The word is out for the nominees of the 45th annual Vivian Robinson AUDELCO Awards, which recognize excellence in Black theater. The awards will take place Monday, Nov. 20, at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street, from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Come out and be prepared to enjoy New York’s biggest Black theater family yearly event! There are 20 categories under which productions are judged, and this year 47 shows have made the list.
Leading the pack with 10 nominations for the awards dubbed “the VIV” is “Bella: An American Tall Tale,” from Playwrights Horizons. This musical is nominated for musical production of the year; playwright—Kirsten Childs; director/musical production—Robert O’Hara; choreography—Camille A. Brown; outstanding musical director—Rona Siddiqui; outstanding performance in a musical—Natasha Yvette Williams and Ashley D. Kelley; sound design—Lindsay Jones; costume design—Dede M. Ayite; and set design—Clint Ramos.
“The Three Musketeers” from the Classical Theatre of Harlem has nine nominations. It is nominated for dramatic production of the year; director/dramatic production—Jenny Bennett; choreography—Tiffany Rea-Fisher; lead actress—Miriam Hyman; supporting actor—R.J. Foster; sound design—Luqman Brown; costume design—Rachel Dozier-Ezell; set design—Christopher and Justin Swader; and lighting design—Kate Bashore.
Tying with six nominations each are “Pipeline” from Lincoln Center Theater and “Autumn” from the Billie Holiday Theatre. “Pipeline” is nominated for dramatic production of the year; playwright—Dominique Morisseau; director/dramatic production—Lileana Blain-Cruz; lead actress—Karen Pittman; supporting actress—Heather Velazquez; and supporting actor—Jaime Lincoln Smith. “Autumn” is nominated for dramatic production of the year; playwright—Richard Wesley; director/dramatic production—Walter Dallas; lead actor—Jerome Preston Bates; supporting actress—Pauletta Washington; and supporting actor—Count Stovall.
Coming in with five nominations apiece are “Raisin” from Astoria Performing Arts Center and “Kill Move Paradise.” “Raisin” is nominated for musical production of the year; outstanding musical director—Darius Smith; director/musical production—Dev Bondarin; outstanding performance in a musical, male—Warren Nolan Jr.; and outstanding performance in a musical, female—Ebony Marshall-Oliver. “Kill Move Paradise” is nominated for outstanding ensemble performance; choreography—Darrell G. Moultrie; sound design—Palmer Hefferan; set design—Maruti Evans; and lighting design—Alan C. Edwards.
Three productions received four nominations: “Sweet” from National Black Theatre, “On Strivers Row,” from Metropolitan Playhouse and “The View Upstairs” from Invisible Wall Productions. “Sweet” is nominated for dramatic production of the year; outstanding ensemble performance; director/dramatic production—Raelle Myrick-Hodges; and playwright—Harrison David-Rivers. “On Strivers Row” is up for best revival; director/dramatic production—Timothy Johnson; lead actress—Kim Yancey-Moore; and costume design—Sidney Fortner. “The View Upstairs” is nominated for musical production of the year; director/musical production—Scott Ebersold; outstanding musical director—James Dobinson; and outstanding performance in a musical, male—Nathan Lee Graham.
Five productions have three nominations: “Everybody,” “Othello the Remix,” “Ragtime,” “Spamilton,” and “Sweat.” “Everybody” is nominated for supporting actress—Jocelyn Bioh; sound design—Brandon Wolcott; and lighting design—Matt Frey. “Othello the Remix” from John Leguizamo et al is nominated in the categories of musical production of the year; director/musical production—GQ and JQ; and sound design—David Ferdinand. “Ragtime” is nominated for outstanding musical director—Leslie Wickman; outstanding performance in a musical, male—Marcus A. Jordan; and outstanding performance in a musical, female—Renee Steadman. “Spamilton” from Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater is nominated for musical production of the year; director/musical production—Gerard Alessandrini; and outstanding musical director—Fred Barton. “Sweat” from The Public Theater is nominated for dramatic production of the year; playwright—Lynn Nottage; and outstanding ensemble performance.
Another six productions have two nominations: “And She Would Stand Like This,” “Daughters of the Mock,” “Party People,” “The Skin of Our Teeth,” “Venus” and “Zora Neale Hurston.” “And She Would Stand Like This” is nominated for choreography—Kia LaBeija and lighting design—Brian Tovar. “Daughters of the Mock” from the Negro Ensemble Company is nominated for best revival and outstanding ensemble performance. “Party People” is nominated for choreography—Millicent Johnnie and lighting design—Marcus Doshi. “The Skin of Our Teeth,” is up for lead actress—Kecia Lewis and set design—Ricardo Hernandez. “Venus” is nominated for lead actress— Zainab Jah and costume design—Emilio Sosa. “Zora Neale Hurston” from New Federal Theatre is nominated for best revival and lead actress—Elizabeth Van Dyke.
Nominated in the solo performance category is Anna Deavere Smith for “Notes From The Field,” Timothy Simonson for “Adam,” Ingrid Griffith for “Demerera Gold,” Malik Work for “Verses at Work,” and Sarah Jones for “Sell/Buy/Date.”
Productions with a single nomination are plentiful and include “A Raisin In The Sun,” from the Harlem Repertory Theatre, nominated for best revival. “Two Trains Running,” from Black Spectrum Theatre Company, is also nominated for best revival. “Marie And Rosetta” from Atlantic Theater Company is nominated for outstanding ensemble performance. “Cabaret” is nominated for outstanding
performance in a musical, male—Larry Owens. “Coriolarius” is nominated for lead actor—Dion Johnstone. “Cost of Living” is nominated for lead actor—Victor Williams. “Dolphins and Sharks” is nominated for supporting actress—Pernell Walker. “Man from Nebraska” is nominated for supporting actress—Nana Mensah. “Martin Luther on Trial,” is nominated for supporting actor—Jamil A.C. Mangan. “Master Harold …and the Boys,” is nominated for supporting actor—Leon Addison Brown. “Othello” is nominated for lead actor—David Oyelowo. “Sweeney Todd” is nominated for outstanding performance in a musical, male—Norm Lewis. “Sweet Charity” is nominated for outstanding performance in a musical, female—Asmeret Ghebremichael. “Sweetee” is nominated for outstanding performance in a musical, male—Jelani Aladdin. “The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World,” is nominated for costume design—Montana Blanco. “The Emperor Jones” is nominated for lead actor—Obi Abili. “Yen” is nominated for lead actor—Justin Smith.
In addition to the nominees, this year’s AUDELCO Awards have the theme “Making History—Black Joy,” and AUDELCO will be honoring the cast of “Jitney,” which played on Broadway recently, along with the show’s director Ruben Santiago-Hudson with a “Making History Award.” In bringing “Jitney” to Broadway, Santiago-Hudson made history because he succeeded in getting the last of August Wilson’s 10-play series to Broadway. This year’s AUDELCO Awards will have as honorary co-chairs Sheryl Lee Ralph, who recently starred in “Wicked” on Broadway, and Chuck Cooper, currently starring in “Prince of Broadway.” Honorary co-hosts will be Broadway actress Brenda Braxton and George Faison, Tony Award-winning choreographer and founder of the Firehouse Theatre. Special Pioneer Awards will go to Thelma Pollard and Ishmeal Reed. Outstanding Achievement Awards will go to playwrights Dominique Morriseau and Lynn Nottage. Special Achievement Awards will be presented to Dale Ricardo Shields and A. Curtis Farrow. Board of Director Awards will be presented to Camille Billops, James Hatch and John D. Smith. The Rising Star Award will go to Jordan Tyson, who starred in “Sweetee.” The Obediah Dance Company will perform at the 45th anniversary.