Hi LizBeth et al,
Frederick Mead here, from the Big Easy Award Foundation. Here is how the voting works:
1) The Foundation has assembled a committee of 23 theatre folks who vote. The committee come from a variety of theatre backgrounds: critics, playwrights, and other people who *demonstrate* an eagerness to see 2 or 3 plays a week in New Orleans, North Shore, Metairie/Kenner, and West Bank. Each person sees about 100 plays a year.
2) In January, the committee assemble in a conference room with our piles of programs from the previous year. For each category (Best Comedy, Best Director of a Musical, etc) we shout out productions that stood out in the previous year. Just about every production that you liked gets a mention. FYI, there are some of us committee folk who specifically see university productions, child performances, and "indy" productions that are less likely to be seen than the latest Big Musical at a historic French Quarter community theatre.
At the end of that "remembering meeting", the committee go home and each write up their top 3 in each category.
4) The first group of nominees are tallied. Productions that float up to the top 3 positions are published in Gambit Weekly.
5) Then the committee receive a ballot with those 3 in each category. We each choose our favorite. The votes are tallied, and the winners are announced at the Big Easy Theatre awards Gala.
So in effect, this is a "limited" democratic process with a few checks and balances in place--but voting is the responsibility of the committee, not the general public.
Any director who wants the committee to see your production, send email to email@example.com. Invite us specifically, and let us know your comp policy. Two or even one comp make a big difference to our wallets. This is a volunteer job, and if we have to, we pay for tickets out of pocket. Comps help us a lot.