How the Artsies process works

If you’ve ever wondered how the finalists are selected, here’s a rundown of the process:

Eligible members of the Richmond Theatre Critics Circle and the TAP members are involved in the process. TAP stands for the Theatre Alliance Panel. They’re community members who are not affiliated with any theatre. They’re nominated by the Richmond Theatre Alliance and attend the eligible shows. As with the critics, they must have seen 2/3 of the eligible shows to vote. CLICK HERE for a list of critics and TAP members.


Both TAP and RTCC members vote on their top 3 choices in each category via email. The TAP choices are weighed equally with the critics’ choices. They’re compiled on a spreadsheet which reveals the top nominations in each category.

When we meet in September, we review the list:

  1. If there’s a clear group of 5 with the highest score in a category, those are the nominations.
  1. If there are more than 5, we discuss the merits of the top scorers. Both TAP and RTCC members can suggest that the category be extended to more than 5 nominees.
  1. If there are still questions, any member can make an “impassioned plea,” where he/she can either endorse or disparage a choice with the aim of getting others to change their vote. The goal is to both reduce the final number to 5 and to make sure those 5 are the consensus choice.
  1. Voters can review their choices and make changes. If nobody is willing to adjust their scores, there’s a vote and the majority rules.

Recipients Selected

Only the critics vote on the finalists. Each category is considered and NO nominations other than those chosen are considered at this point. Critics may redistribute their votes if one of their chosen nominees did NOT end up in the final list.

The vote totals are tallied:

  1. If the category has one clear top nominee, it’s declared the finalist.
  1. If more than one nominee has the same or nearly the same number of points. critics can suggest that the category be extended to allow more than 1 winner.
  1. If there’s still a stalemate, the president will call for impassioned pleas. Either TAP or RTCC members can respond to endorse or disparage a choice, aiming to get critics to change their vote. The goal is to both reduce the category to one winner and to make sure the winner is the consensus.
  1. After that, critics can elect to change their votes. If the category remains in a tie, TAP members and non-voting RTCC members vote to break the tie in a one-person/one-vote system.

The results are final. Either a single nominee is identified as or a tie is confirmed. The nominations are published, which begins the anticipation of the final announcements at the Artsies Awards.

2018 Artsies

The Richmond Theatre Critics Circle presented the Artsies on 10/7 at Virginia Rep’s November Theatre. The theme was “Location, Location, Location” exploring the resourcefulness of our theaters in creating art and magic in mostly non-traditional locations (links to videos below).

Jessi Johnson & Alexander Sapp were the singing/dancing hosts, while Michael Hawke and Thomas Nowlin provided sideline wise cracks (and a musical number). The celebration after-party held featured the just-opened Broad Street restaurant Bar Solita.

The list of 2017 RTCC’s award recipients (including nominations) .

Recap of the event, including 5 videos!

Photos (coming soon)


Here are the recipients IN BOLD of the 11th Annual Richmond Theatre Critcs Circle Award (the nominees are also listed).


Best Musical: West Side Story – Virginia Rep

Alice, A New Musical – Firehouse/TheatreLAB

Fun Home – Cadence Theatre in partnership with Virginia Rep

The Last Five Years – TheatreLAB/Yes, And! Entertainment

Preludes – Firehouse


Best Direction (Musical): Billy Christopher Maupin, Preludes

Adam Ferguson, Alice

Chase Kniffen, Fun Home

Nathaniel Shaw, West Side Story

Kerrigan Sullivan, Wings, Firehouse


Best Actor (Musical): PJ Freebourn, Preludes

Duke Lafoon, Fun Home

Justin Luciano, West Side Story

Dale Sampson, The View Upstairs, Richmond Triangle Players

Alexander Sapp, The Last Five Years


Best Actress (Musical): Bianca Bryan, Wings

Alexa Cepeda, A Chorus Line, Richmond Triangle Players

Christie Jackson, The Last Five Years

Brittany Santos, West Side Story

Debra Wagoner, Tomfoolery, Swift Creek Mill


Best Supporting Actor (Musical): Levi Meerovich, Preludes

Steven Rada, A Chorus Line

Morgan Reynolds, Mary Poppins, Virginia Rep

Alexander Sapp, A Chorus Line

Travis West, Preludes


Best Supporting Actress (Musical): Elizabeth Wyld, Fun Home

Maggie Bavolack, Alice

Daria DeGaetano, A Chorus Line

Maria Cristina Slye, West Side Story

Debra Wagoner, Mary Poppins


Best Musical Direction: Susan Randolph Braden, Preludes

Paul Deiss, Tomfoolery

Leilani Fenick/Michael Knowles, To Damascus, Firehouse

Kim Fox, Wings

Anthony Smith, West Side Story


Best Choreography: Lisa Rumbauskas, Mary Poppins

Kikau Alvaro, Fun Home

Justin Amellio, A Chorus Line

Emily Dandridge, Preludes

Alissa Pagnotti, Dames at Sea


Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design (Musical): Sarah Grady, West Side Story

Leslie Cook-Day, Preludes

Sue Griffin and Jeanne Nugent, Mary Poppins


Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design (Musical): Bill Miller, Wings

Christian DeAngelis, Preludes

Joe Doran, Fun Home

Michael Jarett, The Last Five Years

BJ Wilkinson, West Side Story


Outstanding Achievement in Set Design (Musical): David Melton, The View Upstairs

Scott Bradley, West Side Story

Tennessee Dixon, Preludes

Adam Ferguson, Alice

Vinnie Gonzalez, Wings


Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design (Musical): Jason Blue Herbert, Wings

Derek Dumais, Fun Home

Derek Dumais, Mary Poppins

Derek Dumais, West Side Story

Ryan Dygert, Preludes


Best Play: Appropriate, Cadence Theatre in partnership with Virginia Rep

Cloud 9, Richmond Triangle Players

Corpus Christi, Richmond Triangle Players

Hand to God, 5th Wall/TheatreLAB

The Normal Heart, Richmond Triangle Players

Top Dog/Underdog, TheatreLAB


Best Direction (Play): Anna Senechal Johnson, Appropriate

Josh Chenard, Desire under the Elms, Firehouse

Gary C. Hopper, Hand to God

Katrinah Carol Lewis, Top Dog/Underdog

James Ricks, Lysistrata, Quill


Best Actor (Play): Adam Turck, Hand to God

Matt Bloch, Cloud 9

Bostin Christopher, The Christians, Cadence Theatre in partnership with Virginia Rep

Jim Morgan, The Normal Heart

Jeremy V. Morris, Top Dog/Underdog


Best Actress (Play): Susan Sanford, Appropriate

Trezana Beverley, A Raisin in the Sun

Kimberly Jones Clark, Hand to God

Maggie Roop, Crimes of the Heart, Virginia Rep (Hanover Tavern)

Laine Satterfield, Cloud 9

Catherine Shaffner, Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End, Virginia Rep (Hanover Tavern)


Best Supporting Actor (Play): Happy Mahaney, Appropriate

Chandler Hubbard, Corpus Christi

John Mincks, Miracle on South Division Street, Virginia Rep (Hanover Tavern)

Matt Shofner, Romeo & Juliet (VMFA), Quill

Adam Valentine, Hand to God


Best Supporting Actress (Play): Donna Marie Miller, Food, Clothing, and Shelter, Firehouse

Maggie Bavolack, Lysistrata

Jasmine Coles, A Raisin in the Sun

Melissa Johnston Price, Romeo & Juliet

Jill Bari Steinberg, Appropriate


Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design (Play): Aaron Mastin, Shakespeare in Love, Virginia Rep

Cora Delbridge, As You Like It, Quill

Cora Delbridge, Romeo & Juliet

Sheila Russ, The Normal Heart

Emily Tappan, A Raisin in the Sun


Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design (Play): Michael Jarett, Moth, TheatreLAB

Andrew Bonniwell, I Am My Own Wife, Richmond Triangle Players/5th Wall

Leslie Cook-Day, Preludes

Bill Miller, Desire under the Elms


Outstanding Achievement in Set Design (Play): Rich Mason, Appropriate

Katherine Field, A Raisin in the Sun

Rich Mason, The Christians

Terrie Powers, Crimes of the Heart

Chris Raintree, Desire under the Elms


Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design (Play): Paul Deiss, The Woman in Black, Swift Creek Mill

Derek Dumais, A Raisin in the Sun

Robbie Kinter, An Oak Tree, Firehouse


Ernie McClintock Best Ensemble Acting: Alice, TheatreLAB

Cloud 9, Richmond Triangle Players

Corpus Christi, Richmond Triangle Players

Miracle on South Division Street, Virginia Rep

Preludes, Firehouse


Special Achievement in Dance

Matthew Couvillon for recreating Jerome Robbins’ choreography for Virginia Rep’s “West Side Story.”


Promising Newcomer: Keisha Wallace, Food, Clothing, and Shelter

Mara Barrett, Free Man of Color, Heritage Ensemble Theatre Company

Stone Casey, The Diviners, Chamberlayne Actors Theatre

Violet Craghead-Way, Fun Home

Jordan Pearson, Akeelah and the Bee, Virginia Rep Children’s Theatre


Best Original Work: To Damascus by Walter Braxton, Firehouse

The Dream Seller and the Forest Dwellers by Jerry Maple Jr., Heritage

Food, Clothing, and Shelter by Bo Wilson, Firehouse

River Ditty by Matthew Mooney Keuter, Virginia Rep