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Edwina Awards returning to Egyptian

By MATT JAMES ,Of the Record staff

The Egyptian Theatre Company’s 2005 season is about to come to a close, and November has just begun. That means the Edwina Awards are upon us. The theatre company’s seventh annual awards night and season kickoff will take place this Saturday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. in the Egyptian Theatre. As always the event will include the Edwinas advertised as the Egyptian’s version of the Tonys and a complete run-down of the upcoming 2006 season, which is the theatre company’s 25th anniversary. "This year we’re highlighting our 25th anniversary, so we’re looking back at what we’ve done," said Dana Durbano Keiter.

"We’re going to spend a bit of time bringing back the shows we’ve done over the last 25 years, and a bit about what we’re doing this year," said theatre company board member Debbie Walsh. The show itself will also include a number from "Seusical the Musical," the theatre company’s latest play, which is currently in rehearsal. Egyptian regular and Edwina Awards advertisement poster boy Marc Raymond will emcee the show. For the first time, there will be a $10 charge to attend. According to Betsy Shotwell Smith, a member of the Egyptian Theatre Company board of directors and the event’s organizer, the fee is to prevent people from making reservations and not showing up for the show, which was a problem in the past. This way theatre company hopes to have a person coming for each reservation. Edwina Awards will be given for the best performances from last season’s shows, which includes "The Wizard of Oz," "Jesus Christ Super Star" and "La Cage aux Folles."

There will be six categories, best leading actor, best leading actress, best supporting actor, best supporting actress, excellence in design (for designing sets, lighting or costumes), and excellence in direction/choreography. Additionally, for the first time, the Egyptian will give awards golden turkey statuettes for the "best" of the 2005 "Park City Follies." There will be turkeys for best act, best actress or actor and best script writer. The awards ceremony and show, however, will be just a part of the evening. The event will start with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the theatre lobby, followed by the show and awards ceremony in the theatre. A third-floor reception will conclude the evening. Catering will be provided by Done to Your Taste.

"It’s an annual open house that we have for our patrons," said Smith.

The evening’s main purpose, she added, is to promote the Egyptian’s annual subscription drive. The subscription drive offers Egyptian patrons a chance to purchase one of two season subscriptions. The first, a First-Nighter subscription, gives its holder a ticket to the opening night of each Egyptian Theatre Company show (except for Bill Engvall and Wiley and the Hairy Man), plus admission to the receptions that follow. The First-Nighter subscription is $250. The second is a five-punch pass, which costs $144 and is new for the 2006 season.

"It’s new for us this year and it offers total flexibility," said Walsh. The five-punch pass will give its holder five discounted tickets to any production or productions. Once those tickets are used, a pass-holder may purchase additional tickets at the same reduced rate.

According to Smith, subscriptions are particularly important to the theatre because of the high costs associated with the shows the company is producing. "Part of the ‘rock and the hard place’ we’ve gotten ourselves into is, we’ve raised the bar, and the board thinks there’s just no going back," she said. While the Egyptian’s bigger shows are undoubtedly more popular, selling out the majority of their runs, the production costs are often impossible to cover because of the theatre’s relatively small 266-seat capacity. The subscription dollars make it possible for the theatre company to produce the bigger shows, Smith said. Walsh said the Egyptian’s 2006 offerings would feature the same feel as last year’s.

"Anyone who enjoyed our last season will enjoy this season," she said. The 2006 lineup includes "The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron," "The Full Monty," "Bill Engvall Live," "The Park City Follies," "The Glen Miller Orchestra," "Urinetown, The Musical," "Wiley and the Hairy Man," and "A Broadway Christmas Carol."

Keiter said the Edwina Awards and season kickoff gives the Egyptian an opportunity to give something else back to those who support the theatre.

"This is a thank you to our patrons," she said. "It’s a wonderful evening, between the energy and the food," said Walsh.

"It’s a really funny, fun night," said Keiter.

The Edwina Awards and Season Kickoff will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Egyptian Theatre. Tickets are $10 and are available at the Egyptian Theatre box office or at 649-9371. For more information, visit http://www.parkcityshows.com.


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