“The Rep” productions win many Wilde awards even in the pandemic year

By Patsy Isenberg

The pandemic of 2020 caused all theaters to cut their seasons short. But the few shows Flint Repertory Theatre (The Rep) here in Flint managed to stage  in the 2019-2020 season won numerous awards — in fact, more Wilde Awards than any other theatre in Michigan.

The Wilde Awards are presented from theatre critics on staff at EncoreMichigan magazine, each year.  The magazine is a web-based publication focused on Michigan’s theater industry.  The awards are named after Oscar Wilde, the controversial Irish/British author and playwright from the last half of the 19th century.

Image from Wilde Awards website.

The honors were bestowed on The Rep in many of the 32 categories listed, and in some,  multiple times.  The Rep won “Best Of” in 18 categories.   Encore awarded  “best of” instead of individual winners this year.

Shows from The Rep’s 2019-2020 season to receive awards were “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds,” “The Chairs,” “Into the Woods,” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”  Reviews by East Village Magazine are available at the links provided.

Producing Artistic Director Michael Lluberes said “We are thrilled to bring home this many Wilde Awards in our second season. The Michigan theatre community is vibrant and diverse, and it’s wonderful to have the work of so many of our artists honored in this way.”

David Kiley, owner of EncoreMichigan.com added, “Flint Repertory Theatre has burst on the scene under Michael Lluberes’ leadership as one of the most innovative and creative theatre in the state. Their selection of material and extraordinary imagination with set design, when added to their superiorcasting, makes every production they do a must-see.”

Lluberes was brought in as artistic director just before the theatre changed its name from Flint Youth Theatre to Flint Repertory Theatre (The Rep) in the fall of 2018. Lluberes also directed and adapted a children’s book, “The Geranium on the Windowsill Just Died, But Teacher You Went Right On.” to a musical for Flint Youth Theatre’s last production, a production which elicited positive reviews.

Michael Lluberes, Director of Flint Rep.

Shortly after that, the theatre made some changes, some controversial at the time.  Young actors are still cast in shows The Rep produces when there are roles for them;   The Rep also holds a Young Playwrights Festival most years and also teaches theatre to kids during the summer.

So far, The Rep is hoping to produce and present a musical, “The Magnificent Seven,” initially introduced in a reading at the  2018 New Works Festival, about the drama surrounding the seven young female gymnasts who won big at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. It had been planned for the spring of 2020. But  the theatre had to close like all the others after the first weekend of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” run because of the pandemic.

Encore published the list of winners Nov. 4.

EVM staff writer and entertainment beat reporter Patsy Isenberg can be reached at at pisenber@gmail.com.

Author: Tom Travis

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