NAACP Theatre Awards Celebrated Black Excellence In Theatre

Berry Gordy's Motown the Musical, Recorded in Hollywood triumphed with multiple wins
By: NAACP Theatre Awards
 
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Berry Gordy
Berry Gordy
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Nov. 29, 2016 - PRLog -- The Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP branch recognized the exceptional impact African Americans have contributed to the world of live theater. On Monday, November 21, 2016, winners of the 26th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards were announced and celebrated during a star-studded show at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, California.

Nominees, honorees and theatre-lovers began their phenomenal night acknowledging thespians in the world of black theatre with an inviting Red Carpet and VIP reception catered by Crystal Catering. The audience was stunned in amazement while watching the amazing BLACK LIVES MATTER theatrical opening performance produced by NAACP Theatre Award winner Jaimyon Parker of SKELETON KEYS Pictures and Lisa Humphrey – Premier Concepts, which set the tone for the highly-anticipated awards show. This performance received a standing ovation and high regards throughout the evening.

Co-hosts Wendy Raquel Robinson and Miguel Nunez Jr. were extraordinary and kept the show flowing with their timely wit and ability to keep the anticipation at bay.

"What a fantastic evening celebrating the best stage productions over the past year. It was great to see the smiles on stage from our honorees, winners and the audience who gave the show rave reviews," says NAACP Beverly Hills/Hollywood Branch President Ron Hasson.

As celebrity presenters Lou Gossett, Jr. (Veteran Actor), Kenny Lattimore (Artist), Pooch Hall (Ray Donovan), Gabrielle Dennis (Rosewood), Tonya Renee Banks (Little Women LA), Timon Kyle Durrett (Queen Sugar), Renee Lawless (The Haves and Have Nots), Keesha Sharp (Lethal Weapon), Ted Lange (Actor/Director), Paul Jackson Jr. (Jazz Guitarist), Derek Fisher (NBA 5x Champion), Gloria Govan (Reality Star), Nicki Micheaux (Animal Kingdom) made their way to the stage to honor the contributions of the most stellar theatrical performances, the nominees waited with bated breath. Presenters stressed the necessity to support and fund playhouses, playwrights, producers, directors, etc. so that they may continue to present great narratives, inclusive of black stories alive on stage. Black stories are American stories highlighting a culture that has made great contributions and helped to define the identity of this great Nation.

Nabbing 4 wins out of 11 nominations in Equity Theatre is the dynamic "MOTOWN THE MUSICAL" including Best Playwright for music icon Berry Gordy who was present to receive the award, Best Costume, Best Choreographer and Best Sound. The African-American musical version of Sophocles's tragedy Oedipus at Colonus, "The Gospel At Colonus" leaves with 3 out of 6 with Best Musical Director, Best Ensemble Cast and Best Producer for Wren T. Brown – Nate Holden Performing Arts Theatre. August Wilson's "FENCES" collected 2 wins for Karyn D. Lawrence, Best Lighting and Gregg T. Daniel – Best Director. Obie Award-winner John Douglas Thompson secures a win for Best Lead Male – Equity and Lee Savage – Best Set Design both for "Satchmo at the Waldorf".

Rounding out the equity nominations and receiving their first NAACP Theatre Award include Tiffany Rebecca Royale – Best Lead Female and Best Supporting Male – Shon Fuller both for "The Best of Enemies" and Earnestine Phillips, Best Supporting Female – "To Kill A Mockingbird".

With phenomenal performances in Local Theatre nominations, there was no surprise that "Recorded In Hollywood" swept the category by taking home all 4 out of 4 nominations. Denise Dowse – Best Director of a Musical, Best Producer – Dolphins of Hollywood Productions, LLC and Racquel Lehrman, Theatre Planners, Best Music Director – Stephan Terry and Best Ensemble Cast. This production is a true and fascinating story of legendary African-American Los Angeles music producer John Dolphin who owned a famous record store on Central Ave in the 1950's.

The hip-hop theater production "Dreamscape" depicts the death and inner life of a young woman, "Myeisha Mills," who dreams though the impact of the twelve bullets that kill her. Dreamscape lands 3 out of 6 nominations including Best Director – Rickerby Hinds, Best Lead Female – Rhaechyl Walker and Natali Micciche and Best Lead Male – John "Faahz" Merchant.

Capturing awards in the local category for Best Supporting Female winner, Nadine Ellis garners a win with the Kenny Lattimore/Patricia Cuffie-Jones production "Love Soul Deep", as well as Wallace Demarria achieving Best Playwright for "Changes". First time nominees and now in the winner's circle are Danny De Lloyd who scored Best Supporting Male for "The Conversation" and Keena Ferguson attained the win for Best One Person Show for "Keena Unbranded", a voyeur experience into the specific moments that assist in shaping who a person becomes.

Wrapping up the local category and securing single wins are Best Choreography – Lungelo Ngamlana for "UCarmen", Best Costumes – Michaela Mendiola for "Detroit 67", Best Lighting – Jeremy Pivnick for "I And You", and Best Set Design – Helleaux Studio Design for "Pieces".

In addition to the honorees and nominees receiving their special awards, the audience was engaged throughout the show with special performances by 2016 EMMY Award winner Obba Babatundé with "Mr. Bojangles" plus Actress/Radio Personality Tammi Mac delighted the audience with a dramatic excerpt from her 2016 NAACP Theatre Award winning one-woman play "Bag Lady".

Several local politicians and entertainment supporters joined the festivities including: Honorable Diane Watson, Councilman Herb Wesson Jr., Debbie Allen, Loretta Devine, Kerry Gordy, Actress KiKi Shepard, Playwright/Producer Don B. Welch, Actress Tammi Townsend and Actor Mike Strong.

View here for full list of winners: http://bit.ly/2g7M86v

For more information about the 26th Annual NAACP Theater Awards, visit: www.naacptheatreawards.com or contact Lisa Humphrey, Premier Concepts, at 310.293.4154, email: media@premierconceptspr.com.

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/Councilmember District 10 Herb Wesson, Jr. and co-chaired by Byron K. Reed, Senior Vice President of Wells Fargo-West Region Community Relations and Jeffrey Rush of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. The mission of the Theatre Awards is to entertain, educate, inspire the community and create diversity in the arts and entertainment industry. Ron Hasson is Branch President and Tia Boyd is the Executive Producer for the NAACP Theatre Awards Show. The prestigious star-studded gala is produced for the purpose of honoring thespians among the best in the field of entertainment. 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. www.naacptheatreawards.com

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