Playwright Horizons’ production of Kirsten Childs’ Bella: An American Tall Tale won four AUDELCOs at the 45th Annual Vivian Robinson/AUDELCO “VIV” Recognition Awards for Excellence in Black Theatre, held at Symphony Space in New York, on Monday, November 20, 2017.
Bella: An American Tall Tale, featuring book, music and lyrics by Obie Award winner Kirsten Childs, received top honors including Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Director of a Musical Production for Robert O’Hara; Outstanding Choreography for Camille A. Brown and Outstanding performance in a musical, female for Natasha Yvette Williams.
The cast, including Marinda Anderson, Yurel Echezarreta, Brandon Gill, Olli Haaskivi, Ashley D. Kelley, Kevin Massey, Jo’Nathan Michael, Drama Desk Award and Audelco Award winner Kenita R. Miller, Paolo Montalban, Gabrielle Reyes, Britton Smith and NaTasha Yvette Williams, recently gathered at Avatar Studios to record Childs’ score for an upcoming album, produced by Michael Croiter in conjunction with Playwrights Horizons on the Yellow Sound label.
All aboard for a Western musical adventure the likes of which you’ve never experienced. As a wanted woman of mythic proportions looks to begin life anew out west, Bella (Ms. Kelley) takes us on the trip of a lifetime to escape her scandalous past and bounce into the arms of her awaiting Buffalo Soldier (Mr. Smith). Rowdy, wild, and hilarious, Kirsten Childs infuses this tall tale with soulful tunes and madcap antics aplenty.
The production featured scenic design by Tony Award winner Clint Ramos, costume design by Dede M. Ayite, lighting design by four-time Tony Award nominee Japhy Weideman, sound design by Lindsay Jones, projection design by Jeff Sugg and hair, wig and makeup design by Dave Bova and J. Jared Janas. Orchestrations are by Tony Award winner Daryl Waters, vocal arrangements are by Kirsten Childs, music direction and additional arrangements are by Rona Siddiqui and music coordinator is John Miller.
BELLA: AN AMERICAN TALL TALE was commissioned, developed and produced through the Playwrights Horizons Musicals in Partnership Initiative, with leadership support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This co-world premiere production had an initial run at Dallas Theater Center last fall.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.
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