Glittering San Francisco Inaugural TBA Awards Ceremony - Nov. 10!

The first ever San Francisco theatrical event on record was held on June 22, 1849. Lacking a true venue, that performance by "Jeemes Pipes of Pipesville" took place at the police station and didn't exactly put the City by the Bay on the map. They couldn't know then that the San Francisco Bay Area would grow to be the third largest theatre center in the country, boasting over 400 companies in nine counties.

Each year, an often unheralded cast of thousands, including actors, directors, producers, costume, set, lighting and sound designers, as well as choreographers, playwrights, composers and lyricists contribute their considerable artistic talents to make this theatre community one of the most vibrant and exciting in the country. And now they are about to be lauded and celebrated in a very big way.

On November 10, 2014 a brand new, peer-adjudicated awards ceremony presented by Theatre Bay Area (TBA), will take place to honor artistic excellence in professionally oriented theatre across the entire Bay Area. Years in the making, the TBA Awards are based on respected models in Los Angeles, Chicago and other major theatre centers. Though this is only the inaugural season of the TBAs, the shimmer of success is already apparent to judge by the marked attention from social media, YouTube (more than 7,000 views of the finalist announcements and counting) the press and theatre-makers everywhere around the bay.

To say that this theatre community is excited about the awards would be an understatement. Over 200 adjudicators, culled from active theatre professionals, journalists and educators, evaluated nearly 180 productions in cities ranging from San Jose in the south to Santa Rosa in the north and of course San Francisco and the East Bay, too. Altogether these impassioned individuals spent some 500 nights in venues large and small, recording almost 3,000 ballots made up of 36,000 individual ballot lines. Their massive efforts led to 350 lucky finalists being named in over two dozen categories across three tiers of companies. Staggering to say the least.

Of course the final culmination with be the awards themselves when the theatre community and its supporters will gather to honor the recipients for their outstanding artistic achievement. The glittering extravaganza will take place at A.C.T's historic Geary Theater (a far cry from that first performance at the police station in 1849) and features hosts Marga Gomez and Will Durst. Tony Award winner and 2012 American Hall of Fame inductee Betty Buckley is also slated to make a special appearance. (You won't want to miss her performance later that week at Feinstein's.) Performances by the casts of some of the musical finalists, including Pearls Over Shanghai, Dreamgirls and more, will add even more magic to what is turning out to be the theatrical event of the fall theatre season.

The Bay Area has come a long way since that first theatre performance in 1849. As stated above it's grown to be the third largest theatre center in the country, and that's due in no small part to the work of its many committed theatre-makers and supporters. In particular, Theatre Bay Area, the non-profit regional theatre service organization that has been serving this community for 38 years, stands out and is itself to be celebrated and honored for its artistic excellence. Their mission to unite, strengthen, promote and advance the theatre community in the San Francisco Bay Area has done much to elevate the standing of theatre here and across the country. Honoring the artists that pour their heart and soul into productions all around the bay will only serve to enhance that acclaim.

The glittering awards celebration is open to the public at American Conservatory Theater's historic Geary Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco) beginning at 7 p.m. on Monday, November 10. Tickets are available through the A.C.T. Box Office, ( Ticket prices range from $35 to $125.

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From This Author Linda Hodges

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