The St. Louis Theater Circle has announced the nominees for the Louie Awards, honoring excellence in professional theater produced here in 2012.

The awards will be presented on March 11 at the Gaslight Theater, 358 North Boyle Avenue.

A new organization, the Circle is made up of critics who review live, professional theater here. Although these critics may also review touring shows (such as those that play the Fox and the Peabody) or community and college productions, the Louies are designed to showcase the efforts of professional theater artists who create work in this area. About 100 shows were staged here last year, in venues as large as the Muny and as intimate as rehabbed churches.

Mark Bretz, theater critic for the Ladue News, and I decided to organize the Circle after the St. Louis Professional Theatre Council disbanded last year. For seven years, the Council presented the Kevin Kline Awards, which also honored St. Louis professional theater. Many other cities — among them Boston, Chicago and San Diego — already have theater awards presented by critics; it seemed to us that it was time for St. Louis to join them.

Founding members of the Circle are Steve Allen, Stagedoorstl.com; Andrea Braun, the Vital Voice and Playback; Robert Cohn, St. Louis Jewish Light; Chris Gibson, Broadwayworld.com; Harry Hamm, KMOX; Gerry Kowarsky, “Two on the Aisle,” HEC-TV; Chuck Lavazzi, KDHX; blogger Andrea Torrence, Stlouistheatresnob.com; Lynn Venhaus, Belleville News-Democrat; Bob Wilcox, “Two on the Aisle”; Bretz, and myself. Eleanor Mullin is the Circle’s administrator.

The awards ceremony will start at 7 p.m. at the Gaslight Theater. Additional seating will be available at the West End Grill and Pub, where food and drinks can be purchased. The restaurant adjoins the theater.

Tickets for the awards are $10. Reserve tickets with an email to stltheatercircle@sbcglobal.net. Tickets can be paid for the night of the awards (cash only).

The nominees, which follow, are grouped into musicals, dramas and comedies.

MUSICALS

Outstanding Production:

• “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” Stages St. Louis

• “Chicago,” the Muny

• “Spring Awakening,” Stray Dog Theatre

• “Sunday in the Park With George,” Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

• “Sweeney Todd,” Opera Theatre of St. Louis

Outstanding Director:

• Justin Been, “Spring Awakening,” Stray Dog

• Michael Hamilton, “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” Stages

• Denis Jones, “Chicago,” the Muny

• Scott Miller, “High Fidelity,” New Line Theatre

• Rob Ruggiero, “Sunday in the Park With George,” the Rep

Outstanding Actor:

• Ron Bohmer, “Sunday in the Park With George,” the Rep

• Ryan Foizey, “Cry-Baby,” New Line

• Rod Gilfry, “Sweeney Todd,” Opera Theatre

• Antonio Rodriguez, “Urinetown,” Stray Dog

• John Sparger, “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” New Line

Outstanding Actress:

• Erin Davie, “Sunday in the Park With George,” the Rep

• Natascia Diaz, “Chicago,” The Muny

• Tari Kelly, “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” the Muny

• Jennifer Theby, “Urinetown,” Stray Dog

• Karen Ziemba, “Sweeney Todd,” Opera Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Actor:

• Dean Christopher, “Chicago,” the Muny

• Mike Dowdy, “Cry-Baby,” New Line

• Zachary Allen Farmer, “High Fidelity,” New Line

• Ryan Foizey, “Spring Awakening,” Stray Dog

• Steve Isom, “My One and Only,” Stages St. Louis

Outstanding Supporting Actress:

• Terrie Carolan, “Cry-Baby,” New Line

• Beth Leavel, “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” the Muny

• Suzanne Menzer, “Sweeney Todd,” Opera Theatre

• Deborah Sharn, “Urinetown,” Stray Dog

• Anna Skidis, “Spring Awakening,” Stray Dog

Outstanding Ensemble:

• “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” Stages

• “Chicago,” The Muny

• “High Fidelity,” New Line

• “Sunday in the Park With George,” the Rep

• “Urinetown,” Stray Dog

Outstanding Set Design:

• David Blake, “The Great American Trailer Park Musical,” Stray Dog

• Adrian Jones, “Sunday in the Park With George,” the Rep

• Scott L. Schoonover, “High Fidelity,” New Line

• Michael Schweikardt, “The King and I,” the Muny

• James Wolk, “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” Stages

Outstanding Costume Design:

• Lou Bird, “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” Stages

• Brad Musgrove, “My One and Only,” Stages

• Alexandra Scibetta Quigley, “Spring Awakening,” Stray Dog

• Alejo Vietti, “Sunday in the Park With George,” the Rep

Outstanding Lighting Design:

• Tyler Duenow, “Spring Awakening,” Stray Dog

• Seth Jackson, “Chicago,” the Muny

• John Lasiter, “Sunday in the Park With George,” the Rep

• Matthew McCarthy, “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” Stages

Outstanding Choreography:

• Chris Bailey, “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” the Muny

• Robin Michelle Berger, “Cry-Baby,” New Line

• Denis Jones, “Chicago,” the Muny

• Dana Lewis, “My One and Only,” Stages

• Lara Teeter, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” the Muny

Outstanding Musical Direction:

• Adaron “Pops” Jackson, “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” Stages

• Stephen Lord, “Sweeney Todd,” Opera Theatre

• Chris Petersen, “Spring Awakening,” Stray Dog

• F. Wade Russo, “Sunday in the Park With George,” the Rep

• Justin Smolik, “High Fidelity,” New Line

DRAMAS

Outstanding Production:

• “Angels in America,” Stray Dog

• “Clybourne Park,” the Rep

• “Good,” St. Louis Actors’ Studio

• “The Hairy Ape,” Upstream Theater

• “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” the Black Rep

Outstanding Director:

• Gary Bell, “Angels in America,” Stray Dog

• Deanna Jent, “Going to See the Elephant,” Mustard Seed Theatre

• Timothy Near, “Clybourne Park,” the Rep

• Ed Smith, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” the Black Rep

• Milton Zoth, “Good,” St. Louis Actors’ Studio

Outstanding Actor:

• John Hickok, “The Invisible Hand,” the Rep

• Michael Scott Rash, “9 Circles,” R-S Theatrics

• Michael James Reed, “A Steady Rain,” the Rep

• Ben Watts, “Angels in America,” Stray Dog

• B Weller, “Good,” St. Louis Actors’ Studio

Outstanding Actress:

• Nancy Bell, “Clybourne Park,” the Rep

• Rachel Fenton, “Oleanna,” HotCity Theatre

• Rachel Hanks, “Angels in America,” Stray Dog

• Patrese McClain, “No Child ...,” the Black Rep

• Kirsten Wylder, “Bug,” Muddy Waters Theatre

Outstanding Supporting Actor:

• Larry Dell, “Killer Joe,” St. Louis Actors’ Studio

• Greg Fenner, “Angels in America,” Stray Dog

• Terry Meddows, “Way to Heaven,” New Jewish Theatre

• Joshua Thomas, “Othello,” Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

• David Wassilak, “Angels in America,” Stray Dog

Outstanding Supporting Actress:

• Teresa Doggett, “Good,” St. Louis Actors’ Studio

• Rachel Fenton, “Killer Joe,” St. Louis Actors’ Studio

• Laura Kyro, “Angels in America,” Stray Dog

• Elizabeth Ann Townsend, “The Maids,” Upstream

• Kelley Weber, “Lost in Yonkers,” New Jewish

Outstanding Ensemble:

• “Angels in America,” Stray Dog

• “Clybourne Park,” the Rep

• “Going To See the Elephant,” Mustard Seed

• “Good,” St. Louis Actors’ Studio

• “The Hairy Ape,” Upstream

COMEDIES

Outstanding Production:

• “The Comedy of Errors,” the Rep

• “The Divine Sister,” HotCity Theatre

• “The Foreigner,” the Rep

• “Jacob and Jack,” New Jewish

• “The Violet Hour,” Max & Louie Productions

Outstanding Director:

• Paul Mason Barnes, “The Comedy of Errors,” the Rep

• Edward Coffield, “Jacob and Jack,” New Jewish

• Suki Peters, “The Compleat Wks of Wm Shkspr (abridged),” St. Louis Shakespeare

• Marty Stanberry, “The Divine Sister,” HotCity

• Edward Stern, “The Foreigner,” the Rep

Outstanding Actor:

• Ryan DeLuca, “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” the Rep

• Greg Fenner, “Fully Committed,” Stray Dog

• John Flack, “The Divine Sister,” HotCity

• Bobby Miller, “Jacob and Jack,” New Jewish

• John Scherer, “The Foreigner,” the Rep

Outstanding Actress:

• Emily Baker, “Season’s Greetings,” St. Louis Actors’ Studio

• Sarah Cannon, “Dinner With Friends,” Dramatic License Productions

• Tarah Flanagan, “The Comedy of Errors,” the Rep

• Meghan McGuire, “Talley’s Folly,” New Jewish

• Carol Schultz, “The Foreigner,” the Rep

Outstanding Supporting Actor:

• Matthew Galbreath, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the Black Rep

• Chopper Leifheit, “The Divine Sister,” HotCity

• Casey Predovic, “The Foreigner,” the Rep

• Antonio Rodriguez, “The Violet Hour,” Max & Louie

• Lenny Wolpe, “The Comedy of Errors,” the Rep

Outstanding Supporting Actress:

• Sarajane Alverson, “Wake Up, Cameron Dobbs,” West End Players Guild

• Lavonne Byers, “The Divine Sister,” HotCity

• Teresa Doggett, “Season’s Greetings,” St. Louis Actors’ Studio

• Shanara Gabrielle, “The Comedy of Errors,” the Rep

• Kirsten Wylder, “The Divine Sister,” HotCity

Outstanding Ensemble:

• “The Comedy of Errors,” the Rep

• “The Divine Sister,” HotCity Theatre

• “The Foreigner,” the Rep

• “Jacob and Jack,” New Jewish

• “The Violet Hour,” Max & Louie

COMBINED AWARDS IN COMEDY AND DRAMA

Outstanding Set Design:

• Jason Coale, “The Maids,” Upstream

• Dunsi Dai, “Imaginary Jesus,” Mustard Seed

• Scott Neale, “Clybourne Park,” the Rep

• Eric Paulson, “The Comedy of Errors,” the Rep

• John Stark, “Way to Heaven,” New Jewish

Outstanding Costume Design:

• Felia Katherine Davenport, “Good,” St. Louis Actors’ Studio

• Sarita Fellows, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the Black Rep

• Daryl Harris, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” the Black Rep

• Alexandra Scibetta Quigley, “Angels in America,” Stray Dog

• Margaret E. Weedon, “The Comedy of Errors,” the Rep

Outstanding Lighting Design:

• Steve Carmichael, “The Hairy Ape,” Upstream

• Tyler Duenow, “Angels in America,” Stray Dog

• Phil Monat, “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” the Rep

• Nathan Schroeder, “Talley’s Folly,” New Jewish

• Michael Sullivan, “Way to Heaven,” New Jewish

Outstanding Sound Design:

• Justin Been, “Angels in America,” Stray Dog

• Zoe Sullivan, “Going To See the Elephant,” Mustard Seed

• Rusty Wandall, “A Steady Rain,” the Rep

• Robin Weatherall, “Good,” St. Louis Actors’ Studio

• Robin Weatherall, “Way to Heaven,” New Jewish

Outstanding New Play:

• Ayad Akhtar, “The Invisible Hand,” The Rep

• Nancy Bell, “The New World,” Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

• Jaysen Cryer, “Stupefy! The 90-Minute Harry Potter Live,” Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre

• Deanna Jent, “Imaginary Jesus,” Mustard Seed

• Stephen Pierick, “Wake Up, Cameron Dobbs,” West End Players Guild

Judith Newmark is the Post-Dispatch theater critic. Follow her on Twitter @judithnewmark.

Judith Newmark is the Post-Dispatch theater critic. Follow her on Twitter @judithnewmark.

Judith Newmark is the theater critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.