Salute favorite locals at the 3rd Annual Theatre Tampa Bay Awards

The event boasts a new name and selection process — and more entertainment.

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  • HOST WITH THE MOST: Matthew McGee, left, will host the Theatre Tampa Bay Awards, here pictured with Michael Mann at last year’s Jeff Norton Awards. Photo by Daniel Veintimilla.

Not just an insider event, the 3rd Annual Theatre Tampa Bay Awards is an entertaining night out that allows local theater fans a chance to get gussied up and walk the red carpet — and, most importantly — celebrate the region’s best theatrical talent.

Returning Mon., Oct. 14, at the historic Palladium Theatre, the renamed show/ceremony re-enlists cabaret king and fabu-larious emcee Matthew McGee, and more musical numbers than last year to entertain the crowd.

The selection process for the awards has been refined — “now a competitive review of the 2012-13 season by a panel of experts selected by the artistic directors of the eight eligible professional theaters,” we’re told.

Obligatory disclaimer: The panel includes CL food critic Jon Palmer Claridge and CL Editor David Warner, and between spritzes of entertainment, local notables will approach the podium to honor outstanding achievement in 19 categories, from the 35 eligible professional productions staged during the 2012-13 season.

freeFall has led the way with 40 nominations, American Stage following close behind with 36. Jobsite received eight nods (including seven for The Lonesome West), St. Petersburg Opera, six (all for Sweeney Todd), Stageworks, five (four for Of Mice and Men); A Simple Theatre, four (all for Good Egg); Hat Trick and Tampa Repertory Theatre have fetched two apiece.

All proceeds go to fund TTB programs, which include a new community-serving website, the Unified Auditions and the new Jeff Norton Dream Grant.

The awards are immediately followed by a catered After Party with dancing at the Palladium’s Stavros Great Room. Guests, of course, are asked to arrive dressed to impress. Admission (including the catered after party) is $25 and available at Eventbrite by clicking here.

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