By Mark Bretz
After a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and 2021, the St. Louis Theater Circle Awards are returning in 2022 in a ‘virtual’ ceremony. That event will be streamed at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 28, 2022 on HEC Media’s Facebook page, YouTube channel, and web site (www.hecmedia.org).
Nominees in more than 30 categories will vie for honors covering comedies, dramas, musicals and operas produced by local professional theater and opera companies in the combined calendar years of 2020 and 2021.
Because the pandemic brought about the cancellation of so many productions by virtually all local professional theater companies, approximately 75 productions have been considered for nominations for the combined years of 2020 and 2021. This compares to roughly 110 to 120 productions normally considered in one year alone.
The eighth annual award ceremony, which was to have been held ‘live’ at the Loretto-Hilton Center on the campus of Webster University, was cancelled in February 2020 due to the escalating number of cases of COVID-19. Instead, that event was held virtually in a highly polished presentation produced by HEC Media and streamed on HEC’s Facebook page, YouTube channel and web site. There was no ceremony of any type by the Theater Circle in 2021.
HEC’s 2020 production of the St. Louis Theater Circle Awards was one of the first major productions of any awards ceremony in the United States after the coronavirus pandemic shut down nearly all theatrical activities in mid-March 2020. The ceremony had one of the largest viewership figures for any virtual streaming event of HEC at that time.
For this ninth annual ceremony, members of the St. Louis Theater Circle considered nominees from shows produced in the first three months of 2020 and the last eight months of 2021 combined. In addition, a few shows produced between April 2020 and May 2021 were included. The total number of shows considered from the years 2020 and 2021 combined amounted to about 75 shows.
The mission of the St. Louis Theater Circle is simple: To honor outstanding achievement in St. Louis professional theater. Other cities around the country, such as Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., pay tribute to their own local theatrical productions with similar awards programs.
Members of the St. Louis Theater Circle include Steve Allen (stagedoorstl.com); Mark Bretz (Ladue News); Bob Cohn (St. Louis Jewish Light); Tina Farmer (KDHX); Michelle Kenyon (snoopstheatrethoughts.com); Gerry Kowarsky (Two on the Aisle, HEC Media); Chuck Lavazzi (KDHX); Rob Levy (Broadwayworld.com); Judith Newmark (judyacttwo.com); Ann Lemons Pollack (stlouiseats.typepad.com); Lynn Venhaus (PopLifeSTL.com); Bob Wilcox (Two on the Aisle, HEC Media); and Calvin Wilson (St. Louis Post-Dispatch). Eleanor Mullin, local performer and arts supporter, is group administrator.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or ‘like’ the St. Louis Theater Circle on Facebook.