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SA shines in 2014 Helpmann Awards


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South Australian artists and art companies have scored a swag of nominations in the 2014 Helpmann Awards, including six for an acclaimed gothic re-imagining of Pinocchio.

A co-production between Windmill Theatre and State Theatre Company of South Australia, Pinocchio is in the running for Best New Australian Work, Best Presentation for Children, Best Lighting Design (Geoff Cobham), Best Original Score (Jethro Woodward), and Best Scenic Design (Jonathan Oxlade).

Director Rosemary Myers has also been nominated in the category of Best Direction of a Musical, alongside Baz Luhrmann’s multi-million-dollar Strictly Ballroom the Musical, Christopher Renshaw’s The King & I, Dean Bryant’s Sweet Charity.

Described as a “witty, gothic, rocking, family music theatre spectacular”, Pinocchio has played successful seasons in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne, and is currently the subject of a crowdfunding campaign to help take it to New York in 2015.

“It is fantastic to see Pinocchio up there in company with heavyweight musicals like the legendary production of Strictly Ballroom and The King & I, which of course originated in Adelaide over 20 years ago,” State Theatre Company CEO and producer Rob Brookman said.

“The recognition is also timely as Pinocchio looks, in its modest way, to follow that famous production of The King & I to Broadway in March next year.”

This year’s Helpmann Award nominees across 41 categories covering all disciplines of the performing arts were announced last night at events around the country, including the Adelaide Festival Centre’s Piano Bar.

The Adelaide-based Australian Dance Theatre scored multiple nominations, including for Nought (Kimball Wong, Best Male Dancer in a Dance or Physical Theatre Production, and Daniel Jaber, Best Choreography) and ADT artistic director Garry Stewart’s G, a reworking of Giselle (Best Regional Touring Production). Stewart is also up for the Best Choreography award for his work on The Australian Ballet’s Monument, commissioned to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Parliament House.

The State Opera of SA’s co-production of La Traviata received a nod for Best Opera and Best Male Performer in a Supporting Role in an Opera (Mario Bellanova), while Adelaide actor Paul Blackwell has been nominated for Best Male Actor in a Play for the State Theatre Company of SA  and Sydney Theatre Company co-production of Vere (Faith).

A number of shows presented by 2014 Adelaide Festival have been nominated in various categories, including dance production Sadeh21, Shaun Parker & Company’s Am I, the six-hour epic Roman Tragedies, the Denis O’Hare one-man show An Iliad, and Michael Kantor’s Shadow King.

Adelaide Cabaret Festival performers Lady Rizo and Tommy Bradson are contenders for Best Cabaret Performer.

Helpmann chief executive Evelyn Richardson described the awards is the pinnacle “night of nights” event for the arts industry, recognising “the very best in live performances that annually attract over 16 million people to shows across the country with revenues topping $1.2 billion”.

They also incorporate contemporary music concerts and festivals, with contenders including Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Pink, Beyonce, Byron Bay’s Bluesfest, the Laneway Festival, Tame Impala, Hunters & Collectors and Flume.

The award winners will be presented live at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre on August 18.


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