Encore Nominations Announced – Some Misses for Me, Unfortunately

"Smile & Frown" photo by Steve Snodgrass

Nominations for the 2008-2009 Encore Awards are now up on the Encore Association’s website.  Eleven all-volunteer community theatres in the Indianapolis, Indiana area have been competing this past season in a wide variety of categories.  It has been my pleasure to serve as one of the judges for these awards.  I admire every person who gives up huge chunks of his or her free time to put on a show for the enjoyment of their community.

After each Encore show I saw this past year, I filled out a ballot with my suggestions for nominations and mailed it to either the chair of the commitee judging plays or the chair of the committee judging musicals.  (I judged both.)  However, nominations only happened officially if a certain number of judges all nominated them.

Some time next week I will receive an official ballot.  I will consult my notes and vote for what I believe is the best of the official nominations in each category.  Then I will mail the ballot to Encore’s certified public accountant.  He or she is the only person who will know who the winners are until they are announced publicly at the Encore Awards event on Monday, October 26, 2009.

Parts of my ballot will be crossed out ahead of time.  I am not eligible to vote in the following categories:

  • Best Male Singer in a Musical
  • Best Female Singer in a Musical
  • Best Musical Number
  • Best Set Design for a Musical
  • Best Actress in a Comedy
  • Best Major Supporting Actor in a Comedy

This is because if a judge misses a show, she (or he) is not eligible to vote in any of the categories for which that show has nominations. 

Last January I tried to see “Closer Than Ever” at Footlite Musicals during the second weekend of its run, but when I showed up, the pipes had burst in the theatre building, the basement was flooding, and everyone was frantically trying to save the costumes that had been stored down there.  So, of course, the show was cancelled for the rest of that weekend.  The Footlite managers added a Thursday night performance to the following (final) weekend of the run, but I was out of town at a conference for my day job from Thursday morning until the following Tuesday, so I had to miss “Closer Than Ever” completely.

I was deeply disappointed – not only because I wanted to see the show but because I had been determined to not miss ANY Encore shows during my year as judge.  But you know what they say: if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.

Anyway, “Closer Than Ever” received final nominations in several categories.  Therefore, I am not eligible to vote for anyone in any of those categories.

I also missed seeing “The Female Odd Couple” at Hendricks Civic Theatre.  I was looking forward to seeing that show, too, especially since I had seen a production of it at Epilogue Players earlier in the year and I was curious about how the two productions would compare. I had the HCT show on my calendar to see on the last Sunday afternoon of its run…but when that Sunday came, I was physically exhausted and mentally and emotionally over-extended from my day job and my personal life as well as from my theatre life, and I just could not face another hour-long drive there and back to a theatre that day.  I had hit a wall and could go no further without some down time.  I had no choice at the time, but I apologize for not managing my energy better.

Anyway, “The Female Odd Couple” at HCT received nominations in several categories.  Therefore, I am not eligible to vote for anyone in any of those categories.

I’m telling you all this NOT to make excuses for myself (or not just that, anyway) but because I want to say publicly that although I am disappointed not to be able to vote in all of the categories, I admire the Encore Association for being so strict in its judging policy.

Because really, if you have not seen ALL of the contenders, how can you honestly judge which one is best?

Hope Baugh – www.indytheatrehabit.com

Follow @indytheatre on Twitter, too!

5 thoughts on “Encore Nominations Announced – Some Misses for Me, Unfortunately”

  1. Thanks for making our job sound like it is fair and honest. It is a lot of work and we get a lot of flack if sombody’s show doesn’t get nominated. I directed a show this year and it did not get a nomination, but I feel it was fairly judged and just did not get enough votes to make the cut. But you can bet, I will try harder the next time!

    Thanks for a good expanation of our hard work.

    Tom B

  2. You’re welcome, Tom. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment! It was a pleasure getting to judge the musicals with you this year, and a pleasure getting to know you and all of this year’s Encore judges.

    I’ll look forward to seeing your next show. Break a leg with it!

  3. Here is a big “Hooray” for the judges. I do know some of them personally and know of the great care and concern they exhibit in judging a show. I am a judge this year and really excited about it! By going with Gene to most of the shows he judged (plays only) I realize how much talent there is out there. To be nominated is truly an honor!

  4. Dear Hope,
    It is the better part of a year since your duties as an Encore judge were completed. Have you given thought to writing about your year-long experience? (Or have you already done so in a blog that I missed?)
    Was it entirely enjoyable? Did you find it wearisome as the year went on? Was the inability to discuss shows frustrating to a creative soul like you, or did you at times find it a blessing?
    (I have one friend who served not too many years back who confided, essentially, “I knew how much great theater was out there. I didn’t realize how much bad theater was out there, too.”)
    Finally, is it lonely?
    Keep writing!
    Darrin

  5. Hi, Darrin – Thanks very much for your comment! I won’t have time to write in detail about my experience as an Encore judge, so I’ll just say this quickly:

    Yes, sometimes it was lonely, but that is true of reviewing in general, unfortunately. It is a very lonely job.

    Yes, sometimes it was wearisome, but that is true of just about any job. The pleasure far outweighed the drudgery.

    Yes, I saw some very bad theatre, but there was always something to appreciate as well, in even the worst productions.

    Yes, sometimes it was frustrating not to be able to write about the shows, but it was also a relief to have an excuse for not talking about them with anyone immediately afterwards.

    So…in answer to your first question, it was not entirely enjoyable, but it was an entirely satisfying use of my time. I would like to do it again some day!

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