Nine judges are randomly assigned to attend Opening Weekend with a detailed scorebook to rate all elements of a production, including: Scenic, Lighting, Sound, Costume, and Projection Designs; and Direction.
Performance is judged for Ensemble, Principal and Featured actors.
If a production is a musical, Choreography and Music Direction are also evaluated.
The combined scores determine if a show will be Suzi Recommended. Once a show is recommended, judges in the Play Panel or Musical Panel will attend the show and submit a score sheet immediately. World Premieres, Theatre for Young Audiences, and Social Justice productions are additional panels.
Nominations for Suzi Awards are determined based on judging scores. The nominees are announced in late August and our awards event takes place in early November.
Suzi Panel Judges see Suzi Recommended plays at our participating theatres and submit a score sheet based on a detailed rubric. At the end of the season, the judge reviews all of their scores and nominees are determined based only on scores from the panel judges. Once the nominees are announced, each judge receives a final ballot for voting.
We have important judge training meetings before the season begins, usually between May and July. And because learning about theatre is a lifelong experience, we hold Salons and Judge Roundtables throughout the year. Articles and materials that would be helpful or interesting to our judges are sent out periodically by email orposted on the Suzi Awards Facebook page.
Time commitment varies depending on the panel. Play Panel judges will see twice as many plays as Musical or TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences) Panel judges, averaging three to five a month. Some months may have as many as 7 plays to see. We have a Standards of Conduct document that explains expected behavior, dealing with conflicts of interest, and other organizational matters. All Suzi volunteers must accept those standards to participate. If you’d like to see the Standards of Conduct before submitting your application, please contact our Judging Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is possible to be a panel judge and also be a Recommending Judge, but generally service on only one panel is best.
We do ask that each judge become a member of the Suzi Awards. Membership ranges from $25 annually to$1500 for a Lifetime Membership. Each panel judge will receive one complimentary ticket to each Suzi Recommended show. You will need to purchase any tickets for any guests that accompany you. Unfortunately, we cannot reimburse judges for travel expenses or mileage. However, your mileage is considered a charitable contribution and is tax-deductible if you itemize your return.