By Iride Aparicio


Photos by Ray Renati

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – November 10th  in San Francisco, was the evening when the “Theatre People” in the Bay Area, left their props untouched, the pages of their scripts unread, the back drops hanging in place, and all the actors and actresses dressed as they wanted,  shelved their  “roles,” and talked with each other spontaneously instead of reciting their lines. On that night, for the first time in San Francisco,  awards were going to be given to all the outstanding artists from the Bay Area at the Theatre Bay Area Inaugural Awards Celebration in the historic American Conservatory Theatre.

Inside the Geary Theatre, one could feel the “electricity” generated by the expectation. For the first time, all those working in theatrical productions, directors, designers, actors, and the productions themselves, were going to be recognized by their peers, with an “Award.”  For the first time, their hard work was going to be given the recognition they have deserved and earned during many years. And Theatre Bay Area, a non-profit service organization for theatre and dance artists in the Bay Area, demonstrated how to put on a show, on that night.

Left to Right Hosts  Marga Gomez and Will Durst
                  Left to Right Hosts  Marga Gomez and Will Durst         

The Awards, divided into three different tiers to reflect the different resources and affiliations of each company, were  hosted by nationally acclaimed performers Marga Gomez and Will Durst. Writer/Performer, Gomez is a San Francisco-based comedian and solo performer who has received awards from GLAAD  and San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle. She is  also a triple winner of the San Francisco Bay Guardian’s “Best of the Bay  Comedian” Award. Her acting credits include Off-Broadway and national productions of plays and films. Durst is acknowledge by peers and press  as one of the premier political satirists in the country. His career includes TV and radio shows, acting,  writing, voice-overs and stand-up comedy. He has released four books, five CDs and writes a nationally syndicated humor column. He is a frequent contributor to CNN and MSNBC.

The presenters on that night included directors, playwrights, designers and leaders from different theatres among them: The African-American Shakespeare Company, the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Broadway by the Bay, Center Repertory Theatre, City Lights Theatre 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.  

Tony-Award-Winner BETTY BUCKLEY “The Voice of Broadway
Tony-Award-Winner Betty Buckley often called “The Voice of Broadway”

A welcome to the audience, was given on that night  by Tony Award winner American Stage, Film and television actress and concert hall performer  Betty Buckley, often called “The voice of Broadway,”  who in 2012 was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame. With such a broad career, her credits are too many to list. They include working as a teacher of song interpretation for 40 years. Ms. Buckley is also an accomplished cabaret and recording artist with 16 CDs including the just-released “Ghostlight” produced by T Bone Burnett.

TBA       Awards Program Manager ROBERT SOKOL 

TBA Awards Program Manager Robert Sokol

Among the principal speakers on that evening were THEATRE BAY AREA Awards Program Manager and Producer Robert Sokol and TBA Executive Director Brad Erickson.

Left   TBA Executive Director BRAD ERICKSON &

Left TBA Executive Director Brad Erickson& Z Space Artistic Director  Lisa Steindler

Among  those recipients of the AWARDS WERE:


Joan Mankin, described in the program as “a clown at heart and by profession" is a former member of both Make-a-Circus and a former member of the Pickle Family Circus, where she tumbled with fellow baggy-pants Jesters. She would also play for laughs, in Shakespeare Santa Cruz, and is a former company member of the Mime Troupe in San Francisco. One can say that there is not a significant stage in the Bay Area that Mankin has not trod.

Jill Matichak is a partner at Chapman and Cutler LLP, a national law firm focused on representing lenders in a broad range of financial transactions. She has been recognized by Chambers USA, Legal 500 and Best Lawyers as a leading banking an finance attorney.  In 2012 she was named “Lawyer of the Year” in Banking and finance Law in S.F. The attorney, who is a former board chair of Magic Theatre, a Producer and an investor in the Broadway debuts of a number of contemporary writers,  is also an avid theater goer and a passionate supporter of the Arts.  

With its hilarious spoofs of pop culture, spectacular costumes, enormous hats, and an ever-changing lineup of hilarious characters. the acclaimed musical revue that calls Club Fugazi in North Beach San Francisco its home, has been seen by nearly six million people from around the world. 

Outstanding production of a Musical:  The Threepenny Opera
                                                            San Jose Stage Company

Outstanding production of a Musical:  Fences
                                                             Marin Theatre Company

Outstanding direction of a Musical:     Kenneth Kelleher
                                                            The Threepenny Opera
                                                            San Jose Stage Company

Outstanding direction of a Musical:    Aaron Posner
                                                            The Comedy of Errors
                                                            California Shakespeare Theatre

Outstanding performance of a Female Actor in a principal role in a Musical:
                                                                Sharon Rietkerk
                                                                Marry Me a Little
                                                                Theatre Works
Outstanding performance of a Male Actor in a principal role in a Musical:
                                                                Johnny Moreno
                                                                 The House that will Not Stand
                                                                 Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Outstanding performance by a Female Actor in a principal role in a play:
                                                                 Harriett D. Foy
                                                                 The House that will Not Stand
                                                                 Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Outstanding Performance By a Male Actor in a principal role in a play:
                                                                 Danny Schele
                                                                 The Comedy of Errors.
                                                                 California Shakespeare Theater

For the Complete List of all the Outstanding Awards’ winners go to:

PEARLS  OVER SHANGAI Cast  Special Performance

PEARLS  OVER SHANGAI Cast  Special Performance

The complete list is long because we ought to remember that the San Francisco Bay Area is the third largest theatre center in the country with more than 400 companies in nine counties, and that the region boasts more theatre companies per capita than almost any other metropolitan area in the United States.

On its inagural night, the TBA AWARDS was a celebration with dazzling performers,  fabulous clothes and wonderful entertainment. A sparkling evening  that culminated with pomegranate champagne cocktails.

For a detailed information about the TBA AWARDS read CULTURAL WORLD BILINGUAL INTERVIEWS WITH  TBA producer Robert Sokol and TBA Executive director Brad Erickson.