Four alumni of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts have been nominated for Helen Hayes Awards, Washington, D.C.’s equivalent of New York’s Tony Awards for outstanding theater. All of them have been nominated previously, and two have won in recent years.
Andrew Cissna, a 2006 graduate of the School of Design and Production, is nominated for Outstanding Lighting Design for “John” with Signature Theatre. Originally from Kernersville, he’s been nominated three times previously: for “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” with Round House Theater in 2017; for “Sex With Strangers” with Signature Theatre in 2015; and for “1984” with Catalyst Theatre Company in 2009.
Ben Gunderson, a 2009 graduate of the School of Drama, appeared in “Anything Goes” at Arena Stage. “Anything Goes” received eight nominations, including Outstanding Ensemble and Outstanding Musical. Last year Gunderson was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in “Still Life with Rocket” at Theater Alliance.
Colin Hovde (Drama ’04) is nominated for Outstanding Director and Outstanding Play for “The Events” at frequently recognized Theater Alliance, where he is artistic director through the end of the 2018-19 season. “The Events” also received two acting nominations. Hovde won Outstanding Director and Outstanding Play for “The Wonderful World of Dissocia” at Theater Alliance in 2015.
John Hudson Odom (Drama ’08) is nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor for “Botticelli in the Fire” with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. In 2017 he was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor for “Angels in America, Part 1: Millennium Approaches” with Round House Theatre/Olney Theatre Center. He won the supporting actor award in 2016 for “Passion Play” with Forum Theatre. In 2015, he appeared in “Colossal” at Olney Theatre Center, which won the Outstanding Ensemble Award and was nominated for Outstanding Play.
Theater Alliance, known for socially conscious, thought-provoking work, has won 13 Helen Hayes Awards during Hovde’s seven years of creative leadership, including Outstanding Production last year for “Still Life with Rocket,” conceived and directed by School of Drama faculty member Mollye Maxner (high school Dance ’93, Drama ’09).
Mollye Maxner and her husband, Kelly Maxner (Dance ‘94, Drama ’00), who directs the High School Drama Program, won Helen Hayes Awards for Outstanding Choreography for “Still Life” and for Theater Alliance’s “Occupied Territories” in 2016. Mollye Maxner also wrote and directed “Occupied Territories.”
Previously led by Jeremy Skidmore (Drama ‘00), Theater Alliance has received more than 50 Helen Hayes nominations since the year 2000.
The Helen Hayes Awards will be presented Monday, May 13.
February 12, 2019