The Independent Reviewers of New England announced the winners of the 19th annual IRNE Awards in a ceremony held this evening at Holiday Inn Boston/Brookline. This year's IRNEs are dedicated to the memory of the late Barbara Meek, the longtime member of Trinity Repertory Company who won an IRNE Award for her 1997 portrayal of Sadie in the company's production of Having Our Say.
The American Repertory Theater's pre-Broadway production ofNatasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 snagged eight awards, including Best New Play and Best Musical. In addition, Rachel Chavkin won for Best Director of a Musical, while the show's out-of-town Pierre (and Broadway standby for Josh Groban), Scott Stangland, took home the award for Best Actor in a Musical. In the technical categories, Great Comet won Best Set Design, Best Costume Design, Best Lighting Design, and Best Sound Design.
Broadway sisters Jessie Mueller and Abby Mueller both won Best Actress awards, with Jessie being recognized for her work in the American Repertory Theatre pre-Broadway production of Waitress and Abby winning for Best Visiting Actress for the Beautiful tour's stop at Broadway in Boston.
In the Mid-Size category, Lyric Stage Company took home six awards, with My Fair Lady winning Best Musical, Best Director of a Musical (Scott Edmiston), and Best Actress in a Musical (Jennifer Ellis).