Twyla Tharp, Lookingglass Alice Honored At 6th Annual Suzi Bass Awards

Twyla_Tharp_Lookingglass_Alice_Honored_At_6th_Annual_Suzi_Bass_Awards_20010101

The Suzi Bass Awards hosted their sixth annual celebration of Atlanta theatre last night at the Conant Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Oglethorpe University. Theatre patrons, Nominees, theatre staff and industry artists enjoyed exciting performances from Jill Hames, Glenn Rainey, Desmond Sean, Ingrid Cole and Kayce Grogan Wallace from last season's nominated musicals, and some gentle roasting from host Rob Cleveland - actor, author and stand-up comic. Cleveland opened the ceremony with a reflection on the nature of Atlanta's theatre community as a "family" and the metaphor was reiterated by many winners and presenters during the evening. Atlanta City Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell also attended the event to present a Proclamation from the Council on behalf of the Suzi Bass Awards.

Awards in 25 categories were presented, including the new World Premiere category, which went to Douglas Tappin's I Dream, the new musical based on the life of DR. Martin Luther King. I Dream debuted at the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta. Directed by Jasmine Guy and produced by Musical-Dramatic Arts, Inc. and associate producers Sola Mahoney, Tammy McCrary and Chaka Khan.

Ten professional Atlanta theatres took home Suzi Performance Awards, with seven (7) of the signature silver star Suzis going to the Alliance Theatre. Dance legend Twyla Tharp won in Choreography for her work on the Atlanta premiere of the Broadway-bound Come Fly With Me (Come Fly Away in NYC). Come Fly With Me garnered two more Suzis for its creative team: Musical Director Sam Lutfiyya, and Sound Designer Peter McBoyle for their amazing work in coordinating live music and Frank Sinatra's recorded voice, and the overall soundscape of the show. Alliance Theatre's a capella R&B/Doo Wop musical Avenue X pulled in three more Suzis including Outstanding Ensemble - Musical, and both Lighting Design - Musical (Ken Yunker), and Scenic Design - Musical (former Tony Award winner Todd Rosenthal). Neda Spears accepted the Ensemble - Musical Suzi for her cast mates in Avenue X, including Rebecca Blouin, Lawrence Clayton, Jeremy Cohen, Steve French, J.D. Goldblatt, J.D Webster, and Nick Spangler (winner of CBS's The Amazing Race in 2008.) Alliance Theatre snagged a second acting ensemble trophy based on their production of Lookingglass Alice, which used many of the same Chicago artists from the original cast. Sponsored this year by Actors' Equity Association, the Suzi for Ensemble-Play was shared by Molly Brennan, Anthony Fleming III, Lindsey Noel Whiting, Kevin Douglas, and Doug Hara.

Aurora Theatre's, the first non-New York production of the musical by Harvey Fierstein and John Bucchino won in the categories of Lead Actress-Play (Ingrid Cole for her performance as Aggie) and Music Direction (Ann-Carol Pence). Located in Lawrenceville, Aurora's commitment to bringing modern musicals to its suburban audience also brought both Fierstein and Bucchino to see a performance and interact with cast and audience members during its run last season. Aurora's third Suzi of the evening went A Catered Affair to Nita Hardy in the Featured Actress - Play category for her hysterical portrayal of the housekeeper in the farce Boeing, Boeing.

Other Musical category awards were shared by three theatres. Douglas J. Koertge's costumes for Shrew: The Musical won a Suzi for a Georgia Shakespeare production. The Actor's Express production of Grey Gardens won Suzis in Featured Actress for Kathleen McManus's searing, funny portrayal of Big Edie and Freddie Ashley's direction of the show. Atlanta Lyric Theatre's exciting production of Hairspray garnered the Suzi for Production - Musical, and Lead Actor - Musical went to Broadway veteran Glenn Rainey for his second Harvey Fierstein-originated role of the season as Edna Turnblatt (Rainey was also nominated for his role as Winston in A Catered Affair at Aurora). Atlanta Lyric performer Chase Todd won Featured Actor - Musical for his portrayal of Hysterium in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Play categories were no less exciting, with the big prize going to Horizon Theatre's production of Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery, by Shay Youngblood. This production of the play reflected on the 1988 world premiere at Horizon by casting some of the original actors in other roles. Shakin's costume designer Nyrobi Moss also took home a Suzi for her work on the production. Theatre in the Square thriller The Woman in Black broke through tough competition to win for Rob Dillard (Lighting Design) and Christopher Bartelski (Sound Design). A new adaptation of Ethan Frome, also produced by Theatre in the Square, snagged yet another trophy in Scenic Design-Play for Kat Conley (this is her tenth nomination and her third consecutive win in the last four years). A long-awaited Suzi went to William S. Murphey, nominated as Featured Actor for his multiple-character work in Theatrical Outfit's ambitious Around the World in 80 Days. Cormack McCarthy's The Sunset Limited, also produced by Theatrical Outfit, proved that "tough" plays also have a great appeal for the Suzi judges. Lead actor E. Roger Mitchell and director Jessica Phelps West both won star statues for their work on the show.

The Gene-Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award, recognizing Atlanta playwrights whose work is produced during the previous season, was presented to Janece Shaffer for Brownie Points, produced by Theatrical Outfit. This is the second year in a row that Shaffer has taken home the award. New this year, the Volunteer of the Year Award highlights the amazing support given to Atlanta professional theatres by volunteers. Christine Billies, who volunteers in many capacities for Georgia Ensemble Theatre, was this year's recipient. Actor's Express will proudly display the coveted Audience Choice for Outstanding Season award. A fundraiser for the Suzi Awards organization, the general public decides the winner through one-dollar "donation votes" to the organization.

The evening ended with a joyous reception for the entire audience, where patrons, nominees, recipients and industry professionals could celebrate the past season and congratulate everyone for their great work.

A complete list of Nominees and Recipients follows:

2009 - 2010 Suzi Bass Awards Nominees
(*Winners in Bold)

Production - Play
Around the World in 80 Days, Theatrical Outfit
Jitney, Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre
King Lear, Georgia Shakespeare
Lookingglass Alice, Alliance Theatre
*Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery, Horizon Theatre

Production - Musical
A Catered Affair, Aurora Theatre
Come Fly With Me, Alliance Theatre
Grey Gardens, Actor's Express
*Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre
I Dream, Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc.

World Premiere (Play or Musical)
Brownie Points, Theatrical Outfit
Come Fly With Me, Alliance Theatre
Fair Use, Actor's Express
*I Dream, Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc.
Tennis in Nablus, Alliance Theatre

Director - Play
David Catlin, Lookingglass Alice, Alliance Theatre
James Donadio, Ethan Frome ,Theatre in the Square
*Jessica Phelps West, The Sunset Limited, Theatrical Outfit
Sabin Epstein, King Lear, Georgia Shakespeare
Thomas W. Jones II, Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery, Horizon Theatre


Director - Musical
Brandt Blocker, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre
Freddie Ashley, A Catered Affair, Aurora Theatre
*Freddie Ashley, Grey Gardens, Actor's Express
Jasmine Guy, I Dream, Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc.
Twyla Tharp, Come Fly With Me, Alliance Theatre

Music Direction (*Tie)
*Ann-Carol Pence, A Catered Affair, Aurora Theatre
BJ Brown, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre
Darryl JoVan Williams, Avenue X, Alliance Theatre
Keith Williams, I Dream, Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc.
*Sam Lutfiyya, Come Fly With Me, Alliance Theatre

Choreography
Cindy Mora, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre
Cindy Mora, The Will Rogers Follies, Atlanta Lyric Theatre
Danny Pelzig, Avenue X, Alliance Theatre
Jen MacQueen, Shrew: The Musical, Georgia Shakespeare
*Twyla Tharp, Come Fly With Me, Alliance Theatre

Lead Actress - Play
Bethany Anne Lind, The Storytelling Ability of a Boy, Aurora Theatre
Kate Donadio, Around the World in 80 Days, Theatrical Outfit
Minka Wiltz, Black Pearl Sings, Horizon Theatre
Naima Carter Russell, Tranced, Aurora Theatre
*Tess Malis Kincaid, Good Boys and True, Actor's Express

Lead Actress - Musical
Bernardine Mitchell, His Eye is on the Sparrow, Theatre in the Square
Caitlin Smith, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre
*Ingrid Cole, A Catered Affair, Aurora Theatre
Jill Hames, Grey Gardens, Actor's Express
Park Krausen, Shrew: The Musical, Georgia Shakespeare

Lead Actor - Play
*E. Roger Mitchell, The Sunset Limited, Theatrical Outfit
Nick Arapoglou, The Storytelling Ability of a Boy, Aurora Theatre
Robin Bloodworth, Ethan Frome, Theatre in the Square
Steve Coulter, The Men of Mah Jongg, Georgia Ensemble Theatre
Tim McDonough, King Lear, Georgia Shakespeare

Lead Actor - Musical
Alan Kilpatrick, The Will Roger's Follies, Atlanta Lyric Theatre
Daniel Thomas May, Cotton Patch Gospel, Theatrical Outfit & Georgia Ensemble Theatre
*Glenn Rainey, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre
Joe Knezevich, Shrew: The Musical, Georgia Shakespeare
Quentin Earl Darrington, I Dream, Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc

Featured Actress - Play
Ellen McQueen, Ethan Frome, Theatre in the Square
Naomi Lavette, Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery, Horizon Theatre
*Nita Hardy, Boeing, Boeing, Aurora Theatre
Stacy Melich, Good Boys and True, Actor's Express
Tonia Jackson, Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery, Horizon Theatre


Featured Actress - Musical
Ann Marie Gideon, Shrew: The Musical, Georgia Shakespeare
Christy Baggett, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre
Courtney Godwin, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre
*Kathleen McManus, Grey Gardens, Actor's Express
Kayce Grogan Wallace, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre

Featured Actor - Play
Andrew Benator, Tennis in Nablus, Alliance Theatre
James Donadio, Around the World in 80 Days, Theatrical Outfit
Jimi Kocina, True Love Lies, Horizon Theatre
Kevin Dougherty, The Men of Mah Jongg, Georgia Ensemble Theatre
*William S. Murphey, Around the World in 80 Days, Theatrical Outfit

Featured Actor - Musical
Ben Polite, I Dream Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc
*Chase Todd, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Atlanta Lyric Theatre
Chase Todd, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre
Glenn Rainey, A Catered Affair, Aurora Theatre
Jevares C. Myrick, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre

The Actor's Equity Association Suzi for Ensemble - Play
It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, ART Station
Brik Berkes-Kate Donadio-Barry Stoltze-Bryan Brendle-Bethany Irby

Jitney, Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre
Tracey Bonner-Eric Moore-Geoffrey D. Williams-Anthony Chisholm-Yaegel Welch-
CedRic Young-E. Roger Mitchell-Ellis Eugene Williams-LaParee Young

*Lookingglass Alice Alliance Theatre
Molly Brennan-Anthony Fleming III-Lindsey Noel Whiting-Kevin Douglas-Doug Hara

Shooting Star Horizon Theatre
Leigh Campbell Taylor-Jim Hammond

The Savannah Disputation Theatre in the Square
Nita Hardy-Judy Leavell-Mary Kathryn Kaye-Peter Thomasson

Ensemble - Musical
*Avenue X, Alliance Theatre
Rebecca Blouin-Steve French-Neda Spears-Lawrence Clayton-J.D. Goldblatt-
J.D. Webster-Jeremy Cohen-Nick Spangler

Children's Letters to God, The Legacy Theatre
Brent Davis-Paige McCauley-Benjamin Peacock-Maddie Mateer-Austin Monk

Come Fly With Me, Alliance Theatre
Kristine Bendul-Heather Hamilton-Karine Plantadit-Alexander Brady-Laura Mead-Joel
Prouty-Todd Burnsed-Jodi Melnick-Matt Rivera-Dee Daniels-Charlie Neshyba Hodges-
Keith Roberts-Matthew Dibble-Rika Okamoto-John Selya-Carolyn Doherty-Eric Otto-John
Sorensen Jolink-Holley Farmer-Justin Peck-Ashley Tuttle

Hair 7 Stages
Dorothy Victoria Bell-Doug Graham-Jenna Tamisiea-Franceca Byrd-Naomi Lavender-
Warren E. Ullom IV-Thoedus X. Crane II-Chris Love-Christine Verderese-Christie Lee
Fisher-Jason Royal-Jacob Wood


Costume Design - Play
Christine Turbitt, King Lear, Georgia Shakespeare
Jonida Beqo, Around the World in 80 Days, Theatrical Outfit
Linda Patterson, Boeing, Boeing, Aurora Theatre
Mara Blumenfeld, Lookingglass Alice, Alliance Theatre
*Nyrobi Moss, Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery, Horizon Theatre


Costume Design - Musical
*Douglas J. Koertge, Shrew: The Musical, Georgia Shakespeare
Katherine Roth, Come Fly With Me, Alliance Theatre
Mariann Verheyen, Avenue X, Alliance Theatre
Shilla Benning, I Dream, Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc.
Sydney Roberts, Grey Gardens, Actor's Express

Lighting Design - Play
Christine Binder, Lookingglass Alice ,Alliance Theatre
Jessica Coale, Around the World in 80 Days, Theatrical Outfit
Mike Post, Ethan Frome, Theatre in the Square
Rob Dillard, Brownie Points, Theatrical Outfit
*Rob Dillard, The Woman in Black, Theatre in the Square

Lighting Design - Musical
*Ken Yunker, Avenue X, Alliance Theatre
Donald Holder, Come Fly With Me, Alliance Theatre
Joseph Futral, I Dream, Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc.
Joseph P. Monaghan III, Grey Gardens, Actor's Express
Bradley Bergeron, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre

Scenic Design - Play
Clint Ramos, A Life in the Theatre, Alliance Theatre
Daniel Ostling, Lookingglass Alice, Alliance Theatre
Isabel A. Curley-Clay and Moriah Curley-Clay, The Sunset Limited, Theatrical Outfit
Isabel A. Curley-Clay and Moriah Curley-Clay, Shooting Star, Horizon Theatre
*Kat Conley, Ethan Frome, Theatre in the Square

Scenic Design - Musical
Kat Conley, I Dream, Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc.
Lee Shiver, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Atlanta Lyric Theatre
Phillip Male, A Catered Affair, Aurora Theatre
Phillip Male, Grey Gardens, Actor's Express
*Todd Rosenthal, Avenue X, Alliance Theatre

Sound Design - Play
*Christopher Bartelski, The Woman in Black, Theatre in the Square
Clay Benning, Tennis in Nablus, Alliance Theatre
Jonathan Summers, The Sunset Limited, Theatrical Outfit
Ray Nardelli, Lookingglass Alice, Alliance Theatre
Thom Jenkins, Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery, Horizon Theatre

Sound Design - Musical
Bobby Johnston, I Dream Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc.
BrIan Patterson, His Eye is on the Sparrow, Theatre in the Square
Clay Benning, Avenue X, Alliance Theatre
Jonathan Summers, Cotton Patch Gospel, Theatrical Outfit and Georgia Ensemble Theatre
*Peter McBoyle, Come Fly With Me, Alliance Theatre
-- MORE --


Winner Breakdown by Theatre

Actor's Express
Lead Actress Play: Tess Malis Kincaid, Good Boys and True
Featured Actress Musical: Kathleen McManus, Grey Gardens
Director Musical: Freddie Ashley, Grey Gardens
Special Award:
Audience Choice Award for Outstanding Season

Alliance Theatre
Actor's Equity Association Suzi for Ensemble-Play: Lookingglass Alice
Ensemble Musical: Avenue X
Choreography: Twyla Tharp, Come Fly With Me
Music Direction (Tie): Sam Lutfiyya, Come Fly With Me
Lighting Design Musical: Ken Yunker, Avenue X
Scenic Design Musical: Todd Rosenthal, Avenue X
Sound Design Musical: Peter McBoyle, Come Fly With Me

Atlanta Lyric Theatre
Production Musical: Hairspray
Lead Actor Musical: Glenn Rainey, Hairspray
Featured Actor Musical: Chase Todd, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

Aurora Theatre
Featured Actress Play: Nita Hardy, Boeing, Boeing
Lead Actress Musical: Ingrid Cole, A Catered Affair
Music Direction (Tie): Ann-Carol Pence, A Catered Affair

Georgia Ensemble Theatre
Special Award:
Volunteer of the Year - Christine Billies

Georgia Shakespeare
Costume Design Musical: Douglas J. Koertge, Shrew: The Musical

Horizon Theatre
Production Play: Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery
Costume Design Play: Nyrobi Moss, Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery

Musical-Dramatic Arts, Inc.
World Premiere (Play or Musical): I Dream

Theatre in the Square
Lighting Design Play: Rob Dillard, The Woman in Black
Scenic Design Play: Kat Conley, Ethan Frome
Sound Design Play: Christopher Bartelski, The Woman in Black

Theatrical Outfit
Director Play: Jessica Phelps West, The Sunset Limited
Lead Actor Play: E. Roger Mitchell, The Sunset Limited
Featured Actor Play: William S. Murphey, Around the World in 80 Days
Special Award:
The Gene-Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award: Janece Shaffer for Brownie Points
(produced by Theatrical Outfit)Twyla_Tharp_Lookingglass_Alice_Honored_At_6th_Annual_Suzi_Bass_Awards_20010101

Photo Credit: Walter McBride/WM Photos

Photo Credit: Walter McBride/WM Photos

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