Boston Conservatory Plays a Leading Role at the 41st Annual Elliot Norton Awards

With six wins and eight additional nominations, the Conservatory’s theater community fared well at the 2024 awards ceremony. 

May 24, 2024

Recognizing the best of Boston-area theater, the Elliot Norton Awards are named for a well-known local critic who—like the Boston theater scene itself—wielded an unusually high degree of influence on the art form in America. From the 1930s through the 1980s, Norton was often the first to review new works by prominent playwrights, as their Broadway-bound productions were given tryouts with Boston’s sophisticated audiences.

Boston Conservatory at Berklee makes itself at home in the city’s still-thriving theater community, with alums, faculty, and students consistently winning “Norties” for performance, directing, choreography, and technical production. Year after year, the awards shine a spotlight on the theater artists and companies that have shaped Boston’s reputation as a standout in regional theater—including several companies helmed by Theater Division faculty, such as SpeakEasy Stage Company (founded by Paul Daigneault, professor of theater) and Arlekin Players Theatre (founded by Igor Golyak, associate professor of theater).

At this year’s Elliot Norton ceremony, members of the Boston Conservatory community won six awards for their work in the plays The Gaaga and Fat Ham as well as the musicals Oklahoma! and The Band’s Visit. A current student, three alums, and three faculty members received an additional eight nominations for their work in local productions that included The Color PurpleSister Act, and How I Learned to Drive.

Oklahoma! cast performing at the Reagle Music Theater

Alum Rachel Bertone won an Elliot Norton Award for choreographing Oklahoma! at the Reagle Music Theatre.

Robert Pascucci

The Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston’s production of Oklahoma! earned Norties for one Boston Conservatory staff member and two alums. The award for Outstanding Musical Direction was presented to Dan Rodriguez, who works as a voice accompanist in the Music Division and recently served as music director for the Center Stage production of Something Rotten.

Contemporary dance alum Rachel Bertone (B.F.A. '07) earned a win for Outstanding Choreography. She also directed Oklahoma! for the Reagle, where she has served as artistic director since 2022. Bertone previously taught in Boston Conservatory’s Musical Theater Department, including courses in jazzdance and 20th-century popular vocal styles.

Jack Mullen (B.F.A. '24, musical theater) took home the award for Outstanding Featured Performance in a Musical—less than two weeks after graduating from the Conservatory with a bachelor’s degree in musical theater. In addition to playing Will Parker, Mullen served as fight captain for the production. 

Mullen’s costar and fellow Boston Conservatory alum Jared Troilo (B.F.A. '08, musical theater) played Curly McClain and received a lead acting nomination for that role—in addition to being nominated for his featured performance as Itzik in The Band’s Visit, which was coproduced by the Hungtington and SpeakEasy Stage.

Daigneault directed The Band’s Visit, which won the award for Outstanding Musical and earned him Outstanding Director honors in the large theater category. Two additional Boston Conservatory faculty who collaborated with Daigneault on the production were recognized with nominations. José Delgado, associate professor of theater, was nominated for Outstanding Musical Direction, and Daniel Pelzig, professor of dance, for Outstanding Choreography.

Golyak won Outstanding Director in the small theater category (with codirector Sasha Denisova) for The Gaaga, produced by his Arlekin Players Theatre. He also was credited for virtual design and technical direction of the innovative play, which was presented in both live and online formats simultaneously.

Former Boston Conservatory student Marshall W. Mabry IV ('22) won the award for Outstanding Lead Performer in a Play (large theater category) for his starring role in Fat Ham, a contemporary adaptation of Hamlet, produced by the Huntington in association with Alliance Theatre and the Front Porch Arts Collective.

Two members of the Boston Conservatory community were nominated for their work on The Color Purple at the Umbrella Stage Company: Nathanael Wilkerson (B.F.A. '23, musical theater) was recognized for Outstanding Musical Direction and current student Shy’Kira Allen (B.F.A. '25, musical theater) for Outstanding Lead Performance in a Musical. Allen faced off in this category against Troilo and yet another Boston Conservatory alum: Yewande Odetoyinbo (M.F.A. '18, musical theater), who was nominated for her role in Sister Act at Lyric Stage Company of Boston. 

Rounding out the list of Conservatory nominees, Dennis Trainor Jr., associate professor of theater, was nominated for Outstanding Lead Performance in a Play (midsize theater category). Trainor received the nomination for his role as Uncle Peck in How I Learned to Drive at Actors’ Shakespeare Project.

Learn more about Boston Conservatory’s top-ranking theater programs.