The first annual Arizona Theatre Sevice Award, created by the Phoenix/Tucson Liaison Committee to honor longstanding contributions and service to the Arizona theatre community, has been presented to writer/critic Max McQueen.
"We didn't want a 'best of this' or 'outstanding that' kind of thing, but we did want a way of recognizing those people who have made significant contributions to the long-term health of theatre in Arizona," said Liaison Committee chair Charles St. Clair.
Max McQueen covered the "drama scene" for the Mesa/East Valley Tribune for 22 years, conducting hundreds of interviews and viewing and then reviewing countless more theatre productions. He retired from the newspaper in April, 2003 and continues to work for cultural and civic improvement in his role as executive director of Laura Turner Group Homes, as well as with United Methodist Singles Ministry.
Accepting the award at a special ceremony at the Phoneix Theatre Mainstage on September 15, 2003, Mr. McQueen quipped, "All told, during my 22 years with the Tribune papers and Get Out Magazine, I saw over 5,500 plays and musicals, from itsy-bitsy original one acts at On the Spot Theatre to the biggest bombastic Broadway productions. I would like to think my hallmark was writing reviews with a critical eye that would encourage those with a gift for acting to improve that talent and for those without that gift to consider some other career or hobby."
In addition to Equity and Liaison Committee members, Wester Business Rep Timothy Smith and Western Regional Director John Holly, others on hand for the presentation included Artistic Directors David Golstein (Arizona Theatre Company), Michael Barnard (Phoneix Theatre), Matthew Wiener (Actors Theatre) and Janet Arnold (Arizona Jewish Theatre), along with managing directors Jessica Andrews (Arizona Theatre Company), Sue Tormela (Phoenix Theatre), Steven Favreaux (Actors Theatre) and Steve Martin (Childsplay).