The plethora of New York theatre awards at this time of year make it easy to forget there are other theatrical honors given out year round all over the country. And one notable regional prize, the Barrymore Awards of Philadelphia, PA, isn't shy about asking for suggestions.
Although the Barrymores nominees aren't announced until September (with winners following in October), the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, which coordinates the award, is already thinking about candidates for the Lifetime Achievement slot. As such, the Alliance is requesting suggestions for suitable honorees, individuals who have "over many years, devoted their talent, time, and energy to the Philadelphia theatre community and has made a significant contribution to the artistic landscape of this City and region."
According to Barrymore Awards Administrator Jessica Schwartz, previous candidates for the award will again be considered, but "information on new nominees is welcomed." Past Lifetime Achievement Award winners include Theatre Center Philadelphia's Albert Benzwie, Germantown Theatre Guild's Katherine "Kitty" Minehart, actor Doug Wing, longtime theatre supporter Frank C.P. McGlinn and Freedom Theatre founder John E. Allen, Jr.
Those who wish to suggest an honoree for 2000 should send the Barrymore Awards Oversight Committee a one or two page bio of the candidate by June 20. Send to: Lifetime Achievement Award, Theatre Alliance, P.O. Box 40028, Philadelphia, PA 19106.
Dates have yet to be set for the 2000 Barrymore Awards, but the targets are late August for the nomination press conference and October for the awards ceremony. *
At last year's ceremony, held Oct. 18, 1999 at the Irvine Auditorium, the Barrymores honored Floyd Collins with five awards. The musical, about the media circus surrounding a man trapped in a cave, picked up wins for overall production, directing, lead actor, supporting actor and lighting. On the straight play side, Israel Horovitz's Lebensraum nabbed three awards, for director, ensemble and overall production of a play.
Nominees for the 1999 Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre were announced Sept. 8, 1999 at the Prince Music Theatre. The fifth annual event offered 20 standard awards plus three special nods: the F. Otto Haas Award for an emerging artist (which comes with a $10,000 cash award), the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News Award for Excellence in Theatre Education and Community Service, and a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Leading the nominees were The Arden Theatre (16 nominations), with Walnut Street next at 14. Walnut Street led production nominees with Grand Hotel (8 nominations), followed by four shows with 7 nods: Box Office of the Damned, Bed & Sofa, Floyd Collins and Lebensraum.
-- By David Lefkowitz