And the nominees are…

These youth came out to support Spotlight Youth Theatre, one of three Valley theater companies nominated for both best youth play and best youth musical

This year’s Tony Awards ceremony in NYC has come and gone, but Arizona theater folk (and those who love them) gathered Mon, Aug 1 to hear a reading of nominations for the 21st annual AriZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence.

The reading, held at Phoenix Theatre, was followed by an after-party at BLISS/ReBAR — described during ceremony remarks as “huge supporters of the arts.” The 2011 AriZoni Awards ceremony honoring excellence during the 2010/11 season takes place Sept 19 at Tempe Center for the Arts.

Mesa Community College supporters at the Monday event included (L to R) Sarah Stellpflug, Jacqui Stevenson, Tyler Pounds and Heather Fallon

The AriZoni Awards recognize the best professional, community and youth theater among participating theaters in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Most, but not all, Valley theaters take part.

The 2011 ceremony features one portion for youth theater companies (5:30-7:30pm) followed by another for other theater companies (8-10:30pm). Folks of all ages, theater geek or no, can attend.

Maggie McNeil (L) and Taylor Lawritson came out to support Theater Works, and sat in a front row gleefully clapping for each Theater Works nomination

The best seats in the house go to nominees, so get your tickets early once they go on sale to get the best possible view of the evening’s festivities. No swanky evening gowns are required but folks do tend to show up a bit on the dressy side.

Overall production-youth play nominations went to works by Actor’s Youth Theatre, East Valley Children’s Theatre, Fountain Hills Community Theater Youth Theater, Spotlight Youth Theatre and Theater Works Youth Works.

Overall production-youth musical nominations went to Actor’s Youth Theatre, DFT Gecko Teatro, East Valley Children’s Theatre, Greasepaint Youtheatre, Musical Theatre of Anthem and Spotlight Youth Theatre.

Ryan Smith (R), Natalie Kilker and Andrey Lull attended Monday night to support Fountain Hills Community Theater, which has nominations in several categories

I have a few nominations of my own. The “biggest single totally-out-of-nowhere yelp!” award for Monday evening is a tie between those rooting for Damon Evans of MoezArt Productions’ “Here We Sit” and those cheering for Ron May of Stray Cat Theatre’s “Learn to be Latina.”

The “most overjoyed as evidenced by non-stop gasps and giggles” award goes to the cheerful crowd from Actor’s Youth Theatre, whose “Les Miserables – School Edition” raked in a ton of nominations. I asked one of their young supporters if she’d counted the theater’s total number of nods for the evening, and she quickly quipped “thirty.” I’m not going to check her math but it sounds about right.

Trevor Bowler (L) was there to cheer on AYT with Dale, Chelsea and Jamie (R) Mortensen and others whose enthusiasm with each nomination was infectious

You can hit the AriZoni Awards website for a full list of official nominations in every category. Of course those of us who heard them read by Yolanda London, Robert Kolby Harper and Kurtis W. Overby — emcees for the September awards ceremony — had infinitely more fun.

Scholarship and community award nominations are being accepted through Aug 15. Click here to learn more. Just promise me, please, that you won’t nominate me for any “worst-dressed” awards.

— Lynn

Note: Nominees have been selected for this year’s Business in the Arts Awards, which recognize “outstanding achievements, collaborations and contributions to and for arts organizations in metro Phoenix.” Honorees will be announced at a breakfast event Wed, Aug 17. Table sponsorships, event tickets and raffle tickets are available at

Coming up: Writers workshops, Valley acting studios, Ode to ensembles

Photo credit: Lynn Trimble


One response to “And the nominees are…

  1. Taylor Lawritson

    Thanks for the awesome times.

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