Traditionally, for the past five years, with the
announcement of the annual Drama-Logue Critics' Awards for
outstanding achievement in theatre, founder/publisher Bill Bordy has
given Publisher's Awards to people and/or organizations which make
exceptional contributions consistently to the local theatre scene over a
period of years.
Previous recipients of the Publisher's Award include
Los Angeles Theatre Alliance, Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum,
Company of Angels, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, Los Angeles Actors'
Theatre, Shakespeare Society of America/Globe Playhouse, South Coast
Repertory, CTG/ Ahmanson Theatre, Santa Monica Playhouse, The
Nederlander Organization, East West Players, PCPA/ Theaterfest,
Bilingual Foundation of the Arts and the Cast Theatres. Interestingly,
all of those groups are still in operation, most continuing to maintain
a high level of achievement.
For 1983, this award has been changed to the
Drama-Logue Publisher's/Critics' Award, which allows each theatre
critic of the publication an opportunity to nominate other
persons/organizations also considered to have a significant theatrical
record of achievement. Those under consideration are then voted on by
the critics and publisher (it is the only Drama-Logue Award where
voting is part of the procedure); those receiving the most votes are
named awardees. The 1983 recipients for the Drama-Logue
Publisher's/Critics' Award, both receiving an equal number of votes, are
Joseph Stern, producer of Actors For Themselves/Matrix Theatre, and
Susan Dietz, artistic director of the L.A. Stage Company's two theatres.
It takes special qualities to be an entrepreneur
which, according to the dictionary, is "a person who organizes, operates
and assumes the risk for business ventures, especially an impresario."
Above all else, an entrepreneur is a risk-taker. Both
Publisher's/Critics' Award recipients this year are risk-takers
—happily, successful ones.
STERN received the Margaret Harford Award last year from the Los
Angeles Drama Critics Circle for "the boldness and variety of his
productions and for exemplifying ! the courage, single-mindedness and
occasional pugnacity implied in the ; name Actors For Themselves."
He continues to fulfill tnat promise and doesn't at
all mind being tagged with the description of "occasional pugnacity."
Any entrepreneur knows it takes occasional pugnacity to overcome
obstacles and get the job done.
Joe Stem continues to offer a succession of
illustrious productions at his handsome Matrix Theatre. Eminent
Domain, Skirmishes and Orphans, his three 1983 offerings,
each received a Drama-Logue Production Award as well as being
honored in other categories. Within the three years previous to 1983,
Stem's AFT ensemble at the Matrix garnered 26 Drama-Logue Awards,
14 L.A. Weekly Awards and, for his memorable production of Harold
Pinter's Betrayal alone, seven LADCC Awards.
Let's hear it for Joe Stem's "occasional pugnacity"
which now brings him this special 1983 Drama-Logue
...As an example of the cooperative camaraderie and
helpfulness that often exists in the theatre community, Susan Dietz
donated her L.A. Stage Company West for Julie Harris' luminous one-woman
show Currer Bell, Esq. as the initial benefit fundraiser for
Joseph Stern's Actors For Themselves/Matrix Theatre. New challenges
await these two entrepreneurs in the new year —the first subscription
season for the L.A. Stage Company while Actors For Themselves is one of
nine local theatre groups commissioned for a special presentation for
the 1984 Olympics.
Joe Stern and Susan Dietz seek additional revenue
through fundraising now but their original dreams and convictions were
so strong, they financed their theatre operations privately. Something
else they share in common is bringing new works to Los Angeles, whether
local or world premieres. Yes, L.A. theatre will continue to thrive as
long as there are entrepreneurs around like Joseph Stern and Susan