The Monties make major changes for 2015 ceremony

The Montie Awards just got bigger and better.

The largest performing arts awards in Conroe is growing in size and venue starting with the 2015 event. This year, The Monties will include The Players Theater Company, as well as the newest addition of Stage Right of Texas.

Because the awards have doubled in participation size the glamorous Montie Awards and Lifetime Achievement Award’s fourth annual festivities will be presented inside the jewel of Montgomery County Crighton Theater located in the heart of downtown Conroe.

The Montie Awards celebrates and recognizes actors, directors, crew members and community members for their tireless efforts producing first-class entertainment throughout the theater season. The awards are similar to those given out in national theater shows including Best Director and Best Lighting Design.

“The Monties were designed to include both theaters from the very beginning,” executive producer Craig Campobella said. “It was never intended to be a one theater program.

The Montie Awards and Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony is now being facilitated by the Greater Conroe Arts Alliance.

“We’re absolutely thrilled Stage Right will now be in the mix and receiving recognition for their pursuits of excellence too,” Campobella said. “It’s a night to dress up, celebrate the past season of arts and give honor to the literally hundreds of volunteers that give so generously thousands and thousands of hours to our vibrant art scene in Montgomery County. This will be one very special night.”

The Monties have already honored more than 75 men and women over the last three years. This year, The Monties will be hosted at the The Crighton Theater in order to fit a larger audience. The addition will mean dozens more people and five more shows will be tossed into the competition.

“I have not heard or seen one other city that gives it’s volunteers anywhere near that kind of thank you,” Campobella said. “It is a very kind and generous gesture. Thanks to our business sponsors it happens. These businesses make life long lasting memories one night a year.”

Event goers will harken back to the glitz and glamor of the 1930s and ’40s red carpet events. Men will dress in tuxedos and women in evening gowns. The black-tie event will also have local entertainment.

People will also see a change in the way Montie recipients are selected. Previously, season ticket holders made up part of the overall score of each theater performer. The other part was a small number of “golden ticket” holders, whose votes counted for half based on their knowledge of theater performances.

This year only the golden ticket holders’ votes will count. However, the golden ticket holders are hand-picked by a five-person committee composed of two representatives from each theater and The Monties executive producers.

Campobella says this crop of experts in the performing arts fields — ranging from television, documentary, arts-related professionals and non-profit work — will give the awards an extra layer of importance. He says by the nature of their own accomplishments, they inherently understand how important it is to score fairly and accurately.

“Simply put the golden ticket holders have walked the walk,” Campobella said. “What they are looking for is the pursuit of excellence in every category of live theater. Because of their unique and proven track records in film, video, theater, fine arts, etc., each golden ticket holder brings high levels of expertise into the nominating process.”

Campobella says The Monties are “the farthest thing from a popularity contest you can find.” The judges will score each performer and aspect of the shows based on its individual quality and not on a comparative basis.

“You are competing against yourself because no one forces you to audition,” Campobella said. “No matter where you are, if you are in a play you will get a review of your work in a blog, on Facebook or the local newspaper. You decide how hard you are going to work. You are in competition with yourself to do the very best you can do, or not.”

The scoring will be on a one to 10 scale — one being the worst and 10 being “the judges wanting to pay to hire the performer themselves to go on Broadway.” A five is what the judges expect going into the show. Campobella said judges may award fractions of points (i.e. 4.5, 9.5, etc.) and that either extreme score is unlikely to be used regularly.

The fractions also prevent ties in most instances. In case of a tie, however, two Montie Awards will be given out.

Tickets are only $10 and not only for the excitement of The Monties ceremony. A ticket also gets attendees into the big after party at Founders Plaza immediately after the show, which will include Bernhardt Winery offerings, snacks and complete big band orchestra to dance to.

The Greater Conroe Arts Alliance is facilitating The Montie Awards.

The Montie Awards and Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony will be held Saturday, Aug. 15 at 8 p.m. at The Crighton Theater in downtown Conroe. For more information on the ceremony or how to purchase a ticket, visit www.TheMontieAwards.com.

The Montie Awards and Lifetime Achievement Award show is a formal night to celebrate the arts of Montgomery County held annually in Conroe, Texas. The awards themselves are made of solid bronze at a value of $900 each, or more than $20,000 annually. The costs of The Monties are underwritten by generous donations and in-kind services from local businesses. The Greater Conroe Arts Alliance is facilitating The Montie Awards and Spirit of Texas Bank remains as the presenting lead sponsor.

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