louise Langford, brownsville song (b-side for tray)
Superior Achievement – Dorothy Silver, Marjorie Prime
Best Director – Non-Musical:
Winner! – Nathan Motta, The Flick
Superior Achievement – Matthew Wright, Hand To God
Rising Star Award - Male:
Winner! - Jabri Little, brownsville song (b-side for tray)
Superior Achievement – Colin Frothingham, Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars
*2 of 4 people recognized from Dobama Theatre productions
Rising Star Award – Female:
Winner! – Logan Dior Willams, brownsville song (b-side for tray)
Superior Achievement – Elise Pakiela, Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars
*2 of 3 people recognized from Dobama Theatre productions
Best Scenic Design:
Superior Achievement – Jill Davis, Marjorie Prime
Best Projection Design:
Superior Achievement – T. Paul Lowry, brownsville song (b-side for tray)
Superior Achievement – T. Paul Lowry, Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars
*2 of 3 shows recognized were Dobama Theatre productions
Best Sound Design:
Winner! – Cyrus O. Taylor, brownsville song (b-side for tray)
Superior Achievement – Erik T. Lawson, Marjorie Prime
*2 of 5 people recognized from Dobama Theatre productions
Best Full Production Premiere of a Script by a Local Writer:
Winner! - How To Be A Respectable Junkie by Greg Vovos
"In September, Lisa Langford was Lena, the grieving grandmother of a black teen killed by gunfire in Dobama Theatre's 'brownsville Song (b-side for tray)'....She confronted... prejudices in "Brownsville Song," insisting Tray's death wasn't "the Same Old Story" - her grandson wasn't another thug gunned down in a gang war but a good kid in the wrong place at the wrong time. In Langford's mouth, Lena's words detonated with the force of small bombs."
"In Dobama's "Hand to God," Luke Wehner was Jason, a depressed, repressed teen, and his Satanic sock puppet Tyrone. We knew Wehner was voicing and manipulating the potty-mouthed Muppet, but he did it with such skill, it was easy to forget the two were one."
"Best new play by a local playwright: "How to Be a Respectable Junkie" - Greg Vovos set out to write a realistic play that captured the human catastrophe of the opioid crisis in Northeast Ohio and found his truth in Craig, an ex-junkie he met at a town hall at Perry High School. Vovos incorporated the man's true-life story into a compelling piece of activist drama that debuted at Dobama in June, demanding that we look past the numbing statistics at the people who'd do anything to kick - the first step in putting an end to the deadly epidemic."
Cleveland Plain Dealer - Year in Review 2017: From 'Junkie' to 'Lizzie,' standouts on Northeast Ohio stages
David Peacock, The Night Alive
Christopher M. Bohan, The Flick and How to Be a Respectable Junkie
Luke Wehner, Hand to God
Jabri Little, brownsville song (b-side for tray)
Ray Caspio, Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars
OUTSTANDING NON-MUSICAL PRODUCTIONS
HAND TO GOD, Dobama Theatre
HOW TO BE A RESPECTABLE JUNKIE, Dobama Theatre
MARJORIE PRIME, Dobama Theatre
THE FLICK, Dobama Theatre