Arts & Entertainment
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Three gay productions among Jessie Award nominees

Lowest Common Denominator picks up two nominations

Lowest Common Denominator is among three gay productions in the running for the Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards, all in the Small Theatre category. Credit: belle ancell

Three gay productions are in the running for the Jessie Richardson Theatre Awards, honouring the best in Vancouver professional theatre. 

Zee Zee Theatre’s Lowest Common Denominator picked up two nominations: Cameron Mackenzie Deveau for Best Direction — Small Theatre and Shawn Macdonald for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.

Ga Ting, from frank theatre company, saw Hong Kong television star Alannah Ong nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, while Ryan Alexander McDonald has been nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role for his turn in Ghost Light Projects’ production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. 

“I’m so thrilled for Cameron. Cameron has been working so tirelessly to make Zee Zee and everything else he does happen, and so it’s nice that the community sees the quality of work that he’s doing,” says Lowest Common Denominator playwright Dave Mackenzie Deveau of his husband.

Macdonald, who plays the older lover of a precocious 18-year-old in the play about intergenerational gay relationships, was “hugely excited” to hear that he had been nominated, Deveau adds.

Deveau says the show created a compelling dialogue for him. “I was in the lobby for almost every performance, and it was mind-blowing how many people came up to me to have private conversations,” he recalls. “Because I wrote the piece, and so I’m sort of inside that world, they feel a safety to disclose certain things.” He says it was gratifying that the production enabled discussion.

Randie Parliament, the founder of Ghost Light Projects, says he’s proud of McDonald’s performance in Hedwig. Parliament says he’s put on the production three times, and this is the first time it was nominated.

“We didn’t get full houses, but we got standing ovations and mutiple curtain calls every single night,” he says.

Xtra’s attempts to reach frank theatre’s Chris Gatchalian were unsuccessful before posting time.

Avenue Q, which, among other things, affectionately challenges muppets and their closets, picked up two nominations, including for Outstanding Production Musical — Large Theatre. And Speech & Debate, a play about teenage sexuality from Twenty Something Theatre, picked up a nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Lead Role — Small Theatre. 

The nominations for the 32nd annual installment of the Jessie Awards were announced at Vancouver TheatreSports League’s Improv Centre on Granville Island. Awards will be presented June 23 at the Commodore Ballroom.