elisha-and-kids-584

Elicia MacKenzie as Maria (centre) and the von Trapp Children in the Toronto production of The Sound of Music. MacKenzie won best actress in a musical and The Sound of Music took outstanding production. ((Cylla von Tiedemann/Mirvish))

Blockbuster musicals The Sound of Music and Jersey Boys split a clutch of prizes Monday night as the Dora Mavor Moore Awards for the best in Toronto theatre were handed out.

The Sound of Music, a lavish revival of the 1960s musical backed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, David Ian and David Mirvish, was named outstanding musical production.

But Des McAnuff, artistic director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, was named best director for his work on Dancap's production of Jersey Boys.

Elicia MacKenzie, the Maria chosen in the reality TV series How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, took home the Dora for best actress in a musical.

Mackenzie, 24, from Vancouver, was an unknown until she was chosen by the Canadian public to play the lead in The Sound of Music.

Robert Jones's innovative set for the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, which included a tilting mountain that took the performers with it, won the Dora for outstanding set.

eternal-hydra-250

David Ferry, left, and Liisa Repo-Martell in Eternal Hydra, which won best production in the independent theatre division. ((Crow's Theatre))

But Jeff Madden, the Canadian actor chosen to play Frankie Valli in the ongoing production of Jersey Boys, which tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, won the award for best male in a musical.

In the drama division, Eternal Hydra by Crow's Theatre won four Doras and Agokwe, by Buddies in Bad Times, won six.

Eternal Hydra, a literary detective story that follows a young scholar's discovery of a controversial book said to encapsulate all of human history, was a full-length production of a play by Anton Piatigorsky first commissioned as a one-act work by the Stratford festival in 2001.

It won the awards in the independent theatre division for best production, best direction for Chris Abraham and best new play for Pitigorsky.

Agokwe: Gay Love on the Rez, by Ojibwa playwright and performer Waawaate Fobister, won the best new play and best production Doras in the general theatre division.

agokwe-250

Waawaate Fobister plays several characters in Agokwe, his one-man play, and earned a Dora for his performance. ((Buddies in Bad Times))

Fobister plays several characters in the show, which centres on a hockey tournament in Kenora. He won the Dora for best actor, while Ed Roy took the best director. Agokwe also earned best lighting and costume Doras.

Best young people's production was Theatre Direct's Walking the Tightrope and best opera was Canadian Opera Company's War and Peace.

A Luminato presentation, Sanctuary Song, composed by Abigail Richardson with libretto by Marjorie Chan, was named best new opera or musical.

In the dance division, the National Ballet of Canada swept all four awards for Innovation: Emergence, including outstanding production and best choreography for Crystal Pite.

Acting honours went to:

  • Raven Dauda for Miss Julie: Freedom Summer by CanStage.
  • Alison Sealy-Smith for A Raisin in the Sun by Soulpepper Theatre.
  • Maja Ardal for You Fancy Yourself, by Contrary Company with Theatre Passe Muraille.
  • David Ferry for Someone Who'll Watch Over Me by Adeona Productions.

The Dora Awards gala, held Monday night in Toronto, was hosted by Jian Ghomeshi.