I was an Ovation voter for several season and find them a joke...and told LASA so on several occasions. They clearly weren't interested in my opinion.
The votes don't even come from the membership at large, they come from the small group of people who are fast enough to make a reservation before they cut off the free tickets. There are voters whose day seems to revolve around sitting and waiting for the tickets to open up so they can be first in line to get them, especially for the big musicals. So in essence, a winning show might have only been seen by a dozen or so voters before the tickets were cut off. If they all give the show high scores, it'll win, over a show that might have 50 viewers where the curve throws off the results, even if more than a dozen gave it the highest score.
Another problem I have with them are for the technical awards, where people who know nothing about these fields are asked to score them. Non directors are asked to score the direction, but does anyone really know what the director did on the show? I can't tell you how many shows where there was an incompetent director, but the the show was saved either by the choreographer or cast members directing themselves, or who have previously done the show and just recreate their performance. So should that director receive an award for that?
Does an actor really know what goes into lighting design? Is the scene bright enough to see? What is the criteria for judging lighting? There aren't that many lighting designers in town and you often see the same name over and over winning the same awards.
I tried to offer helpful suggestions to make the awards better, but the founding cronies and their cohorts have too much power, too much say in what goes on there.
Eric: I am one of the newest members of the Ovations Rules Committee. I'd be happy to meet with you to discuss your concerns. The Ovation Awards are not perfect. But new rules and policies have been implemented--including some for the current season--that are trying to address the very issues that you speak to. I'd like to hear your thoughts and ideas. Email me and let's get together to discuss over coffee. MichaelS@BostonCourt.com