A Community Celebration: The 2013 Houston Theater Awards Ceremony Recap

Monday night is, historically speaking, a quiet night in the world of theater. Last night was different, as many in the Houston theater community came together to celebrate the Houston Theater Awards.

It was not a stuffy ceremony of assigned seating and polite applause; this was a party, and before the night was over there would be shouting, and arm waving, and victory dancing. This was not a competition, this was a celebration.

And why not celebrate? As we laid out in last week's cover story on the Houston Theater Awards, the 2012-2013 theater season was an amazing one. Week in and week out we were continually awed by the world-class talent taking the stage on a regular basis. A shindig at MKT BAR was the perfect way to put a cap on the season.

The mood was happy from the start. Folks mingled as they waited for the award presentation to start, relishing the chance to catch up with faces they're usually too busy to chat with. This wasn't shop talk either; people swapped stories about the first day of school and negotiating with landlords and whatever was going on since they last time they were together. Hugs, handshakes, glasses of wine and good food made for a laid back atmosphere.

At least, that is, until the awards were handed out. Then it became a party.

You may think that the excitement level would be tempered by the fact that everyone who had won already knew they won, but this couldn't be further from the truth. Again, this wasn't about competition, it was about celebrating, not only of the winners but of the community as a whole. As names were announced the cheers went up and the hands came together, not because people felt like they had to, but because they had genuine excitement for their fellow theater members.

The highlight of the night came with the announcement of the final award, Best Season. As the words "The Ensemble Theatre" hit the air, the energy in the room just exploded as the members of The Ensemble Theatre started to celebrate. The emotion on their faces, the cheers, the laughter, the very real excitement was enough to give you chills. The smiles on their faces could melt the coldest heart, and will be the lasting memory of the 2013 Houston Theater Awards.

Just because the awards had been handed out didn't mean the night was over. In fact, the night was really just getting started. There was a change in the room post-awards, a new energy that hadn't existed before. That celebratory mood that had everyone cheering each other on while the awards were handed out carried over to the new round of mingling.

Talk became more animated. People rushed from group to group, excited to say hello to the folks they had missed earlier. Hugs and congratulations were shared, and plenty of smartphone photos were taken. It was great to see so many creatives in one place having such a good time.

Thanks to all of those who came out to the award ceremony last night and to everyone in the Houston theater community. We're lucky to have you in the city doing such magnificent work. Here's to another amazing season, and we hope to see you all again next year.

To see more photos from the ceremony, check out our slideslide: The 2013 Houston Theater Awards Ceremony.

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