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Cincinnati Theater Needs You

By Rick Pender · March 2nd, 2011 · Curtain Call

If you read Curtain Call regularly, you’re probably a devoted Cincinnati theatergoer and you know what you like, whether or not you agree with me or any other critic. So I hope you’ll help with a new effort to identify favorite performers and productions. First a bit of background.

In August of last year, CityBeat’s Cincinnati Entertainment Awards (CEAs) for theater ended a run of 14 years by merging with the Acclaim Awards, a program established more recently by The Cincinnati Enquirer. The intention behind this coming together was to establish a stronger, single program to recognize outstanding elements of our local theater scene. As part of that merger, CityBeat offered to develop a new element that would preserve the CEA process of public voting whereby theater enthusiasts can cast ballots for onstage work they appreciate.

To that end, the 2011 Acclaims will feature the newly established Cincinnati Theater Awards (CTAs) with results announced later this spring. That’s where your help is needed.

In CityBeat’s April 13 issue, you’ll find a list of CTA nominees from community theaters and university theater programs drawn from the 2010-2011 season (open through April 9). You’ll have the chance to vote online for your favorite actor, actress, musical and play from these two important worlds of theater.

Voting will run through May 8 and the winners will be announced at the Acclaim Awards ceremony at the Aronoff Center’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater on May 23.

Your input regarding nominees is encouraged; I have my own opinions, but yours are important, too. If you saw a show or a performer onstage at a community theater or one of our local universities during the 2010-2011 season that you especially remember, please send me an e-mail (rpender@citybeat.com) with your recommendation. I’ll weigh reader suggestions in the nominating process.

The CTAs will also feature two broader categories: “favorite play” and “favorite musical” produced by any local theater company (excluding university and community theaters). Nominees will be drawn from shows that have received an official “recommendation” from an Acclaims judging panel. Those recommendations so far include Thurgood and Next Fall at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Skin Tight at Know Theatre, Pride and Prejudice at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and Over the Tavern and The Piano Teacher at Cincinnati Playhouse.

Nominees will also be culled from shows that have earned “Critic’s Picks” designations from CityBeat reviewers; those include Big River at the Carnegie, ETC’s Collected Stories and holiday production of Cinderella, New Edgecliff’s revitalized staging of The Santaland Diaries and the Playhouse’s The Understudy and Second City Does Cincinnati, a show extended several weeks beyond its originally announced run.

But I’m open to your suggestions. These two categories might include as many as 10 nominees (I expect there will be more plays than musicals), so I’m eager to field a varied array of choices.

Going all the way back to 1996, the CEAs relied on the informed opinions of thousands of local theater lovers to identify and celebrate great theater and I’m pleased that the CTAs will continue that tradition. Put on your own critic’s hat and think about your favorites from this season that moved or entertained you. Send me your suggestions. Then vote for the CTA nominees that appear in CityBeat next month.

As a consumer of theater in Greater Cincinnati, your voice will be heard. I hope you’ll be in touch soon.

CONTACT RICK PENDER: rpender@citybeat.com



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