A new auteur will guide this year’s Syracuse New Times Syracuse Area Live Theater (SALT) awards ceremony.
It is Liam Fitzpatrick, the 24-year-old firebrand performer who has already amassed a list of impressive credits, including Les Miserables at Baldwinsville Theater Guild, Catch Me If You Can and The Wild Party for Dustin Czarny’s Central New York Playhouse, and The Normal Heart for Dan Tursi’s Rarely Done Productions. Out is ex-SALT leader Ty Marshal, the former director of digital media at the Syracuse New Times, who is now executive director at Homer’s Center for the Arts.
Fitzpatrick promises a fast-moving ceremony with an accent on inclusiveness, including more onstage performances of the SALT-nominated musicals from local companies, which should culminate in an event that will be “bigger, better and more fabulous.” Co-hostess with the mostest Rita Worlock returns for a second SALT show, accompanied this year by local music director Abel Searor.
Syracuse Stage, 820 E. Genesee St., will host the award show on Sunday, Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m., with a pre-show reception at the Sutton Pavilion from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., and a gala after-party following the ceremony.
Fitzpatrick is also on the hunt for new members to join the SALT Academy, which annually nominates performers and productions after seeing more than two dozen shows throughout the year. Members are rotated in and out of the academy following their two-year terms. For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’m really trying to bring the SALT Awards back to a celebration of community theater and the incredible group of people we have in town that (the awards were about) at its inception,” notes Fitzpatrick. “It’s kind of gotten away from that and I really just want to bring it back to have a moment to say, ‘Look at what we did this year; look at what we’ve always done; look at what we can do. This is fabulous.’ Rather than, ‘Oh, they won and they won, and I didn’t win.’
“We have an embarrassment of incredible theater in town,” Fitzpatrick says. “For a city this size, it actually doesn’t make sense, but there is so much to do and see, and we really want to get back to celebrating that. So that’s my vision and take on the SALT Awards.”