Tom D’Angora and Michael D’Angora to Receive Friend of Off-Broadway Alliance Award; Full Nominations List Includes Best Solo Performance Nod for Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord

Michael D’Angora and Tom D’Angora. Photo by Lia Chang

The Off Broadway Alliance, an organization of Off-Broadway producers, theaters, general managers, press agents, and marketing professionals, has announced the nominees for the 11th Annual Off-Broadway Alliance Awards, honoring commercial and not-for-profit productions that opened Off Broadway during the 2021-2022 season.

Awards will be presented in five competitive categories: Best New Musical, Best New Play, Best Revival, Best Unique Theatrical Experience, and Best Solo Performance. Winners in all categories will be announced on Tuesday, May 24th.

In addition to the competitive awards, Legend of Off Broadway Awards will be presented to Richard Nelson and Albert Bergeret for their extraordinary contributions over many years. Ed Bullins, Arthur French and Lisa Banes will be posthumously honored with induction into the Off Broadway Hall of Fame, and the Friend of Off-Broadway Award will be presented to Tom D’Angora and his husband Michael D’Angora for their heroic rescues of beloved Off Broadway theatres and watering holes during the crises of the last two years.

2022 OFF BROADWAY ALLIANCE AWARDS – NOMINEES AND HONORARY AWARD RECIPIENTS
BEST NEW MUSICAL
Kimberly Akimbo
Harmony
Black No More
Intimate Apparel
Coal Country

BEST NEW PLAY
Prayer for the French Republic
Sanctuary City
Jane Anger
English
A Sherlock Carol
Trial on the Potomac

BEST REVIVAL
Assassins
Sistas the Musical
Merry Wives
The Daughter-in-Law
Mrs. Warren’s Profession

BEST UNIQUE THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE
Oratorio for Living Things
The Hang
Islander
Blindness
Barococo

Kristina Wong. Photo by Lia Chang

BEST SOLO PERFORMANCE
Little Girl Blue
Just for Us
Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord
Is There Still Sex in the City?
How the Hell Did I Get Here?

LEGENDS of OFF BROADWAY
Richard Nelson
Albert Bergeret

OFF BROADWAY HALL OF FAME
Ed Bullins
Arthur French
Lisa Banes

FRIEND OF OFF BROADWAY
Tom D’Angora and Michael D’Angora

Legends of Off Broadway Awards
Richard Nelson is a critically acclaimed playwright, director, and librettist. He is the author and director of the Apple Family Plays, which debuted at The Public Theater and told the story of the fictional Apple Family of Rhinebeck, NY as they make their way together through life in the 2010s. Mr. Nelson also wrote and directed The Gabriels, a trilogy about the lives of another fictional family as they struggle to make sense of love, art, politics, and the instability of life in their country, town, family, and home. Mr. Nelson is the author of James Joyce’s The Dead (winner of a Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical) and several other Broadway plays including Chess, Marriage of Figaro, and Some Americans Abroad.

Albert Bergeret founded the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players in 1974 and has served as its Artistic Director and General Manager since its inception, delighting New York audiences year in and year out for over 45 years. He has conducted, staged, performed in, and designed every opera in the Gilbert and Sullivan canon, and he conducted and staged the company’s smash hit production of George Gershwin’s of Thee I Sing. He has been hailed as “The leading custodian of the G&S classics” by New York Magazine and his work as both stage and musical director has been widely acclaimed in the press both in New York and on tour throughout the United States, Canada, and the UK.

Off Broadway Hall of Fame Inductees
Ed Bullins was among the most significant Black playwrights of the 20th century and a leading voice in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and ’70s, He produced nearly 100 plays over a 55-year career, written, as he liked to say, not for the traditional mostly white and middle-class theatre audience, but for the strivers, hustlers, and quiet sufferers whose struggles he understood and shared. Mr. Bullins made his theatrical debut in August 1965 with the production of three one-act plays: How Do You Do?; Dialect Determinism; or, The Rally; and Clara’s Ole Man. His first full-length play, In the Wine Time (produced 1968), examines the scarcity of options available to the Black urban poor. It was the first in a series of plays-called the Twentieth-Century Cycle-that centered on a group of young friends growing up in the 1950s. Other plays in the cycle are The Corner (produced 1968), In New England Winter (produced 1969), The Duplex (produced 1970), The Fabulous Miss Marie (produced 1971), Home Boy (produced 1976), and Daddy (produced 1977). In 1975 he received critical acclaim for The Taking of Miss Janie, a play about the failed alliance of an interracial group of political idealists in the 1960s. Sharing the tenets of the Black Arts movement, Bullins’s naturalistic plays incorporated elements of Black nationalism, “street” lyricism, and interracial tension. His other notable works include the plays Goin’ a Buffalo (produced 1968) and Salaam, Huey Newton, Salaam (produced 1991).

Arthur Wellesley French was a founder of the Negro Ensemble Company, who appeared as an actor in thirty Off Broadway plays in a career spanning more than 45 years, including Driving Miss Daisy, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Black Girl, and his debut performance, Raisin’ Hell in the Sun, a 1962 spoof of Lorraine Hansberry’s Raisin in the Sun, presented at the Provincetown Playhouse in 1962. In 1965, French appeared in Douglas Turner Ward’s Day of Absence, out of which the Negro Ensemble Company evolved in 1967, producing professional theatre using Black artists, performers, writers, directors, actors, and craftspeople. During his career, French has performed in plays by Lonne Elder III, Ron Milner and August Wilson; a list which, including Ward, encompasses many contemporary African American Playwrights. While French’s broad body of work in theatre includes acting in everything from Death of a Salesman with George C. Scott and Shakespeare’s King Lear to Melvin Van Peebles’ Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death, he has also appeared in films including Malcolm X, Crooklyn, Car Wash, Round Midnight, and Kinsey. He has directed, among others, the South African playwright Lungelo Mvusi’s Just Won’t; Marjorie Elliott’s Branches from the Same Tree; Clifford Mason’s Two Bourgeois Blacks; George Bernard Shaw’s The Village Wooing; Steve Carter’s One Last Look; Rudy Gray’s Chameleon; Estelle Ritchie’s Love You to Pieces and Wole Soyinka’s Strong Breed.

Lisa Lou Banes was a favorite of critics and audiences alike for over 40 years, beginning with the Roundabout Theatre’s revival of Look Back in Anger, for which she won a Theatre World Award in 1981. She appeared in fourteen Off Broadway productions since then. She played the role of Lady Croom in the American premiere of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia and appeared in over 80 films and television series, including Cocktail (1988), Freedom Writers (2007), Gone Girl (2014), and A Cure for Wellness (2016).

Friend of Off Broadway
Tom D’Angora is a multi-award-winning Producer/Director who produced two of the longest running musicals in New York theater history – NEWSical The Musical and Naked Boys Singing. Tom has been nominated for three Drama Desk Awards and is the winner of the very first Off -Broadway Alliance Award for Best New Musical in 2011 for NEWSical The Musical: Full Spin Ahead. He is a co-producer on Caroline, Or Change Broadway revival and Executive Producer of the campy new drama, Mélange, starring Morgan Fairchild. He is the recipient of a Mayoral and a Senate Proclamation for his contributions to New York Theater. During the pandemic, together with Michael D’Angora, he produced the fundraiser benefit productions that rescued the West Bank Café, The Laurie Beechman Theatre, the LABrinth Theater Company, Birdland, and the York Theatre.

Michael D’Angora has directed and produced in all mediums. Some recent projects have included Broadway’s Caroline, or Change revival (co-producer), off-Broadway’s long running A Musical About Star Wars (director), and the decadent new soap opera, Mélange, starring Morgan Fairchild. During the pandemic, he produced, with Tom D’Angora, and directed several high-profile streaming benefits to raise money for several New York theatre and neighborhood institutions in need of help. Save West Bank Cafe was a 10-hour Christmas Day telethon, followed by Save Birdland, The Musical of Musicals (the York Theatre) and a benefit for The Stonewall Inn to name a few. Ultimately, he and Tom raised $1.5M and enlisted prominent figures from President Clinton to Sting, Whoopi Goldberg, Pete Townshend, Sean Penn nee Ciccone, Patti LuPone, André De Shields, Ana Gastyre, Demi Lovato and so many more participate in their mission.

Past Off Broadway Alliance honorees include Avenue Q, Desperate Measures, Indecent, Hamilton, Fun Home, Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike, Buyer & Cellar, Spamilton, Alvin Epstein, Rita Gardener, Albert Poland, Maria Irene Fornes, Ntozake Shange, André De Shields, Terence McNally, Anne Meara, Joe Morton, Estelle Parsons, Wallace Shawn, and Sigourney Weaver.

The Off-Broadway Alliance is a non-profit corporation organized by theater professionals dedicated to supporting, promoting and encouraging the production of Off Broadway theater and to making live theater increasingly accessible to new and diverse audiences. The Alliance holds monthly meetings and membership is open to everyone in the Off-Broadway theater community.

Among its initiatives, The Off-Broadway Alliance sponsors 20at20, the event that runs twice a year for 20 days and lets theatergoers purchase $20 tickets to dozens of Off Broadway shows 20 minutes before curtain. It also produces a free Seminar Series focusing on the culture, business, and history of Off Broadway featuring major players from the Off-Broadway scene. The Alliance operates the OBA Mentorship Program, which provides new producers with guidance and direction from Off Broadway veterans. And the Alliance created the Off Broadway Economic Impact Report, which outlines Off Broadway’s over $500 million annual impact on the economy of the City of New York.

For more information about the Off Broadway Alliance and its programs, visit www.OffBroadwayAlliance.com and www.20at20.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s