Seattle Theater Writers Present First Annual Gypsy Rose Lee Awards

Seattle Theater Writers Present First Annual Gypsy Rose Lee Awards

Seattle Theater Writers, a group of 11 local theater writers, reviewers and bloggers, today announce a new set of theater awards, the first annual Gypsy Rose Lee Awards.

“As supporters of the art, we're very excited to recognize the theater community from a ‘critics choice’ perspective, celebrating excellence and lending more visibility to the theater community at large,” said Seattle Theater Writers founder, Miryam Gordon.

Named after Seattle-born Rose Louise Hovick (January 9, 1911), nationally known as Gypsy Rose Lee, the inaugural set of Gypsy Rose Lee awards will be announced on January 20, 2012. Based on performances from January 1– December 31, 2011, 32 possible nomination categories have been created, paying tribute and recognition to both Equity and non-Equity performances, making the Gypsys the most comprehensive and inclusive local theater awards to date. Categories include: Excellence in Production of a Play, Excellence in Production of a Musical, Excellence in Direction of a Play, Excellence in Direction of a Musical, Excellence in Performance as a Lead Actor, Excellence in Performance as a Lead Actress, Excellence in Performance as a Supporting Actor (non-lead), Excellence in Performance as a Supporting Actress (non-lead), Excellence in Performance as an Ensemble, Excellence in Set Design, Excellence in Costume Design, Excellence in Lighting Design, Excellence in Sound Design, Excellence in Music Direction, Excellence in Choreography or Movement, plus one award overall for Excellence in Local Playwrighting and one for Excellence in Local Composing. Fifteen categories will be named in two divisions: Equity productions (casting two or more AEA members) and Non-Equity productions (casting one or fewer AEA members) in the same categories.

"We want to bring more broad attention to theater arts in this busy town. We also think it makes a strong statement when reviewers, who often disagree with each other, can agree on what’s really excellent,” added Gordon. “We want to give the public a sense of the range of excellence that is happening from both Equity and non-Equity artists; to give smaller, non-Equity theaters a chance to get called out, too. They (non-Equity productions) work with very different limitations and challenges and deserve specific recognition for their contributions to the local theater landscape.”

For the 2011 Gypsy Rose Lee Awards, 11 Seattle theater writers and reviewers have come together to award their choices for excellence in theater: Jose Amador, Brent Aronowitz, Miryam Gordon, David-Edward Hughes, Jay Irwin, Jerry Kraft, Katherine Luck, Michael Strangeways, Michael van Baker, Omar Willey and Nancy Worssam. Our members see and review a significant number of performances throughout the year. Group membership may alter each year, based on the changing complexion of area writers and reviewers, allowing for new perspectives with each progressive year of the awards.

“We have amazing theater in Seattle!” Gordon concluded. “Wouldn’t it be great to have patrons and supporters who perhaps go to The 5th Avenue and Seattle Rep say, ‘Wow! Theater Schmeater? Annex? Balagan? Never heard of them. Maybe we should check them out!’ Seattle has more theater per population than any other city, yet hasn’t had a critics' award. We think it’s a great time to make that happen.”

Winners will be announced on January 20, 2012. For more information, contact Miryam Gordon at (206) 367-7130 or seattletheater@gmail.com.

About Seattle Theater Writers:
Founded in 2011 by 11 local theater arts writers and bloggers, Seattle Theater Writers is a group dedicated to raising the visibility of local theater and the work produced by professional Equity and non-Equity theater organizations among the Greater Seattle population. Born from this mission are the first annual Gypsy Rose Lee Awards, recognizing excellence in Seattle theater across 32 categories—the most comprehensive and inclusive local theater awards to date!

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