The company of BELLA: AN AMERICAN TALL TALE. Photo by Joan Marcus

Kirsten Childs’ BELLA Nominated for Drama League Award, Drama Desk Award, Chita Rivera Award and 6 Lortel Awards

Kirsten Childs. Photo by Zack DeZon
Kirsten Childs. Photo by Zack DeZon

Playwrights Horizons’ co-world premiere of BELLA: AN AMERICAN TALL TALE, a new musical with book, music and lyrics by Obie Award winner Kirsten Childs, has been nominated for six Lortel Awards in the categories of Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical for Ashley D. Kelley, Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical for Brandon Gill and Paolo Montalban, Outstanding Choreographer for Camille A. Brown and Outstanding Costume Design for Dede M. Ayite.

Camille A. Brown
Camille A. Brown

2018 Lucille Lortel Award Nominations Announced including KPOP, “Bella: An American Tall Tale,” “Mary Jane,” “The Lucky Ones,” “Pipeline,” “School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play” and “Pacific Overtures” 

Ashley D. Kelley (as Bella, center) with members of the company. Photo by Joan Marcus
Ashley D. Kelley (as Bella, center) with members of the company. Photo by Joan Marcus

Helmed by two-time Obie Award winner Robert O’Hara with choreography by Camille A. Brown, the musical is the sixth and final production of the theater company’s 2016/2017 Season.

Paolo Montalban & Ashley D. Kelley (as Bella). Photo by Joan Marcus
Paolo Montalban & Ashley D. Kelley (as Bella). Photo by Joan Marcus

The cast of BELLA: AN AMERICAN TALL TALE featured Marinda Anderson (Ida Lou/Aunt Dinah), Yurel Echezarreta  (Diego Moreno/CP Conyers), Brandon Gill (Nathaniel Beckworth), Olli Haaskivi (Gabriel Conyers/Scooter), Ashley D. Kelley (Bella), Kevin Massey (Snaggletooth Hoskins), Drama Desk Award and Audelco Award winner Kenita R. Miller (Miss Cabbagestalk/Mama), Paolo Montalban (Tommie Haw/Skeeter), Gabrielle Reyes (Mrs. Dinwiddie/Nurse), Britton Smith (Aloysius T. Honeycutt) and NaTasha Yvette Williams (Grandma/Spirit of the Booty).

Ashley D. Kelley (as Bella) & Brandon Gill. Photo by Joan Marcus
Ashley D. Kelley (as Bella) & Brandon Gill. Photo by Joan Marcus

BELLA has also received a 2018 Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical.

The company of BELLA: AN AMERICAN TALL TALE. Photo by Joan Marcus
The company of BELLA: AN AMERICAN TALL TALE. Photo by Joan Marcus

Dede M. Ayite has been nominated for a 2018 Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Costume Design for a Musical.

Kenita R. Miller. Photo by Joan Marcus.
Kenita R. Miller. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Kenita R. Miller has been nominated for a 2018 Chita Rivera Award for Outstanding Female Dancer in an Off-Broadway Show.

Ashley D. Kelley (as Bella), Kenita R. Miller, NaTasha Yvette Williams & Marinda Anderson. Photo by Joan Marcus
Ashley D. Kelley (as Bella), Kenita R. Miller, NaTasha Yvette Williams & Marinda Anderson. Photo by Joan Marcus

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. Giddy-up to our get-down!

Ashley D. Kelley (as Bella), NaTasha Yvette Williams & Kenita R. Miller. Photo by Joan Marcus
Ashley D. Kelley (as Bella), NaTasha Yvette Williams & Kenita R. Miller. Photo by Joan Marcus

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. Production stage manager is Erin Gioia Albrecht.

Ashley D. Kelley (as Bella), Yurel Echezarreta & Kenita R. Miller. Photo by Joan Marcus
Ashley D. Kelley (as Bella), Yurel Echezarreta & Kenita R. Miller. Photo by Joan Marcus

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.

NaTasha Yvette Williams, Marinda Anderson, Brandon Gill, Kenita Miller and Yurel Echezarreta. Photo by Garth Kravits
NaTasha Yvette Williams, Marinda Anderson, Brandon Gill, Kenita Miller and Yurel Echezarreta. Photo by Garth Kravits

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang, Paolo Montalban and Kenita R. Miller. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Paolo Montalban and Kenita R. Miller. Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang, Photo by Garth Kravits

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 Examiner.comJade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2018 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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