Big moment for the Philadelphia theater world! Monday afternoon, Theatre Philadelphia announced nominations for the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre for the 2017-18 season, the "Philadelphia Tonys." Some 112 shows at 40 companies were eligible, a huge outpouring of creativity in all colors, eras, genders, topics, and moods.

This year's Barrymores are different. Last fall's awards drew widespread criticism for lack of diversity, so the ranks of 71 nominators and 12 judges were made more diverse, and several award categories are gender-inclusive. So, instead of best actor/actress, there's a single big category for outstanding leading performance in a play (with 14 people nominated this year) and another for best performance in a musical (with eight). There will be two winners in each such category.

All of which makes a lot of sense at a time when so much of our theater examines identity, gender, race relations, and social change. Scanning the nominations, I can confirm they are widely diverse. Consider the 14 folks nominated for outstanding supporting performance in a play: Jessica Bedford (The Revolutionists, Theatre Horizon), Carla Belver (Morning's at Seven, People's Light), Tina Brock (By the Bog of Cats, Irish Heritage Theatre), Rachel Camp (Red Herring, Act II Playhouse), Akeem Davis (A Doll's House, Arden Theatre Company), J. Hernandez (Waiting for Godot, Quintessence Theatre Group), James Ijames (The Brownings, Orbiter 3), Claire Inie-Richards (The Revolutionists, Theatre Horizon), Gregory Issac (Iphigenia at Aulis, Philadelphia Artists' Collective), Jaime Maseda (The Gap, Azuka Theatre), Lee Minora (Don't Dress for Dinner, Lantern Theatre Company), Ebony Pullum (Red Velvet, Lantern Theatre Company), Ed Swidey (Lydie Breeze Trilogy, EgoPo Classic Theatre), Alice Yorke (The Gap, Azuka Theatre). A glittery list like that reminds us of the huge and hugely diverse talent pool we have among us.

Theaters represented ranged from big guys like the Arden Theatre Company to Theatre Horizon in Norristown to the Resident Theatre Company in West Chester. The nominees for outstanding overall production of a play are the terrific Blood Wedding at the Wilma Theater, Orbiter 3's The Brownings, The Gap at Azuka Theatre, Morning's at Seven at People's Light in Malvern, The Revolutionists at Theatre Horizon, Skeleton Crew at People's Light, and the Quintessence Theatre Group's rendition of Chekhov's The Wild Duck.

For musicals, it's the Arden's Fun Home, Light's Out: Nat "King" Cole" at People's Light, Passing Strange at the Wilma, and Something Wicked This Way Comes, a tremendous sleeper at Delaware Theatre Company.

Nominations for the Independence Foundation Award for outstanding new play/musical are ¡Bienvenidos Blancos! or Welcome White People! by the Ensemble from Tam Sunshine Performance Corp.; The Brownings; Fishtown – A Hipster Noir, that delightful Fringe offering by Caitlin Weigel at Tribe of Fools; The Gap; Lights Out; Mrs. Harrison at Azuka; and Something Wicked.

People's Light hoovered up the most noms, with 25. Arden and Wilma were not far behind, with 19 apiece. Among plays, The Gap and Skeleton Crew both had 9, with Blood Wedding close at 8, and three plays at 6 apiece: Morning's at Seven, The Brownings, and ¡Bienvenidos Blancos! or Welcome White People, a delightfully nutty look at Cuban American relations at FringeArts.

Among musicals, Fun Home drew 13 nominations, with Something Wicked getting 12, Lights Out  10, and Passing Strange  9.

Let's talk people. The lifetime achievement award goes, very deservedly, to Paul Meshejian, the founding artistic director of PlayPenn, putting Philly on the map as a home for development of new plays (including the Obie- and Tony-winning Oslo by J.T. Rogers) that have gone on to more than 320 productions around the world. Those nominated for the F. Otto Haas Award for an emerging theater artist included Bedford, Taysha Canales, Jaylene Clark Owens, Anthony Martinez Briggs, and Minora. Besides Bedford, Owens, and Minora, repeating names included Jorge Cousineau, three total (two in media design, one in sound design); Rebecca Wright, with two director noms (The Gap and The Wild Duck); Thom Weaver, with two in lighting design; Larry D. Fowler, two in sound design; and Dan Perelstein, two for original music (the Arden's Snow White and Orbiter 3's A People).

It's tremendously exciting to see all the home-grown talent represented, including playwrights Emma Goidel (The Gap), Weigel, and R. Eric Harris (Mrs. Harrison), who just moved to Baltimore. Lights Out was the product of a commission by People's Light. And in works such as Fishtown Noir,  Blood Wedding, and  ¡Bienvenidos Blancos!, you see the unpredictable, irrepressible power of ensemble creation.

The awards ceremony will be at 7 p.m., Nov. 5, at the Bok Building, 1901 S. Ninth Street.

Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theater, 2018 Nominees by Category

Outstanding Overall Production of a Play

Blood Wedding (Wilma Theater)
The Brownings (Orbiter 3)
The Gap (Azuka Theatre)
Morning's at Seven (People's Light)
The Revolutionists (Theatre Horizon)
Skeleton Crew (People's Light)
The Wild Duck (Quintessence Theatre Group)

Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical

Fun Home (Arden Theatre Company)
Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole (People's Light)
Passing Strange (Wilma Theater)
Something Wicked This Way Comes (Delaware Theatre Company)

Outstanding Direction of a Play

Abigail Adams (Morning's at Seven, People's Light)
Steve H. Broadnax III (Skeleton Crew, People's Light)
Kathryn MacMillan (The Revolutionists, Theatre Horizon)
Ken Marini (Waiting for Godot, Quintessence Theatre Group)
Alex Torra (¡Bienvenidos Blancos! or Welcome White People!, Team Sunshine Performance Corp.)
Rebecca Wright (The Gap, Azuka Theatre)
Rebecca Wright (The Wild Duck, Quintessence Theatre Group)

Outstanding Direction of a Musical

Tea Alagić (Passing Strange, Wilma Theater)
Patricia McGregor (Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole, People's Light)
Terrence J. Nolen (Fun Home, Arden Theatre Company)
Rachel Rockwell (Something Wicked This Way Comes, Delaware Theatre Company)

Outstanding Leading Performance in a Play

Brandi Burgess (Mrs. Harrison, Azuka Theatre)
Jaylene Clark Owens (The Revolutionists, Theatre Horizon)
Melanye Finister (Skeleton Crew, People's Light)
Scott Greer (Every Brilliant Thing, Arden Theatre Company)
Johnnie Hobbs, Jr. (Waiting for Godot, Quintessence Theatre Group)
Danielle Lenee (Mrs. Harrison, Azuka Theatre)
Brian Marable (Skeleton Crew, People's Light)
Patrese D. McClain (Skeleton Crew, People's Light)
Forrest McClendon (Red Velvet, Lantern Theatre Company)
Charlotte Northeast (The Brownings, Orbiter 3)
Campbell O'Hare (Blood Wedding, Wilma Theater)
Brett Ashley Robinson (The Wild Duck, Quintessence Theatre Group)
Leah Walton (2.5 Minute Ride, Theatre Horizon)
Frank X (Waiting for Godot, Quintessence Theatre Group)

Outstanding Leading Performance in a Musical

Stephen Bogardus (Something Wicked This Way Comes, Delaware Theatre Company)
Eileen Cella (Camelot, Act II Playhouse)
Ben Dibble (Fun Home, Arden Theatre Company)
Jennie Eisenhower (Bullets Over Broadway, Resident Theatre Company)
Dulé Hill (Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole, People's Light)
Leigha Kato (My Fair Lady, Quintessence Theatre Group)
Mary Tuomanen (Fun Home, Arden Theatre Company)
Jamar Williams (Passing Strange, Wilma Theater)

Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Play

Jessica Bedford (The Revolutionists, Theatre Horizon)
Carla Belver (Morning's at Seven, People's Light)
Tina Brock (By the Bog of Cats, Irish Heritage Theatre)
Rachel Camp (Red Herring, Act II Playhouse)
Akeem Davis (A Doll's House, Arden Theatre Company)
J. Hernandez (Waiting for Godot, Quintessence Theatre Group)
James Ijames (The Brownings, Orbiter 3)
Claire Inie-Richards (The Revolutionists, Theatre Horizon)
Gregory Issac (Iphigenia at Aulis, Philadelphia Artists' Collective)
Jaime Maseda (The Gap, Azuka Theatre)
Lee Minora (Don't Dress for Dinner, Lantern Theatre Company)
Ebony Pullum (Red Velvet, Lantern Theatre Company)
Ed Swidey (Lydie Breeze Trilogy, EgoPo Classic Theatre)
Alice Yorke (The Gap, Azuka Theatre)

Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Musical

Gisela Adisa (Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole, People's Light)
Taysha Canales (Passing Strange, Wilma Theater)
Kim Carson (Fun Home, Arden Theatre Company)
Izzy Castaldi (Fun Home, Arden Theatre Company)
Suli Holum (Cabaret, Arden Theatre Company)
Christopher Patrick Mullen (Cabaret, Arden Theatre Company)
Mary Elizabeth Scallen (Cabaret, Arden Theatre Company)
Daniel J. Watts (Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole, People's Light)

Outstanding Scenic Design

Luke Cantarella (Morning's at Seven, People's Light)
Tony Cisek (Skeleton Crew, People's Light)
Scott Davis (Something Wicked This Way Comes, Delaware Theatre Company)
Efren Delgadillo, Jr. (¡Bienvenidos Blancos! or Welcome White People!, Team Sunshine Performance Corp.)
James Kronzer (Fun Home, Arden Theatre Company)
Kevin Meehan (Ready Steady Yeti Go, Azuka Theatre)
Peter Smith (Fishtown — A Hipster Noir, Tribe of Fools)

Outstanding Costume Design

Oana Botez (Blood Wedding, Wilma Theater)
Marie Anne Chiment (The Brownings, Orbiter 3)
Theresa Ham (Something Wicked This Way Comes, Delaware Theatre Company)
Marla Jurglanis (Morning's at Seven, People's Light)
Rosemarie McKelvey (Fun Home, Arden Theatre Company)
Katherine O'Neill (Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole, People's Light)
Janus Stefanowicz (The Revolutionists, Theatre Horizon)

Outstanding Lighting Design

Oona Curley (Bienvenidos Blancos! or Welcome White People!, Team Sunshine Performance Corp.)
Greg Hofmann (Something Wicked This Way Comes, Delaware Theatre Company)
Mike Inwood (Peter and the Starcatcher, Theatre Horizon)
Maria Shaplin (The Wild Duck, Quintessence Theatre Group)
Robin Stamey (Fishtown — A Hipster Noir, Tribe of Fools)
Thom Weaver (Blood Wedding, Wilma Theater)
Thom Weaver (Fun Home, Arden Theatre Company)

Outstanding Media Design

Christopher Ash and Tal Yarden (Passing Strange, Wilma Theater)
Jeromy Hopgood (Skeleton Crew, People's Light)
Braden Chapman (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, reTHEATER)
Jorge Cousineau (The Gap, Azuka Theatre)
Jorge Cousineau (Perfect Blue, Tiny Dynamite)
Shawn Sagady and Val Syganevich of Freckled Skye (Something Wicked This Way Comes, Delaware Theatre Company)
Maria Shaplin (This Is on Record, Applied Mechanics)

Outstanding Sound Design

Elizabeth Atkinson (The Swallowing Dark, Inis Nua Theatre Company)
Jorge Cousineau (Fun Home, Arden Theatre Company)
Curtis Craig (Skeleton Crew, People's Light)
Larry D. Fowler Jr. (Blood Wedding, Wilma Theater)
Larry D. Fowler Jr. (Peter and the Starcatcher, Theatre Horizon)
Mike Kiley (The Gap, Azuka Theatre)
Anthony Martinez-Briggs (¡Bienvenidos Blancos! or Welcome White People!, Team Sunshine Performance Corp.)

Outstanding Original Music

Neil Bartram and Brian Hill (Something Wicked This Way Comes, Delaware Theatre Company)
Mel Hsu (Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes, Almanac)
Daniel Ison (The Art of Swimming, Tiny Dynamite)
Csaba Ökrös (Blood Wedding, Wilma Theater)
Dan Perelstein (A People, Orbiter 3)
Dan Perelstein (Snow White, Arden Theatre Company)
JoJo Streater (Florence, Camden Repertory Theater)

Outstanding Choreography / Movement

Constantine Baecher (Passing Strange, Wilma Theater)
Zachary Chiero (Fishtown — A Hipster Noir, Tribe of Fools)
Niki Cousineau (Peter and the Starcatcher, Theatre Horizon)
Dann Dunn (Bullets Over Broadway, Resident Theatre Company)
Jared Grimes (Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole, People's Light)
Makoto Hirano (¡Bienvenidos Blancos! or Welcome White People!, Team Sunshine Performance Corp.)
Csaba Horváth (Blood Wedding, Wilma Theater)
Annie Wilson, Nicole Burgio, Adam Kerbel, Nick Gillette, and Ben Grinberg (Leaps of Faith and Other Mistakes, Almanac)

Outstanding Music Direction

John McDaniel (Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole, People's Light)
Amanda Morton (Passing Strange, The Wilma Theater)
Tom Murray (Something Wicked This Way Comes, Delaware Theatre Company)
Ryan Touhey (Fun Home, Arden Theatre Company)

Outstanding Ensemble in a Play

Blood Wedding (The Wilma Theater)
The Brownings (Orbiter 3)
Fishtown – A Hipster Noir (Tribe of Fools)
The Gap (Azuka Theatre)
Morning's at Seven (People's Light)
Skeleton Crew (People's Light)
Waiting for Godot (Quintessence Theatre Group)

Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical

Fun Home (Arden Theatre Company)
Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole (People's Light)
Passing Strange (The Wilma Theater)
Something Wicked This Way Comes (Delaware Theatre Company)

Independence Foundation Award for Outstanding New Play/Musical

Bienvenidos Blancos! or Welcome White People! by the Ensemble (Team Sunshine Performance Corp.)
The Brownings by Sam Henderson (Orbiter 3)
Fishtown – A Hipster Noir by Caitlin Weigel (Tribe of Fools)
The Gap by Emma Goidel (Azuka Theatre)
Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole by Colman Domingo and Patricia McGregor; music supervision, arrangement, and orchestrations by John McDaniel (People's Light)
Mrs. Harrison by R. Eric Thomas (Azuka Theatre)
Something Wicked This Way Comes, book by Brian Hill, music and lyrics by Neil Bartram (Delaware Theatre Company)

Lifetime Achievement Award

Paul Meshejian

F. Otto Haas Award for an Emerging Philadelphia Theater Artist

Jessica Bedford
Taysha Canales
Jaylene Clark Owens
Anthony Martinez Briggs
Lee Minora

Virginia Brown Martin Philadelphia Award

2.5 Minute Ride (Theatre Horizon)
Fun Home (Arden Theatre Company)
The Gap (Azuka Theatre)
Human Rites (InterAct Theatre Company)
Passage (Wilma Theater)
Passing Strange (Wilma Theater)

June and Steve Wolfson Award for an Evolving Theatre Company

Applied Mechanics
Bearded Ladies Cabaret
Curio Theatre Company
Lightning Rod Special
Tiny Dynamite
Tribe of Fools

Victory Foundation Award for Outstanding Theater Education Program

Delaware Theatre Company
Lantern Theater Company
Theatre Exile
Theatre Horizon
The Wilma Theater