Merrimack Repertory Theatre Blog



MRT IRNE Winners Ross Bickell, Bill Clarke and Jack Davidson

MRT IRNE Winners Ross Bickell, Bill Clarke and Jack Davidson

Last night, a group of staff members from MRT, along with members of the MRT Board of Directors traveled to The Boston Center for the Arts Cyclorama for the 12th annual IRNE Awards. MRT was nominated in 11 categories for a total of 13 awards in the large theatre division. In the end, MRT came home with a total 8 awards, including Best Production of a Play for Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance. This was the second time that MRT received the Best Play honor from the IRNE Awards, the first being 2003’s The Drawer Boy. If you are interested, a full list of IRNE winners is available on Stage Source.

MRT’s first winner of the night was Ross Bickell, who received the Best Supporting Actor Award for his role in A Delicate Balance. Ross was the first of three members of the A Delicate Balance cast to receive individual awards. Penny Fuller was awarded Best Supporting Actress, and Boston University alum Jack Davidson received Best Actor for his role as Tobias. Both Ross Bickell and Jack Davidson made the drive up from NYC in the rain to receive their awards, and noted their Massachusetts roots when accepting their awards.

Bill Clarke accepts the award for Best Scenic Design

Bill Clarke accepts the award for Best Scenic Design

The creative team for A Delicate Balance also fared well at the awards ceremony. Scenic designer Bill Clarke was also in attendance, and received the award for Best Set Design for his work on A Delicate Balance. John Ambrosone received the award for Best Lighting Design for his work on A Delicate Balance and Trinity Rep’s Blithe Spirit.


A Delicate Balance wasn’t the only production from MRT recognized for artistic achievement. Amanda Fulks, who starred as Kyra Hollis in this season’s production of Skylight, received the Best Actress award. Ms. Fulks was unable to be in attendance, but sent a short acceptance speech thanking Charles Towers, cast mates Chris McHale and Joe Lanza, and the MRT staff. Kate Udall, who will be playing Josie in A Moon for the Misbegotten at MRT, starting on April 23, accepted the award on Amanda’s behalf. Amanda’s victory made it a clean sweep, as MRT actors took home all four individual awards for actors in a play for the large theatre division.

IRNE Winners Jack Davidson and Penny Fuller. Photo by Meghan Moore.

IRNE Winners Jack Davidson and Penny Fuller. Photo by Meghan Moore.

As the evening drew to a close, MRT was still up for two of the biggest awards of the night, Best Director and Best Play. Despite stiff competition, MRT was able to take home both awards, capping off a banner night at the IRNEs for the company. On Monday, Artistic Director Charles Towers reflected on the awards, saying “I was very proud of our production of Edward Albee’s modern masterpiece A Delicate Balance.  Since I believe that the theatre is primarily an actor’s medium, I’m particularly pleased that five out of the six cast members were nominated for IRNE awards, and that three of those five won.  We focus on the actor at Merrimack Rep, and the electric circuit that is completed when great actors plug into a great audience, and vice versa.  Every member of that cast has Broadway, off-Broadway, film and television credits.  They are a perfect example of the kind of quality theatre artist Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s audiences see on a regular basis.  In some way, these awards reaffirm MRT’s stature as the only nationally-recognized professional theatre serving the Merrimack Valley.”


Other artists who have been associated with MRT also received awards for their work at other theatres last night. Susan Zeeman Rogers, set designer for Bad Dates, received the award for Best Set Design in the small theatre division for The Light in the Piazza at SpeakEasy Stage Company. Also winning in the small stage division was Karl Baker Olson, who will be appearing at MRT as Mike Hogan in A Moon for the Misbegotten, who won Best Supporting Actor for his roles in SpeakEasy’s History Boys and LT. of Inishmore at New Rep. Joe Lanza, who you may remember from Skylight, was also a member of the History Boys cast that took home the Best Ensemble and Best Play Awards for SpeakEasy.

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