Wheelock Family Theatre’s Matilda, the Musical Nominated for Four Elliot Norton Awards
BU students, faculty, and alums also up for Boston’s highest theater honor
It could be a big year for the BU theater community when the 2023 Elliot Norton Awards, Boston’s answer to the Tonys, are handed out May 8.
BU’s Wheelock Family Theatre is in the running for Outstanding Musical for Roald Dahl’s Matilda, the Musical, one of four nominations the production netted. Several students, faculty, and alumni from the College of Fine Arts School of Theatre are nominated, as well.
“We aim to shrink the world for our students; to collapse the distance between the classroom and the theater profession,” says CFA Dean Harvey Young. “Our faculty model how to lead and, in so doing, prepare our students to be leaders.
“There’s a wonderful ripple effect,” Young says. “The result, beyond awards, is the opportunity to influence the arts at the scale of a major city.”
The Elliot Norton Awards, also known as “the Norties,” are named for the famed local critic who died in 2003 and are bestowed by the Boston Theater Critics Association, a 10-person panel, including Boston Globe theater critic Don Aucoin, writer Terry Byrne, WGBH’s Jared Bowen, and WBUR ARTery editor Ed Siegel (CAS’69, CAS’71). Monday evening’s ceremony is at the Huntington Theatre.
“The sheer number of BU CFA faculty, staff, alumni and students nominated demonstrates just how embedded Wheelock Family Theatre and BU School of Theatre are in the Boston theater community,” says WFT Artistic Director Emily Ranii (CFA’13), who directed Matilda.
Ranii notes that Matilda sings the refrain “Even if you’re little, you can do a lot,” which certainly applies to Matilda’s actress, 9-year-old Sky Vaux Fuller, who is nominated for Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical. Matilda also earned nominations for Outstanding Featured Performance in a Musical for Johanna Carlisle-Zepeda and Outstanding Musical Direction by David Freeman Coleman (CFA’93).
WFT has previously won eight Elliot Norton Awards, including Outstanding Ensemble in 2018 for In the Heights.
This year, a number of School of Theatre students also earned nominations, including Mishka Yarovoy (CFA’23), a double nominee for Outstanding Featured Performance, Midsize Theater, for The Inheritance, from the SpeakEasy Stage Company, and Outstanding Featured Performance, Small Theater, for Chicken & Biscuits from The Front Porch Arts Collective.
Sandra Zhihan Jia (CFA’23) was nominated for Outstanding Costume Design, Midsize or Small Theater, for The Chinese Lady, from Central Square Theater in partnership with CHUANG Stage. And Valyn Turner (CFA’23) was part of the cast nominated for Outstanding Ensemble, Midsize Theater, for Seven Guitars, from Actors’ Shakespeare Project.
Faculty nominees are:
Alumni nominees are: