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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Awards and Recognition

It's that time of year again: the Denver Post Ovation nominations are announced, and, invariably, a few of my readers ask me whether there will be Big Bad Wolf awards this year.
The answer, as in previous years, is no.
For one thing, I'm not a critic. I'm an advocate. It's possible to be both, I know, but trust me when I tell you that it's best that I just recommend shows that I think are worthy of your time. When I have been asked for my honest critical analysis of shows in the past -- even shows that I have liked -- no amount of sugarcoating on my part has kept feelings from being hurt. I'm tough. To be fair, of course, I am always the most critical of my own work.
Second, I just haven't seen enough shows this year. I've only seen thirty or so shows so far, which is a bit less than half of what I usually see in a year. However, even in 2007, when I saw nearly ninety shows, I still do not feel that I saw enough productions to fairly single any of them out for superior recognition. No, the Denver Post team can't see every show, either, and I respect that John Moore qualifies the Ovation Awards under this condition. (I highly doubt that anyone associated with the judging process of the Ovations would be so audacious as to equivocate the recognition to the Tony awards as a few CTG members attempted to do with the Henrys this summer.)
Now, does an awarding body have to be totally inclusive in order to offer fair recognition? Well, yes and no. Yes, in that it should be something toward which one strives -- adjusting the parameters of adjudication, etc. This particularly if one chooses to have an inclusive moniker. That the Colorado Theatre Guild awards do not include productions of member companies very far outside of the Denver area is still very much a point of contention with me. Interestingly, the Denver Post awards seem to have a bit more of a statewide reach.
However, in the absence of an inclusive (or at least appropriately named) single awarding body, I think it's good that we have many awards out there : the Henrys, the Marlowes, the Ovations, CCTC, RMTA, etc., etc. to cover as many bases as possible (provided that no one organization lays claim to the title of "Denver equivalent of the Tonys.")
As for me, though, I prefer to leave the trophies to the others. I prefer to give my accolades when they can do the most good: while seats are still available.
Congratulations to all of the Ovation nominees. I didn't see every production listed, but, those that I did see are highly worthy of the recognition received.

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