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The Musical 1865 Is ABA Best Production of 2015
Franklin Halliburton’s musical, 1865 produced and performed by the University Singers, successful staged its coup and come out as the best production of 2015, at the end of Monday night’s Actor Boy Awards. The night was certainly a historical moment for the society as the musical, based on the Morant Bay Rebellion, came into the awards as the year’s heavy-hitter with 15 nominations under its belt.
At the end of a lively, energetic and highly entertaining evening 1865 danced away with nine awards, including those for Best New Jamaican Play, Best Costume Design (Quindell Ferguson), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Roy Thompson), Best Tragedy and Best Drama.
The 2016 Actor Boy Awards were enigmatically hosted by Teisha Duncan and Akeem Mignott. The two made a hilarious duo, and handled a timely and well-crafted script that had the audience laughing along with them, as they battled to out-do each other.
The event teemed with music as it played with its theme ‘Celebrating Musical Theatre’, for which it pulled on a cadre of dancers and singers pulled from Ashe, JMTC, and the Edna Manley College.
In keeping with the celebration of musical theatre, the ABAs also paid homage to musician and musical director Jon Williams for his years of work in Jamaican theatre. Williams has crafted music that has buoyed numerous productions over the years. Williams has loaned his talent to Father Ho Lung and Friends, Jambiz International, the JMTC, and the Little Theatre Movement.
It was generally a good evening for musicals, and though their haul was far smaller than 1865’s, two other musicals went home with trophies to add to their mantles. Michael Holgate copped the award for Best Director for his musical Riot Act, while David Tulloch’s adaptation At the Barricades earned Best Set Design (Robin Baston) and Best Choreographer (Neisha Yen Jones).
Patrick Brown’s Duppy Whisperer spirited away a respectable haul, taking home four awards. Glen Campbell earned the award for Best Actor in a Lead Role while Patrick Brown also earned an award for Best Lighting Design. Brown and Trevor Nairne also earned the production the award for Best Special Effects. Duppy Whisperer was also dubbed Best Comedy.
The ABA planning committee, with its twin-heads Michael Daley and Maurice Bryan managed to pull off an event for which they too deserved high praise for a well-produced show worthy of Jamaican contemporary theatre. The show's creative elements had been produced by Conroy B. Wilson, who pulled double duty as musical director alongside Michael Sean Harris. The entertaining script was written Michael Holgate, who also directed and choreographed the show.
The 2016 Actor Boy Awards took place at the Jamaica Pegasus on Monday, April 4, 2016.
Full List of Winners
Best Production - 1865, The University Singers
Best Actor in a Lead Role - Glen Campbell, Duppy Whisperer
Best Actress in a Leade Role- Deon Silvera, Ole Fire Stick
Best Director - Michael Holgate, Riot Act
Best New Jamaican Play - Franklyn Halliburton, 1865
Best Actor in a Supporting Role- Roy Thompson, 1865
Best Actress in a Supporting Role- Terri Salmon, Bangarang
Best Ensemble Cast - University Dramatic Arts Society, The Lion and the Jewel
Best Comedy - Duppy Whisperer, Jambiz International
Best Drama - 1865, University Singers
Best Tragedy - 1865, University Singers
Best Musical - 1865, University Singers
Best Revue - The Black That I Am, Raw Management
Best Children’s Theatre - Force Ripe, Barracks Entertainment
Best Choreographer - Neisha Yen Jones, At the Barricades
Best Original Song - ‘Macka Stick’, Franklin Halliburton, 1865
Best Original Score - Franklin Halliburton, 1865
Best Lighting Design - Patrick Brown, The Duppy Whisperer
Best Set Design - Robin Baston, At the Barricade
Best Costume Design - Quindell Ferguson, 1865
Best Special Effects - Trevor Nairne & Patrick Brown, The Duppy Whisperer
NB: Edited for accuracy, April 8, 2016