A group of theater writers in Seattle have banded together to create a “critics’ circle” award to recognize excellence in the theater community. Naming themselves Seattle Theater Writers and announcing the Gypsy Rose Lee awards, eleven writers from various arts websites and print publications (including this writer) have gotten together to agree with each other.

That’s not necessarily the easiest concept, since many of these writers often disagree when writing reviews of various shows around town. The name of the awards is apt, because Gypsy Rose Lee was born in Seattle (as Rose Louise Hovick) and “gypsies” are an old colloquial name for actors, since they have so often roamed around making their craft. The inaugural awards will be for calendar year 2011.

The Seattle Theater Writers have a Facebook page that you can go to. You can “like” the page and also go there frequently to see reviews and commentary posted there from virtually all the reviewers in town (including others who write for CultureMob). It won’t be able to be formatted “by show”, since Facebook is  chronological, but you’ll be able to scroll down to look for posts on a particular show if you’d like.

The Facebook page might work as a kind of a one-stop-shop for helping you choose what shows you might want to see, based on what you read. Reviews are often helpful in deciding how to spend your precious dollars on shows you might enjoy.

The important job, though, is creating and then voting on this new celebration of excellence. By getting eleven writers to a consensus, it’s hoped to create a sense of credibility that has so far been lacking in Seattle’s artistic history. Many cities with far less theater have “critics’ awards” and Seattle has not, yet.

If you go to the Facebook page and look at the Notes section, you’ll see explanations of the plan. (The Notes section doesn’t scroll away in time nearly as easily.) The announcement will be made on January 20, 2012. Keep an eye out here and on Facebook, as well as multiple other places the writers write for.

STW hopes the Gypsys will help everyone celebrate great theater, and bring a broader awareness to the public about who’s doing exciting work. A number of the writers love, love, love musicals, and insist that they should be recognized in their own right. So, musicals are given some specific awards among the 32 potential categories.

Comments, either on the Facebook page or to seattletheater@gmail.com, or at the end of this article, are welcomed.

Community Seattle Theater Gets New Awards from Seattle Theater Writers