HANNIBAL, Mo. -- Bluff City Theater, founded in Hannibal in 2013, has been nominated by broadwayworld.com for St. Louis Regional Awards in 12 categories.
Productions in the running for recognition are "The Boys in Autumn" and "Emily: The Musical." This marks the first time in the theater's four-year history that it has been nominated by BroadwayWorld, which bills itself as the largest theater website devoted to Broadway and theater around the country and world.
"I actually didn't know we had been nominated until a friend in Canada congratulated me," Bluff City Theater Executive Director Joe Anderson said. "Then I looked it up for myself. We're up against big cities and theaters, and we're excited to be recognized."
"The Boys in Autumn," which ran in June, is about how Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn reunite in Hannibal in the 1920s and reminisce about their childhood adventures. Bluff City Theater had the U.S. premiere of "Emily: The Musical" at the end of June, and the play follows Emily and her friends from their teens into young adulthood, through joy and sorrow, and through pain and compromise.
BroadwayWorld, which covers Broadway, the West End and theater productions in 100 U.S. cities and 50 countries, gives out theater awards each year. Nominations for its St. Louis Regional Awards, which Bluff City Theater is included in, were reader-submitted, and eligible productions opened between October 2016 and September 2017.
Bluff City Theater nominations are:
º Best Actor in a Musical: Kyle Klein and Matthew Combs, "Emily: The Musical."
º Best Actress in a Musical: Janine Norman, "Emily: The Musical."
º Best Actor in a Drama: John Contini and Jim Anthony, "The Boys in Autumn."
º Best Supporting Actor in a Musical: Dallas James and Jonathan Mesisca, "Emily: The Musical."
º Best Supporting Actress in a Musical: Courtney Friday and Rosemary Watts, "Emily: The Musical."
º Best Costumes Musical: Ryan Moore, "Emily: The Musical."
º Best Direction of Musical: Jennifer Stewart, "Emily: The Musical."
º Best Direction of a Drama: Jason Contini, "The Boys in Autumn."
º Best Music Direction, Best Musical Direction: Colin Healy, "Emily: The Musical."
º Best Ensemble Performance, Best Musical: "Emily: The Musical."
º Best Drama: "The Boys in Autumn."
º Best Theatre Company: Bluff City Theater.
"When we were first working on our 10-year strategic plan about five years ago, one of our objectives was to build a regionally successful theater. I believe we're on our way to that," Anderson said. "We're attracting a high caliber of talent because we choose interesting work that isn't mainstream and isn't done often."
Anderson also attributes Hannibal-area theatergoers as being instrumental in Bluff City Theater's success.
"It's amazing that little Hannibal is competing against these bigger theaters," he said. "Then again, this (competition) requires audience participation, and perhaps because we are a smaller community is why our audiences are voting for us. I hope people continue to take the time to vote."
People can vote for Bluff City Theater or other St. Louis-area favorites at broadwayworld.com/st-louis/vote2017region.cfm. Voting is open through Dec. 31.