The Independent Theater Bloggers Association has announced the winners of the 2011 Patrick Lee ITBA Awards! Watch the [title of show] gang—Hunter Bell, Susan Blackwell, Heidi Blickenstaff, and Jeff Bowen—currently working on their next project, Now. Here. This., announce the winners.
Do you think the ITBA chose wisely, Rushers? How do you think the ITBA winners will differ from the victors on Tony night? How adorable is the [title of show] team? Are you on the edge of your seat for Now. Here. This.? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Theater journalist Patrick Lee, creator of Just Shows To Go You and Theater Mania contributor, passed away this week at age 47. The news brought great sadness to many in the theater community, myself included. When I think of Patrick, I think of the beginning of my passion for theater writing. Patrick was the first person I met when I set out on this journey.
It was April 2009. I had just created Stage Rush and had been invited by Broadway producer and Producer’s Perspective creator Ken Davenport to attend a theater blogger meet up. It was at the Planet Hollywood in Times Square and I arrived with such a pit in my stomach, I almost turned away at the entrance. Starting this site, this endeavor, felt like a huge risk to me and I didn’t carry myself with much confidence about it. Ken’s invitation to meet up with real, live theater writers who were already established in the field was incredibly intimidating. Who was I to talk to them? Everything out of my mouth was sure to sound stupid. They’d surely laugh when I told them my site was hosted by Blogger.
I sat down at a table with a platter of nachos on it. I picked at it with one hand and dug the nails of my other hand into my leg as the bloggers began to arrive, everyone schmoozing. They all knew each other—damn.
And then Patrick plopped himself in a chair next to me. I turned my head to him with a jolt, as I knew some social interaction was inevitable. He smiled, introduced himself, and I instantly began to feel at ease. It might sound corny, but Patrick seemed so jolly. That’s really the word to describe how he was. He asked me about my blog and as I talked, he continued to ask follow-up questions. He wasn’t looking at me with disgust—he was interested! I told him I was so proud of myself, because I hadn’t even lived in New York for a year yet and I had already seen 40 shows. Patrick looked at me with a big smile and said, “I see over 200 a year!” But he wasn’t mocking me; he was laughing at the hilarity of it. We both had a big laugh. As we talked, we discovered that we both loved Spring Awakening, John Gallagher Jr., and Passing Strange. He told me that he had tickets to a screening of the Passing Strange movie and I pretty much wanted to gouge his eyes out, I was so jealous. I went home that night feeling more confident about my new project, all thanks to Patrick.
That theater blogger meet up lead to the formation of the Independent Theater Bloggers Association (ITBA), for which Patrick served as awards director. When the ITBA was deciding on nominations for this year’s awards, we met at a Hell’s Kitchen pub to discuss candidates. It was a Broadway nerd’s dream—sitting at a table with a group of people with the same interests, discussing who gave the year’s best performances and arguing about them. Patrick was so funny that day. He kept inserting his humorous, sarcastic opinion, then pulling back, because he was moderating the meeting and it was obvious that he was trying to be democratic.
But I am lucky that that was not my last meeting with Patrick. A few weeks ago, Patrick asked me if I would help him film the off-Broadway cast of The Kid reading the winners of this year’s ITBA Awards. We sat there at Theatre Row with Susan Blackwell and Ann Harada and Patrick just got along with them so well. I envied his ease and calming nature. After we filmed, we talked shop for a while outside the theater. He answered a lot of burning questions I had about the theater-writing field. I remember being so grateful to get that time with him. We shared laughs and had a really good time with that errand for the ITBA. We left that night saying we’d meet up for coffee soon, but we didn’t get the chance.
Patrick’s passing is a strong reminder to me that we all have to harness the joys of life while we still have it. Patrick loved theater and was passionate about LGBT rights. In his life, he made quite a mark in both worlds with his own theater site Just Shows To Go You, his bylines for Theater Mania and other sites, and by being a juror for the GLAAD Media Awards. Patrick is an example of following your passion—a lesson we all should learn from him.
On my Facebook homepage, there’s a notification that says “Patrick Lee has poked you. Poke back.” It’s from the night we first met. I never did “poke” him back. But I’m going to keep that message there as a reminder of what Patrick stood for. It just shows to go you the impact theater can have on a person’s life.
- One of my favorite interviews I’ve done—Tony-winning lighting designer Kevin Adams
- The 2010 ITBA Awards are announced (by Susan Blackwell and The Kid cast)
- Broadway grosses
Rushers, what do you think of Kevin Adams? Did you find what he had to say interesting? Did you geek out about the explanations of his designs like I did? Did some of your favorites win in the ITBA Awards? Please let me know what you’re thinking in the comments!
Greetings, Rushers! I am extremely excited to announce the winners of the first Independent Theater Blogger Awards for the 2009 theater season. ITBA is the first official organization of theater bloggers, a group that I am honored to be a part of.
BEST BROADWAY PLAY
Reasons To Be Pretty
Written by: Neil Labute
Directed by: Terry Kinney
Produced by: Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Gary Goddard Entertainment, Ted Snowdon, Doug Nevin/Erica Lynn Schwartz, Ronald Frankel/Bat-Barry Productions, Kathleen Seidel, Kelpie Arts, Jam Theatricals, Rachel Helson/Heather Provost and Scott M. Delman
BEST BROADWAY MUSICAL
Music by: Elton John
Lyrics by: Lee Hall
Book by: Lee Hall
Directed by: Stephen Daldry
Produced by: Universal Pictures, Working Title, The Old Vic Company, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Jon Finn and Sally Greene
Music by: Galt MacDermot
Lyrics by: James Rado, Gerome Ragni
Book by: James Rado, Gerome Ragni
Directed by: Diane Paulus
Produced by: The Joseph Papp Public Theater / New York Shakespeare Festival, Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Gary Goddard Entertainment, Kathleen K. Johnson, Nederlander Productions, Fran Kirmser Productions/Jed Bernstein, Marc Frankel, Broadway Across America, Barbara Manocherian/Wencarlar Productions, JK Productions/Terry Schnuck, Andy Sandberg, Jam Theatricals, The Weinstein Company/Norton Herrick and Jujamcyn Theatres
Written by: Alan Ayckbourn
Directed by: Matthew Warchus
Produced by: Sonia Friedman Productions, Steven Baruch, Marc Routh, Richard Frankel, Thomas Viertel, Dede Harris, Tulchin/Bartner/Lauren Doll, Jamie deRoy, Eric Falkenstein, Harriet Newman Leve, Probo Productions, Douglas G. Smith, Michael Filerman/Jennifer Manocherian and Richard Winkler
Book by: Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones
Directed by: Bill T. Jones
Music and Lyrics by: Fela Anikulapo Kuti
Add’l Music by: Aaron Johnson and Jordan McLean
Add’l Lyrics by: Jim Lewis
Produced by: Ruth and Stephen Hendel and Roy Gabay
Written by: Lynn Nottage
Directed by: Kate Whoriskey
Produced by: Manhattan Theatre Club and Goodman Theatre
Written by: Thornton Wilder
Directed by: David Cromer
Produced by: Scott Morfee, Jean Doumanian, Tom Wirtshafter, Ted Snowdon, Eagle Productions, Dena Hammerstein/Pam Pariseau, The Weinstein Company, Burnt Umber Productions
Written by: Mac Rogers
Directed by: Rosemary Andress
Produced by: Manhattan Theater Source
Written by: Gyda Arber & Aaron Baker
Directed by: Gyda Arber
Produced by: The Fifth Wall as part of The Antidepressant Festival
CITATION FOR EXCELLENCE IN OFF-OFF BROADWAY THEATER
Flux Theatre Ensemble
The ITBA (Independent Theater Bloggers Association) was formed in 2009 by a group of the most passionate theater bloggers on the World Wide Web (partial list below). The members of the Association blog about all aspects and all varieties of both commercial and non-profit theater, from big Broadway musicals performed in Times Square, to the most unique forms of entertainment performed off-off Broadway on the Lower East Side, as well as productions all over the country and all over the world. Together they see thousands of productions, and, without being paid or prodded, they write about them.
Ken Davenport, founder of the ITBA, said, “The Association was formed out of a desire to provide structure to the quickly growing theatrical blogosphere, as well as to give the new media voices a chance to recognize excellence in three of the very distinct theatrical markets that make up the New York City theatrical landscape: Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway.”
In true “new media” style, there will be no live awards ceremony for the ITBA Awards. Instead, there will be a virtual awards ceremony, with video acceptance speeches for the winners posted electronically in the coming weeks on ITBA’s website, www.TheaterBloggers.com.