The 39th annual Vivian Robinson/AUDELCO Recognition Awards for Excellence in Black Theatre ceremony is definitely an event to plan to attend. It will take place on Monday, Nov. 14 at Harlem Stage at Aaron Davis Hall, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The AUDELCO Awards are the one time of the year when excellence in theater by African-Americans is acknowledged-the Black theater equivalent to the Tony Awards for Broadway shows. It is quite an honor to be nominated, a feeling that is being shared by many theater companies and productions this year.
And now the nominations are in. New Federal Theatre/Legacy Creative Arts Productions’ “Knock Me a Kiss” has achieved a landslide with 13 nominations: Dramatic Production of the Year; Director/Dramatic Production, Chuck Smith; Playwright, Charles Smith; Lead Actress, Erin Cherry; Lead Actor, Andre De Shields; Supporting Actress, Marie Thomas; Supporting Actor, Morocco Omari and Sean Phillips; Sound Design, Bill Toles; Costume Design, Ali Turns; Set Design, Anthony Davidson; and Lighting Design, Shirley Prendergast.
Second Stage’s brilliant, mesmerizing production of “By The Way, Meet Vera Stark” is up for 10 awards, including Dramatic Production of the Year; Director/Dramatic Production, Jo Bonney; Playwright, Lynn Nottage; Lead Actress, Sanaa Lathan; Supporting Actor, Daniel Breaker; Supporting Actress, Kimberly Hebert Gregory; Sound Design, John Gromada; Costume Design, ESosa; Set Design, Neil Patel; and Lighting Design, Jeff Croiter.
Three plays tied with six nominations. “Tearing Down the Walls” is nominated for Musical Production of the Year; Outstanding Musical Director, Charles Mack; Director/Musical Production, Daniel Beaty; Outstanding Performance in a Musical, Male, Jevon Mcferrin; Outstanding Performance in a Musical, Female, Adrienne C. Moore; and Choreographer, Dell Howlett.
Lee Kirk Productions’ “The Widow and Miss Mamie” is nominated for Musical Production of the Year; Outstanding Musical Director, Ron Granger; Director/Musical Production, Lee Kirk; Outstanding Performance in a Musical, Male, Tommie Thompson; and Outstanding Performance in a Musical, Female, Toni Seawright and Marvel Allen.
New Haarlem Arts Theatre’s “It Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues” was nominated for Musical Production of the Year; Director/Musical Production, Alfred Preisser; Outstanding Musical Director, Jeffrey Bolding; Outstanding Performance in a Musical, Male, Gerard Latham; Outstanding Performance in a Musical, Female, Dameka Hayes; and Choreography, Tracy Jack.
Five nominations were received by four productions. “When I Come to Die” is up for Dramatic Production of the Year; Director/Dramatic Production, Thomas Kail; Playwright, Nathan Louis Jackson; Lead Actor, Chris Chalk; and Supporting Actress, Amanda Mason Warren.
“Do Wop Love” is looking at nominations for Musical Production of the Year; Director/Musical Production, Ronald Wyche; Outstanding Musical Director, Bert Price; Outstanding Ensemble Performance; and Choreographer, Michelle L. Robinson.
Take Wing and Soar Productions’ “Antony & Cleopatra” is up for Dramatic Production of the Year; Director/Dramatic Production, Petronia Paley; Lead Actress, Debra Ann Byrd; Sound Design, David D. Wright; and Costume Design, David Withrow.
The Billie Holiday Theater’s production of “The Legend of Buster Neal” is up for Dramatic Production of the Year; Outstanding Ensemble Performance; Set Design, Felix E. Cochren; and Jackie Alexander is nominated in two different areas, Director/Dramatic Production and Playwright.
Nominations in four categories was the magic number for four shows. “Henry V” has Lead Actor, Ty Jones; Sound Design, Patricia Ju; Costume Design, Rachel Dozier-Ezell; and Lighting Design, Colin D. Young. “The Shaneequa Chronicles” is nominated for Solo Performance, Stephanie Berry; Choreography, Leslie Dockery; Set Design, Chris Cumberbatch; and Lighting Design, James Carter.
“Cool Blues” is up for Lead Actress, Terria Joseph; Lead Actor, Marcus Naylor; Supporting Actor, Jay Ward; and Sound Design, Sean O’Hallaran. “Juneteenth Blues Cabaret” is nominated for Musical Production of the Year; Outstanding Musical Director, Ivan Thomas; Director/Musical Production, Lorna Littleway; and Outstanding Performance in a Musical, Female, Jannie Jones.
Billie Holiday Theater in Brooklyn has another production up for an AUDELCO Award with “The Right Reverend Dupree in Exile.” It is nominated for Lead Actor, Ralph Mccain; Costume Design, Helen L. Simmons-Collen; and Set Design, Felix E. Cochren.
“Nobody Knew Where They Was” is coming in with two nominations for Playwright, Roger Parris, and Lead Actress, Kimberlee Monroe. “The Whipping Man” is also up for two awards, Lead Actor, Andre Braugher, and Supporting Actor, Andre Holland.
Numerous productions received single nominations, including “Brothers from the Bottom” for Lighting Design, Avan. Solo Performance nominations went to Miche Braden for “The Devil’s Music: The Life and Times of Bessie Smith,” Cheryl Howard for “The Sensational Josephine Baker” and Nilaja Sun for “No Child.” Outstanding Ensemble Performance nominations were given to “Accept ‘Except,’”National Black Theater; “Born Bad,” Soho Rep; and “Playing With Heiner Muller,” Castillo Theater.
This year the ceremony’s co-host will be NY1 anchor Cheryl Wills and artist, writer and co-founder of Def Poetry Jam Danny Simmons. Tickets will be $35-$150. To purchase, call (212) 368-6906.