The nominees for the 21st Annual Black Theater Alliance/Ira Aldridge Awards have been announced. The awards, founded in 1995, honor African Americans who achieve excellence in theater, dance and all areas of the performing arts in the Chicagoland area. The nominees listed here were involved with productions presented between Aug. 1, 2014 through July 31, 2015.

The winners will be named at the BTA Awards, to be held Oct. 19 at Northeastern Illinois University’s Jacob Carruthers Center for Inner-City Studies, 700 East Oakwood Blvd. A reception will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the BTA Awards presentation at 6:30 p.m. For tickets ($40 for BTAA nominees and $50 for guest of nominees and the general public), call (773) 624-5729, or email btaainc@hotmail.com.

 

Here is a complete list of the nominations:

+ The Negro Ensemble Company Award for Outstanding Stage Production:

“Genesis” – Definition Theatre Company

“Lest We Forget “– Muntu Dance Theatre Of Chicago

“Men Of Soul” – Black Ensemble Theater

“Twisted Melodies” – Congo Square Theatre Company

“Why Not Me? A Sammy Davis Jr. Story” – Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre

 

+ The Target Community Relations Award for Best Ensemble:

“Men Of Soul” – Black Ensemble Theater

“The Projects” – The American Theater Company

“Waiting For Godot” – Court Theatre

The cast of "Men of Soul" at the Black Ensemble Theater. (Photo: Danny Nicholas)

The cast of “Men of Soul” at the Black Ensemble Theater. (Photo: Danny Nicholas)

 

+ The Lloyd Richards Award for Best Direction of a Play (Drama or Comedy)

Robert O’Hara – “Marie Antoinette” – Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Ron OJ Parson – “Waiting For Godot” – Court Theatre

Chuck Smith – “Two Trains Running” – Goodman Theatre

Regina Taylor – “Stop. Reset.” – Goodman Theatre

 

+ The Oscar Brown, Jr. Award for Best Direction of a Play (Musical or Revue):

Daryl Brooks – “Men of Soul” – Black Ensemble Theater

Lili-Anne Brown – “Princess Mary Demands Your Attention” – Bailiwick Chicago

Tim Rhoze – “Why Not Me? A Sammy Davis, Jr. Story” – Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre

Samuel G. Roberson, Jr. – “Twisted Melodies” – Congo Square Theatre Company

 

+ The Lorraine Hansberry Award for Best Writing of a Play:

Marcus Gardley – “An Issue Of Blood” – Victory Gardens Theater

Aaron Holland – “Princess Mary Demands Your Attention” – Bailiwick Chicago

Tim Rhoze – “Why Not Me? A Sammy Davis, Jr. Story” – Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre

Kelvin Roston, Jr. – “Twisted Melodies” – Congo Square Theatre Company

Regina Taylor – “Stop. Reset.” – Goodman Theatre

 

+ The Sidney Poitier Award for Best Leading Actor in a Play (Drama or Comedy):

Anthony Conway – “Mud, River, Stone” – Eclipse Theatre Company

Jerod Haynes – “Native Son” – Court Theatre

Kenn E. Head – “The Projects” – American Theatre Company

Eugene Lee – “Stop. Reset”. – Goodman Theatre

Tyrone Phillips – “Genesis” – Definition Theatre Company

 

+ The Ossie Davis Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play (Drama or Comedy:

Terry Bellamy – “Two Trains Running” – Goodman Theatre

Allen Gilmore – “Waiting For Godot” – Court Theatre

Chester M. Gregory – “Two Trains Running” – Goodman Theatre

Michael Pogue – “Stickfly” – Windy City Playhouse

Edgar Miquel Sanchez – “Stop. Reset.” – Goodman Theatre

Travis Turner – “The Upstairs Concierge” – Goodman Theatre

 

+ The Sammy Davis, Jr. Award for Best Leading Actor in a Play (Musical or Revue):

Sean Blake – “Why Not Me? A Sammy Davis, Jr. Story” – Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre

Armand Fields – “Princess Mary Demands Your Attention” – Bailiwick Chicago

Kelvin Roston, Jr. – “Twisted Melodies” – Congo Square Theatre Company

 

+ The Bill Bojangles Robinson Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play (Musical or Revue):

Matthew Hunter – “Men Of Soul” – Black Ensemble Theater

Donterrio Johnson – “Jesus Christ Superstar” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre

Randolph Johnson – “The Full Monty” – Kokandy Productions

Daniel Phillips – “Men Of Soul” – Black Ensemble Theater

Kyle Phillips – “Men Of Soul” – Black Ensemble Theater

Rashawn Thompson – “Men Of Soul” – Black Ensemble Theater

 

+ The Ruby Dee Award for Best Leading Actress in a Play (Drama or Comedy):

Alana Arenas – “Marie Antoinette” – Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Lizan Mitchell – “An Issue Of Blood” – Victory Gardens Theater

Tawny Newsome – “The Upstairs Concierge” – Goodman Theatre

Penelope Walker – “The Projects” – The American Theater Company

Mercedes White – “Genesis” – Definition Theatre Company

 

+ The Hattie McDaniel Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play (Drama or Comedy)

Tracey Bonner – “Native Son” – Court Theatre

Paige Collins – “Stickfly” – Windy City Playhouse

Celeste Cooper – “Stickfly” – Windy City Playhouse

Nambi E. Kelley – “Two Trains Running” – Goodman Theatre

Mildred Langford – “The Royale” – American Theater Company

Brittany Love Smith – “Xtigone” – Chicago Danz Theatre Ensemble

 

+ The Diahann Carroll Award for Best Performance By An Actress in a Play (Musical or Revue):

Dawn Bless – “Sounds So Sweet” – Black Ensemble Theater

Candace C. Edwards – “At Last: A Tribute To Etta James” – Black Ensemble Theater

Arzula Maxine Gardner – “At Last: A Tribute To Etta James” – Black Ensemble Theater

Rhonda Preston – “Sounds So Sweet” – Black Ensemble Theater

Yahdina U’Deen – “At Last: a Tribute To Etta James” – Black Ensemble Theater

 

+ The Denzel Washington Award for Most Promising Actor:

Matthew Hunter; Kyle Smith; Jamarr Tillman; Korey White.

 

+ The Phylicia Rashad Award for Most Promising Actress:

Charlee Cotton; Anna Dauzvardis; Kamille Dawkins; Cherise Thomas.

 

+ The Duke Ellington Award for Best Musical Direction:

Jaret Landon – “A Nativity Story : More Than A Miracle” – Congo Square Theater Company

Robert Reddrick – “Men Of Sou” – Black Ensemble Theater

Clifton Robinson – “Lest We Forget” – Muntu Dance Theatre Of Chicago

Michael Weatherspoon – “Twisted Melodies” – Congo Square Theatre Company

 

+ The Ruth E. Carter Award for Best Costume Design:

Christine Pascual – “A Nativity Story: More Than A Miracle” – Congo Square Theater Co.

Karen Perry – “Stop. Reset.” – Goodman Theatre

Belena Redmond – “The Color Purple” – Theatre 47/John Ruffin Entertainment

Ruthanne Swanson – “Men Of Soul “– Black Ensemble Theater

 

+ Award for Best Lighting Design:

Dustin Derry – “Healing Hearts” – Muntu Dance Theatre Of Chicago

Jared Gooding – “Stickfly” – Windy City Playhouse

Joe Walker – “The Color Purple” – Theater 47/John Ruffin Entertainment

Denise Karczewski – “Men Of Soul” – Black Ensemble Theater

 

+ Award for Best Set Design:

Moon Jung Kim – “Genesis” – Definition Theatre Company

Coco Ree Lemry – “Men Of Soul” – Black Ensemble Theater

Andrei Onegin – “Twisted Melodies” – Congo Square Theatre Company

Jacqueline Penrod – “Stickfly” – Windy City Playhouse

 

+ Award for Best Sound Design:

Darryl Goodman – “Liberty City” – eta Creative Arts Foundation

Aaron Quick – “Men Of Soul” – Black Ensemble Theater

Rick Sims – “Twisted Melodies” – Congo Square Theater Company

Bemaji Tillman – “Love and Heroes” – Harold Washington Cultural Center

 

+ The Katherine Dunham Award for Best Choreography:

Amansu Eason – “Legend”– Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago

Rueben Echoles – “Men Of Soul” – Black Ensemble Theater

Nimely Napla – “Mother’s Only Child” – Muntu Dance Theatre Of Chicago

Babacar N’Diaye – “N’Dage Mandingo” – Muntu Dance Theatre Of Chicago

 

+The Alvin Ailey Award for Best Choreography (Non-Resident):

David Rousseve – “Stardust” – Dance Center Of Columbia College Chicago

Matthew Rushing – “Odetta” – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Jawole Willa Jo Zollar – “30th Anniversary Mash Up” – Dance Center Of Columbia College Chicago