The 48th Annual AUDELCO Awards were celebrated via virtual broadcast on November 30. The online ceremony was co-hosted by LaChanze, Tony Award winner for The Color Purple , Tony nominee for Once on This Island and Summer, and 2019 AUDELCO Viv Award for Lead Actress in a Musical recipient for The Secret Life of Bees, and Roger Guenveur Smith, AUDELCO award winning actor, best known for his The Huey P. Newton Story and as Smiley in Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing. Watch the entire Awards ceremony below.
The AUDELCO (Audience Development Committee, Inc.) is an organization that acknowledges and honors Black Theatre and its artists in New York City. It was established and incorporated in 1973 by Vivian Robinson (1926-1996), to stimulate interest in and support of performing arts in black communities. The annual Vivian Robinson/AUDELCO Recognition, “The VIV”Awards are the only formally established awards presented to the black theatre community.
The Billie Holiday Theatre’s production of James Sheldon’s Reparations led the awards tally with six wins including Best Play, Lead Actor in a Play for Kamal Bolden, Featured Actress in a Play for Lisa Arrindell, Director of a Play for Michele Shay, Set Design for Isabel Curley-Clay & Moriah Curley-Clay, and Sound Design for David D. Wright.
Liza Colon-Zayas and Rosalind Brown tied for Lead Actress in a Play for their respective work in Halfway Bitches Go Straight To Heaven and Leaving The Blues, with Brown’s castmate Benjamin Mapp winning for Featured Actor in a Play.
Joshua Henry won for Lead Actor in a Musical for The Wrong Man and Teagle F. Bougere, tied for Lead Actor in a Play for The New Englanders with Reparations’ Kamal Bolden.
The casts of Black Spectrum Theatre Company’s Sassy Mamas- Gha’il Rhodes Benjamin, Marlon Carter, Jo Ann Cleghorne, Fulton Hodges, Niambi Steele and Travis Whitaker; and The New Group’s one in two –Jamyl Dobson, Leland Fowler and Edward Malwere tied for Outstanding Ensemble.
Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award winning Hadestown star André De Shields received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Sonia Sanchez read a poem and honored Lifetime Achievement Award winner Voza Rivers.
Petronia Paley presented the Legacy Award to Vinie Burrows.
Classical Theatre of Harlem’s Ty Jones presented Blair Underwood with the Outstanding Achievement Award.
Alyson Williams presented the Outstanding Achievement Award to Tina Fabrique and performed her new hit song, “Summer Nights in Harlem”.
La Chanze presented the Outstanding Pioneer Award to Vivian Reed.
Trezana Beverley paid tribute to Outstanding Pioneer Award winner Oz Scott.
Woodie King, Jr. presented the Legacy Award to Robert Hooks.
His father, Rome Neal, sings “Here’s to Life” by Artie Butler and Phyllis Molinary, accompanied by Andre Chez Lewis on Piano and Lonnie Plaxico on Bass for the video.
Neal shared, ” We added a late edition after the show that we would like to share. Our friend Miguel Algarin, co-founder of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, died. Miguel was a friend of the Black Theatre and he brought a safe space for spoken word, theatre, rap, performance art and more for multiple communities. His loud laugh and words of encouragement for young artists will be missed.”
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 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. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness andWhen the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.