NAACP Theatre Awards Celebrated Black Excellence in Theatre

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Winner’s announced at entertaining Red Carpet Press Conference

The Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP branch has recognized the exceptional impact African Americans have contributed to the world of live theater. On Sunday March 6, 2016, winners of the 2015 NAACP Theatre Awards were announced and celebrated during a star-studded Red Carpet Press Conference at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Theatre/Ebony Repertory Theatre located at 4718 W. Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016.

A phenomenal night acknowledging thespians in the world of black theatre began with an inviting Red Carpet and reception catered by popular local chef Gwen Vance. Nominees and guests were treated to a pre-show featuring the comedic talents of Raj Sharma, Ramona Stephens and Maija DiGiorgio hosted by the talented and hilarious Michael Colyar which set the tone for the highly anticipated announcements of the 2015 NAACP Theatre Awards winners.

The vivacious host, 4-time NAACP Theatre Award winning playwright and producer Kinnik Sky, was exceptional and kept the show flowing with her timely wit and ability to keep the anticipation at bay. Her performance was a play read in itself.

As celebrity announcers Jason George (Grey’s Anatomy), Ella Joyce (Theatre, TV and film veteran), Richard Lawson (Saints and Sinners), Obba Babatunde’, Renee Lawless (the Haves and Have Nots), and Harold Bell (Raising Whitley) made their way to the stage to honor the contributions of the most stellar theatrical performances, the nominees waited with bated breath. Each celebrity announcer, all with a history in theatre themselves, 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 3 out of 6 nominations in Equity Theatre is the political-racially charged production, “Above the Fold” receiving Best Female Lead for Taraji P. Henson, Best Producer - The Pasadena Playhouse and Best Supporting Female - Kristy Johnson. Also receiving 3 out of 6 nominations in Equity theatre is “Choir Boy” with Best Director, Best Design and Best Supporting Male for Caleb Eberhardt. “The Tallest Tree” leaves with 3 awards out of 5 nominations for Best Lighting, Best One Show and Best Playwright – Daniel Beaty. “The Gerwin’s Porgy and Bess” triumphed with Best Costumes and Best Director of a Musical plus “Maurice Hines Tappin Thru Life” collected 2 awards for Best Choreography and Best Lead Male for Maurice Hines. Closing out the equity category, “Flyin West” lands the win for Best Ensemble.

With phenomenal performances in Local Theatre nominations, there was no surprise that both “Sassy Mamas” and “Bag Lady” each took home 3 out of their 5 nominations. Sassy Mamas was awarded Best Set Design, Best Director for Iona Morris and Best Ensemble Cast. Tammi Mac’s production Bag Lady, based on her true story, garnered wins for Best Playwright, Best Producer and Best One Person Show. First-time NAACP Theatre Award winner Tammi Mac won 3 out of 5 nominations and gave a tear jerking acceptance speech that moved the audience and inspired thespians to continue their pursuit to “…write, perform, produce and tell our own stories our way.”

Capturing awards in the local category for Best Lighting and Best Director of a Musical - Mark Dornford-May for “The Magic Flute” as well as Toyin Moses achieving Best Lead Female and Ashlee Olivia’s win for Best Supporting Female for “Knock Me A Kiss” which is based on the story of Yolande Du Bois, the pampered and only daughter of scholar and activist W.E.B. Du Bois. First time nominee Jaimyon Parker scored Best Sound and Leonard Thomas attained Best Lead Male for “Bus Stops” which takes the audience on a surprising and emotional journey dissecting stereotypical boundaries that occur at two different bus stops. Wrapping up the local category and securing a win for Best Supporting Male is veteran television, film and stage thespian Brent Jennings for “Closely Related Keys.”

Several local politicians and entertainment supporters joined the festivities including, Actress KiKi Shepard, Actress Tonya R. Banks, Producer Don B. Welch, Producer Peter Wise, former CA State Assemblyman Mike Davis, Albert Lord representing 10th District Councilman Herb Wesson and the Honorable 10th District retired Councilman Nate Holden for which the facility where the event was held was named after.

View here for full list of winners:

For more information, contact Lisa Humphrey,     Premier Concepts PR email: media(at)premierconceptspr(dot)com.

About the NAACP Theatre Awards
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 NAACP Theatre Awards is presented by the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP Branch and co-chaired by Byron K. Reed, Senior Vice President of Wells Fargo-West Region Community Relations. This 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.

About The Nate Holden Performing Arts Center
The Nate Holden Performing Arts Center is a facility of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs operated by the Ebony Repertory Theater. For Ebony Repertory Theatre, contact Wren T. Brown, Founder/ Producing Artistic Director or Gayle Hooks, Managing Director.

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