St. Louis Theater Circle Awards Celebrate Vibrant Local Theater Scene

By Christopher Reilly
In Culture

St. Louis’ best actors, directors, designers and theater organizations come together this Monday, March 17 to celebrate the best of local theater at the second annual St. Louis Theater Circle Awards. The ceremony kicks off at 7pm at Center of Creative Arts (COCA) in the University City Loop, preceded by a catered cocktail reception beginning at 6pm.

West Side Story at the Muny is nominated for Outstanding Production Courtesy of the Muny

“West Side Story” at the Muny is nominated for Outstanding Production
Courtesy of the Muny

The Circle Awards added a layer of glitz this year with the live broadcast of the event by HEC-TV, which will begin their coverage at 6pm with a previously taped program about the awards, created by HEC Producer Julie Winkle. Live coverage begins at 6:30pm with red carpet interviews, followed by the broadcast of the awards ceremony. The Circle is also encouraging tweeting before, during and after the event using the hashtag, #STLCircleAwards.

The event is about much more than just the awards. It’s an opportunity to strengthen the local theater community. “A trophy is not why we do it,” says Ryan Foizey, who’s nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in “Next To Normal” at New Line Theatre. “Our art form is all about celebration and I believe that the Theater Circle awards is a good excuse to do so. This isn’t the Oscars—it’s much more humble and enjoyable than that.”

Cafe Chanson, nominated for Outstanding Production Courtesy of Upstream Theatre

Cafe Chanson, nominated for Outstanding Production
Courtesy of Upstream Theatre

Anna Skidis, nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress for “Psycho Beach Party” at Stray Dog, believes the event helps strengthen the local theater scene. “It’s incredible that we have such a close knit theater community here in St. Louis,” she says. “It’s a wonderful thing to be able to all come together and celebrate one anothers successes.”

Skidis also notes the importance of a vibrant city art scene and the community’s contribution to it. “It’s a great way to show our appreciation for all of the hard work actors, designers, and production staff alike have put in to making this a better city,” Skidis says. “Plus, who doesn’t love a giant cast party?”

The nominations span a total of 54 shows staged by 20 different St. Louis professional theater companies. The St. Louis Theater Circle—an organization comprised of theater critics—divide the awards into categories for musicals, dramas and comedies.

This year’s event will also include two special awards. Founder and artistic director of New Line Theatre, Scott Miller, will be recognized with a “Body of Work” award for his 20-year contribution to the St. Louis theater scene.

Em Piro, founder and artistic director of the annual St. Lou Fringe Festival, will receive a “Unique Contribution” award for her efforts in presenting the multi-day St. Louis Fringe Festival. Fringe, only two years old, already draws performing artists from around the country.

All Is Calm, Mustard Seed Theatre, Nominated for Outstanding Production Courtesy of Mustard Seed Theatre

“All Is Calm,” Mustard Seed Theatre, Nominated for Outstanding Production
Courtesy of Mustard Seed Theatre

Tickets are $15 and can be reserved by contacting the COCA box office at 725-6555 or at the COCA website. Tickets may also be purchased at the box office beginning at 6pm on the night of the ceremony, Monday, March 17.

The Awards ceremony will be broadcast and webcast live on HEC-TV Charter channel 989, U-Verse channel 99 and on the HEC-TV website: 6:30pm Red Carpet; 7pm Ceremony.

Reservations for the 2014 St. Louis Theater Circle awards pre-ceremony reception will include cocktails and an appetizer buffet featuring spinach and goat cheese in potato nests, Chateau chicken sandwich sliders with applewood-smoked bacon and provolone, and more, made by With Love Catering.

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