My Gay Toronto - 416 Scene

The Doras throw a star-studded party


Now that the excitement of the Tonys is over and the excitement for Toronto Pride is building, there is a star-studded event to keep the momentum rolling: the Dora Awards 2015 will fill Harbourfront with the best of Toronto's artistic practitioners eager to party. For the third year in a row, director Ed Roy is in charge of directing the massive production. He seems calm, "I'm very organized," he laughs.

Being a Dora Award winner himself for Agokwe. and the director of To Myself at 28 and His Greatness among many others, Roy knows what it is like to sit in the seats and wait for 'the envelope please.' "Considering the struggle people go through to produce theatre, opera and dance in Toronto, everyone deserves their moment and enjoy their moment." Yet the show still has to flow within a time limit and be entertaining. "There are a lot of awards," admits Roy. "We go for a sense of celebration and, of course, there is a certain amount of tension around them. We start off with a big opening number and as the show progresses, the host entertains and there is a comic showcase in the middle."

Roy's major not-so-secret weapon is his partner in crime in, and Dora Award winner for, A Few Brittle Leaves, who is hosting. "Gavin Crawford is fun and very talented. He's also worked with the writer Chris Earle before and they've come up with something that will be surprising. Gavin is a master of character . . . Let's just say there will be several different Gavin's on stage."

Add in John Alcorn performing for the memoriam and celebrity presenters including Peggy Baker and hometown dancer turned choreographic superstar Sergio Trujillo taking time out from working on Gloria Estefan's Broadway-bound On Your Feet!, and the night already glitters. Roy demurs that, "As the director it would be improper of me to mention any favourite nominees, I'm rooting for everybody," but the nominees include Buddies' Tom at the Farm (in multiple categories), Infinity, Take Me Back to Jefferson, Mr Burns, A Post-Electric Play, Ubu and the Truth Commission, Jakob Ehman for his stellar work in Nature of the Beast, and many, many more.

"It's a beautiful site with a great flow," says Roy. "People can get a drink, it's open concept, the whole show has a party atmosphere." A literal party, as well as tickets to the ceremony, the general public can purchase tickets to the pre-party, "Where they will be greeted by Elley-Ray Hennessy, Colin Doyle and Morro and Jasp." Roy insists that there is no need to fear a Joan Rivers-style red carpet, "First of all Elley-Ray Hennessy is alive. She's warm and doesn't go for the jugular." Roy also recommends not missing the after-party packed with music and performances, "That's where everyone lets their hair down."

The Dora Awards are on Monday, June 22 at Harbourfront Centre's Lakeside Terrace and Harbourfront Centre's Westjet Stage, 235 Queens Quay West.