Last night was my first RTCC Awards (RTCC standing for Richmond Theatre Critics Circle for those of you not in the know), and I had an absolute blast. I got gussied up, pretended it was the Oscar's to justify getting my hair done professionally, was accompanied by an equally gussied up date in a tux, ate a delicious pre-show dinner at Lemaire (which I had never been to before, I fail as a Richmonder), and basically sat back with a few glasses of wine, did absolutely zero work (compared to what I'm sure was a ton of hard work put in by a lot of people to make the night so great), and enjoyed a thoroughly entertaining evening. A few personal highlights:
- Unbeknownst to us at the time, me and my date tried to sit in Tim Kaine's seats, because of a mix up with the ushers and other people occupying our actual seats. A nice young man smiled at us and told us it was the "governor's box." I smiled back and 1) assumed governor's box was just a fancy, made-up title, like king's box and 2) tried to think of what play I had seen this nice, young man in. Later in the evening who should appear in those very same seats but Mr. Tim "ohhh that's where the governor comes from" Kaine and his lovely wife. The young "actor" immediately began chatting with Mr. Kaine and I thought, wow, what a lovely moment for him, hob knobbing with the former governor. It took about five more beats for me to realize that it was U of R basketball coach, Chris Mooney, sitting in the place of honor, and that I was an idiot, an idiot who tried to steal Tim Kaine's seats. Thank God for Chris Mooney's intervention or there would have been a slightly awkward moment when Mr. Kaine arrived.
- Local news people are my kryptonite. Show me an NBC affiliate anchor and I get as starstruck as a thirteen year old girl in front of Justin Bieber. I simply cannot handle it. Once when I was little my best friend's dad took us to "media day" at King's Dominion and we ate lunch in a tent bursting with news anchors. I think I hyperventilated with Andrew Friedman sat next to me eating a hamburger. And so at this event, where there were none other than Heather Sullivan (in multiple outfit changes by the way, eat that Lady Gaga), Juan Conde (disarmingly handsome in person), and Gene Cox walking around, I could not have felt more overcome. Luckily I was sitting on the balcony and could hide my spazziness at least somewhat. I don't know what is wrong with me.
- I felt slightly crazed with power knowing who all the winners were before they did. This is not a trait I'm proud of.
- It was incredibly cool to see how happy some of the winners were. Everyone we nominated was so ridiculously talented, and it's such a cliche but I hope everyone who was nominated felt like a winner. At the very least I didn't see anyone throwing chairs or pulling out hair afterwards, so that's a good thing. Although I'm sure if actors do fight each other, it's incredibly entertaining and dramatic.
- Handsome actors are ten times more handsome in tuxes. How does George Clooney not get attacked by women every time he goes to an award show?
- I chatted with a director who I played piano with in elementary school, waved at the mom of my elementary school classmate across the lobby, and saw several women who used to work with my mom at the Virginia Library. Which, I've said it before, but it can't be emphasized enough, Richmond=tiny, tiny world.
- I'm a complete newbie in this Richmond theater world and often feel like I'm just trying to catch up, but last night only reinforced for me how lucky I am to have had this theater reviewer job basically fall in my lap. I've lived here my whole life and I had no idea how much talent and creativity and dedication there was here when it comes to theater. I'm still learning, still making mistakes (oh there have been mistakes a plenty-let's just say I probably lost all theater credibility when I mistakenly referred to the uber-famous Wicked song "Defying Gravity" as Fighting Gravity, blerg), but I'm really happy to be even a very peripheral part of this all. I know actors/directors/crew members might sometimes think of theater critics as well, critics, snobs, ass faces, what have you. But the dirty little secret, at least speaking personally, is that I'm also a fan, a fan that occasionally writes critical things, but a fan nonetheless. Richmond has a pretty kick ass local theater scene, one that was represented wonderfully last night, and I'm really thrilled to be along for the ride.