People often ask: What's the deal with the EDDY Awards, anyway? Why are there winners, but no nominees? Why is there no set number of categories? How are the winners chosen? And why the hell have I never won?

It's funny: we've been handing out these awards for 12 years now, but the above questions always come up; not sure if that's because they're so unique, or because I never explain it very well. To clarify, the EDDYs were designed to pay tribute to those whose work has made an impact in our industry. Every year, the staff comes up with a general list of possibilities, makes a few discreet inquiries within the industry about possible candidates, and then selects each winner with an eye toward true excellence in technical and design-related fields. Since 1991, nearly 50 individuals and groups have been so honored.

The other question we invariably get, not only in reference to the awards, but to the magazine in general, is: Why is it always about the designer? What about the technical crew? My best answer to that, in terms of the magazine, is that while the word “design” is in the title, we strive to include all aspects of the entertainment technology experience. My best answer to that in terms of the awards is: wrong!

If you look over all the awards we've handed out since 1991, you'll see a surprising fact: it's not all about the designer. Previous non-design honorees include: The ACT Production Department (for post-earthquake production), USA Local 829 (100th anniversary), Will Parry (sound engineering and installation), Jim Henson's Creature Shop, Lincoln Center Theatre's Twelfth Night technical team, Barbara Matera (costume construction), Tait Towers (concert set construction), Showmotion (Broadway set construction), and Mike LoBue (Broadway electrician).

To that illustrious list, I'm pleased to say that we can add virtually the entire group of this year's honorees. Under the heading of “Raising The Bar Backstage,” this year's EDDY Award winners are:

  • ESTA (Entertainment Services & Technology Association): For its ongoing efforts in standards, certification, and other programs designed to create a safer and more productive industry.
  • Costume Designer Susan Hilferty and The Entire Costume Team From Wicked: For excellence in a theatrical production.
  • The Actors Theatre of Louisville/Humana Festival Design and Technical Department: For sustained excellence in theatrical stagecraft.
  • Lighting Designer Patrick Woodroffe, Assistant Lighting Designer Adam Bassett, and Lighting Director/Programmer Dave Hill: The consummate lighting design team.
  • Lorrie Snyder, Technical Director, REDCAT: For sustained excellence in technical direction.
  • Scharff Weisberg: For creative support and solutions in audio, video, and lighting.

This year's crop of EDDY honorees, all of whom you can learn about on page 12, is meant to be a cross-section of the entertainment technology industry, encompassing all of the backstage facets needed to bring a production to life. All that's missing in this equation, obviously, are the manufacturers who actually make the gear, but since we'll also be handing out awards to 15 great new products in audio, lighting, staging, and projection at the EDDYs again this year, I'd say we've pretty much got it covered.

Please mark your calendar for Friday, June 18 at the John Jay College Theatre in New York City, as we salute these groups, guys, gals, and gear. It'll be one great night, smack dab in an entire week of great events, starting with the Broadway Lighting Master Classes on June 16-18 and continuing with the Broadway Sound Master Classes on June 19-20. Please plan on attending; just don't ask me why you haven't won yet. All in due time, my friend, all in due time.