In San Francisco, the first ever, theatrical presentation on record was held on June 22, 1849. It took place at the police headquarters, the performance-by "Jeemes Pipes of Pipesville." Little did they know that 165 years later, the Bay Area would blossom to be the third largest theatre center in the country. On Monday, November 10th, the TBA awards made its debut at the American Conservatory Theater's historic, Geary Theater.
The evening was a glittering love letter, opened by one of the most powerful voices in American musical theater, Tony award winner, Betty Buckley (in town for her sold out gigs at Feinstein's at the Nikko). The rest of the evening was hosted by nationally acclaimed performers Will Durst and Marga Gomez, presenters included actors, directors, playwrights, designers and artistic leaders from companies such as African-American Shakespeare Company, AlterTheater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Broadway By the Bay, Center Repertory Theatre, City Lights Theater Company, Ferocious Lotus Theatre Company, Lucky Penny Productions, Marin Shakespeare Company, Marin Theatre Company, San Francisco Mime Troupe, San Francisco Playhouse, Shotgun Players and Z Space. Over 700 theatre makers, fans and guests gathered to celebrate the outstanding artistic achievements.
Highlights of the evening included special performances from the cast members of Thrillpeddlers' "Pearls Over Shanghai," Z Space's "Hundred Days," TheatreWorks' "Marry Me a Little" and Broadway By the Bay's "Dreamgirls." Also, "Beach Blanket Babylon" was honored as the world's longest-running musical revue, 40 years and counting!
The TBA Awards Celebration was sponsored by Actors Equity Association, Celebrity Cruises, Flying Moose Pictures, Goldstar, The Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Philanthropic Fund, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Wells Fargo Bank and Vendini. The annual program is underwritten in part by grants from the Fleishhacker Foundation and the Kenneth Rainin Foundation. The ceremony was produced by Robert Sokol of VIA MEDIA with TBA's Brad Erickson serving as Executive Producer.
Needless to say, the future of theater is safe, because it's being nurtured by the hotbed of talent in San Francisco.