Multimedia: HADESTOWN Star André De Shields Receives 2019 Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award at The Theatermakers Black Theater Preview at the Schomburg

Emmy and 2019 Tony Award-winning actor, singer, dancer, director, choreographer, playwright and educator André De Shields received the 2019 Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award at The Schomburg on October 7.

Erich McMillan-McCall, Founder and CEO of Project1VOICE, Inc. (P1V) and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Erich McMillan-McCall, Founder and CEO of Project1VOICE, Inc. (P1V) and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award recipient André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

AUDELCO (Audience Development Committee) President Jackie Jeffries, Project1Voice Founder and CEO Erich McMillan-McCall, Marcia Pendelton, President of Walk Tall Girl Productions/Black Theater Online, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (Kevin Young, Director, Schomburg Center) presented THE THEATERMAKERS – A Black Theater Preview: Fall Edition at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, hosted by four-time Tony Award®-winning producer Ron Simons of SimonSays Entertainment (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Porgy & Bess, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Jitney).

Mr. De Shields took The Schomburg audience to church, kicking off the evening with an acapella rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”  During the course of the interview, Simons asked Mr. De Shields to tell the story of his audition for The Wiz. De Shields painted a vivid picture of his audition at The Majestic and then sang his audition song, “In the Midnight Hour,” which sealed the deal.

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields is the triple-crown winner of the 2019 theater awards season, having won the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Tony Awards as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his unanimously critically acclaimed performance as Hermes, Messenger to the Gods, in Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, which honors veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. Mr. De Shields will receive The York Theatre Company’s 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre on November 11 and will be inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame on November 18. He recently received the Key to the City of Baltimore from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young. Prior to his Tony Award win, Mr. De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award), Play On! (Tony Nomination), and The Full Monty (Tony Nomination). In a career spanning fifty years, he has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, and educator, receiving in 2018 the 8th Annual Off Broadway Alliance Legend Award, and the 33rd Annual Bob Harrington Life Achievement Bistro Award. Among his other accolades are the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award and the 2007 Village Voice Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. www.andredeshields.com

James Mirrione and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Black Theater Preview, now in it’s second year, shines the spotlight on the presence of black artists on stage: Broadway, Off-Broadway, and beyond.


André De Shields and Marcia Pendleton. Photo by Lia Chang
Erich McMillan-McCall, Marcia Pendleton and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Erich McMillan-McCall, Jackie Jeffries, Marcia Pendleton. Photo by Lia Chang

THE THEATERMAKERS – A Black Theater Preview: Fall Edition, featured presentations from Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Ta-Nehesi Coates’ Between Me and the World at The Apollo Theatre, and the Broadway-bound Thoughts of a Colored Man (Baltimore Center Stage); conversations with playwrights Donja R. Love (one in two) and Glynn Borders; directors Saheem Ali (Fires in the Mirror, The New Englanders), Robert O’Hara (Slave Play, Booty Candy, Mankind); leaders of black theater institutions such as Carl Clay (Black Spectrum Theatre Company), Dr. Indira Etwaroo (The Billie Holiday Theatre) and Kamilah Forbes (Apollo Theatre).

Spoken Word Artist Jay Delise. Photo by Lia Chang

Spoken Word Artist Jay Delise. Photo by Lia Chang
Producer Ron Simons. Photo by Lia Chang

Excerpts were presented from Classical Theatre of Harlem’s A Christmas Carol In Harlem; (A)loft Modulation by Jaymes Jorsling; Black Spectrum Theatre Company’s Sassy Mamas by Celeste Bedford Walker; for all the women who thought they were MAD by Zawe Ashton; American Slavery Project’s Unheard Voices conceived and directed by Judy Tate; Reparations by James Sheldon; Broadbend, Arkansas – A new musical by Ellen Fitzhugh & Harrison David Rivers; The Black History Museum…According to the United States of America by Zoey Martinson; New York Theatre Workshop’s runboyrun & IN OLD AGE by Mfoniso Udofia; and Thoughts of a Colored Man by Keenan Scott II.

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Ron Simons, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Ron Simons, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Ron Simons, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Ron Simons, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Ron Simons, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Ron Simons, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Ron Simons, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Ron Simons, André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

AUDELCO, the Audience Development Committee, Inc., was established in 1973 by Vivian Robinson to honor excellence in African-American theatre in New York City. AUDELCO presents the Vivian Robinson/AUDELCO Recognition Awards (also known as Viv awards) annually. The awards were created to promote “recognition, understanding and awareness of the arts in the African-American community.” Upon the death of Robinson, Grace L. Jones carried on the organization’s vision and mission for 13 years until she passed in 2018. The legacy continues with Jackie Jeffries, a 32-year veteran of theater.


Ralph Carter, Bambi Jones, Linda Armstrong, André De Shields, Jackie Jeffries and Rome Neal. Photo by Lia Chang

(A)loft Modulation
A play with jazz
by Jaymes Jorsling
directed by Christopher McElroen
The American Vicarious | Mezzanine Theatre at A.R.T./New York
September 26 – October 27

Eric Miller and Charlie Hudson III. Photo by Lia Chang
Bambi Jones, Mary Seymour. Photo by Lia Chang

American Slavery Project’s Unheard Voices
Conceived and Directed by Judy Tate
American Slavery Project and Sheen Center
October 15 – 16

Messeret Stroman Wheeler. Photo by Lia Chang
Messeret Stroman Wheeler. Photo by Lia Chang
Messeret Stroman Wheeler. Photo by Lia Chang

Erich McMillan-McCall is the Founder and CEO of Project1VOICE, Inc. (P1V) a 501(c)(3), nonprofit performing arts service organization based in New York City. Its mission is to support and promote the American theater specifically the narrative of and by people of African descent. Through its innovative programs and partnerships, P1V works to provide significant support, accessibility and adequate representation for African American theater. P1V’s core activity is the coordination of an international, same-day staged reading series that revives and re-introduces forgotten seminal works by playwrights from the African Diaspora—a critical thread in the tapestry of the American theater—called One Play One Day. It takes place on the third Monday in June, each year.

Donna Briggs, Erich McMillan-McCall, Patrick L. Riley, Cherine Anderson and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Marcia Pendelton is the Founder and President of Walk Tall Girl Productions/Black Theater Online. The company, founded in 2000, is a New York-based boutique marketing, audience development and group sales agency for the performing arts, with a special emphasis placed on the theater. The company has provided its expertise in creating diverse audiences for over 25 Broadway shows including the Tony winning productions of Jitney, Fences, and FELA! and numerous Off-Broadway for productions for clients such as The Public Theater, Signature Theatre, Manhattan Theater Club, and many more. Follow the company on Twitter @blktheatronline and Instagram @walktallgirl.

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (Kevin Young, Director, Schomburg Center) Founded in 1925 and named a National Historic Landmark in 2017, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is one of the world’s leading cultural institutions devoted to the research, preservation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences. As a research division of The New York Public Library, the Schomburg Center features diverse programming and collections spanning over 11 million items that illuminate the richness of global black history, arts, and culture.

Ron Simons, Jaymes Jorsling, Glynn Borders, Donja R. Love, Robert O’Hara. Photo by Lia Chang
Ron Simons, Dr. Indira Etwaroo, Carl Clay, Kamilah Forbes. Photo by Lia Chang

Between The World And Me
Book by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Developed and Directed by Kamilah Forbes
Apollo Theatre
October 25, 26. 28

Kamilah Forbes. Photo by Lia Chang

Sassy Mamas
by Celeste Bedford Walker
directed by Lorna Little Way
Black Spectrum Theatre Company
October 11 – 27

Carl Clay. Photo by Lia Chang

Between The World And Me
Book by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Developed and Directed by Kamilah Forbes
Apollo Theatre
October 25, 26. 28

Kamal Bolden and Lisa Arrindell in a scene from James Sheldon’s Reparations. Photo by Lia Chang

Established with the collections of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg 93 years ago, the Schomburg has collected, preserved, and provided access to materials documenting black life in America and worldwide. It has also promoted the study and interpretation of the history and culture of people of African descent. In 2015, the Schomburg won the National Medal for Museum and Library Service and in January 2017, the Schomburg Center was named a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service, recognizing its vast collection of materials that represent the history and culture of people of African descent through a global, transnational perspective. Today, the Schomburg continues to serve the community not just as a center and a library, but also as a space that encourages lifelong education and exploration.

for all the women who thought they were MAD
by Zawe Ashton
directed by Whitney White
Soho Rep
October 14 – November 17

Ron Simons and Zawe Ashton. Photo by Lia Chang
Zawe Ashton. Photo by Lia Chang
Zawe Ashton. Photo by Lia Chang
Stephanie Berry. Photo by Lia Chang

The Black History Museum…
According to the United States of America
by Zoey Martinson
HERE
November 1 – 24

A monologue from The Black History Museum …According to the United States of America. Photo by Lia Chang

The Schomburg Center is committed to providing accessible programs and services for patrons with disabilities. All facilities and entrances are wheelchair accessible. American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation is available for most events with at least two weeks advance notice.

Ron Simons, Whitney White, Garlia Cornelia Jones-Ly, Christina Franklin, Saheem Ali. Photo by Lia Chang

The New Englanders
by Jeff Augustin
directed by Saheem Ali
Stage II at New York City Center | Manhattan Theater Club
September 17 – October 20

Fires in the Mirror
conceived, written and originally performed by Anna Deveare Smith
directed by Saheem Ali
Signature Theatre
October 22 – November 24

Saheem Ali. Photo by Lia Chang

runboyrun & IN OLD AGE
by Mfoniso Udofia
directed by Loretta Greco & Awoye Timpo
New York Theatre Workshop
September 4 – October 13

Zenzi Williams. Photo by Lia Chang
Adesola Osakalumi. Photo by Lia Chang
Adesola Osakalumi. Photo by Lia Chang
Zenzi Williams and Adesola Osakalumi. Photo by Lia Chang

Thoughts of a Colored Man
by Keenan Scott II
directed by Steven H. Broadnax III
Baltimore Center Stage
October 10 – November 10

Ron Simons and Keenan Scott II. Photo by Lia Chang
Ron Simons and Keenan Scott II. Photo by Lia Chang
Keenan Scott II. Photo by Lia Chang
Keenan Scott II. Photo by Lia Chang
Keenan Scott II, Ron Simons and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang
Keenan Scott II and André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

Slave Play —
by Jeremy O. Harris
directed by Robert O’Hara
Golden Theatre
September 10 – January 5

for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf
by Ntozake Shange
directed by Leah Gardiner
choreographed by Camille A. Brown
The Public Theater
October 8 – November 24

Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
by Katori Hall
directed by Phyllida Lloyd
choreographed by Anthony Van Laast
Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
October 12 –

Broadbend, Arkansas – A new musical
by Ellen Fitzhugh & Harrison David Rivers
directed by Jack Cummings III
music by Ted Shen
The Transport Group in Association with The Public Theater
The Duke on 42nd Street
October 25 – November 23

one in two
by Donja R. Love
directed by Stevie Walker-Webb
The New Group at Pershing Square Signature Center
November 19 – December 29

The Dark Star of Harlem: The Spectacular Rise of Josephine Baker
by Glynn Borders & Mario E. Sprouse
The La Mama Experimental Theatre
November 21 – December 1

Live Radio Play – The Renaissance EP: A Theatrical Mixtape
by Nsangou Njikam
directed by Adesola Osakalumi
Harlem Stage
November 21-22

A Christmas Carol In Harlem
written by Charles Dickens
adaptation by Shawn René Graham
directed by Carl Coffield
choreographed by Tiffany Rea-Fisher
Classical Theatre of Harlem
December 4 – 21

BroadwayWorld Photo and Video Flash: Hadestown Star André De Shields Receives 2019 Project1voice Lifetime Achievement Award 

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 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

Colman Domingo’s DOT Nominated for Six AUDELCOs Including Best Revival and Acting Nods for Denise Burse and Tinashe Kajese-Bolden; Full List of 2019 Nominees

Benedetto Robinson, Denise Burse, Amber A. Harris, Tinashe Kajese-Bolden. Brenda Nicole Photography
DOT's Associate Director Jamil Jude, Amber A. Harris, Benedetto Robinson, Director Kenny Leon, Gilbert Glenn Brown, Denise Burse, Rhyn McLemore Saver, Tinashe Kajese-Bolden and Lee Osorio and Billie Holiday Executive Director Indira Etwaroo. Photo by Lia Chang
DOT’s Associate Director Jamil Jude, Amber A. Harris, Benedetto Robinson, Director Kenny Leon, Gilbert Glenn Brown, Denise Burse, Rhyn McLemore Saver, Tinashe Kajese-Bolden and Lee Osorio and Billie Holiday Executive Director Indira Etwaroo. Photo by Lia Chang

The Billie Holiday Theatre’s production of Colman Domingo’s DOT has scored six AUDELCO nominations including Best Actress in a Play for Denise Burse, Best Featured Actress in a Play for Tinashe Kajese-Bolden, Lighting Design (Andre C. Allen), Costume Design (Jarrod Barnes), Sound Design (Matthew Head) and Best Revival. Ms. Burse has also be nominated for a Suzi Bass Award in the category of Lead Actor- Female for her turn as Dotty in the True Color Theatre Company’s production of DOT in Atlanta.

Emmy Winner Denise Burse Stars in Kenny Leon Helmed DOT by Colman Domingo at Billie Holiday Theatre at RestorationART

AUDELCO Board members Ralph Carter, Bambi Jones, Linda Armstrong, 2019 Tony Winner Andre De Shields, Jackie Jeffries and Rome Neal attend The Theatermakers Fall Preview at Schomburg Center in New York on October 7, 2019. Photo by Lia Chang

“The VIV” Awards, the annual Vivian Robinson/AUDELCO Recognition, are the only formally established awards presented to the black theatre community. AUDELCO (Audience Development Committee, Inc.) was established and incorporated in 1973 by the late Vivian Robinson, to stimulate interest in, and support of performing arts in black communities. AUDELCO celebrates 47 years of Excellence in Black Theatre this year with the “THE LEGACY CONTINUES” at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers St, New York, NY 10007 in New York on Monday, November 18, 2019. Doors open at 6:30P.M. Program  begins at 7:00P.M. Click here for more information.

Saycon Sengbloh, Nathaniel Stampley, Eisa Davis, Anastacia McCleskey, and LaChanze in The Secret Life of Bees. Photo: Ahron R. Foster
Saycon Sengbloh, Nathaniel Stampley, Eisa Davis, Anastacia McCleskey, and LaChanze in The Secret Life of Bees. Photo: Ahron R. Foster

Atlantic Theater Company’s production of Lynn Nottage’s The Secret Life of Bees (Atlantic Theater) received nominations in 13 categories, while The Public Theater’s production of Much Ado About Nothing (Public Theater) has been nominated for 11. Both are vying for Best Musical.

Tyrone Mitchell Henderson, Margaret Odette, Jeremie Harris, Grantham Coleman, and Erik LaRay Harvey. Photo by Joan Marcus
Tyrone Mitchell Henderson, Margaret Odette, Jeremie Harris, Grantham Coleman, and Erik LaRay Harvey in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. Photo by Joan Marcus

Best Play of the Year nominees Ain’t No Mo’ (The Public Theater); Nambi Kelley’s Native Son (The Acting Company); and Toni Stone (Roundabout Theatre) have received seven nods. Behind the Sheet (Ensemble Studio Theatre); Looking for Leroy (New Federal Theatre/Castillo Theatre) and Rolling Stone (Lincoln Center Theater) are also vying for Best Play.

Galen Ryan Kane and Rosalyn Coleman. Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson
Galen Ryan Kane and Rosalyn Coleman in Nambi E. Kelley’s NATIVE SON. Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson

Boesman and Lena (Signature Theatre Company); By the Way, Meet Vera Stark (Signature Theatre Company); Dot (Billie Holiday Theatre); Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine (Signature Theatre Company); Reunion in Bartersville (Black Spectrum Theatre Company) are nominated for Best Revival of a Play, while Caroline, or Change (Astoria Performing Arts Center) and The Bacchae (Classical Theatre of Harlem) are vying for Best Revival of a Musical.

Lead Actor in a Play nominees include Adrian Baidoo (Separate and Equal); Jason Bowen (Native Son); Marchant Davis (Ain’t No Mo’); Galen Ryan Kane (Native Son); Keith Randolph Smith (Lockdown).

Harvy Blanks, Jonathan Burke, Daniel J. Bryant, Ezra Knight, Toney Goins, Eric Berryman, Phillip James Brannon, April Matthis and Kenn E. Head. Photo: Joan Marcus
Harvy Blanks, Jonathan Burke, Daniel J. Bryant, Ezra Knight, Toney Goins, Eric Berryman, Phillip James Brannon, April Matthis and Kenn E. Head. Photo: Joan Marcus

Nominees for Lead Actress in a Play include Pamela Afesi (Separate and Equal); Cherise Boothe (Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine); Denise Burse (Dot); Jessica Frances Dukes (By the Way, Meet Vera Stark); Naomi Lorrain (Behind the Sheet); April Matthis (Toni Stone). 

Jessica Frances Dukes and Heather Alicia Simms. Photo by Joan Marcus
Jessica Frances Dukes and Heather Alicia Simms in BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK.. Photo by Joan Marcus

Featured Actor in a Play nominees include Harvy Blanks (Toni Stone); Teagle F. Bougere (Coriolanus); J. Bernard Calloway (Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine); Jordan E. Cooper (Ain’t No Mo’); Robert Turner (The Haunting of Lin Manuel Miranda).

Featured Actress in a Play nominees include Rosalyn Coleman (Native Son); Roz Fox (The Haunting of Lin Manuel Miranda); Tinashe Kajese-Bolden (Dot); Cristina Pitter (Behind the Sheet); Heather Alicia Simms (By the Way, Meet Vera Stark); Charlayne Woodard (Daddy).

Lead Actress in a Musical nominees include Jeannette Bayardelle (Girl from the North Country); Danielle Brooks (Much Ado About Nothing); LaDonna Burns (Caroline, or Change); LaChanze (The Secret Life of Bees); Saycon Sengbloh (The Secret Life of Bees). 

Danielle Brooks and Grantham Coleman. Photo by Joan Marcus
Danielle Brooks and Grantham Coleman. Photo by Joan Marcus

Lead Actor in a Musical nominees include Jason B. Brown (The Bacchae); Grantham Coleman (Much Ado About Nothing); Sydney James Harcourt (Girl from the North Country); Larry Owens (A Strange Loop); Chris Stack (The Secret Life of Bees).

James Jackson, Jr., John-Michael Lyles, Jason Veasey, Larry Owens, Antwayn Hopper, John-Andrew Morrison, and L Morgan Lee. Photo by Joan Marcus
James Jackson, Jr., John-Michael Lyles, Jason Veasey, Larry Owens, Antwayn Hopper, John-Andrew Morrison, and L Morgan Lee. Photo by Joan Marcus

The solo performance nominees are Richarda Abrams (First by Faith: The Life of Mary McLeod Bethune); Helena D. Lewis (SHEnanigans); Dierdra McDowell (Down to Eartha); Bill Posey (The Day I Became Black); Brenda Pressley (Proof of Love); Malaika Uwamahoro (Miracle in Rwanda). 

The director for dramatic performance nominees are directors Kamilah Forbes (By the Way, Meet Vera Stark); Petronia Paley (Looking for Leroy);  Colette Robert (Behind the Sheet); Seret Scott (Native Son);  Stevie Walker-Webb (Ain’t No Mo’) while Dev Bondarin (Caroline, or Change); Carl Cofield (The Bacchae); Sam Gold (The Secret Life of Bees); Kenny Leon (Much Ado About Nothing) have been nominated for their direction of musical productions.

In order to cast your vote, you must be a Friend of AUDELCO.  Join the voting membership by visiting www.AUDELCO.org. 

Below is a full list of the 2019 “The VIV” Nominees for the 2018-2019 Theatre season. Good luck to all of the nominees.

LIGHTING DESIGN
Andre C. Allen (Dot)
 Jane Cox (The Secret Life of Bees)
 Allen C. Edwards (Native Son)
 Adam Honoré (Ain’t No Mo’)
Allen Lee Hughes (Toni Stone)
Antoinette Tynes (Looking for Leroy)

SET DESIGN
 Chris Cumberbatch (Looking for Leroy)
 Riccardo Hernandez (Toni Stone)
 Kimie Nishikawa (The Light)
 Clint Ramos (By the Way, Meet Vera Stark)
 Matt Saunders (Daddy)

COSTUME DESIGN
 Carolyn Adams (The Haunting of Lin Manuel Miranda)
Carolyn Adams (The Savage Queen)
Dede M. Ayite (By the Way, Meet Vera Stark)
” Dede M. Ayite (The Secret Life of Bees)
 Jarrod Barnes (Dot)
 Emilio Sosa (Much Ado About Nothing)

SOUND DESIGN
 Emily Auciello (Ain’t No Mo’)
 Justin Ellington (Fireflies)
 Matthew Head (Dot)
 Dan Moses Schreier (The Secret Life of Bees)
 David Wright (The Savage Queen)

Lynn Nottage, Jessica Frances Dukes, Kamilah Forbes. Photo by Lia Chang

DIRECTOR OF A PLAY
 Kamilah Forbes (By the Way, Meet Vera Stark)
 Petronia Paley (Looking for Leroy)
 Colette Robert (Behind the Sheet)
Seret Scott (Native Son)
Stevie Walker-Webb (Ain’t No Mo’)

Brenda Pressley and Carl Cofield. Photo by Lia Chang
Brenda Pressley and Carl Cofield. Photo by Lia Chang

DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL
 Dev Bondarin (Caroline, or Change)
Carl Cofield (The Bacchae)
Sam Gold (The Secret Life of Bees)
Kenny Leon (Much Ado About Nothing)

PLAYWRIGHT
 Jordan E. Cooper (Ain’t No Mo’)
 Lydia Diamond (Toni Stone)
 Jackie Sibblies Drury (Fairview)
 Nambi E. Kelley (Native Son)
 Larry Muhammad (Looking for Leroy)
 Charly Evon Simpson (Behind the Sheet)

FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY
 Harvy Blanks (Toni Stone)
 Teagle F. Bougere (Coriolanus)
 J. Bernard Calloway (Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine)
Jordan E. Cooper (Ain’t No Mo’)
Robert Turner (The Haunting of Lin Manuel Miranda)

Cherise Boothe, J. Bernard Calloway, Nikiya Mathis, and Marcus Callender in Fabulation, or The Re-education of Undine, directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, at the Pershing Square Signature Center. © Monique Carboni
Cherise Boothe, J. Bernard Calloway, Nikiya Mathis, and Marcus Callender in Fabulation, or The Re-education of Undine, directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, at the Pershing Square Signature Center. © Monique Carboni

FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Rosalyn Coleman (Native Son)
Roz Fox (The Haunting of Lin Manuel Miranda)
Tinashe Kajese-Bolden (Dot)
Cristina Pitter (Behind the Sheet)
Heather Alicia Simms (By the Way, Meet Vera Stark)
Charlayne Woodard (Daddy)

Ronald Peet and Charlayne Woodard in Jeremy O. Harris’ DADDY. Photo-by-Monique Carboni

LEAD ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Jason B. Brown (The Bacchae)
Grantham Coleman (Much Ado About Nothing)
Sydney James Harcourt (Girl from the North Country)
Larry Owens (A Strange Loop)
Chris Stack (The Secret Life of Bees)

LaDonna Burns and Nattalyee Randall. Photo by Michael R. Dekker
LaDonna Burns and Nattalyee Randall. Photo by Michael R. Dekker

LEAD ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
 Jeannette Bayardelle (Girl from the North Country)
 Danielle Brooks (Much Ado About Nothing)
 LaDonna Burns (Caroline, or Change)
LaChanze (The Secret Life of Bees)
 Saycon Sengbloh (The Secret Life of Bees)

Chuck Cooper and Erik LaRay Harvey. Photo by Joan Marcus
Chuck Cooper and Erik LaRay Harvey. Photo by Joan Marcus

FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Chuck Cooper (Much Ado About Nothing)
R. J. Foster (The Bacchae)
Tyrone Mitchell Henderson (Much Ado About Nothing)
John-Andrew Morrison (A Strange Loop)
Tony Perry (Caroline, or Change)
Nathaniel Stampley (The Secret Life of Bees

FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Eisa Davis (The Secret Life of Bees)
Sharae Moultrie (Caroline, or Change)
Margaret Odette (Much Ado About Nothing)
Nattalyee Randall (Caroline, or Change)
Elizabeth Teeter (The Secret Life of Bees)
Olivia Washington (Much Ado About Nothing)

OUTSTANDING MUSICAL DIRECTOR
Jason Hart (The Secret Life of Bees)
 Gareth Hobbs (The B-Side: “Negro Folklore from Texas State Prisons)
Frederick Kennedy (The Bacchae)
 Rona Siddiqui (A Strange Loop)
Jason Michael Webb (Much Ado About Nothing)

Special Tony Award recipient Jason Michael Webb with Lelund Durond Thompson at the Tony Honors cocktail party at Sofitel New York. Photo by Lia Chang

CHOREOGRAPHY
 Camille A. Brown (Much Ado About Nothing)
 Camille A. Brown (Toni Stone)
 Lawrence M. Jackson (Separate and Equal)
 Tiffany Rea-Fisher (The Bacchae)
 Chris Walker (The Secret Life of Bees)

Tony nominee Camille A. Brown attends the 73rd Annual Tony Awards. Photo by Lia Chang

OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE
Boesman and Lena (Signature Theatre Company)
Fireflies (Atlantic Theater Company)
Looking for Leroy (New Federal Theatre/Castillo Theatre)
The Key Game (Banana Boat Productions/New Perspective Theatre Co.)
The Light (MCC Theater)
The Rolling Stone (Lincoln Center Theater)

Thomas Silcott, Zainab Jah, Sahr Ngaujah. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Thomas Silcott, Zainab Jah, Sahr Ngaujah. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

SOLO PERFORMANCE
Richarda Abrams (First by Faith: The Life of Mary McLeod Bethune)
Helena D. Lewis (SHEnanigans)
Dierdra McDowell (Down to Eartha)
Bill Posey (The Day I Became Black)
Brenda Pressley (Proof of Love)
Malaika Uwamahoro (Miracle in Rwanda)

LEAD ACTOR IN A PLAY
Adrian Baidoo (Separate and Equal)
Jason Bowen (Native Son)
Marchant Davis (Ain’t No Mo’)
Galen Ryan Kane (Native Son)
Keith Randolph Smith (Lockdown)

LEAD ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Pamela Afesi (Separate and Equal)
Cherise Boothe (Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine)
Denise Burse (Dot)
Jessica Frances Dukes (By the Way, Meet Vera Stark)
Naomi Lorrain (Behind the Sheet)
April Matthis (Toni Stone)

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
Caroline, or Change (Astoria Performing Arts Center)
The Bacchae (Classical Theatre of Harlem)

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY
Boesman and Lena (Signature Theatre Company)
By the Way, Meet Vera Stark (Signature Theatre Company)
Dot (Billie Holiday Theatre)
Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine (Signature Theatre Company)
Reunion in Bartersville (Black Spectrum Theatre Company)

BEST MUSICAL
 Much Ado About Nothing (The Public Theater)
 The Secret Life of Bees (Atlantic Theater Company)

BEST PLAY
Ain’t No Mo’ (The Public Theater)
Behind the Sheet (Ensemble Studio Theatre)
Looking for Leroy (New Federal Theatre/Castillo Theatre)
Native Son (The Acting Company)
The Rolling Stone (Lincoln Center Theater)
Toni Stone (Roundabout Theatre)

AUDELCO “The Viv” Winners and Honorees of the 2017-2018 Season 

Kirsten Childs’ BELLA: AN AMERICAN TALL TALE Receives Four AUDELCOs including Outstanding Musical 

Phylicia Rashad, Marjorie Johnson, Jason Dirden, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Joe Morton, Tina Fabrique, Francois Battiste, Colman Domingo, Maurice Hines Among 2016 AUDELCO Award Nominees; SKELETON CREW AND FAMILIAR Lead with Nine Nods Each

MAURICE HINES TAPPIN’ THRU LIFE, Dominique Morriseau’s SKELETON CREW, Marjorie Johnson, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Tina Fabrique, Joe Morton and Debra Ann Byrd Among 2016 AUDELCO Winners

Cheryl L. Davis’ Maid’s Door Sweeps AUDELCOs with 7 Wins; Complete List of 2014 AUDELCO Recipients 

Chapman Roberts, Loretta Abbott, André De Shields, David Greer, Norm Lewis, Cherine Anderson, Lawrence Evans, Colby Christina & Nicholas A. Jenkins to Receive Special AUDELCO Awards on Nov. 17; 2014 AUDELCO Nominees Announced 

2014 AUDELCO Nominations Announced; Ceremony at Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space on November 17

Signature’s Revival of The Piano Lesson Sweeps AUDELCO’s with 8 Wins including Best Revival, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Roslyn Ruff, Chuck Cooper and Brandon J. Dirden; Also Among 2013 “VIV” Winners – Wild with Happy’s Colman Domingo and Sharon Washington, and Storyville’s Mercedes Ellington

Knock Me a Kiss Sweeps Audelcos with 9 Wins Including Best Dramatic Play, André De Shields, Marie Thomas, Charles Smith and Chuck Smith 

Photos: André De Shields, Erin Cherry, Gillian Glasco, Marie Thomas, Sean Phillips, Morocco Omari, Charles Smith and Chuck Smith Among 13 Audelco Nods for Knock Me a Kiss

Costume Designer Karen Perry Receives Audelco Nod for The Public Theatre’s Brother/Sister Trilogy by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Classical Theatre of Harlem’s Archbishop Supreme Tartuffe, MTC’s Ruined, De Shields and Nottage Among 2009 Audelco Winners

AUDELCO 2009 “The VIV” Nominees for the 2008-2009 Theatre Season

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 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

Emmy Award Winner and 2019 Tony Award Winner André De Shields to Be Honored at THE THEATERMAKERS – A Black Theater Preview: Fall Edition at The Schomburg Center on October 7

AUDELCO (Audience Development Committee) President Jackie Jeffries, Project1Voice Founder and CEO Erich McMillan-McCall, Marcia Pendelton, President of Walk Tall Girl Productions/Black Theater Online, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (Kevin Young, Director, Schomburg Center) are presenting THE THEATERMAKERS – A Black Theater Preview: Fall Edition at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (515 Malcolm X Blvd) on Monday, October 7, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. Four-time Tony Award®-winning producer Ron Simons of SimonSays Entertainment (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Porgy & Bess, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Jitney) will return as host. Black Theater Preview, now in its second year, brings attention to and celebrates the presence of black artists on stage: Broadway, Off-Broadway, and beyond.

THE THEATERMAKERS – A Black Theater Preview: Fall Edition, will feature presentations from a diverse theatrical roster including Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Ta-Nehesi Coates’ Between Me and the World at The Apollo Theatre, and the Broadway-bound Thoughts of a Colored Man (Baltimore Center Stage). The evening will also present conversations with playwrights Jeremy O. Harris (Slave Play on Broadway), and Donja R. Love (one in two ), directors Saheem Ali (Fires in the Mirror, The New Englanders), and Michele Shay (Reparations), leaders of black theater institutions such as Dr. Indira Etwaroo (The Billie Holiday Theatre) and Kamilah Forbes (Apollo Theatre), and much more. Additionally, the program will dedicate the time to speak with and to honor Emmy Award-winner and 2019 Tony Award-winner André De Shields (Hadestown). Those attending the event will have access to a theater marketplace that will offer production details, discounts, and information from Black Theater service organizations.

A number of theater companies will participate in this evening of conversation, commentary and performance. They are:

runboyrun & IN OLD AGE
by Mfoniso Udofia
directed by Loretta Greco & Awoye Timpo
New York Theatre Workshop
September 4 – October 13

Slave Play —
by Jeremy O. Harris
directed by Robert O’Hara
Golden Theatre
September 10 – January 5

The New Englanders
by Jeff Augustin
directed by Saheem Ali
Stage II at New York City Center | Manhattan Theater Club
September 17 – October 20

(A)loft Modulation
A play with jazz
by Jaymes Jorsling
directed by Christopher McElroen
The American Vicarious | Mezzanine Theatre at A.R.T./New York
September 26 – October 27

for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf
by Ntozake Shange
directed by Leah Gardiner
choreographed by Camille A. Brown
The Public Theater
October 8 – November 24

Thoughts of a Colored Man
by Keenan Scott II
directed by Steven H. Broadnax III
Baltimore Center Stage
October 10 – November 10

Sassy Mamas
by Celeste Bedford Walker
directed by Lorna Little Way
Black Spectrum Theatre Company
October 11 – 27

Tina: The Tina Turner Musical
by Katori Hall
directed by Phyllida Lloyd
choreographed by Anthony Van Laast
Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
October 12 –

for all the women who thought they were MAD
by Zawe Ashton
directed by Whitney White
Soho Rep
October 14 – November 17

American Slavery Project’s Unheard Voices
Conceived and Directed by Judy Tate
American Slavery Project and Sheen Center
October 15 – 16

Fires in the Mirror
conceived, written and originally performed by Anna Deveare Smith
directed by Saheem Ali
Signature Theatre
October 22 – November 24

Between The World And Me
Book by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Developed and Directed by Kamilah Forbes
Apollo Theatre
October 25, 26. 28

Reparations
by James Sheldon
directed by Michele Shay
The Billie Holiday Theatre
October 25 – November 24

Broadbend, Arkansas – A new musical
by Ellen Fitzhugh & Harrison David Rivers
directed by Jack Cummings III
music by Ted Shen
The Transport Group in Association with The Public Theater
The Duke on 42nd Street
October 25 – November 23

The Black History Museum…
According to the United States of America
by Zoey Martinson
HERE
November 1 – 24

one in two
by Donja R. Love
directed by Stevie Walker-Webb
The New Group at Pershing Square Signature Center
November 19 – December 29

The Dark Star of Harlem: The Spectacular Rise of Josephine Baker
by Glynn Borders & Mario E. Sprouse
The La Mama Experimental Theatre
November 21 – December 1

Live Radio Play – The Renaissance EP: A Theatrical Mixtape
by Nsangou Njikam
directed by Adesola Osakalumi
Harlem Stage
November 21-22

A Christmas Carol In Harlem
written by Charles Dickens
adaptation by Shawn René Graham
directed by Carl Coffield
choreographed by Tiffany Rea-Fisher
Classical Theatre of Harlem
December 4 – 21

Special Appearances:
Jay Delise – Spoken word artist
Girl Be Heard

André De Shields
Emmy Award and Tony Award winner

Participants and program subject to change.

THE THEATERMAKERS – A Black Theater Preview: Fall Edition is free. Seating is limited. RSVPs are required. For reservations visit www.Schomburg.org.

#BlackTheaterFallPreview2019

WHO’S WHO

André De Shields is the triple-crown winner of the 2019 theater awards season, having won the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Tony Awards as Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his unanimously critically acclaimed performance as Hermes, Messenger to the Gods, in Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, which honors veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. Mr. De Shields will receive The York Theatre Company’s 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre on November 11 and will be inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame on November 18. He recently received the Key to the City of Baltimore from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young. Prior to his Tony Award win, Mr. De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The Wiz, Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award), Play On! (Tony Nomination), and The Full Monty (Tony Nomination). In a career spanning fifty years, he has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, and educator, receiving in 2018 the 8th Annual Off Broadway Alliance Legend Award, and the 33rd Annual Bob Harrington Life Achievement Bistro Award. Among his other accolades are the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award and the 2007 Village Voice Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. www.andredeshields.com

AUDELCO, the Audience Development Committee, Inc., was established in 1973 by Vivian Robinson to honor excellence in African-American theatre in New York City. AUDELCO presents the Vivian Robinson/AUDELCO Recognition Awards (also known as Viv awards) annually. The awards were created to promote “recognition, understanding and awareness of the arts in the African-American community.” Upon the death of Robinson, Grace L. Jones carried on the organization’s vision and mission for 13 years until she passed in 2018. The legacy continues with Jackie Jeffries, a 32-year veteran of theater.

Erich McMillan-McCall is the Founder and CEO of Project1VOICE, Inc. (P1V) a 501(c)(3), nonprofit performing arts service organization based in New York City. Its mission is to support and promote the American theater specifically the narrative of and by people of African descent. Through its innovative programs and partnerships, P1V works to provide significant support, accessibility and adequate representation for African American theater. P1V’s core activity is the coordination of an international, same-day staged reading series that revives and re-introduces forgotten seminal works by playwrights from the African Diaspora—a critical thread in the tapestry of the American theater—called One Play One Day. It takes place on the third Monday in June, each year.

Marcia Pendelton is the Founder and President of Walk Tall Girl Productions/Black Theater Online. The company, founded in 2000, is a New York-based boutique marketing, audience development and group sales agency for the performing arts, with a special emphasis placed on the theater. The company has provided its expertise in creating diverse audiences for over 25 Broadway shows including the Tony winning productions of Jitney, Fences, and FELA! and numerous Off-Broadway for productions for clients such as The Public Theater, Signature Theatre, Manhattan Theater Club, and many more. Follow the company on Twitter @blktheatronline and Instagram @walktallgirl.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (Kevin Young, Director, Schomburg Center) Founded in 1925 and named a National Historic Landmark in 2017, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is one of the world’s leading cultural institutions devoted to the research, preservation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences. As a research division of The New York Public Library, the Schomburg Center features diverse programming and collections spanning over 11 million items that illuminate the richness of global black history, arts, and culture.

Established with the collections of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg 93 years ago, the Schomburg has collected, preserved, and provided access to materials documenting black life in America and worldwide. It has also promoted the study and interpretation of the history and culture of people of African descent. In 2015, the Schomburg won the National Medal for Museum and Library Service and in January 2017, the Schomburg Center was named a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service, recognizing its vast collection of materials that represent the history and culture of people of African descent through a global, transnational perspective. Today, the Schomburg continues to serve the community not just as a center and a library, but also as a space that encourages lifelong education and exploration.

The Schomburg Center is committed to providing accessible programs and services for patrons with disabilities. All facilities and entrances are wheelchair accessible. American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation is available for most events with at least two weeks advance notice.

Follow the Schomburg Center on Instagram and Twitter @schomburgcenter

Ron Simons is a four-time Tony Award-winning producer, four-time Sundance Film Festival selected producer and actor of stage, film and television. He is the Founder and CEO of SimonSays Entertainment. Simons recently won his 4th Tony Award for the August Wilson hit Broadway show Jitney, under the category “Best Revival of a Play,” making him the highest African-American Tony Award winning producer of all time, and cementing him as the leading Broadway producer working today bringing diversity to the stage.

As CEO/President of SimonSays Entertainment, Ron Simons leads the strategic planning and development of theatre and film projects including the critically acclaimed films “Night Catches Us,” “Gun Hill Road,” “Blue Caprice” and “Mother of George” (all of which premiered at Sundance). His first documentary “25 to Life” premiered at the American Black Film Festival where it won Best Documentary. He also produced the Broadway productions of Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Tony Award for Best Musical), Porgy & Bess (Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical), Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Tony Award for Best Play, Drama Desk, New Drama Critics and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Play, Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play),and A Streetcar Named Desire (AEA’s Extraordinary Excellence in Diversity on Broadway Award). Off-Broadway projects include Turn Me Loose, Bedlam’s St. Joan and Bedlam’s Hamlet Awards Off-Broadway Alliance Award – Best Revival (for Saint Joan) and the Chicago production of 5 Lesbians Eating Quiche which received the FringeNYC Outstanding Production Award. He most recently received the Emerging Producer Award at the 2017 National Black Theatre Festival Opening Gala. Follow Ron Simos on Instagram @therealronsimons

Leslie Uggams, Kamilah Forbes, Pearl Cleage, Michele Shay, Art Evans, Marjorie Moon, Thembi Mtshali, Roscoe Orman, Frenchie La’Vern, Xavier Pierce, James V. Thomas, Femi Sarah Heggie, Idris Ackamoor, Herman LeVern Thompson-Jones, Rhodessa Jones, Dr. Elwanda Ingram and Black Spectrum Theatre Company Will Be Honored at the 2019 National Black Theatre Festival on July 29

The National Black Theatre Festival® (NBTF) will take place from Monday, July 29th – Saturday, August 3rd. The NCBRC is celebrating its 40th anniversary, while the NBTF celebrates its 30th. For additional information and a schedule of events, visit www.nbtf.org. Congrats to all of the 2019 National Black Theatre Festival honorees who will be feted at the Gala in Winston-Salem on July 29.

2019 NATIONAL BLACK THEATRE FESTIVAL® HONOREES
Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement Award
Leslie Uggams
Leslie Uggams
 
Larry Leon Hamlin Producer Award
Kamilah Forbes
Kamilah Forbes. Photo by Lia Chang
August Wilson Playwright Award
Pearl Cleage
Pearl Cleage
Lloyd Richards Director Award
Michele Shay
Living Legend Award
Art Evans ● Marjorie Moon
Thembi Mtshali ● Roscoe Orman
Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design
Frenchie La’Vern
Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design
Xavier Pierce
Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Design
 James V. Thomas
Outstanding Achievement in Stage Management
 Femi Sarah Heggie
Theatre Longevity Award
Black Spectrum Theatre Company
New York, NY
Special Recognition Award
Idris Ackamoor ● Herman LeVern Thompson-Jones
Rhodessa Jones
Marvtastic Philanthrophy Award
Branch Banking & Trust Company (BB&T)
Theatre Arts & Humanitarian Award
Dr. Elwanda Ingram
The 2019 National Black Theatre Festival will be held July 29-August 3, 2019. For more information, please visit: www.ncblackrep.org.
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 event attracts thousands of national and international patrons, theatre professionals and scholars to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It was named one of the Top 100 events in North America by the American Business Association. For additional information and a schedule of events, visit us online at www.nbtf.org. You may also call the festival office at (336) 723-2266, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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

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

2019 Tony Award winners André De Shields and Harold Wheeler are among the celebrity guests who will attend the National Black Theatre Festival® Gala in Winston-Salem on July 29.

André De Shields, winner of the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical for “Hadestown” and Harold Wheeler, winner of the Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre at Radio City Music Hall on June 9, 2019 in New York City. Photo by Lia Chang

The National Black Theatre Festival® (NBTF) will take place from Monday, July 29th – Saturday, August 3rd. The NCBRC is celebrating its 40th anniversary, while the NBTF celebrates its 30th. For additional information and a schedule of events, visit www.nbtf.org.

The NBTF is one of the most historic and culturally significant events in the history of black theatre and is produced by The North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NCBRC). NBTF is the only theatre festival in the country offering six consecutive days of professional theatre. Other components of the festival include workshops, a reader’s theatre of new works, a film festival, a poetry jam, a youth celebrity project, a vendor’s market, and The International Colloquium. NBTF officials have also created exciting events for teens during Festival week with TEENtastic. Events include a dance contest and workshops. More than 60,000 people are expected to attend the event, along with celebrities from stage, screen, and television. The event has more than an $8 million impact on the economy of Winston-Salem, known as Black Theatre Holy Ground.

Acclaimed actors Margaret Avery and Chester Gregory will serve as celebrity co-chairs. Avery has starred in many productions on stage and screen. She subsequently received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Shug Avery in the classic film, The Color Purple. Gregory is the only artist in the National Black Theatre Festival’s history to headline three times. After starring in the iconic role as Jackie Wilson at the Festival’s star-studded Opening Night Gala. he starred in Broadway productions with leading roles in Disney’s Tarzan, Cry-Baby, Shrek The Musical, Dreamgirls, Sister Act and Motown The Musical as Berry Gordy.

5:30pm – OPENING NIGHT GALA – $265 (#1)
Make reservations for this glamorous event.
Tickets $265 per person, $2,650 table seating 10.

6:30pm – CELEBRITY PROCESSION
With NBTF Co-Chairs, Margaret Avery and Chester Gregory.

 6:45pm – AWARDS PRESENTATION

DeWitt Fleming Jr.

9:00pm – JELLY’S LAST JAM – $100 (#1A) – Performance only (BALCONY SEAT)

The Opening Night Gala Performance of Jelly’s Last Jam, presented by the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, will feature DeWitt Fleming Jr., Stanley Wayne Mathis and Idella Johnson.

The Tony award-winning musical tells the true story of Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe, a.k.a. Jelly Roll Morton, the self-proclaimed “inventor of Jazz.” Featuring explosive dance and an original score inspired by the best musical traditions of New Orleans, Jelly’s Last Jam explores the complexities of African-American life, while celebrating its creative genius. Book by George C. Wolfe, Lyrics by Susan Birkenhead, Music by Jelly Roll Morton. Music adaptation and additional music composed by Luther Henderson. Directed by Jackie Alexander. (Musical – General Audience)

10:30pm – CELEBRITY RECEPTION

Mix and mingle with the honorees, celebrity guests and other theatre patrons.
(Marriott Hotel)

This year’s festival offers a wide range of theatrical performances, including dramas, comedies, musicals, choreoplays and multi-media productions. The shows will include other celebrity performances throughout the week, featuring actors like Vivian Reed, Michael Colyar, Mariann Aalda, Kevin Mambo.

André De Shields, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Harold Wheeler.

Celebrity guests also include Brian Stokes Mitchell, Lamman Rucker, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Keith David, Ledisi, Geoffrey Owens, Bern Nadete Stanis, Hal Williams, Idris Ackamoor, Lisa Arrindell, Taurean Blacque, Mychal Bella Bowman, Petri Hawkins Byrd, Erin Cherry, Colby Christina, Bill Cobb, Dewitt Fleming, Jr., Savion Glover, Elain Graham, Micki Grant, Fay Hauser, Femi Sarah Heggie, Tommy Hicks, Maria Howell, Elwanda Ingram, Ebony Jo-Ann, Idella Johnson, Rhodessa Jones, Aku Kadogo, Frenchie La’Vern, Ted Lange, Khalil Middleton, Qaasim Middleton, Barbara Montgomery, Gabriela Norwood, Xavier Pierce, Tonya Pinkins, Tonea Stewart, Herman LeVern Thompson-Jones, Darnell Williams, Hattie Winston and many more.

The festival will present over one hundred productions performed by more thirty professional theatre companies, several universities, including a production from Cape Town, South Africa.

“We are so excited about all of our main stage productions this year. Our selection committee did an excellent job. The talent we will be bringing to the 2019 NBTF will be Marvtastic and will reach audiences of all ages,” said Sylvia Sprinkle Hamlin, Executive Producer NBTF.

Leslie Uggams

NCBRC will honor some theatre greats during the award ceremony at the opening night gala including Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Leslie Uggams. Ms. Uggams, whose illustrious career spans over six decades, will receive the Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement Award.

The 2019 National Black Theatre Festival Living Legend Award will be presented to Art Evans, Marjorie Moon, Roscoe Orman, and Thembi Mtshali.

Other honorees include Kamilah Forbes, Pearl Cleage, Michele Shay and many more.

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 event attracts thousands of national and international patrons, theatre professionals and scholars to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It was named one of the Top 100 events in North America by the American Business Association. For additional information and a schedule of events, visit us online at www.nbtf.org. You may also call the festival office at (336) 723-2266, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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

Jenni Barber, Jessica Frances Dukes, Manoel Felciano, Warner Miller, Carra Patterson, Heather Alicia Simms and David Turner in Signature Theatre’s revival of Lynn Nottage’s BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK 

Jessica Frances Dukes and Jenni Barber. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Signature Theatre’s revival of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and Residency 1 playwright Lynn Nottage began previews on January 29 and has been extended through March 10 in The Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues). Opening night is February 19.

Warner Miller and Jessica Frances Dukes. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Warner Miller and Jessica Frances Dukes. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

Helmed by Obie Award-winner Kamilah Forbes, the cast of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark includes Jenni Barber (Sunday in the Park with George) as Gloria, Jessica Frances Dukes (Yellowman) as Vera, Tony Award nominee Manoel Felciano (Amélie, Sweeney Todd) as Max/Peter, Warner Miller (Netflix’s “Luke Cage”) as Leroy/Herb, Carra Patterson (Jitney) as Anna Mae/Afua, Heather Alicia Simms (Signature’s Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine) as Lottie/Carmen and David Turner (The Boys in the Band) as Brad/Slavick.

Heather Alicia Simms and Jessica Frances Dukes. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Heather Alicia Simms and Jessica Frances Dukes. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

The creative team includes Clint Ramos (Scenic Design), Dede M. Ayite (Costume Design), Matt Frey (Lighting Design), Mikaal Sulaiman (Sound Design), Katherine Freer (Projection Design) and Daniel Kluger (Composition). The Production Stage Manager is Laura Wilson and Casting is by Caparelliotis Casting.

Jessica Frances Dukes. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Jessica Frances Dukes. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

It’s the Golden Age of Hollywood, and aspiring starlet Vera Stark works as a maid to Gloria Mitchell, an aging star grasping at her fading career. Worlds collide when Vera lands a trailblazing role in an antebellum epic starring…her boss. While Vera’s portrayal of a slave turns out to be groundbreaking, decades later scholars and film buffs still grapple with the actress’ legacy in Hollywood and the impact that race had on her controversial career.

Jessica Frances Dukes, Jenni Barber and Heather Alicia Simms. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Jessica Frances Dukes, Jenni Barber and Heather Alicia Simms. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

All tickets for the initial run of the production are $35 as part of the Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access. For more information, please visit www.SignatureTheatre.org.

Jessica Frances Dukes and Heather Alicia Simms. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Jessica Frances Dukes and Heather Alicia Simms. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

The groundbreaking Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access is a program that guarantees affordable tickets to every Signature production through 2031. Serving as a model for theatres and performing arts organizations across the country, the Initiative was founded in 2005 and is made possible by lead partner The Pershing Square Foundation with additional support provided by the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, the Howard Gilman Foundation, Margot Adams, The SHS Foundation, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Unlikely Collaborators, Consolidated Edison Company of New York, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

David Turner, Jessica Frances Dukes and Manoel Felciano. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
David Turner, Jessica Frances Dukes and Manoel Felciano. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Carra Patterson, Heather Alicia Simms and Warner Miller. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Carra Patterson, Heather Alicia Simms and Warner Miller. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Jessica Frances Dukes and Jenni Barber. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Jessica Frances Dukes and Jenni Barber. Photo Credit: Joan Marcus