Barbara Bear, who regularly attends more than one hundred theatrical productions a year in the DC Area, has won the 2014 Gary Lee Maker Audience Award.
Bear received her award last night at a production of No Rules Theatre Company’s Seven Guitars – which Bear has now seen three times. No Rules Artistic Director Joshua Morgan, who nominated Bear, referred to her as a “treasure” whose presence at the theater made theater better.
Bear received the award, created by glass artist Teddy Hathaway, from Tom Holzman, who along with his wife, Alison Drucker, won the 2012 award. In brief remarks presenting the award, Holzman reminded Bear that constant audience members are an aid to a production, in that the actors can tell what impact they have on the audience from the reaction of that audience member.
“This is completely unexpected,” Bear said. “I’m delighted.” Bear expanded on her remarks in this interview with Keith Loria.
The Gary Lee Maker Award is named for Maker, a well-known theater habitué who regularly hand-wrote dozens of letters to friends advising them to go to productions he had seen. When he died in 2011, a committee of his friends, including DC Theatre Scene editor-publisher Lorraine Treanor, decided to recognize other prominent audience members in his name.
To date, this is the only award of its kind in the United States.
Bear was chosen from among a broad selection of outstanding audience members nominated by DC Area Theatres, including Lisa Carr, Sarah Carmony and Pete Miller, Laura Dailey, Louis Delair, Allan Friedman and Lou Altaresque, David Kessler, and Maurice Saylor.
Past winners of the Maker Award include David Tannous (2011), Holzman and Drucker (2012) and Linda Elise Bryce (2013).