In less than seven months, Matt Cosper achieved more than enough to capture the city's top theater honor. Besides premiering two of his own top-notch scripts with his Machine Theatre, ThomThom and Best Original Show Mum's the Word, Cosper piloted the Youth Ensemble production of As You Like It for Children's Theatre in February and lurked piratically in the ensemble of Treasure Island in March. Even after he departed, Cosper's influence was felt when his Machine was instrumental in bringing PlayPlay's Wee to Spirit Square in December. Cosper has more than earned the right, in recent years, to be regarded as the Lon Bumgarner or Alan Poindexter of his generation. Hopefully, Bumgarner set the precedent for Cosper when he left Charlotte and headed west a couple of decades ago. He came back.
Yes, he's already won two Actor of the Year titles before, and Billy Ensley certainly was among the elite under consideration for that prize in 2010, with telling contributions to two top musicals, Grey Gardens and The Drowsy Chaperone, and as the one grounded character in our Best Comedy/Show of the Year. But in recent years, Ensley has risen to take his place among the top directors in town, and his work in I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change showed why. He seems to draw the best available performers to every project he commands — and they frequently seem to perform even better when he's behind the scenes.