My name is Kelly Crews and I am the President of the ariZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence. I just wanted to drop a quick reply to your recent remarks about the ariZonis and our Ceremony, which was held on Monday, September 21.
I know that you have a long history with the organization, but we�re changing and growing, and I'd like to tell you about some of our changes, if you don�t mind:
Over the past few years we have been surveying our participating theaters, as well as local actors, directors and technicians in the valley. Most of these changes are the direct result of information we received in those surveys:
1.We have split the Ceremony so that the Youth Ceremony happens earlier in the day. This way they can celebrate with their peers and still get home at a more reasonable hour. We have worked very hard to make sure our kids don�t feel like they got �relegated to the kids� table. (This was requested by an overwhelming majority of our theaters.) As a matter of fact, this year�s Youth Ceremony (touted by many as the best yet!) had the same emcees (the always fabulous Joseph Kremer and D. Scott Withers), the same opening number performance (performed by youth representing the youth theaters) and all the same trimmings as the Adult Ceremony. And it was REALLY fun!
2.The creation of Rubrics for all of our adjudicators to use when seeing a show. These Rubrics, available on our website: www.arizoniawards.org, were created by consulting MANY theater professionals and those in theater education. We've increased our Adjudicator training to make better use of these rubrics, and we are able to be more selective in those we choose as adjudicators, because we now request a theater resume with every application.
3.We've completely revamped the Contracted Adjudication process for our professional theaters (again, it was requested by the Professional theaters). We did a lot of research on other regional adjudication processes in large markets such as the Jeffersons and the Barrymores, and put together a plan that we are now proudly following for our second year.
We have a panel of 7 Contracted Musical Judges and 7 Contracted Play judges. The same 7 people see all of the shows in that category during the year. Then, at the end of the season, they all come together to rank their top 10 � keeping in mind EVERY show that they saw during the year. We're literally comparing apples to apples now!
Also, the Contracted Category has 5 nominees and 1 winner, now, rather than 10 nominees and 2 winners as in the past. This is a direct result of those surveys I mentioned earlier. The theaters asked for it and we answered! (Note: Youth Theaters and Non-Contracted (community) theaters still have 10 nominees and 2 winners in each category, but that�s because they requested we keep that configuration for them.)
So there are a few things I thought you might want to know about�we�re trying really hard to improve the adjudication process, as well as the Ceremony. We have a terrific Board of Directors who have been working really hard to think outside our �because it�s always been done that way� box, and I am very proud of the changes we�ve made.
I�d like to invite you to come and talk to some of our members now. I truly believe that you will find not only a happier Board, but more importantly, some pretty happy theaters as well! As a matter of fact, I�m not sure if you know this or not, but Black Theatre Troupe came back to the fold last year and joined again, and they seem to be very pleased with our changes. (Pretty proud of that fact, too!) ;-)
Thanks for taking the time to listen. And I hope you�ll contact me if there are any questions I could answer for you!
Kelly Crews, PresidentAriZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence