Wednesday, August 08, 2012


Like millions of people around the globe, I’ve been relatively transfixed by the drama of the Olympics. In addition to the inherent excitement of the competitions, there are the tangential dramas that erupt that turn sporting events into a sort of international theater. I watched the American women’s soccer team beat Canada, and while elated and amazed at the literally last-minute victory after more than 2 hours of play, I couldn’t help but feel empathy for the Canadians who really seemed to get a raw deal. And then the up-and-down drama of Aly Raisman’s balance beam event, barely losing out for the bronze, then the hurried enquiry, the score change and the tie that wasn’t really a tie that resulted in her getting the medal. And this just days after she finished 4th after a similar tie. It makes you a bit breathless.

I’ve been sucked into Olympic fervor largely because I’ve got kids lying around the house who are between camps and spend big chunks of these hot days watching the competitions. As much as I’ve enjoyed getting caught up in their pastime, I was trying to kick them all out of the house yesterday (ok, facilitate their departure) so I could run downtown and catch the last performance of “Trojans.” Alas, they couldn’t get it together before 10 o’clock and I missed the home-grown work that I’ve heard many encouraging things about. Any impromptu critics out there who saw the show willing to weigh in with their thoughts?

The entertainment world was abuzz on Monday with the news of Marvin Hamlisch’s death. What a shame to lose such a talent before he even turned 70. But while the folks at Ghost Light After Party have asked for people to honor Mr. Hamlisch at their next soiree, I hope someone steps up to give at least a quick shout out to a lesser-known talent the theater world also lost on Monday. Mark O’Donnell, best known for co-writing “Hairspray,” died at the age of only 58. I have a particular affection for Mr. O’Donnell because he grew up in Cleveland, just like I did which probably made him uniquely appropriate to tell a tale set in a working-class city like Baltimore. Even though he didn’t write the songs, it would be heartwarming to hear someone belt out “Good Morning Baltimore” in his honor.

I’ve got to start teasing the RTCC awards, so I’ll start with this: though I understand that there are issues with the way it is administered, the People’s Choice award will be back again this year. Which I think is exciting for many reasons, but a big one being that we’ve assembled a prize package to raffle off this year (instead of just one prize), one that I think is pretty cool. More details tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

While I don't remember the specifics of how it is administered, why don't you put a poll up online - a survey - and let people vote that way? Then the votes will be tallied automatically and you can have the winner ready to go before the night of the awards. What is the criteria for the People's Choice Award?

Dave T said...

Thanks for the questions, anon. I've looked into online polling and I'm wary of the possibility of ballot box stuffing. Even named used voting means that theaters with the biggest mailing lists would have a big advantage. Of course, any system except some kind of membership voting (like the oscars or tonys) is susceptible to ballot box stuffing.

But what I come back to is that two key purposes of the event, IMHO, is to build community and raise money for the Theater Artist's Fund. The way People's Choice worked last year, and likely will work this year, is that there are ballots at the event and people buy a raffle ticket and get a ballot with it. So if people want to stuff the ballot by sending a bunch of people to the event to have a good time and donating a bunch of money to the TAF, I'm ok with that.

I thought the way things worked out last year were pretty great, a lot of ballots were cast and a worthy production ended up being recognized. I'm hopeful for similar results this year.