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Getting Out the Vote for the CEAs

By Rick Pender · August 3rd, 2010 · Curtain Call

It’s too late to vote early, but not too late to vote for the 2010 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. If you haven’t done so yet, go to citybeat.com to pick your favorite stage performances from the past season. [NOTE: Voting ended on Aug. 9. Thanks for your input!]

[Click here for all the nominees, photos from last year's CEA event and an archive of all the winners and nominees since 1997.]

What’s at stake? Well, no big prizes, but theaters and actors thrive on awareness and recognition, and that’s what the CEAs offer. This year, with four new categories for community theater actors and productions and another four for university performers and shows at educational institutions, there are 27 categories of nominees — 18 chosen through voting by theater fans. (Another nine categories are determined by local critics.) There are more than 130 nominations, ample evidence that theater is alive and well here in Cincinnati.

How many shows did you see? Even if it’s only a few, you probably have favorite actors from Cincinnati Shakespeare’s company or Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati. Maybe you liked the ensemble of performers at Know Theatre where Angels in America (pictured) used actors often seen at Cincy Shakes and ETC. Angels’ first part, Millennium Approaches, was directed by Brian Isaac Phillips, CSC’s artistic director, while the second part, Perestroika, was put together by Drew Fracher, who has staged works for both CSC and ETC.

Such cross-pollination is a sign of a true theater community.

The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park is in a somewhat different category, since its performers are drawn from a larger pool of talent from New York City and elsewhere. (That’s why the CEAs include categories for acting performances by visiting actors and actresses; since lots of area residents frequent the Playhouse, those are two more categories in which the public can vote.) ETC also employs actors from beyond our area, so some of their performers are also nominated in those categories.

As noted, the 2010 CEAs have new categories for performers from and productions by community theaters and area universities. And if you’ve enjoyed a musicals or a play at Northern Kentucky University or UC’s College-Conservatory of Music, then some of those actors and shows are nominees. Community theaters (there are about two dozen in southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky) often present entertaining shows featuring high-quality talent. Perhaps you’re a partisan of one of those groups. Show your support of their efforts by voting for them.

It’s occasionally suggested that “People’s Choice” awards are mere popularity contests, rather than true assessments of the best performances. But no awards are truly objective. All the biggies — the Oscars, the Tonys, the Emmys, the Grammys — are awash in campaigning, and we all wait breathlessly when a presenter pauses after saying, “The winner is …” There’s no way to objectively gauge which performances or shows are the “best.” But if you think back across shows you saw last season and say, “That play really stuck with me,” or “This actor did an incredible job,” the CEAs offer a chance to record your opinion.

The collective wisdom of you and other theater fans will help local theaters, artists, technicians, musicians and actors know that we recognize and appreciate their work and look forward to more of it in the future. That’s a great message to send.

CONTACT RICK PENDER: rpender@citybeat.com



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