Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Return of the "Artsies"

Posted by Bruce Miller
We were very pleased to wake up this morning to learn that Barksdale Theatre and Theatre IV have been recognized with several nominations for RTCC Awards (“Artsies”). RTCC stands for the Richmond Theatre Critics Circle. The six members of this august body include Mary Burruss, Susan Haubenstock, Julinda Lewis, John Porter, David Timberline and Joan Tupponce.

Phil called me at home this morning after reading the encouraging news on Dave Timberline’s blog - Phil and I are among the many who support the critics in their efforts to bring more attention to professional theatre in Richmond. Efforts like this take a LOT of work, and I’m very grateful to Dave, Joan, John, Julinda, Mary and Susan for volunteering all the time and brainpower required to pull off such a major initiative.

Like any and everyone else (including each critic, I’m sure), I think some of the nominations are a little crazy, and some of the omissions are downright criminal. But I know of no better way to get the job done, and no other group of people willing to invest the energy to make it happen. So what the heck, let’s all roll with the punches and be happy that attention is being paid.

Among musical nominations, the runaway winner this year was Stage 1, with a very impressive 16 nominations. Barksdale and Theatre IV followed, with 12 nominations each. Swift Creek Mill and the Firehouse scored an impressive 8 and 7 nominations respectively. Last year the big musical winner was Urinetown at the Mill, so it’s nice to see the kudos being spread around a little this year to other worthy productions and theatres.
Among non-musicals (and I’m counting Pulp as a non-musical, songs and all), Barksdale received 16 nods, with the Firehouse standing proud with 8, and Henley Street following closely with 7. Five nominations went to the Mill, 3 each to Richmond Shakes and CAT, 2 to Sycamore Rouge, and one each to the Triangle Players and African American Repertory Theatre--testimony to the breadth of theatrical excellence in our community.

Last year’s big winner in the non-musical category was the Firehouse production of The Late Henry Moss. (The photo above shows the on-stage view of last year's inaugural Awards Ceremony at the Firehouse.) Again, it’s nice to see the Critics Circle working hard this year to include lots of (even if not all) worthy nominees.

The Awards Ceremony will be held this year at our historic Empire Theatre on October 18. Tickets are only $10 and available at the Empire box office – 344-8040. All profits from the event will be donated by the Critics Circle to the Theatre Artists Fund.

Everyone is invited, and it should be a huge and great celebration. I hope you’ll all make time to attend and cheer on each of Richmond’s theatrical winners.

--Bruce Miller

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