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Theaterati of the Year Among New First Night's Top Ten Categories Revealed

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:

Theaterati of the Year Among New First Night's Top Ten Categories Revealed
Matt Logan

First Night's Theaterati of the Year

Ryan Bowie, Roxy Regional Theatre artistic director

Morgan Davis, actress, artistic associate and education administrator for Nashville Shakespeare Festival

Nate Eppler, playwright

Vali Forrister, Actors Bridge Ensemble co-founder

Cori Laemmel, The Theatre Bug founder

Matt Logan, Studio Tenn artistic director

Norma Luther, owner, Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre

Jessika Malone, director of Haunted and associate artistic director of Actors Bridge

Bryce McDonald, producing director, Cumberland County Playhouse

Ernie Nolan, executive artistic director, Nashville Children's Theatre

Tamiko Robinson Steele, actress

Shawn Whitsell, writer/director/producer and founder of Destiny Theatre Experience

Theaterati of the Year Among New First Night's Top Ten Categories Revealed
A Raisin in the Sun

First Night's Outstanding Lighting Designers

Michael Barnett, Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, Nashville Repertory Theatre

Daniel Black and Sarina Richardson, The Water's Edge, KB Productions

Richard 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

Theaterati of the Year Among New First Night's Top Ten Categories Revealed
The Elephant Man

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 Theatre

Matt 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 Theatre

Patricia Taber, The Hundred Dresses, Nashville Children's Theatre

Patricia Taber, Mr. Popper's Penguins, Nashville Children's Theatre


Theaterati of the Year Among New First Night's Top Ten Categories Revealed
Richard II

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 Theatre

Matt Logan and Mitch White, The Elephant Man, Studio Tenn

Jim Manning, Angels in America, ACT 1

Mitch Massaro, The Hundred Dresses, Nashville Children's Theatre

John Partyka, Million Dollar Quartet, Cumberland County Playhouse

Theaterati of the Year Among New First Night's Top Ten Categories Revealed
Part of the Plan

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 McIntyre

Denice Hicks as KING LEAR, Nashville Shakespeare Festival

Theaterati of the Year Among New First Night's Top Ten Categories Revealed
Les Miserables

First Night's Outstanding Road Shows

An American in Paris

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

The Bodyguard

The Curious Incident of the Dog at Nighttime

Disney's The Little Mermaid

Fun Home

Gentlemen's Guide to Love and Murder

Les Miserables

Something Rotten

Sound of Musi

Theaterati of the Year Among New First Night's Top Ten Categories Revealed
J. Robert Lindsey

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.

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From This Author - Jeffrey Ellis

Jeffrey Ellis is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who's been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 35 years. In 1989, Ellis and his partner l... (read more about this author)


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