Before you scroll down to see who this year’s honorees are… who am I kidding….go ahead and skip down, I’ll wait…. just make sure you come back up here when you’re done. (Insert hold music).

NOW, that I have your attention, congratulations to the honorees and all those involved with the productions. Please say a silent thank you to the panel, who continue to dedicate their time (not to mention money) to insure these awards continue to highlight some of the best theatre in the area.

There were three things specifically that the panel requested be mentioned separately, but in conjunction with, the honorees below. They are…

1) This year the Artistic Director (for the last 14 years) at the Bus Barn Stage Company is leaving the theatre to pursue another life dream and with that news, the panel wanted not only to wish her well, but to acknowledge all the Artistic Directors of the small theatres. Many have dedicated more than a decade of service, many have started their own theatre companies from scratch, and many of them are women. Although their staff and productions get acknowledged, the Artistic Directors are rarely recognized and sometimes it takes a departure to recognize what you have. Good Luck Barbara Cannon on your new venture and our hats are off to all you AD’s who eat, sleep and dream/nightmare your business, juggling finances, artists, boards, cities and often times sanity. You ALL receive an honor this year and every year.

2) Although this year only two Standout New Works were awarded out of a possible three, the panel was impressed and glad to see more attempts at producing New Works. They all felt (and I do too) that even more effort can be made with regard to staged readings, workshops, festivals, and full productions of New Works. New Works are an art in themselves and the panel wanted to just make sure that while they felt only two productions this year were high enough caliber to merit an honor, they acknowledged that they had more to choose from this year and that was a good thing. They hope that theatres continue to include New Works in their seasons and continue to refine the selection, development, and production processes for these pieces. The panel wanted to emphasise encouragement, not discouragement by their choice of only two instead of three recipients.

3) The panel was particularly endeared with South Bay Musical Theater’s special Autism-friendly performance of Guys and Dolls and Lyric Theatre of San Jose’s (whose performance space of over 300 disqualifies them from nomination in these awards) hiring of a high-functioning autistic for one of their recent productions. The panel was thrilled to see innovative and compassionate choices being made and applauded not only the smart marketing move with regard to audience development, but more importantly the embracing of a population segment that is traditionally excluded from theatres and one who benefits so greatly from it. Additionally, The Tabard Theatre Company has been doing a pre-show presentation for the blind for many years now, allowing the sight impaired to feel props and cast members to describe visual jokes, costuming, etc., enriching their understanding and thus their enjoyment of the play. Also, worth noting, more theatres this year donated portions of their proceeds to various charities and/or partnered with other non-profits/artists then ever before. Even in tough financial times, theatre is at the center of giving. These decisions across the board are win/win and the panel was enthusiastic about the possibility of seeing these types of choices become the standard going forward.

And, with that, let me just say personally, congratulations again to ALL. Thanks for providing an abundance of intimate theatre options! What an amazing community of artists we have. Honored this year with an award or not, you have all been a vital part of so many lives in what has been such a difficult year for so many as well. Thank you for your dedication and artistry and keep up the good work!

2011-2012 HONOREES ARE (in no particular order):
Standout Musical Production
Story of My Life – The Tabard Theatre Company
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson – San Jose Stage Company
Finian’s Rainbow – South Bay Musical Theatre

Standout Classical Production
Mrs. Warren’s Profession – The Pear Avenue Theatre
Death of a Salesman – Broadway West Theatre Company
The Contrast – California Theatre Center

Standout Dramatic Production
Buried Child – San Jose Stage Company
August: Osage County – City Lights Theatre Company
Beauty Queen of Leenane – Northside Theatre Company

Standout Comedy Production
Eat the Runt – Renegade Theatre Experiment
Almost Maine – Bus Barn Stage Company
In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play) – City Lights Theatre Company

Standout Adult Contemporary Productions
The Clean House – Bus Barn Stage Company
A Thousand Clowns – California Theatre Center
Betrayal – Only Connect Theatre Company

Standout New Works
Thanks for Playing, The Game Show Show – The Retro Dome
Decemberance – South Bay Musical Theatre

Standout Kids and Family-Friendly Production
Marvelous Wonderettes – Coastal Repertory Theatre
The Secret Garden – Los Alto Youth Theatre
Oliver – Sunnyvale Community Players

Technical Standout Production
Frost/Nixon (Video) – Douglass Morrison Theatre
Bells Are Ringing (Costumes) – West Valley Light Opera
Cat’s Paw (Set) – Dragon Productions Theatre Company
In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play) (Costumes) – City Lights Theatre Company

Artists to Watch for Next Season: Monica Cappuccini, Martin Gutfeldt, Lydia Merriam-Pigg, Todd Wright, Autumn Mirassou, Max Tachis, Jeffrey Lo (Director, Writer, Jack-of-All-Trades), George Psarras (Sound Design/Composer)


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