Maurice Hines Tappin’ Thru Life and Dominique Morriseau’s Skeleton Crew were the big winners at the 44th Annual Vivian Robinson/AUDELCO “VIV” Recognition Awards for Excellence in Black Theatre, held in the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space in New York, on November 21, 2016. George Faison, Alyson Williams and Kenny Seymour co-hosted the festivities.
“The VIV” Awards, the annual Vivian Robinson/AUDELCO Recognition, are the only formally established awards presented to the black theatre community. AUDELCO (Audience Development Committee, Inc.) was established and incorporated in 1973 by the late Vivian Robinson, to stimulate interest in, and support of performing arts in black communities.
Maurice Hines Tappin’ Thru Life won four awards including Musical Production of the Year, Outstanding Performance in a Musical, Male and Outstanding Choreography for Maurice Hines, and Outstanding Director/Musical Production for Jeff Calhoun. The show is a swinging, song and dance musical that celebrates the astonishing showmanship of one of the last great tap dancers of a by-gone era still working today and whose collaborators were a jaw-dropping, who’s who of theatre, music, film and television. It is a love letter to Hines’ mother, who worked, sacrificed and guided her two sons on their life and professional paths.
Atlantic Theater’s production of Skeleton Crew starring Jason Dirden, Wendell B. Franklin, Lynda Gravatt, Nikiya Mathis and Adesola Osakalumi, won three awards including Outstanding Dramatic Production of the Year, Outstanding Playwright for Dominique Morriseau, and Outstanding Director/ Dramatic Production for Ruben Santiago-Hudson.
In Morisseau’s third play in her Detroit trilogy, a makeshift family of workers at the last exporting auto plant in the city navigate the possibility of foreclosure.
The acting honors were spread out among several shows: Marjorie Johnson (Outstanding Lead Actress for Colman Domingo’s DOT at The Vineyard); Joe Morton (Outstanding Lead Actor for Turn Me Loose); Kim Sullivan (Outstanding Supporting Actor for The Piano Lesson); Alana Arenas (Outstanding Supporting Actress for Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Head of Passes at The Public); Reginald L. Wilson (Outstanding Solo Performance in Laurence Holder’s Sugar Ray); Tina Fabrique (Outstanding Performance in a Musical, Female for The First Noel at Classical Theatre of Harlem); Lizan Mitchell and Nikki Walker (Outstanding Ensemble Performance in Chisa Hutchinson’s Dead and Breathing at National Black Theatre).
The Public Theater’s critically-acclaimed premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Head of Passes, starring Phylicia Rashad and featuring Alana Arenas, Francois Battiste, Kyle Beltran, J. Bernard Calloway, Robert Joy, John Earl Jelks, and Arnetia Walker, receives a second extension
New Federal Theatre’s In White America won for Best Revival. Other winners in the design categories included Alan C. Edwards (Lighting Design) and Rachel Dozier-Ezell (Costume Design) for Classical Theatre of Harlem’s Macbeth; G.W. Mercier (Set Design) for The Public’s Head of Passes; Sound Design for Obadiah Eaves/Sten Severson (Sound Design) for The Public’s The Total Bent).
Rome Neal performed “Here’s To Life ” in tribute to Grace L. Jones, president of AUDELCO, accompanied by co-host Kenny Seymour on the keys. Adalia Ray’s Poem “A Woman of Grace” read by GG.
Honorary Co-chairs: Mary Wilson, Terry Burrell, and Lee Summers
Special Pioneer Award: Walter Dallas, Charles Weldon
Special Award: Othello – Debra Ann Byrd, Hamilton – Lin-Manuel Miranda
Special Achievement Award: Shawn Luckey, Jeffrey V. Thompson
Board Of Director’s Award: Kare Allen Baxter, Vivian Bonnie Wright
“VIV” Rising Star Award: Shahadi Wright Joseph
For more information, click on www.AUDELCO.org
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.