Delaware Valley's Biggest Night In Theatre Returns With New Gender Inclusive Categories, $75,000 In Grants

Theatre Philadelphia proudly announces the 2018 nominees for the Barrymore Award for Excellence in Theatre. Celebrating the rich, diverse professional theatre scene in the Greater Philadelphia region, the Barrymore Ceremony will be held on Monday, November 5, 2018 at 7:00pm at the Bok Building at 1901 S. 9th Street in South Philadelphia. Guests will continue the festivities with an after-party Celebration at the same location. Tickets for artists, supporters, and the general public start at $50 and are now on sale at www.theatrephiladelphia.org.

In addition to awarding excellence in performance, design, and direction from the past theatre season, the Barrymore Awards also re-grants $75,500 to artists and organizations through the generous support of local philanthropists CHG Charitable Trust, the June and Steve Wolfson Family Foundation, the Virginia Brown Martin Fund, and the Victory Foundation.

The long-standing tradition of bestowing the Lifetime Achievement Award will continue with 2018 honoree Paul Meshejian, the founding Artistic Director of PlayPenn, in recognition of his significant contributions to the theatre local community and his influence in making Philadelphia a nationally-recognized home for new plays.

The 2018 nominees for Outstanding Overall Production of a Play are Blood Wedding at The Wilma Theater, The Brownings at Orbiter 3, The Gap at Azuka Theatre, Morning's at Seven at People's Light, The Revolutionists at Theatre Horizon, Skeleton Crew at People's Light, and The Wild Duck at Quintessence Theatre Group. The Nominees for Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical are Fun Home at Arden Theatre Company, Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole at People's Light, Passing Strange at The Wilma Theater, and Something Wicked This Way Comes at Delaware Theatre Company.

Nominees for the Independence Foundation Award for Outstanding New Play/Musical are ¡BIENVENIDOS BLANCOS! or WELCOME WHITE PEOPLE! by The Ensemble from Team Sunshine Performance Corporation, The Brownings by Sam Henderson at Orbiter 3, Fishtown - A Hipster Noir by Caitlin Weigel at Tribe of Fools, The Gap by Emma Goidel at Azuka Theatre, Lights Out: Nat "King" Cole by Colman Domingo and Patricia McGregor, Music Supervision, Arrangement, and Orchestrations by John McDaniel at People's Light, Mrs. Harrison by R. Eric Thomas at Azuka Theatre, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Book by Brian Hill, Music and Lyrics by Neil Bartram at Delaware Theatre Company. A complete list of nominees is at the end of this release, both by category and by company.

The 2017-18 Barrymore Awards season ran from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 and included 40 companies presenting a total of 112 productions. 71 nominators and 12 judges, all theatre professionals, adjudicated the work to determine the nominees. 22 separate companies received nominations, with People's Light receiving 25 nominations, The Wilma Theater and the Arden Theater each receiving 19 nominations, and Azuka Theatre receiving 13 nominations.

The announcement event, held Monday August 20th at Philadelphia Theatre Company at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre also included details about the 2018 Barrymores, and new changes to the upcoming Ceremony and Celebration. This year, award recipients will be announced at the 2018 Barrymore Award Ceremony and Celebration on Monday, November 5th at 7pm in South Philadelphia at the Bok Building. "The Bok is a creative hub that reflects the inventive and collaborative nature of theatre in our region", says Theatre Philadelphia Executive Director Leigh Goldenberg. "We look forward to taking this event somewhere new, and finding ways for the evenings to mirror the creative spirit of our theatre community.

The 2018 Ceremony will also implement gender-inclusive award categories, a change announced in June after a year of research and conversation with artists locally and nationally. Instead of an Outstanding Actor and Actress categories, Theatre Philadelphia will offer two recipients of Outstanding Performance awards in leading and supporting categories, for both plays and musicals. Philadelphia's leading performance awards program joins four other cities -- Toronto, San Francisco, Chicago, and Seattle -- in moving towards gender inclusivity in performance this year.

"In this first year of implementing an Outstanding Performance category, we are proud to see such a diverse group of nominees", she says. "By expanding the pool of who gets recognized publicly, we can broaden the conversation about what stories are told on stage. We hope to shed light on gender inclusivity through this change, and will continue to explore how this program addresses other issues of equity and diversity."

The 2018 Barrymores are also the first year of awarding an achievement in Outstanding Media Design, recognizing designers working with projections, video, and other digital media on stage.

Leading up to the Ceremony, Theatre Philadelphia will announce a "Toast to the Barrymores" series, highlighting nominated artists and productions.

Theatre Philadelphia's flagship programs include the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre, Philly Theatre Week, and a Marketing and Speaker Series program, providing local theatres with tools and education on building audiences. Additionally, Theatre Philadelphia's website, e-newsletter, and active social media presence connect audiences to what's on stage across the Greater Philadelphia region.

To learn more about Theatre Philadelphia and to purchase tickets to the 2018 Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre, visit www.theatrephiladelphia.org.




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