Thursday, April 19, 2018
Stage

'Les Mis' wins big at Stage West's annual HAMI Awards

SPRING HILL — The musical drama Les Miserables took home all the marbles in the Main Stage (musicals) division of the annual HAMI Awards presentations for Stage West Community Playhouse's 2013-14 season, winning 11 out of 11 of the coveted statues at a ceremony on Saturday evening at the Palace Grand in Spring Hill.

The season's blockbuster made it an even dozen by winning still another award in the overall category of Rising Star, given to Maxwell Brazier for his role as young Gavorche in the production.

The big winner in the Forum (plays) division was the comedy The Dixie Swim Club, taking six out of 10 of the awards, including Favorite Show.

Other winners were Sex Please, We're Sixty, with three; Harvey, with two; and Fame: The Musical, with one in the Rising Star category. No winner was announced the Summer Special Favorite division.

Other shows in the season were The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Forbidden Broadway, Forever Plaid, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and The Velveteen Rabbit.

Les Mis director Barbara Everest praised her cast and crew as she accepted the Main Stage director's award, her ninth for directing since 2001's The Secret Garden. She was also given the Founders Award for her years of dedication to Stage West.

"Everyone gave 200 percent and were all so glad to be there," she said of the 66-member cast and crew.

Awards were also given to musical director Bobbi Moger — her fifth as collaborator with Ms. Everest — and to orchestra director Wayne Raymond.

"Thank you to the chorus," Ms. Moger said. "So loyal and so into the show — it made a big difference."

A highlight of the evening came when Brian Beach won the Lead Actor award for his performance as Jean Valjean in Les Mis. After a few "thank yous," he sang a parody of his challenging experience with the role to the tune of What Have I Done?, one of his big solos in the show, to rounds of applause.

The audience grew hushed when costume designer Eileen Bernard accepted her second HAMI for the evening for Les Miserables and gave credit to the late Madeline Child, a multi-HAMI winner for costumes and directing and the mother of director Everest.

"She taught me everything I know," Ms. Bernard said of Child.

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