The 2015 Ovation Awards was an impressive event. More than 1100 from the LA Theatre Community showed up to celebrate the accomplishments of our artists over the past year. Just as important to the celebration was the palpable sense that there was a new beginning to the LA Theatre Story, at least a new act with new opportunities.
Yes there was a pallor of concern, the omnipresent awareness that the battle with the AEA had just begun, but as is the case with arts and artists, optimism and the promise of a brighter day was by far the pervasive mood. French and Vanessa Stewart were brilliant hosts, Vanessa with her graceful control and wit providing a perfect counterpoint to the humor that is so famously emblematic of French himself.
French may have scored the biggest moment in introducing Michael Ritchie, who actually found himself speechless after the introduction. After finding his voice, Mr. Ritchie announced what most of the audience already knew, that Los Angeles was the most creative and prolific theatre community in America, possibly the world. In speaking of his pride to be working here, the sincerity was absolute.
Brian Kite, the presiding President of the Los Angeles Stage Alliance and the new chair of the Theatre Department at UCLA, introduced the audience to the new LASA Executive Director, Steven Leigh Morris. Though perhaps one of the people in LA that needs no introduction, Steven breathed a rush of fresh air into the room as he spoke of the promise and future of LA Theatre. His commitment and vision will provide a strong beacon in the coming days.
Los Angeles theatre makers were proud last night, and well they should be. Every show nominated, and many that weren’t, are brilliant examples of what can be achieved when the art is more important than the artists. If we can sustain that ideal, we as a community will achieve heights heretofore unseen.
Bravo to the winners, Bravo to the Nominees, but most importantly, Bravo to our community for persevering despite the multitude of challenges that we face on a daily basis.