Dear Editor, There is a lot of theatre in Austin: good, bad, ugly, transformative. Thirty-nine years ago, The B. Iden Payne Awards Council was created to support, promote, and recognize excellence in Austin’s theatre community. After 39 years, it is unfortunate that the 2012-13 BIPAC nominations contain no nominations for Outstanding Director of a Musical. It is also confusing; for while the directing category is empty, the list of nominees for Outstanding Production of a Musical is full. According to the BIPAC Artistic Guidelines, the following serve as definitions for nominations in both the Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Production of a Musical categories: “Direction: Guides and supports all creative and technical elements of a production to tell a unified and integrated affecting story. ... Production: The cohesive synthesis of all production elements including design, direction, and performance.” Based on these definitions, it seems an oversight to not include nominations for Outstanding Director of a Musical in the 2012-13 season. It seems highly unlikely all five nominations for Outstanding Musical Productions were outstanding due in no part whatsoever to the director. This theatre is represented by hundreds of artists who have devoted their time, money, energy, passions, and love to its creation with the idea that it will somehow strengthen those who experience it. This is no reason to garner awards. However, the artists and community know there is work in this city worthy of recognition and if the organization tasked to remit those accolades fails to do so, then that organization is remiss in its duties. This lack of recognition is unfortunate for the council and the community. It is hopeful that the council recognizes this oversight and reconvenes for a special session to reassess and bring forth nominations in the category of Outstanding Director of a Musical.
Julianna Elizabeth Wright Artistic Director Half & Half Productions