The Helen Hayes Nominations Announced by Cate Brewer

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Did you know there are 84 professional theatres in the Washington area? 84!  Tonight, DC area theatre artists, press, Helen Hayes Award judges, and the folks from theatreWashington gathered at The National Theatre to celebrate those 84 theatres, and to announce the nominations for the 29th Annual Helen Hayes Awards.

Natascia Diaz, Sam Ludwig, Bayla Whitten, and Bobby Smith  in MetroStage’s ‘Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living is Paris.’ Photo by Christopher Banks.
Helen Hayes Awards nominees Natascia Diaz, Sam Ludwig, Bayla Whitten, and Bobby Smith in MetroStage’s ‘Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living is Paris.’ Photo by Christopher Banks.

The evening opened with pictures with Linda Levy Grossman and Victor Shargai followed by some exciting news about new developments at The National Theatre.  Look for some impressive changes involving collaboration with local theatres at The National this year as they work on becoming more of a force in the DC theatre scene.

WTOP’s ‘Man About Town’- Bob Madigan - and WAMU’s Rebecca Sheir announce the Helen Hayes nominations.
WTOP’s ‘Man About Town’- Bob Madigan – and WAMU’s Rebecca Sheir announce the Helen Hayes nominations. Photo by Shannon Finney Photography.

WTOP’s ‘Man About Town’- Bob Madigan – and WAMU’s Rebecca Sheir gave a spirited introduction and let us in on some of the great contributions that theatreWashington makes to local theatre artists and companies.  Among many other new contributions, theatreWashington adds an artist and casting database to their website and a video where Linda Levy Grossman explains the specifics of the Helen Hayes Award judging process.

Look at the nominations and you will be reminded that this past season was an exciting one for DC area theatre. The most impressive aspect of Washington theatre is the incredible range of work that we have access to. From black box theatres running on shoestring budgets to multi-million dollar organizations, you are guaranteed to find examples of captivating and moving work all over town.

Paul Scanlan (Moritz). Photo by C. Stanley Photography.
Helen Hayes Award nominee Paul Scanlan (Moritz). Photo by C. Stanley Photography.

Only a few theatre artists were nominated tonight, and even fewer will actually take home awards at the Helen Hayes Award ceremony on April 8th.  As we celebrate tonight’s nominees, it is also important to remember that for each artist nominated, there are many more who created excellent work in last year’s theatre season.

The spirit of the Helen Hayes Awards is not merely about who gets nominated or who “gets to go home with Helen”, as Linda Levy Grossman said tonight.  The awards are a celebration of the amazing artists that choose to make Washington their home.

Helen Hayes Awards nominee  Dayna Quincy (Celie). Photo by Kirstine Christiansen.
Helen Hayes Awards nominee Dayna Quincy (Celie). Photo by Kirstine Christiansen.

We are lucky to have such talent in this town. Tonight is a reminder of that talent.  It is also a reminder to get out there and see local theatre. As Victor Shargai said this evening: “I urge you to keep producing, take risks, and go to a show.”

If last year was a cathartic and intriguing theatre season, this one promises to be even more enticing. Attend productions at area theatres large and small. You will be surprised at the amount of thought-provoking and gripping artistry that is available to you.

The nominations are listed here.

helen hayes ceremony

Congratulations to all of the nominees and to all of the artists who comprise the Washington theatre scene. We will all look forward to discovering who the winners are at the Helen Hayes Award Ceremony on April 8, 2013 at The Warner Theatre.

Now it’s your turn to let us know what you think. What nominations made you smile? Who are you disappointed didn’t make the list? Who do you think will received the awards? Put your comments in the comment box under this article and share your thoughts with our readers.

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Cate Brewer
Cate Brewer is an actor, director, and educator based in Washington, DC. Recent DC acting credits include: (Theatre) Sue Bayliss in All My Sons at Keegan Theatre, Mrs. Hasty Malone in The Ballad of a Sad Café at Arena Stage’s Edward Albee Festival, Beverly West in MAE at The Mead Theatre Lab, Sandra/Sue in Synapse Theatre’s production of The Exonerated and Dr. Martha Livingstone in Rhodera Theatre Company's production of Agnes of God. (Film/Television) The Good Listener, Twisted Fate, Who The Bleep Did I Marry?, and Stolen Voices, Buried Secrets for the Lifetime Network and Identification Discovery Channel. Recent directing credits include Into the Woods for City of Fairfax Theatre Company, Four Riffs For A Sailor (Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage), and Gina and Her GPS for The DC SWAN Day Festival. Cate teaches summer Shakespeare intensives at Imagination Stage, and is a faculty member in The Department of Theatre and Dance at University of Mary Washington.