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Wednesday, 08 February 2006



I was really surprised HH did not have a nomination for The Beard Of Avon.


Looks like another typical safe-choice, same-people nomination list, with a few colorful splashes of merit. Ho hum.


Hmm. I read that article last night, I must be a touch stupid and didn't see the second page. Gotta keep my stupidity in mind when making future wishes I guess, but thanks for the heads up. Let's dish!

Anywho, yeah Jane was spot on with quite a few of her observations. Rick F did quite a few fine performances this year and The Goat was one of them. That whole production was such a nice change of pace for Arena and so well done, for the most part, I was surprised when it didn't get nominated when yawnfests like Damn Yankees and Shakepeare Theatre's Othello were. (Please don't hurt me Patrick Page, I liked your work and you deserve 'the nod' but ... best direction? Best Play?) I also really liked Arena's Anna Christie like Wee Jane.

Bard of Avon? Yeah it was pretty good, and entertaining, but I hadn't been predicting any HH nods. (HH tends to just not respec anything with uncomfortable seating, haha.) I certainly thought the actor playing DeVere (Eric S?) delivered an amazing polished performance...wonder what nods people were expecting for that show.

Cloud 9 at Catalyst was quite good and though I can't remember thinking "Oh, that's got HH written all over it", I do remember the show staying in my head for weeks with great direction and acting and a great use of that space.

"Incorruptible" at Stage Guild was good, I like most of their stuff, but like Beard of Avon, I didn't leave the theatre thinking HH, but simply "what a great night out" and "how entertaining".

I guess every year this happens. The nominations come out and so do everybody's simmering frustration, biases, and bewilderment. Wish I had a more positive view of the nominations, maybe that will come when I get one...haha.

I've heard rumors that they are creating a Best Ensemble award in the future, but, get this, you can't nominate a production for say Best Actor AND Best Ensemble, the judges have to choose one or the other. Man, the fur is gonna fly the first time an actor feels he didn't get a nomination because the cast was so well rounded. Or vice versa. "Could you be slightly less good, we really would like the Ensemble award."


Philly does a best ensemble award, but there were still folks in it nominated for best lead/supporting stuff...i.e. the Elegies cast up there. It's not a bad idea as a lot of the newer stuff is more ensemble driven for certain.

Late Bloomer

HH in a nutshell.

* Cuttin' Up as a best new play nominee?
* But not Jeanette Buck's There Are No Strangers?

Christopher Henley

re: the helen hayes ensemble award, the future is now; it's on ballots for the current year, 2006. however, it is not judges who "choose one or the other" (ensemble vs. consideration of individual actors in other competitive acting catagories); the theatres, not the judges, make that judgement and submit their shows accordingly.


Hey Chris, when do theatres make that submission? Time of the show/adjudication?

Christopher Henley

i am asked to submit a ballot a couple or three weeks before opening. they are being very accomodating about this new catagory and the choice it presents. i'm sure it's much more convenient for them to have the info a couple or three weeks ahead of opening, but they aren't pushing at all, and it seems that the drop dead time for the decision is before the first assigned judge sees the show.


i think awards are super swell and pleasant and nice and definitely can nudge a person's/theatre's career along. and it's fun to see everyone dressed up.

but i recently read an article (can't remember where right now) that spoke about how a complaint printed in the NY Times in the '80s protesting Toni Morrison's NOT winning certain awards resulted in her winning the Pulitzer two months later when she hadn't even been on the short list (although she arguably should've been). the article made the point that this act of protest gave a false importance to such awards.

do any of us believe there is such a thing as "best" in the theatre? i don't think artists should worry about it and they should just appreciate the honor if chosen. haven't award ceremonies always been more about and for the generous award-givers?


"do any of us believe there is such a thing as "best" in the theatre?"

Doesn't really matter what we think, surely HH and the general public do think there is a "best".

We all have opinions, HH just has one of the loudest ones in town. Do we know better? Maybe. Does anyone really care. Maybe not. But how do we 'appreciate the honor if chosen' when we don't appreciate the honor every other time.

Do any of us really want the stuff we can't even consider "better" being hailed and later promoted as "best" while other, "more worthy" shows are ignored. It's a public slap in the face, an indifferent cold shoulder, or a warm hug. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody gives it an award, will other trees say, "I'm not falling for that!"



I believe that the HH awards function to call attention to the theatre scene in Washington not only in the metro area, but also across the nation.

By having an awards system (flawed or imbalanced or superficial as it may be), it's supposed to say to the world at large: pay attention--there is much more in our nation's capital than goverment and crack cocaine!

Does this odd marketing/branding scheme actually work? I know that when I'm in theatres in other parts of the country and I see the HH Awards mentioned in someone's bio, it makes me proud. Does any other patron recognize that? I don't know.

The HH Awards impact on theatres--their actual power--seems very slim. No production earns money retroactively after the HHs are announced. No company suddenly is rescued from poverty or given a huge grant because this group has recognized their work. There are no boosts in merchandising sales, no DVD sales, nada. So, like the Spinster says, isn't the Awards ceremony just a time for those of us who bust our butts all year in the theatre community to get gussied up and toast each other's work--even if that toast is "You really deserved the nomination for _______ this year!"

Does anyone have a statistic handy about the impact on present ticket sales for DC companies the day after HH are announced? Does Signature or Shakespeare or a small company with their first HH nod notice an immediate bump in their subscriptions or in their single ticket sales for their current production? I am curious!


I'm sure the effect of multiple HH nominations, or even just one, helps fundraising quite a bit. People want to give money to theatres that matter. Theatres with mission statements they strongly agree with, popular theatres, and especially award winning and heavily honored theatres.

I bet it boosts ticket sales in some ways too. Maybe not for Michael Kahn, another nomination for him is just an affirmation that he is still doing good work. But for the lead actress in a smaller company, who no generic audience member has really heard of, to have garnered a few Helen Hayes, and who is 'an award winning actress', certainly makes the show more appealing. As does HH award winning play, or designers, and so on....

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