Thwarted in their attempt to hold their annual spring Awards Gala by the Covid-19 pandemic, the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle took their Gala to cyberspace and held a virtual event in celebration of the excellent work produced by Bay Area theater artists in 2019. The event was sponsored by Actors’ Equity Association.
The SFBATCC website announced the recipients of the 44th Annual Excellence in Theatre Awards on April 30 via posted video presentations. Sixty-eight awards in 26 categories covering technical, performance and production excellence were announced in two video presentations. Following the ceremony’s usual order of events, the videos reviewed the nominees by category and announced the recipients through displays of their award certificates. The video presentations were accompanied by an original composition titled “And the Award goes to…” created and performed by Bay Area–native Mike Bodulow.
The Circle’s four Special Award recipients—Gene Price Professionalism Award–recipient Loretta Greco of the Magic Theatre, Paine Knickerbocker Continuing Contribution Award–recipient Carla Befera of Carla Befera & Co., Annette Lust Emerging Artist/Company Award–recipients Bruce Coughran and Alexandra Frappier Coughran of Indra’s Net Theater, and Jerry Friedman Lifetime Achievement Award–recipient and North Bay–resident Carl Jordan—all provided pre-recorded acceptance speeches for the virtual event.
Seven North Bay productions received 16 awards at the virtual Gala. Marin Theatre Company’s Mother of the Maid was recognized for Principal Performance in a Play (Sherman Fracher), Set Design (Sean Fanning), Lighting Design (Chris Lundahl), Costume Design (Sarah Smith), Direction (Jasson Minadakis), Ensemble and Entire Production–North Bay. All awards were in the 100–300 seat house-size division.
Stephen Anthony Jones was recognized for Solo Performance in MTC’s How I Learned What I Learned.
The Ross Valley Players and Mountain Play co-production of She Loves Me was recognized for its choreography (Nicole Helfer) and for Anthony Maglio’s Featured Performance in a Musical, both for a production in a house with fewer than 100 seats.
Rohnert Park’s Spreckels Theatre Company production of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley received awards for Pamela Johnson’s costuming and for Entire Production–North Bay in a house with fewer than 100 seats.
A Chorus Line, the Transcendence Theatre Company’s first foray into full book musical production, was recognized for Daniel Weidlein’s Musical Direction and for Entire Production–North Bay in a house with more than 300 seats.
The Sonoma Arts Live production of Merman’s Apprentice was recognized for its Original Music by David Evans (music) and Stephen Cole (lyrics).
The Left Edge Theatre production of David Templeton’s Drumming with Anubis was recognized for its Ensemble.