VISTA — It was an evening of wins at The San Diego Theatre Critics Circle, where Moonlight Stage Productions received five Craig Noel Awards. The Feb. 12 event was held at the Jacobs Center in San Diego.
Entering its 38th season, Moonlight Stage Productions is the cultural arts program of the city of Vista. The Moonlight Amphitheatre is located at the Brengle Terrace Park in Vista.
Moonlight Stage Productions walked away with Outstanding Resident Musical for “In the Heights.” The musical also received wins for Outstanding Direction to James Vasquez, Outstanding Choreography to Carlos Mendoza and Outstanding Musical Direction to Elan McMahan. Randall Hickman was the male recipient for Outstanding Featured Performance in a musical for his role in “The Little Mermaid.”
Steven Glaudini, producing artistic director of Moonlight Stage Productions, said they were nominated for eight awards and walked home with a total of five.
Glaudini attended the ceremonies.
“I always find that awards are icing on an already delicious cake,” he said. “I was very proud of our summer season.”
Glaudini was quick to point out how all the other theatres produced terrific musicals.
“Everyone deserved it (an award),” Glaudini said. “We were just lucky to walk home with the prize at the end of the night.”
Glaudini said their musical production “In the Heights” was the most contemporary show ever done at the Moonlight Amphitheatre with rap and hip-hop. At times, it was a challenge Glaudini said, but it was artistically rewarding for him — not to mention successful.
“In the Heights” was the third highest grossing show in the history of The Moonlight, he said.
“For it to be financially successful for the business side of it, and then artistically successful that we took home awards, was absolutely lovely,” he said.
Glaudini wants people to know that when he creates a production, his team painstakingly tries to find the best production values, sets, costumes, talent, and, orchestra.
“I love when people come here for the first time,” he said. “We are always having people discovering our theater for the first time, and we’re really lucky that we have this beautiful outdoor venue with perfect weather.”
Glaudini said when people walk through the gates, he wants them to be charmed by the venue.
“I want you to feel like you don’t need to go to New York because you have Broadway right here in your backyard,” he said.
In 2015, Glaudini was awarded Producer of the Year for 2014 by the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle with a Craig Noel Award. It was only the third time the organization gave this honor.
Glaudini also pointed out how these recent wins for the 2017 season are wonderful for the city of Vista.
“How many theaters do you know have the support of the city?” he said. “It’s unheard of, really.”
Glaudini said he believed winning these awards was more of a testament to the city of Vista. He also shared that ticketholders come from all over San Diego, Riverside, Orange and Los Angeles counties.
“I always call the Moonlight the best-kept secret in town,” he said. “It’s an incredible venue, and all we need is to get you here once, and you’ll come back.”