Robin Usher August 07, 2012
Pamela Rabe is nominated for best female performer for her role in Grey Gardens.
PROOF if anybody needs it that the past year has been a poor one for musicals is available in the list for this year's Helpmann Awards to be presented in Sydney on September 24.
The most nominations - seven - went to Rock of Ages, which cancelled its Sydney season. It was followed by the revival of the warhorse, A Chorus Line, with six. An Officer and a Gentleman received five nominations, including one for best musical, even though its premiere Sydney season ended in failure and touring plans were cancelled.
The Production Company's Grey Gardens received four nominations, including one for Pamela Rabe as best female performer.
The awards have been criticised in the past for showing a Sydney bias and evidence can again be found this year. The American mezzo-soprano Susan Graham is nominated for her recital at the Sydney Opera House, even though she was brought to Australia by the Melbourne Recital centre last April before going on to Sydney.
Joanna Murray-Smith's one-woman show for Bernadette Robinson, Songs for Nobodies, has received four nominations.
One of the most nominated productions this year is the State Opera of South Australia's Moby Dick by Jack Heggie with eight.
Two of Australia's most renowned actors, Cate Blanchett (Gross und Klein by the Sydney Theatre Company) and Robyn Nevin (Belvoir's Neighbourhood Watch by Lally Katz) have been nominated for best female performance, as has Bernadette Robinson.
Four works are in the running for best play, including Ganesh and Neighbourhood Watch. The others are Griffin Theatre's The Boys directed by Sam Strong, who has just been appointed associate artistic director at the MTC, and Simon Phillips' farewell production as MTC director, The Importance of Being Earnest.
The J.C.Williamson award for lifetime achievement goes to publisher Katherine Brisbane and singer Jimmy Little, who died earlier this year.