It will, in fact, be the second annual St. Louis Theater Circle Awards. Created in 2012, the St. Louis Theater Circle is a volunteer organization whose voting members are all theatre critics for local media outlets and web sites, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Vital Voice, KMOX, KDHX (yes, that would be me; also Tina Farmer), Ladue News, and ALIVE Magazine (see the complete list at the end of this article).
Our mission is to honor St. Louis professional theatre by saluting local actors, directors, and designers in all areas of theatre. The awards are designed to focus attention on the dozens of area theater companies which showcase the work of the work of those theatre professionals. Other cities around the country, such as Phoenix, San Diego, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington D.C., honor their own local theatrical productions with similar awards programs. For a complete list of all the nominees, check out Judy Newmark's article at the Post-Dispatch web site.
We're doing it not with a big, elaborate and expensive formal gala but with a party to which everyone is invited and for which the admission price is a mere $15 ("Cheap," to quote Alfred E. Neuman). For another $15.95, we'll throw in a pre-ceremony reception by With Love Catering. The menu consists of: Assorted fresh fruits, cheeses, flat breads and roasted nuts; Antipasto kabobs with fresh mozzarella, artichokes, red pepper, olives and basil; Spinach and goat cheese in potato nests; Buffalo chicken won ton cups; Chateau chicken sandwich sliders with apple wood smoked bacon and provolone; and Smoked chicken fajita quesadillas with tequila lime sour cream.
That's a deal even the late Steve Mizerany would have found hard to beat. Because, bottom line, the whole point of this is for us to get together with our fellow theatre professionals and audience members and celebrate the lively and diverse scene here in St. Louis.
About those video cameras: this year the whole shebang is being broadcast and webcast live on HEC-TV Charter channel 989, U-Verse channel 99, and at hectv.org. Come back to this article at broadcast time (Monday, March 17, at 6 PM) and it will automatically show up in the video window at the bottom of this post. So while we hope you'll join us in person, you can always settle down with some popcorn and watch us on TV. A previously taped program about the awards, prepared by HEC producer Julie Winkle, will be shown on HEC immediately preceding the festivities.
Local composer and pianist Joe Dreyer (whose latest cabaret show is part of the Gaslight Cabaret Festival) will provide musical accompaniment throughout the evening. Professional photographer Jill Ritter Lindberg will photograph it all and Lisa Caplan, founder and president of Touchwood Creative, will again produce the ceremony.
The reception starts at 6:00 PM on Monday, March 17th, at COCA, The Center of Creative Arts, 524 Trinity in University City. You can order tickets for both the ceremony and the reception at the COCA web site.
Members of the St. Louis Theater Circle include Steve Allen, stagedoorstl.com; Andrea Braun, The Vital Voice and Playback; Mark Bretz, Ladue News; Bob Cohn, St. Louis Jewish Light; Tina Farmer, KDHX; Chris Gibson, Broadwayworld.com; Harry Hamm, KMOX; Gerry Kowarsky, Two on the Aisle (HEC-TV); Chuck Lavazzi, KDHX; Eleanor Mullin, local actress and arts supporter, who is the group’s administrator; Judith Newmark, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Ann Lemons Pollack, stlouiseats.com; Chris Reilly, ALIVE Magazine; Andrea Torrence, stlouistheatresnob.blogspot.com; Lynn Venhaus, Belleville News-Democrat; and Bob Wilcox, Two on the Aisle (HEC-TV) and Town & Style.
As Mr. Mizerany often said, "come on down!"