NAACP Reveals Nominations For The 28th Annual Theatre Awards
Once again, the NAACP Beverly Hills/Hollywood Branch's Theatre Viewing Committee has spoken, and the nominations are in for the 28th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards. This year's pedigreed list of nominees collectively represents a rich, extensive dossier of legacies and accolades for both stage and screen. These nominees include members of a legendary "gospel royal family" as well as a Legend whose part of an elite group of artists in the EGOT winners circle. These, along with all their fellow nominees, will be honored for their excellence on the small and large stages during our annual awards dinner, slated to be held on Monday, June 17, 2019, 6:00 p.m.at the prestigious Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California.
Notable Equity Theatre (large theatre) production "Born For This" leads the pack of nominees with 13 nods for the musical that follows the rise of the iconic sibling gospel duo BeBe and Cece Winans. The Winans' talent runs 4 generations deep as proven by co-stars, and family members Deborah Joy Winans, star of OWN's Greenleaf, and Juan Winans who portrayed the siblings in this musical. They each garnered Best Lead Female and Best Lead Male nominations for their performances. Rounding out the 13 nominations, both BeBe Winans and Charles Randolph Wright received nods for Best Playwright. Just as the Winans helped define a modern era of gospel music, Disco Queen Donna Summer helped define a distinctive era in American history. Honoring the life and music of disco icon Donna Summer, the Equity Theatre musical, "Summer: The Donna Summer Musical" earns a whopping 10 nods.
Dramas also made a significant impression this awards season with "Head of Passes" raking in 6 nominations. The critically acclaimed production is a gripping drama about acceptance and the power of faith. The incomparable Phylicia Rash d earned a Best Lead Female nomination for her portrayal of the ailing matriarch. Once dubbed "The Mother" of the black community at the NAACP Image Awards, this veteran stage and television actress is in the history books as the first African American to receive a Tony Award for Best Actress in 2004.
Previous NAACP Theatre Award winner for "Ray Charles Live!," Rahn Coleman gets another nod this year for Best Music Director for "Shout Sister Shout," a large theatre production that tells the story of the Rock & Roll trailblazing guitarist Sister Rosetta Tharpe. This production earned 3 nods for its portrayal of the "Godmother of Rock & Roll."
Veteran actor Joe Morton picks up a nomination for Best One Person Show for "Turn Me Loose." Renowned for his portrayal of the ruthless "Papa Pope," on the television series "Scandal," viewers can now catch the actor in the critically acclaimed new television drama "God Friended Me" in which he has taken on a distinctly different role as a church pastor. "Turn Me Loose" is a one-man comedic drama about the extraordinary life of Dick Gregory. Producer John Legend and Get Lifted Film Co. earned a Best Producer nomination for this bio-play. Mr. Legend continues to expand his wings after becoming the most recent artist to join the EGOT family, earning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony for his vast music career. Could a Theatre Award be his next conquest?
"King Hedley II leads the group of 99-seat theatre productions with 6 nominations including Best Producer and Best Playwright. Penned by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright August Wilson, this is thought to be one Wilson's most tragic plays as it explores what happens to black men when they feel worthless and black women when they feel forgotten.
Small theatre productions "This Land" and "Les Blancs" tie with 5 nominations each in the small theatre category. Both productions took the audience across the globe to tell their stories. "This Land"followed 4 families spanning 150 years of history from their country of origin to Watts in Southern California. Evangeline Ordaz, the nominated playwright for this production, explored the complexity and diversity each family brings to the streets of Watts. However, the critically acclaimed play "Les Blancs"by "A Raisin in the Sun" playwright Lorraine Hansberry depicts the plights of colonialism in the late 19th and early 20th century on the continent of Africa as she explores the culture clashes and assimilation that occurred during that period.
Lastly, up for Best Director in a 99-Seat Theatre, veteran stage and screen actor Bill Cobbs and actress Gina Belafonte bring decades of wisdom and knowledge to the director's chair. Both projects explore the social and political complexities in our communities from two distinctly different angles. Bill Cobbs directed the powerful drama, "The Meeting," which imagines a conversation between two of the most socially and politically influential figures in modern times -- Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This powerful play also earned nods for Best Producer and Best Ensemble Cast. Best Director nominee Gina Belafonte, youngest daughter of Harry Belafonte, brings a different point of view on politics and society in the one-man show, "Lyrics from the Lockdown." This acclaimed production explores the ways race, class, power and privilege shape prison and policing in America through the eyes of Byronn Bain who is also nominated for Best One Person Show 99 Seat Theater.
Executive/Creative Producer of the NAACP Theatre Awards Show Tia Boyd states, "The black audience is a growing theatre market that must not be ignored. The NAACP Salute to Black Theatre awards and highlights plays that bring a new energy to the art."
The NAACP Theatre Viewing Committee considers all candidates who submit their productions from January 2017 through December 15, 2017, for possible nomination. All productions must run for at least six (6) full performances in Southern California (San Diego to Bakersfield included). Previews, invited dress rehearsals, and other similar showings do not count towards eligibility. Eligibility for this year's edition was limited to theatre productions opening in January 2017 through December 2017. Productions who meet all eligibility requirements before the deadline are considered eligible for a 2018 NAACP Theatre Award. Nominees will be notified by the NAACP Theatre Viewing Committee Chairpersons Martha Pruden-Hamiter and Lynn Patterson.
The NAACP Theatre Awards is presented by the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP Branch in partnership with the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles City Council President/District 10 Councilman, Herb Wesson Jr. The event is co-chaired by Councilman Herb Wesson, Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP Branch President Ron Hasson, and the Executive/Creative Producer, Tia Boyd. The mission of the Theatre Awards is to entertain, educate, inspire the community and create diversity in the arts and entertainment industry. The prestigious star-studded gala aims to honor the highest achieving persons in the field of dramatic arts. The branch also celebrates a four-day theatre festival, which provides a platform for thespians to express their craft and share their contributions with an audience of their peers, the community and other individuals who celebrate live theatre in Los Angeles.
28th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards Nominations
Best Ensemble Cast Larger Theatre
Summer: The Donna Summer Musical
946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips
Best Ensemble Cast 99 Seat Theatre
Best Lead Male 99 Seat Theatre
Br'er Cotton Omete Anassi
An Accident Kent Faulcon
This Land Niketa Calame
Best Music Director 99 Seat Theatre
Love is a Dirty Word Giovanni Adams
Elevator Mario Marchetti
Can God's Love Cedric Lily
Best One Person Show Larger Theatre
Turn Me Loose Joe Morton
Best Playwright Larger Theatre
Born for This BeBe Winans and Charles Randolph-Wright
Summer: The Donna Summer Musical Colman Domingo, Robert Cary and Des McAnuff
Head of Passes Tarrell Alvin Mc Craney
Best Producer Larger Theatre
Turn Me Loose John Legend (Get Lifted Film Company) & Mike Jackson
Born For This My Destiny Productions and Ron Gillyard
Summer: The Donna Summer Musical LaJolla Playhouse
Best Producer 99 Seat Theatre
This Land Company of Angels & Danny Munoz
The Meeting Shannon Sylvain
King Hedley II Sophina Brown
Best Sound 99 Seat Theatre
Transition David Marling
Les Blancs Jeff Gardner
King Hedley II Kevin Novinsky