Congratulations are due to a whole whack of Phoenix Theatre alumni this week!

The cast of Atomic Vaudeville’s Ride The Cyclone

Local theatrical success story Ride the Cyclone picked up a pair of awards at the Toronto Theatre Critics Award at the end of May, including Best Musical and Best Director of a Musical (Britt Small and Jacob Richmond). And it’s currently in the running for Best Touring Production in the forthcoming prestigious Dora Awards, due to be announced June 25.

Ride The Cyclone is a classic overnight success story that was, of course, years in the making. Springing from the twisted genius of Atomic Vaudeville co-creator Richmond and noted local composer Brooke Maxwell, it was originally workshopped for three years here in Victoria before premiering at a two-week run in October 2009 at Intrepid Theatre (at the time run by Phoenix grads Janet Munsil and Ian Case, the latter of whom is now back at UVic as the new Director of University Centre Farquhar Auditorium). After that, it went back into workshop and a shorter, slicker version was presented as part of the National Series at the acclaimed SummerWorks Festival in Toronto in August, 2010; Cyclone was then picked up by the local Belfry Theatre for its 2011 Summer Series, where the current cast wowed sold-out audiences before heading out on a short Canadian tour.

Among the cast and creators are Phoenix-trained actors Sarah Jane Pelzer, Rielle Braid, Kholby Wardell and Matthew Coulson, as well as choreographer Treena Stubel and co-director Small (as well as Jacob Richmond, who is technically just a “previous student” but we’ll consider him a Phoenix-er). And if that last name sounds familiar, yes, Jacob is the son of former Theatre chair and current acting & directing professor Brian Richmond.

Comedy kings Peter N’ Chris are up for an award before stepping into the Spotlight on Alumni this fall

And in other talented alumni news, it was announced recently that popular comedy duo Peter N’ Chris—who just happen to be in Phoenix’s Spotlight on Alumni this fall—were nominated for Best Sketch Troupe in the Canadian Comedy Awards & Festival, a Toronto-based national award supported by the Comedy Network.

Longtime Fringe Festival favourites, Chris Wilson and Peter Carlone write and perform all their own work and are a hit with audiences wherever they go. Don’t miss the chance to see them in hilarious action when The Mystery of the Hungry Heart Motel returns to Victoria from October 11-20 at the Phoenix Theatre.

Meg Roe

Finally, award-winning fellow Phoenix alum Meg Roe just got a hearty thumbs-up from the Globe and Mail for her direction of The Taming of the Shrew for Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach Shakespeare festival. “In [Roe’s] hands, Shrew is the absolute romp Shakespeare designed it to be, with a strong, believable and yes, even beautiful love story at its heart,”  writes Marsha Lederman.

“Roe focuses on two essential elements of the play: its humour, and what she interprets as a real love match between Kate and Petruchio. In Roe’s vision, Kate isn’t just a challenge to be won – and conquered – by Petruchio, but a woman he truly desires.

“Roe (who is best known as an actor) highlights the humour—with varying degrees of success—refusing to not have a blast with a play that was fun before it was controversial.”

Congratulations to all!