Inside the 2019 National Black Theatre Festival Gala with André De Shields

2019 Tony Award Winner André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

2019 Tony winner Andre De Shields has been attending The National Black Theatre Festival® (NBTF) in Winston-Salem, N. C. since 1995. Dubbed the “Black Theatre Holy Ground,” NBTF is the international outreach program of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, founded by the late Larry Leon Hamlin in 1979. The Festival, also founded by Hamlin, has been held biennially since 1989. The NCBRC celebrated its 40th anniversary this year, while the NBTF celebrated its 30th. Below is a photo diary of his night at the gala.

WINSTON-SALEM MARRIOTT 4:45 P.M.

Elizabeth Van Dyke, André De Shields, Art Evans and Woodie King, Jr. Photo by Lia Chang
Ted Lange and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Kim Sullivan, André De Shields and Keith David. Photo by Lia Chang
Lawrence Evans and Herman LeVern Thompson-Jones. Photo by Lia Chang
Lia Chang and 2019 Tony Award Winner André De Shields. Photo by Rome Neal
André De Shields, Makita Bond and her husband, Petri Hawkins Byrd. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields and cast members from JELLY’s LAST JAM. Photo by Lia Chang
Kamilah Forbes and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Mr. De Shields presented the 2019 NBTF Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement Award to his dear friend and colleague, Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Leslie Uggams during the opening night gala at the Benton Convention Center on July 29.

2019 Tony Award Winner André De Shields presents the 2019 NBTF Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement Award to Leslie Uggams. Photo by Lia Chang

Scroll down for complete coverage of the evening’s festivities.

5:15 P.M.

Carver High School’s marching band and dancers performed in front of the Benton Convention Center. Photo by Lia Chang
Carver High School’s marching band and dancers performed in front of the Benton Convention Center. Photo by Lia Chang

Carver High School’s marching band and dancers performed in front of the Benton Convention Center.

Brian McLaughlin and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Art Evans, André De Shields, Michael Colyar and Keith David. Photo by Lia Chang
Chester Gregory, Art Evans, André De Shields, Michael Colyar and Keith David. Photo by Lia Chang

Margaret Avery and Chester Gregory served as celebrity co-chairs for the evening.

Petri Hawkins-Byrd and Andre De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Celebrity co-chairs Margaret Avery and Chester Gregory. Photo by Lia Chang

Celebrity guests also included Brian Stokes Mitchell, Tonya Pinkins, Lamman Rucker, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Keith David, Ledisi, Geoffrey Owens, Woodie King, Jr., Bern Nadete Stanis, Hal Williams, Lisa Arrindell, Taurean Blacque, Mychal Bella Bowman, Petri Hawkins Byrd, Colby Christina, Bill Cobbs, Savion Glover, Fay Hauser- Price and Louis Price, Tommy Redmond Hicks, Maria Howell, Ebony Jo-Ann, Aku Kadogo, Ted Lange, Khalil Middleton, Qaasim Middleton, Barbara Montgomery, Gabriela Norwood, Tonea Stewart, Darnell Williams, Hattie Winston Wheeler and many more who posed for an iconic group portrait prior to the awards ceremony.

DINNER 5:45 P.M.

Dr. Elwanda Ingram and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Colby Christina, Qaasim Middleton, André De Shields, Toni Seawright, Khalil Middleton. Photo by Lia Chang
Bonita Brisker, André De Shields and Michele Shay. Photo by Lia Chang
Producer Stephen C. Bird and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Producer Ron Simons, André De Shields and a guest. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields and Darnell Williams. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields, Allyson Tucker-Mitchell and Brian Stokes Mitchell. Photo by Lia Chang
Tonya Pinkins and Stephen C. Bird. Photo by Lia Chang
Stephen C. Bird, Kimberley LaMarque Orman, Roscoe Orman and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Roscoe Orman and Kimberley LaMarque Orman. Photo by Lia Chang
Louis Price and Faith Hauser-Price. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields and Nana Malaya Rucker-Oparabea. Photo by Lia Chang

GATHERING FOR THE PORTRAIT

André De Shields and Winston-Salem’s Mayor Allen Joines. Photo by Lia Chang
Ted Lange and Darnell Williams. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields with Idella Johnson and Stanley Wayne Mathis, stars of “JELLY’s LAST JAM. Photo by Lia Chang
Vanessa Bell Calloway and Ebony Jo-Ann. Photo by Lia Chang
Brian Stokes Mitchell, Keith David, André De Shields, Stephen C. Bird. Photo by Lia Chang
Annie Hamlin Johnson, mother of NBTF founder Larry Leon Hamlin. Photo by Lia Chang
Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin, executive producer of the National Black Theatre Festival and Chester Gregory, celebrity co-chair of the Festival. Photo by Lia Chang
Nambi E. Kelley, Fay Hauser-Price, Maria Howell and Art Evans. Photo by Lia Chang
Leslie Uggams and Margaret Avery. Photo by Lia Chang
Bebe Drake. Photo by Lia Chang
The 2019 National Black Theatre Festival Official Portrait. Photo by Lia Chang
Kamilah Forbes, James V. Thomas, Jackie Alexander, Nigel D. Alston, Leslie Uggams, Winston-Salem’s Mayor Allen Joines and Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin. Photo by Lia Chang
Petri Hawkins-Byrd and Andre De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

THE PROCESSIONAL OF STARS 6:30 P.M.

A stilt walker, dancers and drummers from Otesha Creative Arts led the processional of stars down the center of the banquet hall.

A dancer on stilts performs during the National Black Theatre Festival’s opening night gala on Monday, July 29, 2019, at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. Photo by Lia Chang
A dancer on stilts performs during the National Black Theatre Festival’s opening night gala on Monday, July 29, 2019, at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. Photo by Lia Chang
Dancers at the National Black Theatre Festival’s opening night gala on Monday, July 29, 2019, at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. Photo by Lia Chang
A dancer performs during the National Black Theatre Festival’s opening night gala on Monday, July 29, 2019, at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. Photo by Lia Chang
Drummers perform during the National Black Theatre Festival’s opening night gala on Monday, July 29, 2019, at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. Photo by Lia Chang
Larente Hamlin and Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin. Photo by Lia Chang
Sherrie Hamlin Robinson and Annie Hamlin Johnson, sister and mother of NBTF founder Larry Leon Hamlin. Photo by Lia Chang
Celebrity co-chairs Margaret Avery and Chester Gregory. Photo by Lia Chang
Celebrity co-chair Chester Gregory. Photo by Lia Chang
Jackie Alexander and Winston-Salem’s Mayor Allen Joines. Photo by Lia Chang
Leslie Uggams, 2019 NBTF Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement Award Winner. Photo by Lia Chang
James V. Thomas and Dr. Elwanda Ingram. Photo by Lia Chang
Rhodessa Jones. Photo by Lia Chang
Thembi Mtshali-Jones. Photo by Lia Chang
Art Evans. Photo by Lia Chang
Roscoe Orman. Photo by Lia Chang
2019 Tony Winner André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Producer Stephen C. Bird. Photo by Lia Chang
Starletta DuPois. Photo by Lia Chang
Ted Lange. Photo by Lia Chang
Stanley Wayne Matthis, Michael Colyar and Ledisi. Photo by Lia Chang
Tonya Pinkins. Photo by Lia Chang
Kelly Davis-Rucker and Lamman Rucker. Photo by Lia Chang
Mychal Bella. Photo by Lia Chang
Gabriela Norwood, 2019-20 National American Miss Georgia Jr. Teen. Photo by Lia Chang
Khalil Middleton and Qaasim Middleton. Photo by Lia Chang
Tommy Redmond Hicks. Photo by Lia Chang
Woodie King, Jr. and Hattie Winston Wheeler. Photo by Lia Chang
2019 Tony Award Winner Harold Wheeler. Photo by Lia Chang
Barbara Montgomery. Photo by Lia Chang
Bill Cobbs. Photo by Lia Chang
Ebony Jo-Ann and Geoffrey Owens. Photo by Lia Chang
Ebony Jo-Ann and Geoffrey Owens. Photo by Lia Chang
Geoffrey Owens. Photo by Lia Chang
Rome Neal. Photo by Lia Chang

Congratulations to all of the winners:

2019 NATIONAL BLACK THEATRE FESTIVAL® HONOREES
Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement Award
Leslie Uggams
Leslie Uggams, 2019 NBTF Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement Award Winner. Photo by Lia Chang
 
Larry Leon Hamlin Producer Award
Kamilah Forbes
August Wilson Playwright Award
Pearl Cleage
Lloyd Richards Director Award
Michele Shay
Living Legend Award
Art Evans ● Marjorie Moon
Thembi Mtshali-Jones ● Roscoe Orman
Ted Lange presented the 2019 NBTF Living Legend Award to Roscoe Orman. Photo by Lia Chang
Roscoe Orman receives the 2019 NBTF Living Legend Award. Photo by Lia Chang
Thembi Mtshali-Jones, 2019 NBTF Living Legend Award. Photo by Lia Chang
Art Evans, 2019 NBTF Living Legend Award Winner. Photo by Lia Chang
Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design
Frenchie La’Vern
Frenchie La’Vern, Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design Award Winner. Photo by Lia Chang
Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design
Xavier Pierce
Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Design
 James V. Thomas
James V. Thomas received the 2019 NBTF Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Design Award from Darnell Williams. Photo by Lia Chang
Outstanding Achievement in Stage Management
 Femi Sarah Heggie
Theatre Longevity Award
Black Spectrum Theatre Company
New York, NY
Carl Clay of Black Spectrum Theatre Company accepts the 2019 NBTF Theatre Longevity Award. Photo by Lia Chang

Special Recognition Award

Idris Ackamoor ● Herman LeVern Thompson-Jones
Rhodessa Jones
Idris Ackamoor and Rhodessa Jones, 2019 NBTF Special Recognition Award Recipients. Photo by Lia Chang
Rhodessa Jones and Idris Ackamoor, 2019 NBTF Special Recognition Award Recipients. Photo by Lia Chang
Herman LeVern-Thompson Jones, 2019 NBTF Special Recognition Award Recipient. Photo by Lia Chang
Marvtastic Philanthropy Award
Branch Banking & Trust Company (BB&T)
Sharon Jeffries Jones receives the Marvtastic Philanthropy Award for Branch Banking & Trust (BB & T). Photo by Lia Chang
Theatre Arts & Humanitarian Award
Dr. Elwanda Ingram
Dr. Elwanda Ingram receives the 2019 NBTF Theatre Arts and Humanitarian Award from Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin. Photo by Lia Chang
Dr. Elwanda Ingram, 2019 NBTF Theatre Arts and Humanitarian Award Recipient. Photo by Lia Chang
Dr. Elwanda Ingram, 2019 NBTF Theatre Arts and Humanitarian Award Recipient. Photo by Lia Chang

A new award, the inaugural Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin Rolling world Premier Award, was presented to Nambi E. Kelley by Tonya Pinkins.

Nambi E. Kelley receives the 2019 NBTF Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin Rolling world Premier Award from Tonya Pinkins. Photo by Lia Chang

Ms. Kelley is currently serving as playwright-in-residence at New Victory Theatre and The Dramatists Guild Foundation in New York City. Kelley was  commissioned by N.C. Black Repertory Company to write “Maya,” a stage production inspired by the life and legacy of the late Maya Angelou. The award, named after NCBRC board president and the widow of Larry Leon Hamlin, guarantees at least three regional productions of the play.

Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin, executive producer of the National Black Theatre Festival. Photo by Lia Chang
New Federal Theatre Producer Woodie King, Jr. Photo by Lia Chang
Bill Cobbs. Photo by Lia Chang
Harold Wheeler and Hattie Winston Wheeler. Photo by Lia Chang
Winston-Salem’s Mayor Allen Joines. Photo by Lia Chang
Winston-Salem’s Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian Burke. Photo by Lia Chang
Lamman Rucker and Kelly Davis-Rucker. Photo by Lia Chang
Nigel Alston, executive director of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company. Photo by Lia Chang
2019 Tony Winner Harold Wheeler. Photo by Lia Chang
Celebrity co-chair Margaret Avery. Photo by Lia Chang
Fay Hauser-Price. Photo by Lia Chang
Ted Lange. Photo by Lia Chang
Woodie King, Jr.. Photo by Lia Chang
Keith David. Photo by Lia Chang
Jazz singer Maria Howell. Photo by Lia Chang
Starletta DuPois. Photo by Lia Chang
Ebony Jo-Ann and Bill Cobbs. Photo by Lia Chang
Drummers perform during the National Black Theatre Festival’s opening night gala on Monday, July 29, 2019, at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Rome Neal, Nana Malaya Rucker-Oparabea and drummers at the National Black Theatre Festival’s opening night gala on Monday, July 29, 2019, at the Benton Convention Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. Photo by Lia Chang
Sylvia Sprinkle Hamlin and Chester Gregory. Photo by Lia Chang
Margaret Avery. Photo by Lia Chang
Roscoe Orman and Woodie King, Jr. Photo by Lia Chang
Vanessa Bell Calloway and Darnell Williams. Photo by Lia Chang
2019 Tony Winners André De Shields and Rosemary Harris. Photo by Lia Chang
Ledisi and Andre De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Mabel Robinson. Photo by Lia Chang
A tribute to the late Larry Leon Hamlin. Photo by Lia Chang

After the awards ceremony, attendees lined the streets of Winston-Salem on the way to the Stevens Center  for the opening night gala performance of Jelly’s Last Jam, presented by the NCBRC and helmed by Jackie Alexander. The production starred DeWitt Fleming Jr.,  Idella Johnson and Stanley Wayne Mathis. Mathis appeared in the original Broadway company, and original cast members Keith David, Tonya Pinkins and Savion Glover were in the house to cheer them on.

Drummers at the entrance to the Stevens Center. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields and Richarda Abrams. Photo by Lia Chang
Starletta DuPois. Photo by Lia Chang
Starletta DuPois and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Wendell Tabb, Starletta DuPois and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

From July 29  – August 3, the festival presented over one hundred productions performed by more thirty professional theatre companies, several universities, including a production from Cape Town, South Africa. NBTF was named one of the Top 100 events in North America by the American Business Association. For additional information click on www.nbtf.org.

André De Shields, KB Saine and Andre Harrington. Photo by Lia Chang
Lori Minor and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Patrice Andrew Davidson and Fumiko Tanaka. Photo by Lia Chang
Allyson Tucker-Mitchell, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Bill Cobbs and Keith David. Photo by Lia Chang
Patrice Andrew Davidson, Fumiko Tanaka, Jeffrey Page, André De Shields, KB Saine, Andre Harrington and Thelma Pollard. Photo by Lia Chang

2019 Tony Award Winners André De Shields and Harold Wheeler Among the Celebrity Guests at National Black Theatre Festival® Gala in Winston-Salem on July 29

 

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits. Photo by Lia Chang

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.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2019 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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