PRESS RELEASE: Merrimack Repertory Theatre Earns 15 Nominations in the 2018 Irne Awards

DATE: March 1, 2018
PR CONTACT: Jeanne Williams,
PR CONTACT PHONE: 978-654-7561
BOX OFFICE: 978-654-4678


Nominations Include Best Play, Best Director, and Best New Play

Lowell, MA—Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) is proud to announce that it received 15 nominations from the Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) for its 22nd Annual IRNE Awards, including nominations in the Best Play and Best Director categories for Silent Sky and The Royale, and two nominations for My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend, including Best New Play.

“It is so gratifying to see the amazing talent MRT is bringing to Lowell being recognized by our friends at IRNE,” said MRT Artistic Director Sean Daniels. “We’re in the midst of an incredible season and I can’t wait to share our plans for our 40th Anniversary Season of plays coming out later this year.”

Of Marco Ramirez’s The Royale, Megan Sandberg-Zakian added, “It feels really meaningful to have our production of Marco's beautiful play recognized. I've rarely seen a play affect audiences so much—people would often start out cheering and walk out sobbing. And this was a stunning ensemble of actors that left it all on the stage every night—like true athletes. Looking forward to celebrating this show, MRT's many noms, and the wonderful Boston theater community in April!” Sandberg-Zakian is the director-in-residence at MRT where her credits include the world premiere of Eleanor Burgess' Chill, The Royale, A Christmas Carol, and It's a Wonderful Life, and she is a recipient of the Princess Grace Theater Award.

The IRNE Awards honor the best of the previous year’s actors, directors, choreographers, designers and companies across the full spectrum of large, mid-size and fringe theater companies. The winners will be announced on Monday, April 23, 2018, at 7:30 p.m., in the Ballroom of the Holiday Inn Brookline/Boston, at a free event.

The following are all of Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s 2018 IRNE nominations in the large stage category:

Best New Play
My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend–Christian Duhamel and Edward Bell

Best Set Design
James J. Fenton–Silent Sky

Best Lighting Design
Brian J. Lilienthal–Silent Sky

Best Sound Design
David Keeton–Silent Sky

Best Solo Performance
Charissa Bertels–My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend

Best Ensemble
Silent Sky

Best Supporting Actress–Play
Ramona Lisa Alexander–The Royale
Julia Brothers–Silent Sky

Best Supporting Actor–Play
Mark W. Soucy–The Royale

Best Actress–Play
Alexis Bronkovic–Silent Sky

Best Actor–Play
Thomas Silcott–The Royale

Best Director–Play
Megan Sandberg-Zakian–The Royale
Sean Daniels–Silent Sky

Best Play
The Royale
Silent Sky

A full list of IRNE nominations is online at and the IRNE Awards facebook page.

About MRT’s 2018 IRNE Award Nominations

My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend
Performance Dates: April 26 - May 21, 2017
Conceived and Performed by Charissa Bertels
Book and Lyrics by Christian Duhamel
Music and Lyrics by Edward Bell
Directed by Sean Daniels
Produced in association with Peilin Chou
Director Sean Daniels is joined by a creative team that includes Kevin David Thomas (Music Director), Neil Patel (Sets), Brian J. Lilienthal (Lighting), Gregory A. Poplyk (Costumes), and Daniel Erdberg (Sound).
Press resources and images:

The Royale
Performance Dates: Sep. 13 - Oct. 8, 2017
By Marco Ramirez
Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
The five-person cast includes local actors Ramona Lisa Alexander (Nina) and Mark W. Soucy (Max), as well as Thomas Silcott (Jay), Jeorge Bennett Watson (Wynton), and Toran White (Fish). The creative team includes Lawrence Moten (Sets), Miranda Kau Giurleo (Costumes), Karen Perlow (Lighting), David Remedios (Sound), and Kyle Vincent Terry (Fight Choreographer).
Press resources and images:

Silent Sky
Performance Dates: Oct. 18 - Nov. 12, 2017
By Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Sean Daniels
The five-person cast includes Alexis Bronkovic (Henrietta Leavitt), Julia Brothers (Williamina Fleming), Tom Coiner (Peter Shaw), Victoria Grace (Margaret Leavitt), and Polly Lee (Annie Cannon). The creative team headed by Director Sean Daniels (who also directed I and You) includes James J. Fenton (Sets), Anne Kennedy (Costumes), Brian J. Lilienthal (Lighting), and David Keeton (Original Composition and Sound).
Press resources and images:

Merrimack Repertory Theatre

Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) has been Merrimack Valley’s professional theatre company since 1979 and is an integral part of Lowell’s identity as the cultural heart of the region. MRT produces vibrant, contemporary plays that explore what it means to be alive today. A seven-show season runs from September through May in the intimate 279-seat Nancy L. Donahue Theatre. The company is known as a leader in producing new plays, especially world and regional premieres. MRT is one of 72 theatres nationwide (one of three in Massachusetts) with membership in LORT (the League of Resident Theatres).

Merrimack Repertory Theatre is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Performance Space: The Nancy L. Donahue Theatre 
(In Liberty Hall, adjacent to Lowell Memorial Auditorium)
50 E. Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852
Box Office: 978-654-4678


MRT’s 2018-19 40th Anniversary Season of seven plays will be announced on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, at 6:00 pm, at a free public event at the theatre at 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell. RSVP online at