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Lia Chang: Knock Me a Kiss Sweeps Audelcos with 9 Wins Including Best Dramatic Play, André De Shields, Marie Thomas, Charles Smith and Chuck Smith

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André De Shields as W.E.B. Du Bois with Erin Cherry, who play his daughter Yolande, in Charles Smith's Knock Me A Kiss. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields as W.E.B. Du Bois with Erin Cherry, who play his daughter Yolande, in Charles Smith's Knock Me A Kiss. Photo by Lia Chang

On Monday, November 14, 2011, Woodie King Jr.’s New Federal Theatre and Legacy Creative Arts Co.’s production of Charles Smith’s Knock Me a Kiss was the toast of the 39th Annual AUDELCO “VIV” Awards, given in recognition of Black Excellence in Theatre, at Harlem Stages within Aaron Davis Hall, located at the Marion Anderson Theatre, on 133th Street and Convent Avenue in New York City.
Morocco Omari, André De Shields, Marie Thomas, Erin Cherry, Sean Phillips, Gillian Glasco of Knock Me a Kiss have all been nominated for 2011 Audelco Awards.  Photo by Lia Chang

Morocco Omari, André De Shields, Marie Thomas, Erin Cherry, Sean Phillips, Gillian Glasco of Knock Me a Kiss have all been nominated for 2011 Audelco Awards. Photo by Lia Chang

In addition to top honors for Best Dramatic Play, Knock Me a Kiss won 9 of the 13 categories for which was it was nominated: André De Shields (Lead Actor), Marie Thomas (Supporting Actress), Charles Smith (Playwright), Chuck Smith (Director-Dramatic), Shirley Prendergast (Lighting), Ali Turns (Costumes), Anthony Davidson (Set Design) and Bill Toles (Sound Design).
André De Shields as W.E.B. Du Bois in Charles Smith's Knock Me A Kiss © Lia Chang

André De Shields as W.E.B. Du Bois in Charles Smith's Knock Me A Kiss © Lia Chang

Knock Me a Kiss is a fictional account inspired by the actual events surrounding the 1928 marriage of W.E.B. Du Bois’ (Andre De Shields) daughter Yolande (Erin Cherry) to one of Harlem’s great poets, Countee Cullen (Sean Phillips). The marriage marked the height of the Harlem Renaissance and was viewed as the perfect union of Negro talent and beauty. It united the daughter of America’s foremost Black intellectual, cofounder of the NAACP and publisher of Crisis Magazine, with a young poet whose work was considered to be one of the flagships for the New Negro movement. The marriage is a triumph of pomp and pageantry but fails to be a union of man and woman.
Erin Cherry and Marie Thomas Photo by Lia Chang

Erin Cherry and Marie Thomas Photo by Lia Chang


Charles Smith, playwright of Knock Me A Kiss  © Lia Chang

Charles Smith, playwright of Knock Me A Kiss © Lia Chang


Chuck Smith © LiaChang

Chuck Smith © Lia Chang


NY-1 Anchor Cheryl Wills and Def Poetry Jam co-founder Danny Simmons co-hosted the ceremony.
Below is the Complete List of Winners, congrats to all.

Best Dramatic Play – Knock Me A Kiss

Lead Actor – Andre De Shields – Knock Me A Kiss

Lead Actress – tied with Kimberlee Monroe – Nobody Knew Where They Was

and Sanaa Latham – By the Way, Meet Vera Stark

Supporting Actress – Marie Thomas – Knock Me A Kiss

Supporting Actor – Andre Holland – The Whipping Man

Outstanding Performance (Male) – Tommi Thompson – The Widow and Miss Mamie

Outstanding Performance (Female) – Toni Seawright – The Widow and Miss Mamie

Outstanding Musical Director – Ron Granger – The Widow and Miss Mamie

Solo Performance – Stephanie Berry – The Shaneequa Chronicles

Playwright: Charles Smith – Knock Me A Kiss

Director (Dramatic) – Chuck Smith – Knock Me A Kiss

Director (Musical) Production: Lee Kirk – The Widow and Miss Mamie

Lighting: Shirley Prendergast – Knock Me A Kiss

Set Design – Anthony Davidson – Knock Me A Kiss

Sound Design – Bill Toles – Knock Me A Kiss

Choreography – Tracy Jack – It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues

Costumes – Ali Turns – Knock Me A Kiss

Gillian Glasco, Erin Cherry and Morocco Omari in Knock Me a Kiss.  Photo by Lia Chang

Gillian Glasco, Erin Cherry and Morocco Omari in Knock Me a Kiss. Photo by Lia Chang


Production of the Year: Tie for The Widow and Miss Mamie and Ain’t Nothing But the Blues
New Federal Theatre producer Woodie King, Jr. © Lia Chang

New Federal Theatre producer Woodie King, Jr. © Lia Chang


Recipient of the Board of Director’s Award – Rome Neal, Jackie Jeffries, Jacquetta L. McMurray

Outstanding Pioneer Awards went to Felix E. Cochren, Mary Alice Smith, James Pringle

Special Achievement Awards: Clifford B. Simmons (Blue Nile Passage), Journalist, Playwright and Director Hazel Rosetta Smith, Fortune Society and the Significant Elders group

AUDELCO’s Rising Star Award: Eden Sanaa Duncan Smith (Lion King), (Fences) is a youth radio host on the Aunt Jewel’s Bedtime Stories show on Blakeradio.com, Rainbow Soul.

Honorary chairs for the 39th Annual AUDELCO Awards were LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, Hattie Winston and Harold Wheeler.

Knock Me A Kiss director Chuck Smith, playwright Charles Smith, André De Shields, and New Federal Theatre producer Woodie King on the set of Knock Me A Kiss at the Henry Street Settlement/Abrons Recital Hall in New York on November 11, 2010.  © Lia Chang

Knock Me A Kiss director Chuck Smith, playwright Charles Smith, André De Shields, and New Federal Theatre producer Woodie King on the set of Knock Me A Kiss at the Henry Street Settlement/Abrons Recital Hall on November 11, 2010. © Lia Chang


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Other Articles by Lia Chang
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Jennifer Lim, Leigh Silverman, Samuel L. Jackson, Kenny Leon, David Ives, Douglas Carter Beane and More at The Drama Desk & Fordham University Theatre Program’s “Anatomy of a Breakout” Panel
Photos: Leviathan Lab’s Twelfth Night at the Arclight through 11/19
Christine Toy Johnson Leads the Cast of Pan Asian Repertory Theatre’s Shanghai Lil’s, 11/11-11/27/11
David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish Takes Home 2 Jeff Awards
Cathy Foy-Mahi Plays Bloody Mary in 2011-2012 National Tour of South Pacific
Photos: Backstage with the Cast of Chinglish and David Henry Hwang at the Longacre Theatre
Lia Chang Photos: Opening Night of Mu Performing Arts’ Katie Hae Leo’s Four Destinies
Lia Chang Photos: Backstage at Mu Performing Arts’ Four Destinies by Katie Hae Leo
Art by Nicholas Galanin Featured in Kindred Spirits, Native American Influences on 20th Century Art, at Peter Blum Soho in NY, 10/29/11-1/14/12
Photos: Crossroads’ Ain’t Misbehavin’
Up Close and Personal with Rick Shiomi, Award-winning Playwright and Artistic Director of Mu Performing Arts
Broadwayworld.com Photo Flash: Library of Congress’ IN REHEARSAL Exhibit
Lia Chang Theater Portfolio at Library of Congress Features Photos of Thom Sesma’s Makeup Transformation as Scar in Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas, Robert Lee and Leon Ko’s Heading East Starring BD Wong, David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish, and Samrat Chakrabarti and Sanjiv Jhaveri’s Bakwas Bumbug! on View Through August 2Photos and Video: Disney’s The Lion King Las Vegas- In the Makeup Chair with Thom Sesma
Photos: “How To Succeed” stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rose Hemingway & John Larroquette at Lord & Taylor Fifth Ave
Photos: David Duchovny, John Earl Jelks, Amanda Peet, Tracee Chimo at Opening Night Party of Neil LaBute’s Break of Noon
Multimedia: Promises, Promises’ Stars Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes at Lord & Taylor Fifth Ave
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography


Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multimedia journalist. Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

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