By Nancy Burns-Fusaro
Sun staff writer
WAKEFIELD — Theatre by the Sea was recognized with a total of 10 awards at the 2018 BroadwayWorld Rhode Island Awards, which honor regional productions, touring shows, and more that opened between Oct. 1, 2017, through Sept. 30, 2018. Nine of Theatre by the Sea’s awards were for last summer’s unprecedented five-week sold-out run of “Mamma Mia!”
“I was thrilled when I heard that our production of ‘Mamma Mia!’ was acknowledged with so many awards,” said Theatre by the Sea owner and producer Bill Hanney. “I had been trying for so long to get the rights to produce the show and had a feeling it would be popular with our audiences. The production was scheduled to run for five weeks and we ended up adding performances to try and meet the demand. ‘Mamma Mia!’ broke the record for the highest attended show since I purchased the theatre in 2007. Being acknowledged with so many awards ... is the icing on the cake!”
Nominations for the BroadwayWorld Awards were reader-submitted and voted on by local theatergoers. This year the BroadwayWorld Regional Awards were bigger and better than ever, including participation from over 100 cities across America, Canada, Central and South America, Europe, and Asia.
Awards for “Mamma Mia!” included:
Best Actor (Musical), Lead — Al Bundonis (Bill Austin)
Best Actress (Musical), Lead — Erica Mansfield (Donna Sheriden)
Best Actress (Musical), Supporting — Jeanette Bayardelle (Rosie)
Best Costumes — Dana Pinkerton
Best Lighting Design — Jose Santiago
Best Stage Design — Kyle Dixon
Best Director (Musical) — Kevin P. Hill
Best Ensemble Cast (Musical)
In addition to the awards for “Mamma Mia!,” Tom Gleadow (Jacob, Potiphar, Baker) won the award for best supporting actor in a musical for Theatre by the Sea’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
Theatre by The Sea’s upcoming season includes the world premiere of the brand new romantic screwball musical comedy, “Love and Other Fables,” the stage version of the “greatest movie musical of all time,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” the Rhode Island professional premiere of Disney’s “Newsies,” and the musical adaptation of the extraordinarily successful 1977 movie starring John Travolta, “Saturday Night Fever.” Subscriptions and gift certificates are currently available and may be purchased via telephone at 401-782-TKTS (8587) Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Subscription order forms can be found at www.theatrebythesea.com.)
Theatre By The Sea has had many incarnations since opening on Aug. 7, 1933. Tommy Brent saved the theatre from demolition in 1967 and ran it successfully until FourQuest Entertainment took over the lease in 1988. Following extensive renovations, FourQuest reopened the theatre in the spring of 1989 and continued producing high quality entertainment at the seaside playhouse until the fall of 2003.
Bill Hanney purchased the property in 2007 and, with producing partners, successfully mounted a production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” just six weeks later, reopening the historic theatre on Aug. 8, 2007. Since then, Theatre By The Sea has continued to produce a four-musical subscription season, a late-night cabaret series, a children’s theatre festival, and a children’s summer theater camp.