Wednesday, January 27, 2021

27th NAACP Theatre Awards Announces Noms

NAACP Theatre Awards
27th NAACP Theatre Awards Announces Noms

*The NAACP Beverly Hills/Hollywood Branch’s Theatre Viewing Committee announces nominations for the 27th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards.

This year’s nominee roster is overwhelmingly filled with multiple EMMY, Tony and previous NAACP Theatre award winners throughout all 31 categories.

To honor such outstanding examples of black excellence in theatre, an extravagant dinner show will be held on Monday, February 26, 2018, 6:00 p.m. at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California.

The Equity Theatre (larger theatre) nominations include an array of magnificent productions including “Fly” and “Barbecue” both receiving an impressive 8 nominations. “Fly”, a relatively recent play (2009), is a strong contender for Best Choreography, Best Director, Best Ensemble Cast, Best Producer, Best Sound, Best Costumes, Best Lighting, plus Best Playwright for writers Ricardo Khan and Trey Ellis, the latter of which wrote a piece recently nominated for an Emmy. It follows the story of 4 Tuskegee airmen on their quest to integrate the United States Air Force. In contrast, “Barbecue” is a humorous analysis of typical American family dynamics with an unexpected twist. This has earned Robert O’Hara a nomination for Best Playwright. It has put Coleman Domingo, a previous Tony Award nominee, in the running for Best Director. “Barbecue” is nominated for Best Costumes, Best Ensemble Cast, Best Lighting, Best Producer, Best Set Design, and Best Sound.

Pulitzer prize winner, Suzan Lori Parks, is in consideration to win Best Playwright for her work on “Father Comes Homes from the War Parts 1, 2 and 3”. With 5 nominations, Parks has written an intense drama that details the life of a slave as he joins the battlefield during the Civil War – an unexpected twist, he is a confederate soldier. This meaningful production is up for Best Costumes, Best Music Director, Best Playwright, Best Supporting Female and Best Supporting as well as Sterling K. Brown who vies for Best Lead Male.

Tied with 4 nominations each, Phylicia Rashad and veteran thespians Glynn Turman and Lillias White respectfully have been nominated for Best Director, Best Lead Male and Best Lead Female for August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”. The play is set in 1927 Chicago at a white-owned studio with the legendary singer – inspired by real-life Mother of the Blues-Gertrude “Ma” Rainey.“MEMPHIS” is loosely based on a local Memphis disc jockey, Dewey Phillips, one of the first white DJs to play black music in the 1950s has heavy competition. Amongst them are Edgar Godineaux for Best Director of a Musical as well as Best Choreography plus Darryl Archibald, fresh off “Motown”, remains a strong contender for Best Musical Director. Lastly “Icebergs” captures the plight of the“thirtysomething” characters grapple with filmmaking careers and family planning.

Like the nominees listed above, smaller scale (99 seat theatre) productions “No Place to be Somebody” and “When Jazz Had the Blues” currently stand with 8 nominations as well. The first African-American Pulitzer prize winner, Charles Gordone’s “No Place to be Somebody”, tells the enthralling story of a black man who dares to defy the Mafia in New York City. The play is eligible for Best Costumes, Best Lead Male, Best Lighting, Best Producer, Best Set Design, and Best Supporting Female. In addition, it is a contender for Best Director due to the efforts of former Ovation Award winner, Ben Guillory, and Best Supporting Male for the performance of seasoned actor, Hawthorne James.

Previous NAACP Theatre Award recipient, Rahn Coleman, is back hoping to win Best Musical Director for “When Jazz Had the Blues”. This musical tells the captivating story of musical genius, Billy Strayhorn, as he navigates a world rife with homophobia and racism; we see him develop relationships with jazz legends, Duke Ellington and Lena Horne. “When Jazz Had the Blues” is also nominated for Best Choreography, Best Costumes, Best Ensemble Cast, Best Lighting, Best Producer, Best Set Design, and Best Sound. Wallace Demarria, is up for Best Playwright, Best Producer and Best Lead Male for “The Mask We Wear” which has a total of 6 nominations including Best Director, Best Lead Female, and Best Lead Male. It tells the narrative of a struggling actor whose sudden career success brings unexpected drama.

Rounding out the smaller theatres with 4 nominations is “The Prequel to Othello, The Cause, My Soul”. The play is in the race for a win for Best Costumes, Best Set Design, and Best Sound plus former NAACP Theatre Awards Winner Ted Lange is a powerful competitor for Best Playwright. “The Boy from Oz” and “Ferguson” are deadlocked with 3 nominations each. “The Boy from Oz” (Best Sound, Best Choreography and Best Director of Musical) focuses on the extraordinary life of legendary singer/songwriter Peter Allen, from his birth in 1944 to his meteoric rise to fame as an international star. First time nominees Alfred Rutherford (Best Supporting Male) and Pechanda DuBose (Best Choreographer) shine the light on “Ferguson” which tells the, now infamous, story of the trial following the slaying of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man whose unnecessary death at the hands of police ignited a nationwide movement.

Executive and Creative Producer of the NAACP Theatre Awards Show Tia Boyd states, “The black audience is a growing theatre market that must not be ignored. The NAACP Salute to Black Theatre awards and highlights plays that bring a new energy to the art.”

The NAACP Theatre Viewing Committee considers all candidates who submit their productions from January 2016 through December 15, 2016, for possible nomination. All productions must run for at least six (6) full performances in Southern California (San Diego to Bakersfield included). Previews, invited dress rehearsals, and other similar showings do not count towards eligibility. Eligibility for this year’s edition was limited to theatre productions opening in January 2016 through December 2016. Productions who meet all eligibility requirements before the deadline are considered eligible for a 2017 NAACP Theatre Award. Nominees will be notified by the NAACP Theatre Viewing Committee Chairperson Martha Pruden-Hamiter by November 1, 2017.

For more information on the NAACP Theatre Awards, please visit or email: [email protected]

About the NAACP Theatre Awards
The NAACP Theatre Awards is presented by the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP Branch in partnership with the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles City Council President/District 10 Councilman, Herb Wesson Jr. The event is co-chaired by Councilman Herb Wesson, Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP Branch President Ron Hasson, and the Executive and Creative Producer, Tia Boyd. The mission of the Theatre Awards is to entertain, educate, inspire the community and create diversity in the arts and entertainment industry. The prestigious star-studded gala aims to honor the highest achieving persons in the field of dramatic arts. The branch also celebrates a four-day theatre festival, which provides a platform for thespians to express their craft and share their contributions with an audience of their peers, the community and other individuals who celebrate live theatre in Los Angeles.

[See Full List of Nominations Below]

27th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards Nominations
February 26, 2018

Best Choreography  Larger Theatre
Fly – Hope Clarke
Merrily We Roll Along – Eamon Foley
Memphis – Edgar Godineaux

Best Choreography  99 Seat Theatre
When Jazz Had the Blues – Cassie Crump
The Boy From Oz – Janet Roston
Ferguson – Peachanda DuBose

Best Costumes  Larger Theatre
Barbecue – Kara Harmon
Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1, 2 and 3 – ESosa
Fly – Toni-Leslie James

Best Costumes  99 Seat Theatre
The Prequel to Othello, The Cause, My Soul – Mylette Nora
No Place to be Somebody – Naila Aladdin Sanders
When Jazz Had the Blues – Michael Mullen

Best Director  Larger Theatre
Fly – Ricardo Khan
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Phylicia Rashad
Barbecue – Colman Domingo

Best Director  99 Seat Theatre
The Mask We Wear – William Scales
No Place to be Somebody – Ben Guillory
Bars and Measures – Weyni Mengesha

Best Director of a Musical  Larger Theatre
Recorded In Hollywood – Denise Dowse
Merrily We Roll Along – Michael Arden
Memphis – Edgar Godineaux

Best Director of a Musical  99 Seat Theatre
Much Ado About Nothing – Gloria Gifford
The Boy From Oz – Michael A. Shepperd
Down on your Knees and Up to the Moon – Gloria Gifford

Best Ensemble Cast  Larger Theatre
The Last Tiger in Haiti

Best Ensemble Cast  99 Seat Theatre
A Nice Family Gathering
It’s Just Sex
When Jazz Had the Blues

Best Lead Female – Larger Theatre
Memphis – Krystle Simmons
The Fantasticks – Ashley Park
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Lillias White

Best Lead Female  99 Seat Theatre
The Mountaintop – Danielle Truitt
Broken Fences – Donna Simone Johnson
The Mask We Wear – Sade’ Moore

Best Lead Male  Larger Theatre
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Glynn Turman
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Jason Dirden
Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1,2 and 3 – Sterling K. Brown

Best Lead Male  99 Seat Theatre
No Place to be Somebody – Sammie Wayne IV
No Place to be Somebody – Leith Burke
The Mask We Wear – Wallace Demarria

Best Lighting  Larger Theatre
Icebergs – Daniel Ionazzi
Fly – Rui Rita and Jake DeGroot
Barbecue – Lap Chi Chu

Best Lighting – 99 Seat Theatre
My Manana Comes – Jennifer Edwards
When Jazz Had the Blues – Leigh Allen
No Place to be Somebody – Michael D. Ricks

Best Music Director  Larger Theatre
Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1, 2 and 3 – Steven Bargonetti
Merrily We Roll Along – Matt Gould & Adam Wachter
Memphis – Darryl Archibald

Best Music Director  99 Seat Theatre
Ferguson – Dean O’Leary
When Jazz Had the Blues – Rahn Coleman
Billy Holiday – Front and Center – Casey McCoy

Best One Person Show – 99 Seat Theatre
Women on the Verge – Faith Collins
Journey This – Cheray O’Neal
Billy Holiday – Front and Center – Sybil Harris

Best Playwright  Larger Theatre
Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1, 2 and 3 – Suzan-Lori Parks
Barbecue – Robert O’Hara
Fly – Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan

Best Playwright  99 Seat Theatre
Journey This – Cheray O’Neal
The Prequel to Othello, The Cause, My Soul – Ted Lange
The Mask We Wear – Wallace Demarria

Best Producer  Larger Theatre
Fly – The Pasadena Playhouse and Crossroads Theatre Company
Icebergs – Geffen Playhouse
Barbecue – Geffen Playhouse

Best Producer  99 Seat Theatre
No Place to be Somebody – Ben Guillory & Robey Theatre Company
The Mask We Wear – Wallace Demarria and William Scales
When Jazz Had the Blues – Leigh Fortier & Tiffany Thomas

Best Set Design  Larger Theatre
Icebergs – Anthony T. Fanning
The Last Tiger in Haiti – Takeshi Kata
Barbecue – Sibyl Wickersheimer

Best Set Design – 99 Seat Theatre
The Prequel to Othello, The Cause, My Soul – Peter Hickok
No Place to be Somebody – Thomas Meleck
When Jazz Had the Blues – Se Hyun Oh

Best Sound  Larger Theatre
Fly – John Gromada
Barbecue – Lindsay Jones
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Dan Moses Schrier

Best Sound  99 Seat Theatre
When Jazz Had the Blues – Christopher Moscatiello
The Boy From Oz – Eric Snodgrass
The Prequel to Othello, The Cause, My Soul – Will Mahood

Best Supporting Female  Larger Theatre
Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1, 2 and 3 – Patrena Murray
Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1,2 and 3 – Sameerah Luqmaan-Harris
Disgraced – Karen Pittman

Best Supporting Female  99 Seat Theatre
A Lady in Waiting – Malika Blessing
Blessing A Lady in Waiting – Pia D. Days
No Place to be Somebody – Kacie Rogers

Best Supporting Male  Larger Theatre
Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1, 2 and 3 – Roger Robinson
Icebergs – Keith Powell
Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1, 2 and 3 – Larry Powell

Best Supporting Male  99 Seat Theatre
The Mask We Wear – Jerrel O’Neal
No Place To Be Somebody – Hawthorne James
Ferguson – Alfred Rutherford








Lisa Humphrey
[email protected]



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