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

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

Louis Gossett, Jr., Ed Wheeler, Timothy Douglas, Dominique Morisseau, Ron Himes, Ron Simons, Thelma Pollard, Mabel Robinson, Gregory Horton, Allie Woods, Antoinette Tynes, Ed De Shae, Stephen Byrd, Alia Jones-Harvey, Corey Mitchell, Cleopatra Solomon, Wilbert T. Jenkins and More to be honored at the Opening Night Gala of the 2017 National Black Theatre Festival on July 31

Opening Night Gala

Purchase tickets through NCBRC office.

The Opening Night Gala of the 2017 Black National Theatre Festival takes place at  the Salem Ballroom – The Benton Convention Center 301 West Fifth Street, Winston Salem, NC. 

Please contact the NCBRC office to purchase ticket(s) for this event.

5:30 pm Opening Night Gala $265 (#1)
Tickets $265 per person, $2,650 per table seating (10)
6:30 pm Celebrity Procession
with NBTF Co-Chairs, Obba Babatunde and Anna Maria Horsford
6:45 pm Awards Presentation

2017 NATIONAL BLACK THEATRE FESTIVAL® HONOREES

Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement Award
Louis Gossett, Jr.

Larry Leon Hamlin Producer Award
Ron Himes

Emerging Producer Award
Ron Simons

August Wilson Playwright Award
Dominique Morisseau

Lloyd Richards Director Award
Timothy Douglas

Living Legend Award
Thelma Pollard • Mabel Robinson
Ed Wheeler • Allie Woods

Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design
Gregory Horton

Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design
Antoinette Tynes

Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Design
Chris Cumberbatch

Outstanding Achievement in Stage Management
Ed De Shae

Theatre Longevity Award
Paul Robeson Theatre, Buffalo, NY

Special Recognition Award
Stephen Byrd • Alia Jones-Harvey
Corey Mitchell • Cleopatra Solomon
The Negro Ensemble Company
The Late Walter Marshall (In Memoriam)

Marvtastic Philanthrophy Award
Wells Fargo

Theatre Arts & Humanitarian Award
Wilbert T. Jenkins

9:00 pm Five Guys Named Moe

An exuberant musical tribute celebrating “The King of the Jukebox,” singer and bandleader Louis Jordan. This exhilarating musical, set to Jordan’s iconic jump blues/jazz score is sure to “Let the good times roll!”

Location:  Steven Center at University of North Carolina School of the Arts

10:00 pm Celebrity Reception

Mix and mingle with the honorees, celebrity guests and other theatre patrons

Location:  Marriott Hotel

Festival History
Founded in Winston-Salem by the late Larry Leon Hamlin in 1989 and hosted by the North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NCBRC), NBTF is a biennial event with a purpose of uniting black theatre companies from around the world and ensuring the presence of this phenomenal genre. Mr. Leon Hamlin described the experience as “MARVTASTIC,” a combination of marvelous and fantastic! With the support of Dr. Maya Angelou, who served as the Festival’s first Chairperson, the National Black Theatre Festival was born. The ’89 Festival offered 30 performances by 17 of America’s best professional black theatre companies. It attracted national and international media coverage. According to The New York Times, “The 1989 National Black Theatre Festival was one of the most historic and culturally significant events in the history of black theatre and American theatre in general.” Over 10,000 people attended. Today that number reaches well over 65,000 attendees.

Ten years prior to starting the National Black Theatre Festival, Larry Leon Hamlin founded another black theater movement in Winston-Salem that is still present today. The North Carolina Black Repertory Company is the state’s first professional Black theater company. NCBRC is committed to introducing diverse audiences to Black classics, the development and production of new works, improving artistic quality, and sustaining Black theatre internationally. NCBRC was founded with the purpose of providing theatre professionals the opportunity to earn a living through their craft.

NCBRC presents three to four productions annually featuring members of its ensemble or through collaborations with other theatre companies from around the country. The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration and the holiday presentation of Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity have become two of the Company’s staples. The critically acclaimed NCBRC production, Mahalia, Queen of Gospel (written and directed by Mabel Robinson, the company’s Artistic Director) was a National Black Theatre Festival showcase performance.