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TBA Online: News & Features: November 2018

#2018TBAawards recap

Wednesday, November 7, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: TBA Staff
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by Sunshine Lampitoc Smith

It’s the day-after-the-day-after the #2018TBAawards, and here we are, #TeamTBA, with a brief recap of the magical event!


Over 700 attendees gathered at the Herbst Theatre this past Monday to honor outstanding artists and productions from the 2017-2018 season. Hosted by Fauxnique and Skyler Cooper, the evening featured a medley from Berkeley Playhouse’s Ragtime performed by finalists Mindy Lym and Dave J. Abrams; a monologue from TheatreFIRST’s production of Waafrika 123 written by Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko and performed by Troy Rockett; an excerpt of Sex and the City Live! from OASIS featuring D’Arcy Drollinger, Steven LeMay, Sue Casa, and Brian Entler; a performance from the all-female ensemble of Ray of Light Theatre’s Jesus Christ Superstar including TBA Awards finalists Janelle LaSalle, Hayley Lovgren, Courtney Merrel, and Heather Orth . Closing out the night were number Ashley Garlick and Keith Pinto from San Jose Stage Company’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch.


One-hundred and sixteen companies participated in the 2017-2018 TBA awards season from all over the Bay with East Bay-based productions leading with 173 finalists. The finalists in the other three regions were: San Francisco with 150, South Bay/Peninsula with 68 finalists, and the North Bay came in with 52.


This year’s awards made history in many ways. It marked the introduction of “specialty performances,” a genre classification meant to fold-in theatrical forms like improv, sketch comedy, circus arts, drag performance, and immersive productions. Companies like Killing My Lobster, OASIS, and Kinetic Arts Productions were able to participate in this year’s celebration.


Another significant change was shifting the performance categories to being gender-inclusive. As a caveat, producers provided the information about the performer's gender identities.


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"


The big takeaway for us in this first year of gender-inclusive awards is summed up nicely in this quote from our executive director Brad Erickson:


“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. If there really isn't a balance, these [gender-neutral] award systems are [more accurate] mirrors of the field. If there's a big imbalance in the awards, it's not the awards' fault. It's what's happening in programming."


Finally, here’s a fun social media roundup for the #2018TBAawards: