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MetroStage Draws Helen Hayes Award Nominations

Company’s six nominations are the most in its history.

MetroStage, Alexandria’s professional theater on North Royal Street, continued its trend of ever more recognition in this year’s nominations for the Helen Hayes Awards which recognize outstanding work in the professional theaters of the greater Washington area.

Work at the theater drew a total of six nominations, doubling last year’s total of three. The company drew three nominations in a year twice before that but never more than three.

Five of the nominations were for work on the rousing production of the two-character rock musical set in Scotland, "Rooms – A Rock Romance." Another nomination was for work in the bio-musical about blues singer Alberta Hunter, "Cookin’ at the Cookery."

The five nominations for "Rooms" exceeds the three that the tuneful comedy "The Musical of Musicals (The Musical)" received last year, so the company’s record is definitely on an upward trend.

The categories of the nominations for "Rooms" are notable. With just a cast of two, it earned nominations for both Outstanding Lead Actress and Lead Actor in a Musical, Natascia Diaz and Doug Kreeger.

"Rooms" director, Scott Schwartz, was nominated for the Outstanding Director of a Musical award and the musical itself was nominated for the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical.

The entire production was honored with a nomination as the Outstanding Musical of the Year.

IN ADDITION, Janice Lorraine was nominated for her role in "Cookin’ at the Cookery." She played songstress Alberta Hunter first as a young girl and later as a grown woman.

Other northern Virginia theaters were conspicuous by their successes in this year’s round of nominations, most notably Arlington’s Signature Theatre which pulled in an astounding 39 nominations spread among work on six different shows. Synetic Theatre, which performs at the Spectrum in Rosslyn, had 10 nominations and Arena Stage drew eight nominations for work at its temporary home in Crystal City where they perform while their multi-theater campus in Southwest Washington undergoes massive construction and renovation.

The entire cast of Keegan Theatre’s production of "Translations" was nominated for the Canadian Embassy Award for Outstanding Ensemble, but that production by the Arlington-based theater company was mounted at the Church Street Playhouse in Washington and not in Arlington.

The winners will be announced at a gala celebration on April 13 at the Warner Theatre in Washington followed by an event at the JW Marriott Hotel, which has been termed "Washington’s biggest cast party."