15th Awards: Hosts and Theme Announced

“Two by Two” Theme Celebrates Partnerships

Richmond, VA – August 29, 2023. This year marks the 15th year that the Richmond Theatre Community Circle (formerly the Richmond Theatre Critics Circle) has sponsored the Richmond Theatre Community Circle (RTCC) Awards, or “Artsies,” the community’s recognition of excellence in Richmond-area theater. The theme of this year’s event – “Two by Two” –celebrates partnerships (both romantic and artistic) and highlights the collaborations between individuals and organizations that support and strengthen our creative community.

The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 8, at Virginia Rep’s November Theatre.

In line with the theme, the hosts of the 2023 Artsies are a well-known Richmond theatre couple: Debra Wagoner and Joe Pabst. The pair met at Swift Creek Mill Theatre while performing in Into the Woods, started dating while performing in Something’s Afoot (also at Swift Creek Mill), and were married in 1995 on the Swift Creek Mill stage.

Joe moved to Richmond in 1990 to tour with what was then Theatre IV (now part of Virginia Repertory Theatre) and has remained actively involved in the Richmond theatre community for 33 years. In 2013, he was the first person to receive RTCC (or Artsie) nominations for both acting (Faith Healer with Henley Street Theatre) and directing (La Cage aux Folles with Richmond Triangle Players) in the same year. He won an Artsie for Faith Healer and another for Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead (Richmond Shakespeare) in 2020.

Debra moved to Richmond as a teenager. After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University, Debra began touring with Theatre IV, bringing fairy tale characters to life for young audiences. A popular vocalist and actress, Debra may be best known in Richmond for her performances as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz and as Patsy Cline in the Virginia Repertory Theatre production of Always, Patsy Cline at Hanover Tavern.

Debra won an Artsie for Best Actress in a Musical in 2017 for her performance in 5th Wall Theatre’s The Toxic Avenger, won an Artsie for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical in 2008 for her role as Penelope Pennywise in Swift Creek Mill Theatre’s Urinetown, and is nominated in the category of Best Lead Performance in a Musical this year for her role in Honky Tonk Laundry. Debra also received Richmond Magazine’s 2002 Theresa Pollak Prize for Excellence in the Arts in the Theater category.

The members of the RTCC include Rich Griset (Style Weekly), David Timberline (Style Weekly), Julinda Lewis (RVArt Review), Amy Berlin, Lily Mercer, Thomas Nowlin, and Amy Wight. RTCC members must have seen at least two-thirds of the locally-produced shows during the season in order to vote in the award nomination process.

Formal attire is encouraged for the awards ceremony, which is open to the public. Tickets are $20 for orchestra seating and $25 for balcony seating. They will go on sale September 8 and can be purchased by calling the Virginia Rep box office at 804-282-2620. Get your tickets early – ticket prices go up by $5 on September 24. All proceeds from Artsies ticket sales support the Theatre Artist Fund of Greater Richmond.