Members of the 2012 First Night Honors' Class of Honorees will be revealed to the public Monday night, July 23, during the First Night Preview Party, which will be held at Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre, 8204 Highway 100 in Nashville.
The eight members of the 2012 Class of Honorees are among the best-known, most beloved and widely respected people in their field of artistic endeavor and include artistic directors, choreographers, producers, actors, playwrights and directors. They will be honored with tribute performances during the 2012 First Night Honors Gala to be held Sunday, September 2, at The Troutt Theatre at Belmont University.
In 2010, The First Night Honors were revived as an updated version of The First Night Awards (which were presented from 1989-1996 by executive producer/founder Jeffrey Ellis) and among the first year's class were Paul Gatrell, Mac Pirkle, Scot Copeland, A. Sean and Robert A. O'Connell, Shannon Wood, Kathleen O'Brien and Barry Scott. The 2011 Class of Honorees included Helen Shute-Pettaway, Danny Proctor, Layne Sasser, Dan Brewer, Gary Hoff and Pam Atha.
First Night Week (August 25-September 2) is the biggest series of events to celebrate live theater in the Volunteer State and is followed up in January with the presentation of the BroadwayWorld.com Nashville and Tennessee Theatre Awards and First Night's Top Ten of 2012. Other First Night events are held throughout the year and in 2012, another First Night tradition from years past will be revived in November 2012 and February 2013. Those plans will be revealed at the September 2 Gala.
Monday night's preview party-in addition to the announcement of the 2012 Honorees-will include the announcement of the nine men who will receive this year's First Night Star Awards, the second annual presentation of the special award that recognizes up-and-coming members of the theatrical elite in Nashville. Last year's presentation of the First Night Star Awards focused the spotlight on eight women in the Nashville theater community including Denice Hicks, Melissa Bedinger Hade, Mary McCallum, Vali Forrister, Kate Adams, Trish Crist, Maryanna Clarke and Cathy Street.
In addition, the young actors being honored as Most Promising Actors will be revealed at Monday night's Preview Party (scheduled from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Chaffin's Barn) and they will be featured in a very special performance during the First Night Gala.
The Preview Party is hosted by Janie and John Chaffin, owners of Nashville's venerable Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre, who will provide an hors d'oeuvres buffet and a cash bar for the event. Entertainment for the party will include a performance from Stones River Theatre Company's upcoming Jekyll & Hyde in Concert and a musical number by the cast of Roxy Regional Theatre's current revival of Happy Days The Musical.
Other plans for Monday night includes the announcement of events scheduled from August 25 through September 2 in celebration of live theater in Tennessee, including staged readings, concerts and parties planned for First Night 2012.