Thursday, October 15, 2009

Recognizing Remarkable Achievement

Posted by Bruce Miller
It’s awards season in River City, and the theatre community is celebrating.

Last night at a cocktail party and dinner at the Omni, STYLE Weekly presented its 40 Under 40 Awards. Phil was there and will be reporting in a subsequent blog entry.

Just down the road at the Singleton Center at VCU, Richmond Magazine presented its 12th Annual Theresa Pollak Awards, co-created in 1998 by Harry Kollatz Jr. (he of the hats and the irrepressible personality) and Susan Winiecki (Editor-in-Chief of Richmond Magazine) as a way to honor artists in all fields.

Theresa Pollak (1899 – 2002), whom I had the privilege of knowing only in passing, was herself an internationally acclaimed artist, and the founder of both the VCU School of the Arts and the U of R arts department.

Four theatre cornerstones were honored with Pollak Awards last night, and large numbers of theatre enthusiasts came out to applaud their achievements. Ginnie Willard, Production Manager right here at B’dale and TIV, was recognized in the Theatre category. Michael Gooding, co-founder and longtime manager of the Richmond Triangle Players, was recognized in the Arts Innovator category. Jennie and Larry Brown, directors of SPARC for a dozen or so years prior to their recent retirement in 2009, were honored in the Lifetime Achievement category.

Ginnie, Michael, Jennie and Larry could not be more deserving. It was an honor to attend the elegant Richmond Magazine event last night, along with fellow members of the Barksdale family (Judi Crenshaw, Bennett Fidlow, Audra Honaker, Jacquie O'Connor, Robyn O’Neill, Paul DePasquale, Bruce Rennie, Mark and Peggy Resnick, James Ricks, David Robbins, K Strong and others). We all enjoyed the opportunity to cheer on our friends and congratulate them over a glass of wine during the post-event reception.

Reji Carreras earned bragging rights for being one of the few people--perhaps the only person--to make it to both events. She wolfed down the fancy chicken at the Omni, spread her congrats to the 40 Under 40, then raced over to the Singleton Center just in time to catch Jennie and Larry Brown's eloquent acceptance speeches. Then, at the cocktail party, she again showered congratulations on the 12 over 12 who were proudly clutching their Pollaks. Lest anyone had any doubt, that's a committed arts supporter.

And the awards keep comin’. This weekend the Richmond Theatre Critics Circle Awards will be presented at the Empire. I hope to see you there!

--Bruce Miller


Anonymous said...

It's great that Ginnie Willard recieved this honor. She's grown so much since coming to work at Theatre IV, and now stands clearly at the top of the all-time heap of Richmond's great stage managers. As Production Manager at Theatre IV and Barksdale, she keeps so many balls in the air at once, it defies understanding. She routinely makes all those who are more visible look good. Richmond and Theatre IV and Barksdale are very lucky to have the privilege of working with her. I know you know it. I just wanted to say it -write it- out loud.

Robyn O'Neill said...

Anonymous - Whoever you are, I love you.