Theatre Bay Area Announces Results Of First Gender-inclusive Performance Awards

Theatre Bay Area, the third-largest regional theatre service organization in North America, held its fifth annual TBA Awards Celebration on Monday, November 5. The event took place at the Herbst Theatre with almost 700 people in attendance.

The TBA awards made history this year with two big changes that were announced at the 2017 celebration. The first change was the introduction of the "specialty performance" genre encompassing productions that go beyond the traditional definition of a "play" or "musical." The finalists and recipients in this genre include drag performances, improv, sketch comedy, circus arts, and immersive theatrical productions. Awards were given for Outstanding Ensemble, Outstanding Featured Role, Outstanding Principal Role, and Outstanding Production in a Specialty Performance. Designers, directors, and choreographers of specialty performances are recognized alongside their play and musical counterparts. Finalists in the specialty performance categories included work from companies like sketch comedy troupe Killing My Lobster, drag performances from San Francisco nightlife venue OASIS, Oakland circus arts company Kinetic Arts Productions, and Boxcar Theatre's immersive Speakeasy.

The second change to the five-year old awards program was the implementation of gender-inclusive performance awards. In past years, finalists and recipients were assigned to "Outstanding Male Actor" or "Outstanding Female Actor." This year, the categories were simply "Outstanding Performers" in a featured or principal role in a play, musical, or specialty production. Two recipients were awarded in each category. Since announcing this change at the October 2017 TBA Awards celebration, other regional theatre awards, like the Jeff Awards in Chicago and the Dora Awards in Toronto, have followed suit and modified their performance awards as well.

TBA executive director Brad Erickson shares the organization's big takeaway from this first year of gender-inclusive awards. He says, "The old system of male/female awards potentially masks the problem. It's a kind of fun-house mirror. We say, 'Oh look, an equal number of men and women won awards.' Of course, they did, so you're making it seem like there's parity when there's not. Non-gendered award systems reveal the real source of gender disparities in theatre roles. If there's a big imbalance in the performance awards, it's not the awards' fault. It's what choices are being made in programming."

Deputy director Dale Albright adds, "This is an attempt to widen the tent and to be more inclusive, which I think is ultimately in service of the community. There will undoubtedly be growing pains as we make this change, but I also think it is of service to community to lead with a bold choice in an attempt to do something better."

A full list of 2018 TBA Award recipients and select highlights are listed below.

about the tba awards program

The TBA Awards are designed to honor excellence in professionally-oriented theatre produced throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Award Finalists and Recipients are determined through a peer-based, Bay Area-wide adjudication process. During each production season (September 1 to August 31), TBA Awards adjudicators attend eligible productions and submit recommended productions every week. Theatre Bay Area publishes these weekly recommendations for its members and the general public. At the end, all the votes are tallied to determine each year's award finalists and recipients. For the 2016-17 awards season, over 92,350 ballots were submitted by approximately 400 adjudicators who saw over 350 productions staged by more than 100 Bay Area arts companies.

2018 THEATRE BAY AREA AWARDS CELEBRATION RECIPIENTS

data regarding shift to gender-inclusive awards

Of the 153 performance finalists:

• 48% were identified as "female or other"

• 52% as "male"

Of the 28 performance award recipients:

• 54% were identified as "female or other"

• 46% were identified as "male"

Note: Information about performers' gender identities was submitted by show producers.

companies with the most recipients this year:

berkeley playhouse 6

ray of light theatre 6

oasis 9

Berkeley Repertory Theatre 12

interesting tidbits:

Actor Stacy Ross received two TBA awards during the celebration.

1) Tier 1 recipient for Outstanding Performer in a Featured Role in a Play for The War of the Roses at California Shakespeare Theater

2) Tier 3 recipient for Outstanding Performer in a Principal Role in a Play for Bamboozled at Central Works

Properties designer Devon LaBelle and scenic designer Kuo-Hao Lo both joined the ranks of three-time TBA award recipients. Only four individuals- LaBelle, Lo, Cathleen Riddley (actor), and Alex Rodriguez (actor/choreographer)-have received three TBA awards since the program began five years ago.

theatre bay area presented the following special awards during the ceremony:

legacy awards

The TBA Legacy Awards honor extraordinary contributions to the Bay Area theatre community and reflect the recipients' body of work over time or a significant milestone in their professional journey.

· Kathy King, philanthropist

· Tony Taccone, outgoing artistic director of Berkeley Repertory Theatre

· Destiny Arts Center, Oakland/East Bay-based arts organization

rhe artistic fellowship: Cindy Im

The purpose of the RHE Artistic Fellowship is to make a significant investment in an individual artist to allow them to take the next step in their career. This program is made possible through a generous grant from the RHE Charitable Foundation.

Charles Dean award: Sharon Lockwood

The Charles Dean Award recognizes a Bay Area actor who has dedicated his or her career to Bay Area theatre. The award comes with a $10,000 cash prize endowed by the Robinson Family Fund for the Arts and is administered by Berkeley Repertory Theatre. It recognizes Awardees are chosen by a panel of local theatre community adjudicators.

OUTSTANDING SCENIC DESIGN

Tier 1: Nina Ball for Blasted at Shotgun Players

Tier 2: Kuo-Hao Lo for It's Only a Play at New Conservatory Theatre Center

Tier 3: Ting Na Wang for The Road to Mecca at The Pear Theatre

OUTSTANDING PROPERTIES DESIGN

Tier 1: Tatjana Jessee for Reel to Reel at Magic Theatre

Tier 2: Devon LaBelle for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at Contra Costa Civic Theatre

Tier 3: Sarah Phykitt for Trog! at Oasis

OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN

Tier 1: Howell Binkley for Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations at Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Tier 2: Kevin August Landesman for Beautiful Oops! at Bay Area Children's Theatre

Tier 3: Christian Mejia for Jesus Christ Superstar at Ray of Light Theatre

OUTSTANDING SOUND DESIGN

Tier 1: Steve C. Kennedy for Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations at Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Tier 2 (tie): Jessica Johnson for Peter Pan at Spreckels Theatre Company

Michael Kelly for Beautiful Oops! at Bay Area Children's Theatre

Tier 3: Gary Landis for 1984 at Los Altos Stage Company

OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN

Tier 1: Paul Tazewell for Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations at Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Tier 2: Wes Crain, Keri Fitch & Jorge R. Hernandez for Howard Crabtree's When Pigs Fly at New Conservatory Theatre Center

Tier 3: Shelby Pujol for Trog! at Oasis

OUTSTANDING CREATIVE SPECIALTIES

Tier 1: Harold Wheeler: Orchestrations for Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations at Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Tier 2: Michael Doppe: Projection Design for Inside Out & Back Again at Bay Area Children's Theatre

Tier 3: Wolfgang Lancelot Wachalovsky: Projection Design for In Event of Moon Disaster at Mugwumpin

OUTSTANDING FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY

Tier 1: Dave Maier for Quixote Nuevo at California Shakespeare Theater

Tier 2: Marty Pistone for Peter Pan at Spreckels Theatre Company

Tier 3: John Ficarra for Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Live! at Oasis

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY

Tier 1: Sergio Trujillo for Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations at Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Tier 2: Scott Shedenhelm for Disney's Newsies The Musical at CMT San Jose

Tier 3: Staci Arriaga for Chicago at Lucky Penny Productions

OUTSTANDING MUSIC DIRECTION

Tier 1: Kenny Seymour for Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations at Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Tier 2: Daniel Feyer for Ragtime at Berkeley Playhouse

Tier 3: Ben Prince for Jesus Christ Superstar at Ray of Light Theatre

OUTSTANDING DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL

Tier 1: Hunter Foster for Million Dollar Quartet at Center REPertory Company

Tier 2: William Hodgson for Ragtime at Berkeley Playhouse

Tier 3: Shane Ray & Eliza Leoni for Jesus Christ Superstar at Ray of Light Theatre

OUTSTANDING DIRECTION OF A PLAY

Tier 1: Lisa Rothe for Hold These Truths at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley

Tier 2: Lee Ann Payne for The Laramie Project at Palo Alto Players

Tier 3: Cindy Goldfield for Trog! at Oasis

OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE IN A SPECIALTY PERFORMANCE: Trog! at Oasis

OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE OF A MUSICAL

Tier 1: Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations at Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Tier 2: Ragtime at Berkeley Playhouse

Tier 3: Chicago at Lucky Penny Productions

OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE OF A PLAY

Tier 1: The Liar at Center REPertory Company

Tier 2: Good People at Cinnabar Theater

Tier 3: Bamboozled at Central Works

note: performance categories have two recipients per tier

OUTSTANDING PERFORMERS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A SPECIALTY PERFORMANCE (non-tiered)

Sara Moore for Trog! at Oasis

Michael Phillis for Trog! at Oasis

OUTSTANDING PERFORMERS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Tier 1: Caliaf St. Aubyn for Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations at Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Rashidra Scott for Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations at Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Tier 2: Heather Orth for Sister Act at Berkeley Playhouse

Brian Palac for The Hunchback of Notre Dame at Hillbarn Theatre

Tier 3 (three-way tie): Margaret Belton for Honky Tonk Angels at Altarena Playhouse

Hayley Lovgren for Jesus Christ Superstar at Ray of Light Theatre

Courtney Merrell for Jesus Christ Superstar at Ray of Light Theatre

OUTSTANDING PERFORMERS IN A FEATURED ROLE IN A PLAY

Tier 1: Stacy Ross for The War of the Roses at California Shakespeare Theater

Jomar Tagatac for The War of the Roses at California Shakespeare Theater

Tier 2: Liz Jahren for Good People at Cinnabar Theater

Gwen Loeb for Cow Pie Bingo at AlterTheater Ensemble

Tier 3: Greg Ayers for Two Mile Hollow at Ferocious Lotus Theatre Company

David F. Abrams for Richard II at Birdbath Theatres

OUTSTANDING PERFORMERS IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE IN A SPECIALTY PERFORMANCE (non-tiered)

Carla Lee for Honey, I Shrunk The Whites at Killing My Lobster

Matthew Martin for Trog! at Oasis

OUTSTANDING PERFORMERS IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE IN A MUSICAL

Tier 1: Sean McGibbon for Million Dollar Quartet at Center REPertory Company

Sky Seals for Million Dollar Quartet at Center REPertory Company

Tier 2: Dave J. Abrams for Ragtime at Berkeley Playhouse

Nick Kenrick for Million Dollar Quartet at Broadway by the Bay

Tier 3: Danielle DeBow for Always...Patsy Cline at Sonoma Arts Live

Tielle Baker for Chicago at Lucky Penny Productions

OUTSTANDING PERFORMERS IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE IN A PLAY

Tier 1: Joel de la Fuente for Hold These Truths at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley

Stephen Spinella for Angels in America, Parts One and Two at Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Tier 2: Ava Roy for Mother Lear at We Players

Courtney Walsh for Mother Lear at We Players

Tier 3: Chelsea Bearce for Bamboozled at Central Works

Stacy Ross for Bamboozled at Central Works

OUTSTANDING SOLO PRODUCTION: Deal with the Dragon at New Conservatory Theatre Center, Kevin Rolston

OUTSTANDING ANTHOLOGY PRODUCTION: Between Us (Program A) at TheatreFIRST

OUTSTANDING WORLD PREMIERE MUSICAL: Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations by Dominique Morisseau at Berkeley Repertory Theatre

OUTSTANDING WORLD PREMIERE PLAY: Eureka Day by Jonathan Spector at Aurora Theatre Company

OUTSTANDING SPECIALTY PRODUCTION: Sex & the City Live! at Oasis

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF A PLAY

Tier 1 (tie): Hold These Truths at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley

Angels in America, Parts One and Two at Berkeley Rep



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