BEST ACTRESS

Charlotte Northeast

This was a fine year for actresses, as area residents had the good fortune to see Robin O'Dell in The Pavilion, Jessica Schneider in The Shape of Things, Colleen McDonnell and Diana Rogers in The Beauty Queen of Leenane, and Brandy Pedersen in Cloud 9. But most memorable of all last season's performances was Charlotte Northeast as Juliet in American Stage's outdoor Romeo and Juliet. This Juliet was young, naive (but knowledgeable about sex), ready to fall in love at first sight, and to be true to that love — based on little more than appearance — to the very point of death. She played the balcony scene with so much innocence, you couldn't help but worry about the dangerous degree of her inexperience. And she played her death scene with chilling simplicity, the sadly fanatical simplicity of a child. In a production that was marred by too much sound and fury, Northeast's Juliet was an oasis of quiet, heartbreaking sincerity. Surely Shakespeare would have approved.

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