Theaterati of the Year Among New First Night's Top Ten Categories Revealed
Design categories, road shows, theatrical events and the 12 people whose achievements in 2017 are particularly noteworthy were revealed tonight as part two of First Night's Top Ten of 2018 - critic Jeffrey Ellis' annual review of the best in Tennessee theater - was presented during a live Facebook broadcast with two of the hosts of Midwinter's First Night (Ashley Wolfe and J. Robert Lindsay) announcing the work recognized among the best of 2017.
The live presentation also followed last Thursday night's announcement of First Night's Top Ten performances and productions.
Winners of First Night Awards will be announced during Midwinter's First Night festivities on Sunday, January 28, at Music Valley Event Center in Nashville. That event will also feature live performances and "hijinks" starring the team of co-hosts and a coterie of local theater luminaries.
The pair of reveal broadcasts serve as the announcement of nominees for First Night Awards recognition in the categories of outstanding plays, outstanding musicals, outstanding performances by actors/actresses and ensembles, outstanding directors, choreographers and musical directors. The history of First Night goes back to 1989 and the original presentation of the Dare Theatre Awards, which subsequently became known as the First Night Awards and is now primarily known for The First Night Honors, a Kennedy Center Honors-inspired presentation that has been on hiatus since the 2015 presentation.
Among nominees announced this evening:
First Night's Theaterati of the YearRyan Bowie, Roxy Regional Theatre artistic director Morgan Davis, actress, artistic associate and education administrator for Nashville Shakespeare FestivalNate Eppler, playwrightVali Forrister, Actors Bridge Ensemble co-founderCori Laemmel, The Theatre Bug founder
Matt Logan, Studio Tenn artistic director Norma Luther, owner, Chaffin's Barn Dinner TheatreJessika Malone, director of Haunted and associate artistic director of Actors BridgeBryce McDonald, producing director, Cumberland County PlayhouseErnie Nolan, executive artistic director, Nashville Children's TheatreTamiko Robinson Steele, actress Shawn Whitsell, writer/director/producer and founder of Destiny Theatre Experience
First Night's Outstanding Lighting DesignersMichael Barnett, Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, Nashville Repertory Theatre
Daniel Black and Sarina Richardson, The Water's Edge, KB ProductionsRichard K. Davis, The Amish Project, Actors Bridge Ensemble and Belmont University Theatre Phillip Franck, A Raisin in the Sun, Nashville Repertory Theatre Phillip Franck, Sense and Sensibility, Nashville Repertory Theatre Jason Kantrowitz, Part of the Plan, Tennessee Performing Arts Center Stephen Moss, The Battle of Franklin, Studio Tenn Stephen Moss, The Elephant Man, Studio Tenn Bill Rios, The Hundred Dresses, Nashville Children's Theatre Anne Willingham, Richard II, Nashville Shakespeare Festival and Lipscomb University Theatre
First Night's Outstanding Costume Designers Colleen Burns Garatoni, Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, Nashville Repertory Theatre Trish Clark, A Raisin in the Sun, Nashville Repertory Theatre
Trish Clark, Sense And Sensibility, Nashville Repertory Theatre June Kingsbury, Richard II, Nashville Shakespeare Festival and Lipscomb University TheatreMatt Logan, The Elephant Man, Studio Tenn Ashlynne Ludwig, Million Dollar Quartet, Cumberland County Playhouse Jamie Lyn Scott, A Wonderful Life, Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre Jamie Lyn Scott, Mamma Mia, Chaffin's Barn Dinner TheatrePatricia Taber, The Hundred Dresses, Nashville Children's TheatrePatricia Taber, Mr. Popper's Penguins, Nashville Children's Theatre
First Night's Outstanding Scenic Designers
Andy Bleiler, Richard II, Nashville Shakespeare Festival and Lipscomb University Theatre
Jaymes Campbell, The Water's Edge, KB Productions
Robert Helvey, The Amish Project, Actors Bridge Ensemble and Belmont University Theatre
Gary C. Hoff, Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, Nashville Rep
Gary C. Hoff, A Raisin In the Sun, Nashville Repertory Theatre
Gary C. Hoff, Sense and Sensibility, Nashville Rep
Scott Leathers, Mr. Popper's Penguins, Nashville Children's TheatreMatt Logan and Mitch White, The Elephant Man, Studio TennJim Manning, Angels in America, ACT 1Mitch Massaro, The Hundred Dresses, Nashville Children's Theatre
John Partyka, Million Dollar Quartet, Cumberland County Playhouse
First Night's Theatrical Events of the Year
HAUNTED, Actors Bridge Ensemble, Abrasive Media and FALL
PART OF THE PLAN, Tennessee Performing Arts Center
SIDESHOW FRINGE 2017
THE SPOTLIGHT AWARDS, The Nashville High School Musical Awards
SEA WALL at OZ Arts, directed by Jaclynn Jutting, starring Nat McIntyreDenice Hicks as KING LEAR, Nashville Shakespeare Festival
First Night's Outstanding Road Shows
An American in Paris
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
The Curious Incident of the Dog at Nighttime
Disney's The Little Mermaid
Gentlemen's Guide to Love and Murder
Sound of Musi
About Midwinter's First Night 2017: J. Robert Lindsay, Benjamin Pendergrast, Tosha Pendergrast and Ashley Wolfe will share the stage as co-hosts of 2018 Midwinter's First Night, set for Sunday, January 28, 2018, at Music Valley Event Center in Nashville. Midwinter's First Night is the annual presentation of First Night founder and executive producer Jeffrey Ellis' First Night's Top Ten of 2018 and the announcement of winners of the BWW Nashville Awards, voting for which continues through the end of December.
"Mad, bad and dangerous to know," Midwinter's First Night is the cold weather follow-up - the more irreverent younger sibling, if you will - to the more august First Night Honors. The history of The First Night Honors and Midwinter's First Night goes back to the 1989 debut of The Dare Theater Awards, which subsequently became the First Night Awards and evolved into The First Night Honors which bowed in 2010.
Festivities get under way at 7 p.m. on Sunday, January 28, at Music Valley Event Center and will feature performances by some of the region's best-known stage performers.