The Colorado Theatre Guild has announced the first stage of their selection process for the 2nd annual Henry Lowenstein awards (the "Henrys") acknowledging dramatic excellence in Denver-area theatre. John Moore has listed the eligible shows here.
Now, it turns out that the Denver Center Theater Company has withdrawn their shows from consideration due to a protest over the eligibility requirements, particularly, the requirement that states that individuals must have lived (specifically "slept") in the state for 6 months out of the award period. The intent of this requirement, I assume, is to keep the awards in the hands of talent that is truly local. I get that. CTG doesn't want to be handing out a bunch of awards to performers who don't live here and may never perform here again.
I also get the Denver Center's objection. In a hypothetical production of Romeo and Juliet, Juliet could be eligible for nomination because she's local, but Romeo, who was only in town for the rehearsals and the run of the show would be ineligible. The actor's performance happened in a Colorado theatre, before Colorado audiences, with a Colorado producer, but would not be eligible for Colorado recognition - at least in the form of a Henry Award.
I'm surprised that the Arvada Center, which also utilizes out-of-town talent, did not decide to withdraw from consideration as well.
I think that both problems could be solved, however, if the Denver Center and the Arvada Center made more use of local talent. Come on, it's not like we don't have it here. Also, if our regional theatres hired locally more often, I think we would see a lot fewer of our talented young performers heading out of town upon graduation. We might draw some talent into the city as well.
However, the "residency" requirement is something that the CTG and the Denver Center need to sit down and talk about. I'm not overly concerned either way.
I do, however, notice that there are a couple of theatres missing from the eligible nominees, and with this I do take issue.
The Backstage Theatre in Breckenridge is not listed. Neither is the Lake Dillon Theatre Company. Nor is the Creede Repertory Theatre. I believe that all three of these companies are members of the Colorado Theatre Guild, and they are all obviously located within the state, so it seems a bit unfair to take their membership fees but exclude them from recognition because they are not within the designated Denver metropolitan area or the seven counties.
I'm sorry, but this is not the "Denver Theatre Guild" awards.
There's quality theatre on the other side of the divide, too.
Now, it may not be easy to get to every theatre in the state, but, if they're paying members, then they should be afforded the consideration.
I'm all for recognition of theatre, but the Colorado Theatre Guild awards should be for all Colorado Theatre Guild members.
I still support the Henry Awards, but I hope that the eligibility requirements will continue to be reviewed for future years.