Below is the text of the speech Michael Michetti and Jessica Kubzansky gave as they accepted their “Queens of the Angels” Award at the 2011 LA Weekly Theatre Awards on April 4th.
Jessica Kubzansky: As Royalty for a Day, we are extraordinarily grateful. And not just for the Weekly, but no theatre person does it alone. And so we are grateful for the many many theatre artists in this room with whom we have had the honor and joy of collaborating over the years. Between the two of us, we have probably worked with all of you! That’s what happens when you’ve been around for a while. And not just worked with you, but had the opportunity to see and appreciate and be influenced and amazed and learn new things from your artistry.
MM: Because the LA Weekly Awards specifically honor the work within 99-seat theatres, we must express our gratitude for the unique freedoms that the 99-seat plan offers artists in Los Angeles. It generates a great many more opportunities for the many brilliant playwrights, actors, and designers in this town to participate in theatre. And it means that without the pressures of having to fill 700 seats eight times a week, and with a great deal less financial burden, theatre makers have a rare opportunity to take more creative risks and grow more deeply as artists.
JK: And when we get asked, as we often do, “Why are you a theatre artist in LA?” we say, “Because the theatre makers in this town are rich and varied and passionate and incredibly talented and fearless, and deeply engaged in the dangerous, often thankless, yet incredibly compelling business of making art in a town whose biggest folly is not that there are not amazing artists, but that the tastes of the town have not yet been educated to think of theatre as a necessary activity.
MM: LA theatre artists are among the most fearless and inventive theatre-makers in the country. We are producing exciting new plays and bold new works that push on both form and content. We simply need to keep reaching into the communities so that we’re not just doing work for like-minded artists, but continuing to educate the broader community to the rich and varied array of theatrical endeavors that LA has to offer.
JK: Because it is the harnessing of the collective imagination (which is what differentiates us from all other art forms), along with that communal act of sitting in a theatre watching a live performance, that is one of the last collective experiences available in our ever more virtual world. We are the original 3D entertainment. In fact, after Avatar, at Boston Court we talked about running an ad that said, “The Theatre @ Boston Court, Always in 3D.”
MM: And speaking of Boston Court, as we were honored together, we can’t help but think that that is at least in part because of our mutual affiliation with our extraordinary organization. So we have to thank everyone who has graced our playground, the many artists and technicians we have been privileged to work with over the years. But most especially, our in-house collaborators, from Z. Clark Branson, Michael Seel, Eileen T’Kaye, and the original homeys who opened the doors with us in 2003, to our entire incredible staff now, along with a truly unique board. They all, when we said eight years ago, “this is what our mission is, and this is the kind of art we want to do,” not only supported but encouraged our madness, and, even through real financial challenge, continue to urge us forward on our path.
JK: We’re not exactly sure what it means to be Queens of the Angels, but if it is about urging passionate storytellers to continue to pursue our unique voices and visions, then we say, Carry On, and Rock On, Los Angeles Theatre… you are astonishing, and we are both awed and grateful.