The Barrymore Awards Return to Philadelphia
Luner on Theatre heads to Philadelphia as we cover the exciting news of a long-awaited return! The Barrymore Awards return to the stage tonight with a brand new organization at the helm and a brand new approach to the awards layout! While many are anxious as the event takes a new format for the first time in years, many are also excited for the bustling Philly theatre community that looks forward to this event annually. Today, Luner on Theatre brings you the exciting news that The Barrymore Awards return to Philadelphia tonight!
The Barrymore Awards, Philadelphia’s award for excellence in theatre, return tonight to the stage! The event, presented this time by Theatre Philadelphia, will be held at The Merriam Theatre at 7 PM. (Inside the Merriam Pictured Right) The Barrymore Awards have been a long time tradition of the city but collapsed almost three years ago. Theatre Philadelphia, an organization that seeks to bring together the greater Philadelphia theatre community to support the values and needs of artist, professionals and companies, has taken over and will present this year’s ceremony.
It was first announced The Barrymore Awards would return to Philadelphia in Summer 2013. When it was announced, Theatre Philadelphia President Kevin Glaccum released a statement which said;
“The Philadelphia theatre community is stronger and more vibrant than ever. The Board of Theatre Philadelphia whole-heartedly agreed with the results of the community survey and is eager to bring back an event that celebrates the excellence of the work created here.”
The organization has created a number of changes that were put into place in order to make The Barrymore Awards not only possible but also more efficient. First, a new voting system which includes a two-tiered organization with nominators and judges was introduced. Second, any theaters interested in participating had to meet a specific criteria. This included;
- The theatre must be a 501(c)3 or fiscally sponsored organization
- Each show must have a 12-performance minimum run (this may include previews)
- Pay scale: Actors — $150/week minimum; Designers — $500/show minimum; Directors — $750/show minimum
- Performances happen within a 30-mile radius of City Hall
Eight nominators will attend eligible productions that would like to participate. If five or more vote on the show, it will move to the next round. Once in the next round, 10-12 judges will then be required to see the show. This should result in 50-60 productions each season being nominated. Originally, it only took three votes for a show to make the next round for judges to view. This meant judges were seeing between 90-100 shows a season which was proving to be unmanageable. Theatre Philadelphia believes this change will not only make The Barrymore’s more manageable but also allow more theatre professionals in Philadelphia to become judges over time.
Judges will also now meet quarterly to discuss shows they have seen so far this season. During these meetings, productions, performances and designs in contention will all be discussed. Tonight’s award ceremony includes 140 nominations span 26 categories.
Top nominations for the night include;
Outstanding Overall Production of a Play: Nominees include Annapurna (Theatre Exile), The Brothers Size (Simpatico Theatre Project), Circle Mirror Transformation (Theatre Horizon), Don Juan Comes Home from Iraq (The Wilma Theater), Down Past Passyunk (InterAct Theatre Company), I Am My Own Wife (Theatre Horizon) and In a Dark Dark House (Simpatico Theatre Project).
Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical: Nominees include Midsummer [a play with songs] (Inis Nua Theatre Company), Nerds (Philadelphia Theatre Company), Parade (Arden Theatre Company) and The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) (Montgomery Theater).
Tonight’s Lifetime Achievement Award will be award to Carla Belver
The return of The Barrymore Awards is one we must stop and pause for. The return of the awards signifies not only an exciting moment for those involved in the Philadelphia scene but also for the Philadelphia theatre community as a whole. Philadelphia, just 2 hours from New York, is a huge hub of theatrical productions, companies, artists and designers working. However, Philadelphia is much different from New York. While the awards are not what theatre people work for, the awards do make Philadelphia take a step forward as an organization solidifies and recognizes the outstanding work that is being done. The Barrymore’s also have the chance to do what the Tony Awards cannot; extend the branding of the term theatre. Philadelphia theatre is a totally different scene than New York. Broadway is very much a brand and the Tony Award recognizes specifics in the community but maybe not everything theatre professionals would like to see. The Barrymore’s have the chance to look at events like improv or magic, which are still very theatrical, and have the chance to award them. This could bring more life to the stage in a new format not only in Philadelphia but across the nation. I applaud Theatre Philadelphia’s work to restore The Barrymore Awards and I look forward to this event for many years to come.
Philadelphia will celebrate excellence in theatre tonight at The Merriam Theatre located on Broad Street on Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts just blocks from Center City! The event kicks off at 7 PM! For more information, visit Theatre Philadelphia’s Official Website, Facebook Page or Twitter Account. And of course, check out the rest of Luner on Theatre for all your theatre news you don’t only need but want to know and so much more!