If you're a fan of live theater in Memphis, here's a little secret you should all know about. At $10 a ticket for a show that includes comedy by Sister Myotis and songs from every show nominated for best musical, the annual Ostrander Awards — going down Sunday, August 27th at the Orpheum Theatre — are one of the city's best-kept secrets. The Ossies are Memphis' answer to Broadway's Tony Awards, and for the first three decades of its existence, they were a small private party for nominees and their dates. Over time, the awards, which were created by Memphis magazine and ArtsMemphis to reward excellence in live performance, grew into an annual family reunion for the entire theater community, but remained a closed event. By 2012, the event had outgrown its longtime home at Memphis Botanic Gardens, and in 2013, it moved to the Orpheum, and, for the first time, opened its doors to the general public. The party has only become bigger and better each year since.
- This year’s Ostrander Awards
This year's nominees for Best Play cover a range of topics including race, American politics, Alfred Hitchcock classics, and satanic hand puppets. They are The 39 Steps at Theatre Memphis, The City of Conversation at Theatre Memphis, Disgraced at the Circuit Playhouse, Hand to God at the Circuit Playhouse, and Rasheed Speaking on the NextStage at Theatre Memphis. Musical performances at the Ostranders will include selections from best musical nominees including Million Dollar Quartet at Playhouse on the Square, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at Playhouse on the Square, Rock of Ages at Playhouse on the Square, Sisters of Swing at the Circuit Playhouse, and South Pacific at Theatre Memphis.