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Press Release

NAACP Beverly Hills/Hollywood Branch Announces 27th Annual Theatre Award Nominees

Multiple EMMY, TONY and previous NAACP Theatre Awards winner will be celebrated

Oct. 12, 2017 / PRZen / BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- The NAACP Beverly Hills/Hollywood Branch's Theatre Viewing Committee announces nominations for the 27th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards. This year's nominee roster is overwhelmingly filled with multiple EMMY, Tony and previous NAACP Theatre award winners throughout all 31 categories. To honor such outstanding examples of black excellence in theatre, an extravagant dinner show will be held on Monday, February 26, 2018, 6:00 p.m. at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California.

The Equity Theatre (larger theatre) nominations include an array of magnificent productions including "Fly"and "Barbecue" both receiving an impressive 8 nominations. "Fly", a relatively recent play (2009), is a strong contender for Best Choreography, Best Director, Best Ensemble Cast, Best Producer, Best Sound, Best Costumes, Best Lighting, plus Best Playwright for writers Ricardo Khan and Trey Ellis, the latter of which wrote a piece recently nominated for an Emmy. It follows the story of 4 Tuskegee airmen on their quest to integrate the United States Air Force.

In contrast, "Barbecue" is a humorous analysis of typical American family dynamics with an unexpected twist. This has earned Robert O'Hara a nomination for Best Playwright. It has put Coleman Domingo, a previous Tony Award nominee, in the running for Best Director. "Barbecue" is nominated for Best Costumes, Best Ensemble Cast, Best Lighting, Best Producer, Best Set Design, and Best Sound.

Pulitzer prize winner, Suzan Lori Parks, is in consideration to win Best Playwright for her work on "Father Comes Homes from the War Parts 1, 2 and 3". With 5 nominations, Parks has written an intense drama that details the life of a slave as he joins the battlefield during the Civil War - an unexpected twist, he is a confederate soldier. This meaningful production is up for Best Costumes, Best Music Director, Best Playwright, Best Supporting Female and Best Supporting Male as well as Sterling K. Brown who vies for Best Lead Male.

Tied with 4 nominations each, Phylicia Rashad and veteran thespians Glynn Turman and Lillias White respectfully have been nominated for Best Director, Best Lead Male and Best Lead Female for August Wilson's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom". The play is set in 1927 Chicago at a white-owned studio with the legendary singer—inspired by real-life Mother of the Blues-Gertrude "Ma" Rainey. "MEMPHIS" is loosely based on a local Memphis disc jockey, Dewey Phillips, one of the first white DJs to play black music in the 1950s has heavy competition. Amongst them are Edgar Godineaux for Best Director of a Musical as well as Best Choreography plus Darryl Archibald, fresh off "Motown", remains a strong contender for Best Musical Director. Lastly "Icebergs" captures the plight of the "thirtysomething" characters who grapple with filmmaking careers and family planning.

Like the nominees listed above, smaller scale (99 seat theatre)productions "No Place to be Somebody" and "When Jazz Had the Blues" currently stand with 8 nominations as well. The first African-American Pulitzer prize winner, Charles Gordone's "No Place to be Somebody", tells the enthralling story of a black man who dares to defy the Mafia in New York City. The play is eligible for Best Costumes, Best Lead Male, Best Lighting, Best Producer, Best Set Design, and Best Supporting Female. In addition, it is a contender for Best Director due to the efforts of former Ovation Award winner, Ben Guillory, and Best Supporting Male for the performance of seasoned actor, Hawthorne James.

Previous NAACP Theatre Award recipient, Rahn Coleman, is back hoping to win Best Musical Director for "When Jazz Had the Blues". This musical tells the captivating story of musical genius, Billy Strayhorn, as he navigates a world rife with homophobia and racism; we see him develop relationships with jazz legends, Duke Ellington and Lena Horne. "When Jazz Had the Blues" is also nominated for Best Choreography, Best Costumes, Best Ensemble Cast, Best Lighting, Best Producer, Best Set Design, and Best Sound. Wallace Demarria, is up for Best Playwright, Best Producer and Best Lead Male for "The Mask We Wear" which has a total of 6 nominations including Best Director, Best Lead Female, and Best Lead Male. It tells the narrative of a struggling actor whose sudden career success brings unexpected drama.

Rounding out the smaller theatres with 4 nominations is "The Prequel to Othello, The Cause, My Soul". The play is in the race for a win for Best Costumes, Best Set Design, and Best Sound plus former NAACP Theatre Awards Winner Ted Lange is a powerful competitor for Best Playwright. "The Boy from Oz" and "Ferguson" are deadlocked with 3 nominations each. "The Boy from Oz" (Best Sound, Best Choreography and Best Director of Musical) focuses on the extraordinary life of legendary singer/songwriter Peter Allen, from his birth in 1944 to his meteoric rise to fame as an international star. First time nominees Alfred Rutherford (Best Supporting Male) and Pechanda DuBose (Best Choreographer) shine the light on "Ferguson" which tells the, now infamous, story of the trial following the slaying of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man whose unnecessary death at the hands of police ignited a nationwide movement.

Executive and Creative Producer of the NAACP Theatre Awards Show Tia Boyd states, "The black audience is a growing theatre market that must not be ignored.  The NAACP Salute to Black Theatre awards and highlights plays that bring a new energy to the art."

The NAACP Theatre Viewing Committee considers all candidates who submit their productions from January 2016 through December 15, 2016, for possible nomination. All productions must run for at least six (6) full performances in Southern California (San Diego to Bakersfield included).  Previews, invited dress rehearsals, and other similar showings do not count towards eligibility.  Eligibility for this year's edition was limited to theatre productions opening in January 2016 through December 2016. Productions who meet all eligibility requirements before the deadline are considered eligible for a 2017 NAACP Theatre Award. Nominees will be notified by the NAACP Theatre Viewing Committee Chairperson Martha Pruden-Hamiter by November 1, 2017.

For more information on the NAACP Theatre Awards, please visit or email:

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/District 10 Councilman, Herb Wesson Jr. The event is co-chaired by Councilman Herb Wesson, Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP Branch President Ron Hasson, and the Executive and Creative Producer, Tia Boyd. The mission of the Theatre Awards is to entertain, educate, inspire the community and create diversity in the arts and entertainment industry. The prestigious star-studded gala aims to honor the highest achieving persons in the field of dramatic arts.  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.

[See Full List of Nominations Below]

27th Annual NAACP Theatre Awards Nominations -  February 26, 2018

Best Choreography – Larger Theatre

Fly – Hope Clarke

Merrily We Roll Along – Eamon Foley

Memphis – Edgar Godineaux

Best Choreography – 99 Seat Theatre

When Jazz Had the Blues – Cassie Crump

The Boy From Oz – Janet Roston

Ferguson – Peachanda DuBose

Best Costumes – Larger Theatre

Barbecue – Kara Harmon

Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1, 2 and 3 – ESosa

Fly – Toni-Leslie James

Best Costumes – 99 Seat Theatre

The Prequel to Othello, The Cause, My Soul – Mylette Nora

No Place to be Somebody – Naila Aladdin Sanders

When Jazz Had the Blues – Michael Mullen

Best Director – Larger Theatre

Fly – Ricardo Khan

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom – Phylicia Rashad

Barbecue – Colman Domingo

Best Director – 99 Seat Theatre

The Mask We Wear – William Scales

No Place to be Somebody – Ben Guillory

Bars and Measures – Weyni Mengesha

Best Director of a Musical – Larger Theatre

Recorded In Hollywood – Denise Dowse

Merrily We Roll Along – Michael Arden

Memphis – Edgar Godineaux

Best Director of a Musical – 99 Seat Theatre

Much Ado About Nothing – Gloria Gifford

The Boy From Oz – Michael A. Shepperd

Down on your Knees and Up to the Moon – Gloria Gifford

Best Ensemble Cast – Larger Theatre

The Last Tiger in Haiti



Best Ensemble Cast – 99 Seat Theatre

A Nice Family Gathering

It's Just Sex

When Jazz Had the Blues

Best Lead Female - Larger Theatre

Memphis – Krystle Simmons

The Fantasticks – Ashley Park

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom – Lillias White

Best Lead Female – 99 Seat Theatre

The Mountaintop – Danielle Truitt

Broken Fences – Donna Simone Johnson

The Mask We Wear – Sade' Moore

Best Lead Male – Larger Theatre

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom – Glynn Turman

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom – Jason Dirden

Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1,2 and 3 – Sterling K. Brown

Best Lead Male – 99 Seat Theatre

No Place to be Somebody – Sammie Wayne IV

No Place to be Somebody – Leith Burke

The Mask We Wear – Wallace Demarria

Best Lighting – Larger Theatre

Icebergs – Daniel Ionazzi

Fly – Rui Rita and Jake DeGroot

Barbecue – Lap Chi Chu

Best Lighting - 99 Seat Theatre

My Manana Comes – Jennifer Edwards

When Jazz Had the Blues – Leigh Allen

No Place to be Somebody – Michael D. Ricks

Best Music Director – Larger Theatre

Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1,2 and 3- Steven Bargonetti

Merrily We Roll Along – Matt Gould & Adam Wachter

Memphis – Darryl Archibald

Best Music Director – 99 Seat Theatre

Ferguson – Dean O'Leary

When Jazz Had the Blues – Rahn Coleman

Billy Holiday – Front and Center – Casey McCoy

Best One Person Show - 99 Seat Theatre

Women on the Verge – Faith Collins

Journey This – Cheray O'Neal

Billy Holiday – Front and Center – Sybil Harris

Best Playwright – Larger Theatre

Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1,2 and 3 – Suzan-Lori Parks

Barbecue – Robert O'Hara

Fly – Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan

Best Playwright – 99 Seat Theatre

Journey This – Cheray O'Neal

The Prequel to Othello, The Cause, My Soul – Ted Lange

The Mask We Wear – Wallace Demarria

Best Producer – Larger Theatre

Fly – The Pasadena Playhouse and Crossroads Theatre Company

Icebergs – Geffen Playhouse

Barbecue – Geffen Playhouse

Best Producer – 99 Seat Theatre

No Place to be Somebody – Ben Guillory & Robey Theatre Company

The Mask We Wear – Wallace Demarria and William Scales

When Jazz Had the Blues – Leigh Fortier & Tiffany Thomas

Best Set Design – Larger Theatre

Icebergs – Anthony T. Fanning

The Last Tiger in Haiti – Takeshi Kata

Barbecue – Sibyl Wickersheimer

Best Sound – Larger Theatre

Fly – John Gromada

Barbecue – Lindsay Jones

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom – Dan Moses Schrier

Best Sound – 99 Seat Theatre

When Jazz Had the Blues – Christopher Moscatiello

The Boy From Oz – Eric Snodgrass

The Prequel to Othello, The Cause, My Soul – Will Mahood

Best Supporting Female – Larger Theatre

Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1,2 and 3– Patrena Murray

Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1,2 and 3– Sameerah Luqmaan-Harris

Disgraced – Karen Pittman

Best Supporting Female – 99 Seat Theatre

A Lady in Waiting – Malika Blessing

A Lady in Waiting – Pia D. Days

No Place to be Somebody – Kacie Rogers

Best Supporting Male – Larger Theatre

Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1, 2 and 3– Roger Robinson

Icebergs - Keith Powell

Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1, 2 and 3– Larry Powell

Best Supporting Male – 99 Seat Theatre

The Mask We Wear – Jerrel O'Neal

No Place To Be Somebody – Hawthorne James

Ferguson – Alfred Rutherford

Premier Concepts
Lisa Humphrey

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Source: NAACP Beverly Hills Hollywood Branch
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