And the Cloris nominees are . . .

So here come the Clorises.

The Des Moines Social Club has announced the nominees for the Greater Des Moines Cloris Leachman Excellence in Theater Arts Awards, which “celebrate the metro’s best talent both onstage and behind the scenes,” according to a press release on Monday.

The winners will be announced during a ceremony on Aug. 30 at the Social Club.

In the program’s inaugural year, the jury considered more than two dozen productions from 11 independent companies, which represent a broader array of theatrical energy and creativity than 10 or even just five years ago. The companies are: Des Moines Onstage, Des Moines Community Playhouse, Des Moines Social Club, Des Moines Young Artists’ Theatre, Goldfinch Theater Co., Integral Artists Theatre, Iowa Shakespeare Experience, Repertory Theater of Iowa, Rising Phoenix Theatre Co., StageWest Theatre Co. and Tallgrass Theatre Co.

This year’s jury of three theater critics – John Busbee of “The Culture Buzz” on KFMG 99.1, John Domini of Cityview, and me – considered local productions that opened between Aug. 1, 2014, and July 31, 2015. We met during a marathon meeting Sunday to narrow our lists of favorites to just three nominees in each category and will soon vote by secret ballot to determine the ultimate winner in each category.

And let me tell you: Our decisions were not easy. For evey nominee listed below, there was a handful of unlisted contenders who might have won handily a decade ago.

We also chose to confer an award of special recognition to the local playwright Karen Schaeffer, whose comedy “Girls’ Weekend” received its premiere this season at the Playhouse.

And the nominees are . . .

Best Play

“Cock,” StageWest

“Independence,” Tallgrass Theatre

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Repertory Theater of Iowa


Best Musical

“Cabaret,” Des Moines Onstage

“Mary Poppins,” Des Moines Community Playhouse

“South Pacific,” Des Moines Community Playhouse


Best Director

David Van Cleave, “Rent”

Kathy Pingel, “Girls’ Weekend”

Todd Buchacker, “Cock”


Best Actress in a Leading Role

Amber Duimstra as Nellie Forbush, “South Pacific”

Kim Grimaldi as Martha, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Mary Bricker as Evelyn Briggs, “Independence”


Best Actor in a Leading Role

Aaron Smith as Martin Luther King Jr., “The Mountaintop”

Abraham Swee as John Merrick, “The Elephant Man”

Mark Gruber as George, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”


Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Laura Sparks as Rivkeh Lev and Anna Schaeffer, “My Name is Asher Lev”

Nancy Zubrod as Dot, “Girls’ Weekend”

Tiffany Flory as Sherry Briggs, “Independence”


Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Brett Spahr as Patsy, “Spamalot”

Maxwell Schaeffer as Birdboot, “The Real Inspector Hound”

Micheal Davenport as Frederick Treves, “The Elephant Man”


Best Scenic Design

Jay Jagim, “The Diary of Anne Frank”

Tim Wisgerhof, “Cabaret”

Tim Wisgerhof, “Independence”


Best Lighting

Jim Trenberth, “Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom”

Jay Jagim, “The Diary of Anne Frank”

Virgil Kleinhesselink, “South Pacific”


Best Sound

Andrew Ryker, Lee Cutler and Matthew Slofner, “South Pacific”

Christopher Williams, “My Name is Asher Lev”

Josh Jepson, “Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom”


Best Costumes and Makeup

Angela Lampe, “The Addams Family”

Susanna Douthit, “Around the World in 80 Days”

Tim Wisgerhof, “Cabaret”


Special Recognition

Karen Schaeffer, “Girls’ Weekend”

Michael Morain, 11:52 a.m. CDT August 3, 2015 Des Moines Register