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Black Theater Alliance Awards nominations announced

Porchlight Music Theatre's "Dreamgirls," with Kyrie Courter (from left), Candace C. Edwards, Donica Lynn and Katherine Thomas. (Photo: Kelsey Jorissen)

The nominations for this year’s Black Theater Alliance Awards have been announced, and, as always, the list serves as a potent reminder of the breadth and depth of African American talent and activity in this city.

Following is the complete list of nominees for the 22nd annual awards, which honor African Americans who have achieved excellence in theater, dance and all areas of the performing and technical arts in the Chicagoland area. The winners will be named at the BTA Awards on Oct. 17 at the eta Creative Arts Foundation, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave. Tickets are $25. For additional information call (773) 624-5729.

And this note: Although most of the nominated shows have completed their runs, the Raven Theatre production of “Direct from Death Row The Scottsboro Boys,” which is among the nominees for best ensemble, has been remounted and is running through Aug. 27. It is a must-see.

+ The Negro Ensemble Company Award for Outstanding Stage Production:

“Dynamite Divas: A Tribute to Women of Soul” – Black Ensemble Theater

“Maya’s Last Dream” – Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre

“Migration”– eta Creative Arts Foundation

“Supreme Love” – Tapman Productions

“What I Learned In Paris” – Congo Square Theatre Company

+ The Target Community Relations Award for Best Ensemble:

“Direct From Death Row The Scottsboro Boys (An Evening of Vaudeville and Sorrow)” – Raven Theatre Company

“Fabulation, Or The Re-Education of Undine” – Pulse Theatre Company Chicago

“The Hairy Ape” – Oracle Theatre

“The House That Will Not Stand” – Victory Gardens Theatre

“Migration” – eta Creative Arts Foundation

The cast of “Direct from Death Row The Scottsboro Boys (An Evening of Vaudeville and Sorrow).” (Photo: Dean La Prairie)
The cast of “Direct from Death Row The Scottsboro Boys (An Evening of Vaudeville and Sorrow).” (Photo: Dean La Prairie)

+ The Lloyd Richards Award for Best Direction of a Play:

Monty Cole – “The Hairy Ape” – Oracle Theatre

Ron OJ Parson – “Sunset Baby” – TimeLine Theatre Company

Kemati Porter – “Migration”– eta Creative Arts Foundation

Aaron Mitchell Reese – “Fabulation, Or The Re-Education of Undine” – Pulse Theatre Company Chicago

Tim Rhoze – “Maya’s Last Poem” – Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre

+ The Lorraine Hansberry Award for Best Playwright:

Michael Bradford – “Migration” – eta Creative Arts Foundation

Kevin Douglas – “Thaddeus and Slocum” – Lookingglass Theatre Company

Marcus Gardley – “The House That Will Not Stand” – Victory Gardens Theater

Ike Holter – “Prowess” – Jackalope Theatre Company

Dominique Morisseau – “Sunset Baby”– TimeLine Theatre Company

Roy Williams – “Sucker Punch” – Victory Gardens Theater

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

Maurice Demus – “Sucker Punch” – Victory Gardens Theater

Osiris Khepera – “Bars and Measures” – Prop Theatre Company

Julian Parker – “The Hairy Ape” – Oracle Theatre

Marc Rogers – “Sins of the Father” – eta Creative Arts Foundation

Namir Smallwood – “The Grapes of Wrath” – The Gift Theatre Company

Eamonn Walker – “Between Riverside and Crazy” – Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Dexter Zollicofer – “Charm” – Northlight Theatre

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

David Alan Anderson – “Gem of the Ocean” – Court Theatre

Bernard Gilbert – “Our Lady of 121 Street” – Eclipse Theatre Company

Denzel Love – “Sucker Punch” – Victory Gardens Theater

Kevin Patterson – “Direct From Death Row The Scottsboro Boys (An Evening of Vaudeville and Sorrow)” –Raven Theater Co.

Kelvin Roston, Jr. – “Sunset Baby” – TimeLine Theatre Company

Phillip Edward Van Lear – “Sunset Baby” – TimeLine Theatre Company

+ The Ben Vereen Award or Best Performance By An Actor In A Musical:

Kenny Davis – “Those Sensational Soulful Sixties” – Black Ensemble Theater

Direoce Junirs – “Doo Wop Shoo Bop” – Black Ensemble Theater

Eric Lewis – “Dreamgirls” – Porchlight Music Theatre

Evan Tyrone Martin – “Dreamgirls” – Porchlight Music Theatre

Travis Turner – “Thaddeus and Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure” – Lookingglass Theatre Co.

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

Shanesia Davis – “What I Learned In Paris” – Congo Square Theatre Company

Lizan Mitchell – “The House That Will Not Stand” – Victory Gardens Theater Company

Toya Turner – “For Her As A Piano” – Pegasus Theatre Chicago

Anji White – “Sunset Baby” – TimeLine Theatre Company

Jacqueline Williams – “Gem of the Ocean” – Court Theatre

Anji White in “Sunset Baby” at TimeLine Theatre. (Photo: Lara Goetsch)
Anji White in “Sunset Baby” at TimeLine Theatre. (Photo: Lara Goetsch)

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

Kona N. Burks – “The Grapes of Wrath” – The Gift Theatre Company

Linda Bright Clay – “The House That Will Not Stand” – Victory Gardens Theater Company

Kristin Ellis – “What I Learned In Paris” – Congo Square Theatre Company

Kiki Layne – “Byhalia, Mississippi” – Definition Theatre Company and The New Colony

Katrina Richard – “Direct From Death Row The Scottsboro Boys (An Evening of Vaudeville and Sorrow)” – Raven Theatre Co.

Jacqueline Williams – “The House That Will Not Stand” – Victory Gardens Theater Company

+ The Diahann Carroll Award for Best Performance By An Actress In A Musical:

Shari Addison – “Dynamite Divas A Tribute To Women of Soul” – Black Ensemble Theater

Candace C. Edwards – “Dreamgirls” – Porchlight Music Theatre

Kyla Frye – “Those Sensational Soulful Sixties” – Black Ensemble Theater

Donica Lynn – “Dreamgirls” – Porchlight Music Theatre

Alexis J. Rogers – “Don’t Make Me Over In Tribute To Dionne Warwick” – Black Ensemble Theatre

+ The Denzel Washington Award for Most Promising Actor:

Donald Conley

Kai A. Ealy

Gregory Fenner

Jeffery Owen Freelon

Juwan Lockett

+ The Phylicia Rashad Award for Most Promising Actress:

Demetria Drayton

N. LaQuis Harkin

Kiki Layne

Alexis Syncere

Alexis Willis

+ The Duke Ellington Award for Best Musical Direction:

Raji Halim – “Supreme Love” – Tapman Productions

Robert Reddrick – “Doo Wop Shoo Bop” – Black Ensemble Theater

Robert Reddrick – “Dynamite Divas A Tribute to Women of Soul” – Black Ensemble Theater

Clifton Robinson – “One Root, Many Branches” – Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago

+ Best Costume Design:

Jos N. Banks – “Fabulation, Or The Re-Education of Undine” – Pulse Theatre Company Chicago

Andrea Brown – “Migration” – eta Creative Arts Foundation

Rueben Echoles – “Don’t Make Me Over In Tribute To Dionne Warwick” – Black Ensemble Theater

Ruthanne Swanson – “Doo Wop Shoo Bop” – Black Ensemble Theater

+ Best Lighting Design:

Jared Gooding – “Maya’s Last Poem” – Fleetwood-Jordain Theatre

Denise Karczewski – “Don’t Make Me Over In Tribute To Dionne Warwick” – Black Ensemble Theater

Richard Norwood – “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red” – Congo Square Theatre Company

Kathy Perkins – “Migration” – eta Creative Arts Foundation

+ Best Set Design:

Phyllis Griffin – “Lines In The Dust” – eta Creative Arts Foundation

Justin Longnecker – “Maya’s Last Poem” – Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre

Andrei Onegin – “What I Learned In Paris” – Congo Square Theatre Company

Tianyu Qui – “Sins of the Father” – eta Creative Arts Foundation

+ Best Sound Design:

Phyllis Curtwright – “Migration”– eta Creative Arts Foundation

Mahmoud Khan – “Repairing A Nation” – eta Creative Arts Foundation

Rick Sims – “What I Learned In Paris” – Congo Square Theatre Company

Aaron Quick – “Dynamite Divas A Tribute to Women of Soul” – Black Ensemble Theater

+ The Katherine Dunham Award for Best Choreography:

Beon Arzell – “The Hairy Ape” – Oracle Theatre

Idy Ciss – “Tomanka/Liberte “– Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago

Rueben Echoles – “Don’t Make Me Over – In Tribute To Dionne Warwick” – Black Ensemble Theater

Joel Hall – “Anja: The Unexpected” – Joel Hall Dancers and Center

Jumanne Taylor – “Supreme Love” – Tapman Productions

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

Robert Battle – “No Longer Silent” – Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Camille A. Brown – “Black Girl: Linquistic Play” – Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago

Samantha Speis and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar – “Walking With Trane” – Dance Center of College Chicago