Arts & Events

Bay Area Theater Critics Circle Announces Awards Nominations--
Winners will be disclosed at the “Gala Theatre Awards & Dance Party” Monday, May 6 at California Ballroom in Oakland

By John A. McMullen II
Friday March 22, 2013 - 01:09:00 PM

The San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle (SFBATCC) has announced the nominees for its 37th annual theatre awards. Nearly 60 Awards will be bestowed on theatre artists from the nine Bay Area counties, along with three special achievement citations. For the first time SFBATCC will held its Awards Gala in the East Bay, at the fabled California Ballroom, 1736 Franklin Street in Oakland’s uptown business district. The theme for the Gala is as new as the venue – a big, blow-out dance party with live band and a catered smorgasbord to help sustain the party-goers’ energy. 

“We’ve held the Awards in San Francisco for years, and the East Bay is past due,” said Theatre Critics Circle President Barry Willis. “Award Galas can get tedious, so Vice President Linda Ayres-Frederick came up with the idea of a dance party,” Willis said.  

“And we were able to book the California Ballroom, which is a gem of a venue,” Willis added. “It’s in the safe and accessible uptown business district of Oakland, half a block from the 19th St BART station, with lots of street parking around, so everything fell into place.” 

Nearly 60 Awards will be bestowed on theatre artists from the nine Bay Area counties as well as three special achievement awards.  

Providing live music for this night of food, drink, dancing, and awards will be the Tal Ariel Rockin’ Band; Tal won the SFBATCC Award for Outstanding Music Director last year. Leanne Borghesi, two-time award winner, is flying in from NYC to sing. 

Hot Chinese food and a smorgasbord are included, with gluten-free and vegetarian choices available. Wine and beer will be served at the hosted bar.  

An ongoing raffle of prizes will pepper the evening, including headshots from David Allen Studios, singing lessons from Scarlett Hepworth and Pierce Peter Brandt, audition coaching from Berkeley Rep’s Amy Potozkin and Seydways’ Bobbie Weinapple, a free subscription to Theatre Bay Area, tickets to Marin Theatre Company, ACT, and Shotgun Players, and more. 

The Theatre Critics Circle nominates and votes for awards to outstanding theatre artists for their 2012 work in categories such as Director; Principal and Featured Male and Female Actors in both musical and straight plays: Musical Director; Choreographer; Original Script, Outstanding Ensemble, Entire Production, as well as designs of Costume, Lighting, Set, and Sound. Awards are given in each of these categories, broken down into theatres according to three audience capacities: fewer than 100 seats, 100-300, and more than 300. 

Bay Area theatre organizations nominated this year include: 

6th Street Playhouse 

American Conservatory Theater 

Aurora Theatre Company 

Berkeley Repertory Theatre 

Boxcar Theatre 

California Shakespeare Theater 

Cameron Mackintosh Presents/SHN 

Central Works 

Cinnabar Theater 

Crowded Fire 

Curtain Theater Company 

Custom Made Theatre Co.  

Foothill Music Theatre 

Impact Theatre / Playground 

Magic Theatre 

Marin Shakespeare Company 

Masquers Playhouse 

Mountain Play 

National Theatre of Great Britain/SHN 

New Spreckels Theatre Company 

Novato Theater Company 

Playwrights Foundation 

Ray of Light Theatre Company 

Ross Valley Players 

San Jose Repertory Theatre 

SF Playhouse 

Shakespeare At Stinson 


Shotgun Players 


Symmetry Theatre Company 

The Cutting Ball Theater 

Theatre Rhinoceros 



Virago Theatre Company 

Word for Word 

This year EXIT Theatre will receive the Paine Knickerbocker award for continuing contribution to Bay Area theatre; actor James Carpenter will be given the Jerry Friedman award for lifetime achievement, and Kim Taylor of Kim Taylor Public Relations will receive the Gene Price award for superlative professionalism.] 

The Gala Awards & Dance Party is sponsored in part by Actors Equity Association and Theatre Bay Area. 

If you’ve never been to the California Ballroom, you owe yourself a visit.” Says Gala committee member John McMullen. “It’s a little jewel from the 1920’s. And we’re going upscale. Guests will sit at round tables with linen tablecloths, right next to the great dance floor and stage, with period mirrors and chandeliers making the place sparkle.” 

You can tour the California Ballroom at 

The uptown business district of Oakland is near the Paramount Theatre and upscale restaurants. “The Ambassadors”--Oakland’s security and hospitality organization--will be on patrol and available to walk guests to the cars until 11:00 p.m. 


The San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle is a private non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and serving theatres of all types and sizes in the greater region by recognizing excellence and outstanding achievement in the field. 

Active since 1976, the Circle consists of reviewers in all nine Bay Area counties, across various media, who are voted into membership by existing members based on the quality and consistency of their reviews. The Circle hosts an annual awards ceremony each Spring to celebrate superior work in the previous year. 

SFBATCC members include Kedar K. Adour MD, Linda Ayres-Frederick, Charles Brousse, Ken Bullock, Adrianne Casey, Susan Cohn, Richard Connema, Mario Echevarria, John Angell Grant, John A. McMullen II, Cari Lynn Pace, Jeffrey Smith, and Barry Willis. The Gala Committee is staffed by John McMullen, Linda Ayres-Frederick, and Barry Willis. 


Seating is limited to 300 attendees this year; limited tickets are now on sale to the general public with the remainder available on April 1, after the nominees have ordered theirs. 

Advance tickets are $25; $28 at the door. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Awards and dancing alternate until 10:30 pm. 

Tickets at / 1-800-838-3006  


For more info: John McMullen 510-652-3879 or