If I've been lucky enough to have you reading here for a while, you know that my family works on a lot of musicals. This all started when our church did a "One Time Only" production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" as a way to get the community into our new location - an old Target store on South Lindbergh.
Well, much to our surprise, the production was a HUGE hit, as night after night we looked at the lines of people, reaching out into the parking lot, streaming in to see the show. Well, we were hooked. We've been producing both sacred and secular production ever since.
In 2008, we produced our 4th fall musical (the time of year we have settled on doing a Broadway show). In 2008, we did "Music Man."
Again, it was a huge success by any measure, and best of all, we were all really proud of the work we had done, which involved somewhere around 150 people, both from our church and the community. This year, we learned that we received 12 "Arts for Life" nominations for the show, including the big one "Best Large Ensemble Musical." No matter what else happened, our show was selected as one of the five best of the year! We also tied one other theater company in most award nominations. The "Arts for Life" awards are basically a St. Louis version of the "Tony's" for amateur theater. It's thrilling to receive the recognition these nominations provide from the theater community!
Finally, last weekend (the weekend after Father's Day), the award show was upon us.
The awards show was held at the beautiful "Sheldon Concert Hall" smack in the middle of the theater district in Mid-town St. Louis.
Interestingly, this year I had decided not to rent a tux to save a bit of money (these formal events can be costly!) and go with my suit, instead. However, at the last minute I learned that my suit was in no condition to be used and was in a bit of a bind! Believe it or not, I ended up BUYING a Clavin Klein tux. This now expands my mostly t-shirt wardrobe to include t-shirts AND A TUX. Well, over time, this will save me some money, right? The rest of the family is smashing as always. This picture was taken just before going in for the awards show, in a reception area. That's Rebecca, Rachel, and Dianne in the front, and me in the back. You didn't actually think I looked like Micky Mouse, did you?
Since we were nominated as best musical, we got to do a production number during the awards show. We did a combination of "76 Trombones", "Sincere" (the barbershop quartet), and then "Shipoopi." In the actual show, the "Shipoopi" dance had over 80 people in it! Fortunately, not everyone could come, because they would not have fit on the small Sheldon stage. We DID have around 30 performers though, and they BROUGHT THE HOUSE DOWN. It was incredible. We looked like "best musical" contenders! My wife is in the middle of this shot, back row, just under the video of our program cover. My daughter, Rebecca, is actually on the floor in front of the stage, but you can't see her very well in this exposure.
This shot is the BIG FINISH of the dance. They had just yelled "Shipoopi!" for the last time. <sniff>
Eventually, we got down to the final award presentation for "Best Large Ensemble Musical." As it turned out, we did not win. "Big - The Musical" won, and it looked like it was also an incredible show. They were also the OTHER show that had 12 nominations. They ended up walking away with three awards, and we received two.
Our award winners were Bethany Poppitz for "Best Actress in a non-singing role" and Kristi Eberley for "Best Lighting Design." Congrats to everyone!
Afterward, there was a nice reception where we mingled with the rest of the St. Louis Theater Community, including a number of Muny performers that were in "Annie" at The Muny. The shot above is "Mint Julep" on the left (you've read about her here before! Click the link!) and my daughter Rebecca on the right.
Obviously, you want to be part the excitement this year, right? Well we will be doing "Annie" ourselves for two weeks in September. Tickets go on sale August 8th. For more information, click through to the Christ Memorial Productions website!