There were local theatre favorites dancing as enormous glittery awards, bags of bacon, envelope mix-ups, tutus, tiaras, and an honest to god DRUM LINE. The theatre community was out in droves last night, dressed to the nines and without a dull moment for the 8th Annual Richmond Theatre Critics Circle Awards, otherwise known as the Artsies!
photo from: Georgia Rogers Farmer
The Artsies is one of the Richmond theatre's favorite times of the year, when the whole community gets to look back on our favorite productions and show our appreciation for the hardworking people who make Richmond the vibrant theatre town it is. With over 100 nominees across 19 categories, this year's RTCC Awards paid special attention to Richmond's "Origin8tors," with video testimonals from local playwrights and producers pushing to cultivate engaging, original works inspired by our dynamic community. It was a blessing in and of itself that, even with all of those nominations and categories, there is still more incredible work being done than could fit on stage in a single evening of celebration.
photo from: Annie Colpitts
Somewhat selfishly, our favorite parts of the evening were the awards given to our nearest and dearest. After reprising his role as Hedwig Schmidt (along with Yitzhak and The Angry Inch) one last time for a house-rocking performance of "Tear Me Down," Matt Shofner walked away with the RTCC Award for Best Actor in a Musical for our production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, co-produced with Spin, Spit, & Swear. Our five young radicals from The Altruists, Evan Nasteff, Chandler Hubbard, McLean Jesse, Morgan Meadows, and Joshua Gutierrez, were recognized with the Ernie McClintock Award for Best Ensemble. They took the stage, shocked and surprised, to accept the award, but couldn't let the orchestra play them out without thanking their fearless director kb saine! And, of course, we were delighted that our own McLean Jesse, TheatreLAB's Associate Artistic Director, took home the RTCC Award for Best Actress in a Play for her role as Mabry Hoffman in 5th Wall's incredibly gripping production of The Human Terrain. In one of the most heartfelt acceptance speeches of the evening, and definitely one of our favorites, McLean concluded her thank yous with an Arabic quote that translates to: "You deserve to know peace," a wonderful sentiment to carry all of us into this next season.
photo from: Chandler Hubbard
Artists, companies, and audiences alike left the theatre remembering the shows that affected them the most and, whether or not they went home with the pretty hockey puck, appreciating the awards that were well deserved and graciously accepted. As excited as we get about the Artsies, speculating who is going to take home which award, and cheering for our favorite shows and people, what we value most is the opportunity to reflect on a year of endless hard work, tireless dedication, and superlative talent.
Also, last night provided further proof that Richmond theatre professionals clean up pretty well onstage AND off.