The 49th Annual Vivian Robinson AUDELCO Recognition Awards for Excellence in Black Theater announced that this year’s ceremony, which will be held virtually and live from the Dwyer Cultural Center in Harlem on Monday, November 29, 2021 at 7:30 p.m., will be a glorious 49-year retrospective of black theater excellence. For this unique award ceremony, AUDELCO has compiled an impressive list of 27 theater companies and each theater company has an average of seven nominated black productions. The job of AUDELCO members will be to vote on the best production with which each of these 27 companies has blessed the stage over the past 49 years, each show nominated, including the year of its performance. Just reading this list is a momentous and detailed story of creativity, passion, and the Black community!
The production companies and the list of productions are vast, so let’s go: MAS 𝐌𝐔𝐒𝐈𝐂𝐀𝐋 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐓𝐑𝐄 (𝟏𝟗𝟔𝟖 𝐓𝐎 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓): Bubbling Brown Sugar (1973-1975); Dunbar (1979-1980);
From my hometown (2002-2003); Small Ham (2001-2002); Peanut Man (1985-1986); Rollin on the TOBA (1998-1999); and Struttin (1988-1989). 𝐀𝐅𝐑𝐎-𝐀𝐌𝐄𝐑𝐈𝐂𝐀𝐍 𝐒𝐓𝐔𝐃𝐈𝐎 / (𝟏𝟐𝟕𝐓𝐇 𝐒𝐓𝐑𝐄𝐄𝐓 𝐑𝐄𝐏𝐄𝐑𝐓𝐎𝐑𝐘 𝐄𝐍𝐒𝐄𝐌𝐁𝐋𝐄): Dream on the mountain of the monkeys (1982); Equus (1982); Moon on a Rainbow Shawl (1984); Grape in the Sun (1979); Tabernacle (1985); and Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright (1981). 𝐒𝐏𝐄𝐂𝐓𝐑𝐔𝐌 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐓𝐑𝐄 (𝟏𝟗𝟕𝟎 𝐓𝐎 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓): Amen Corner (1992); Black Love (1982); Blues From An Alabama Sky (2004); Healing Zone (2007); Meeting in Bartersville (2018); The piano lesson (2003); and Timeless: Mystery Of The Dark Water (2016). 𝐁𝐈𝐋𝐋𝐈𝐄 𝐇𝐎𝐋𝐈𝐃𝐀𝐘 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐓𝐑𝐄 (𝟏𝟗𝟕𝟐 𝐓𝐎 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓): Brothers From The Bottom (2015); Peoples of Freeda (2002); Inacent Black and the Five Brothers (1979); The Legend of Buster Neal (2011); Vampire and the Dentist (1978); Young gifted and broke (1977); and Vieux colon (2017). 𝐂𝐋𝐀𝐒𝐒𝐈𝐂𝐀𝐋 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐓𝐑𝐄 𝐎𝐅 𝐇𝐀𝐑𝐋𝐄𝐌 (𝟏𝟗𝟗𝟗 𝐓𝐎 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓): Not supposed to die a natural death (2006); Detroit ’67 (2013); The Blacks (2003); Ma Rainey’s Black Background (2002); Semen (2011); The Tempest (2016); Women of Troy (2008). 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐓𝐑𝐄 𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐏𝐀𝐍𝐘 (𝟏𝟗𝟕𝟐 𝐓𝐎 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓): Black Eagles (1991); Fly (2009); Jitney (1997); Sheila’s Day (1989); fuck (1989); The Colorful Museum (1986); and Two Hah Hah’s and A Homeboy (1995). 𝐒𝐈𝐋𝐕𝐄𝐑𝐀 𝗪𝐑𝐈𝐓𝐄𝐑𝐒 𝗪𝐎𝐑𝐊𝐒𝐇𝐎𝐏 (𝟏𝟗𝟕𝟑 𝐓𝐎 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓): Every moment (1986); Father’s Day (1990); Fried Chicken and Invisibility (1983); The Last Street Game (1975); Sisyphus and the Blue Eyed Cyclops (1990); Tut-Anhk-Amen: The Boy King (1982); and What Happened to Amos and Andy (1982). 𝐇.𝐀.𝐃.𝐋.𝐄.𝐘 𝐏𝐋𝐀𝐘𝐄𝐑𝐒 (𝟏𝟗𝟕𝟗 𝐭𝐨 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓): A Bolt From The Blue (1997); Gladys’ dilemma (2010); Home (2005); Open Doors (1974); Old settler (2005); The Guest in Central Park (2006); and Who’s Mamma’s Baby Who’s Daddy’s Child (1985). 𝐇𝐀𝐑𝐋𝐄𝐌 𝐑𝐄𝐏𝐄𝐑𝐓𝐎𝐑𝐘 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐓𝐑𝐄 (𝟐𝟎𝟎𝟒 𝐓𝐎 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓): Ain’t Misbehavin ‘(2008); Dream Girls (2012); In the Heights (2016); Pepin (2019); Sweet Charity (2019); The Colorful Museum (2018); and The Wiz (2014). 𝐇𝐀𝐑𝐋𝐄𝐌 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐓𝐄𝐑 𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐏𝐀𝐍𝐘 (𝟏𝟗𝟖𝟕 𝐓𝐎 𝟐𝟎𝟎𝟒): Bury the dead (1989); Dishin ‘With Tish (1997); Goobie Dust (1999); Child of love (2003); Solutions and More (1988); Ti-Jean and his brothers (1991); and Waiting for the Night (2002). 𝐆𝐑𝐀𝐘 𝐀𝐌𝐄𝐑𝐈𝐂𝐀𝐍 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐓𝐑𝐄 𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐏𝐀𝐍𝐘, (𝟐𝟎𝟏𝟎 𝐓𝐎 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓): All American Girls (2011); Black Angels on Tuskegee (2010); Black Warriors of Sparta Dahomey (2018); Journal of a Catholic school dropout (2013); Kings of Harlem (2014); Webeime (2008); and In Search of Willie Lynch (2015). 𝐌𝐀𝐍𝐇𝐀𝐓𝐓𝐀𝐍 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐓𝐑𝐄 𝐂𝐋𝐔𝐁 (𝟏𝟗𝟕𝟎 𝐓𝐎 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓): Drowned Crow (2004); New England (2019); Ruined (2009); Sugar in our wounds (2018); Tenth Talented (1998); The past is past (1975); and Whipping Man (2011). 𝐁𝐋𝐀𝐂𝐊 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐓𝐑𝐄 (𝟏𝟗𝟔𝟖 𝐓𝐎 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓): Affinity (1985); Black codes of the metro (1992); Do Wop Love (1993); Iced Out, chained and chained (2010); A Journey into Truth (1977); Fruits by Miss Matin (1988); and Carnival (2014). 𝐍𝐄𝐆𝐑𝐎 𝐄𝐍𝐒𝐄𝐌𝐁𝐋𝐄 𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐏𝐀𝐍𝐘 (𝟏𝟗𝟔𝟕 𝐓𝐎 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓): A day of absence (1969); A nice dysfunction (2015); A Soldier’s Game (1981); Mississippi Delta (1987); Niger River (1972); The waiting room (2007); and War Party (1986). 𝐍𝐄𝗪 𝐅𝐄𝐃𝐄𝐑𝐀𝐋 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐓𝐑𝐄 (𝟏𝟗𝟕𝟏 𝐓𝐎 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓): Black girl (1973); Do Lord Remember Me (1976); Dutch (2015); For Girls of Color Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Was Raised (1975); Chickens Come Home to Roost (1981); The Trial of a Myopic Woman / Mammy Louise / Safreeta Mae (1999); and What Wine Cellars Buy (1973). 𝐇𝐄𝐑𝐈𝐓𝐀𝐆𝐄 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐓𝐑𝐄 𝐆𝐑𝐎𝐔𝐏 (𝟏𝟗𝟔𝟒 𝐓𝐎 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓): Black Wall Street (2014); Can i be me (2007); Shrove Tuesday (1975); On Strivers Row (1974); Monsieur Baptiste the Swindler (1981); Rashomon (1979); and Woza Albert (1984). 𝐍𝐄𝗪 𝐋𝐀𝐅𝐀𝐘𝐄𝐓𝐓𝐄 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐓𝐑𝐄 (𝟏𝟗𝟔𝟖 𝐓𝐎 𝟏𝟗𝟕𝟑): A son comes home (1968); In the New England Winter (1969); Home party (1973); Malcolm (1971); Miss Marie (1973); The pig pen (1970); and We, the Righteous Bombers (1968). 𝐍𝐔𝐘𝐎𝐑𝐈𝐂𝐀𝐍 𝐏𝐎𝐄𝐓𝐒 𝐂𝐀𝐅𝐄 (𝟏𝟗𝟕𝟏 𝐓𝐎 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓): The Circle Unbroken Is A Hard Bop (1993); Do not explain (1991); Electoral Machine / Merger Jack Pot (1996); Julius Caesar set in Africa (1990); Life in War (1992); Nuyorican Nights (1982); and Shango De Ima (1994). 𝐏𝐋𝐀𝐘𝗪𝐑𝐈𝐆𝐇𝐓𝐒 𝐇𝐎𝐑𝐈𝐙𝐎𝐍𝐒: A cool dive into the barren (2010); Booty Call (2014); Familiar (2016); Fear Itself (1999); If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka (2019); Langston in Harlem (2010); and Milk Like Sugar (2011). 𝐑𝐈𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐑𝐃 𝐀𝐋𝐋𝐄𝐍 𝐂𝐄𝐍𝐓𝐄𝐑 (𝟏𝟗𝟔𝟖 𝐓𝐎 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓): Dark circles around Angela (1970); Forever My Darling (1985); Linda Means To Wait (2003); Long Day’s Journey into the Night (1970); Voices of the Spirits in My Soul (2006); May Edward Chin (2010); and Welcome Home Marian Anderson (2003). 𝐒𝐈𝐆𝐍𝐀𝐓𝐔𝐑𝐄 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐓𝐑𝐄 (𝟏𝟗𝟗𝟔 𝐓𝐎 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓): By the way, meet Vera Starks (2019); Fabulations or Ondine’s re-education (2018); First Summer Breeze (2008); Our Lady of Kibeho (2014); Paradise Blues (2018); Stop.Reset (2013); and Zooman and the Sign (2009). 𝗪𝐈𝐍𝐆 𝐀𝐍𝐃 𝐒𝐎𝐀𝐑 𝐏𝐑𝐎𝐃𝐔𝐂𝐓𝐈𝐎𝐍𝐒 (𝟐𝟎𝟎𝟑 𝐓𝐎 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓): Antony & Cleopatra (2011); Hamlet (2007); King Lear (2009); Pecong (2010); Richard III (2003); The Darker Side of the Earth (2006); and The Importance of Being Serious (2013). T𝐇𝐄 𝐌𝐎𝐑𝐍𝐈𝐍𝐆𝐒𝐈𝐃𝐄 𝐏𝐋𝐀𝐘𝐄𝐑𝐒: Fences (2015); Heiress (2010); Old settler (2014); and Raisin au soleil (2011). 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐌𝐎𝐕𝐄𝐌𝐄𝐍𝐓 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐓𝐑𝐄 𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐏𝐀𝐍𝐘, (𝟐𝟎𝟎𝟕 𝐓𝐎 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓): And she would stand like this (2017); Bintou (2010); Black Boy and the War (2011); Hope Speaks (2011); Last Laugh (2013); A Look at Humility (2013); and What to send in case of failure (2018). 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐏𝐔𝐁𝐋𝐈𝐂 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐓𝐄𝐑 (𝟏𝟗𝟓𝟒 𝐓𝐎 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓): Ain’t No Mo ‘(2019); Black Terror (1971); Bring ‘Da Noise / Bring In’ Da The Funk (1995); Eclipsed (2015); Jonin (1985); Lot # 7 (1979); and Top Dog / Underdog (2001). 𝐁𝐋𝐀𝐂𝐊 𝐓𝐇𝐄𝐀𝐓𝐄𝐑, (𝟏𝟗𝟕𝟕 𝐓𝐎 𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐒𝐄𝐍𝐓): Barack Obama Sr. (2011); Please don’t take my rhythms and blues (1983); The Harlem Renaissance Gospel (1982); This is not a place (1985); Homage to Malcolm X (1988); and Why aren’t you reading a book today (2009). 𝐀𝐑𝐓𝐒 𝐂𝐎𝐑𝐏𝐒 (𝟏𝟗𝟔𝟕 𝐓𝐎 𝟏𝟗𝟖𝟎’𝐒): Alice (1978); But Never Never Today (1979); Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope (1971); The Rumble Boogie-Woogie of a Deferred Dream (1983); When Hell Freezes, I Skate (1979); and Your Arms Too Short To Box With God (1975).
In addition to the productions of these companies awaiting nominations, there are other distinctive categories, for female and male solo performances. 𝐒𝐎𝐋𝐎 𝐏𝐄𝐑𝐅𝐎𝐑𝐌𝐀𝐍𝐂𝐄𝐒 (𝐅𝐄𝐌𝐀𝐋𝐄): A song for you: Wendi Joy Franklin-2008; Eartha Kitt –– Deirdra McDowell-2019; Lights in the Mirror –– Anna Deavere Smith-1992; Amour à tous, Lorraine –– Elizabeth Van Dyke-1992; Particular Patriot –– Liza Jesse Peterson-2017; Chroniques de Shaneequa –– Stéphanie Berry-2010; and Zora-Phylicia Rashad-1981. 𝐒𝐎𝐋𝐎 𝐏𝐄𝐑𝐅𝐎𝐑𝐌𝐀𝐍𝐂𝐄𝐒 (𝐌𝐀𝐋𝐄): Emergency –– Daniel Beaty-2006; Freight: 5 incarnations of Abel Green –– J Alphonse Nicholson-2017; The Story of Huey P. Newton –– (Roger Guenveur Smith-1996; Lackawanna Blues –– Ruben Santiago-Hudson-2001; Words from The Lockdown –– Bryonn Bain-2012; Marcus Garvey –– Ron Bobb Semple-1988 and Monk –– Rome Neal-2000.
Wonderfully too, there are categories for musicals, broken down by time period. (𝟏𝟗𝟕𝟎s 𝐓𝐎 𝟏𝟗𝟗9): Blues For A Gospel Queen (Billie Holiday Theater-1986); Champeen (New Federal Theater-1983); Deadwood Dick (Black Spectrum Theater-1979); Empress Of The Blues (Frank Silvera Writers Workshop-1979); The Trombones of God (New Federal Theater-1989); Raising Hell (Billie Holiday Theater-1996); Song Of Sheba (National Black Theater-1989); and The Legacy (National Black Theater-1987). 𝐌𝐔𝐒𝐈𝐂𝐀𝐋𝐒 (𝟐𝟎𝟎𝟎s 𝐓𝐎 𝟐𝟎𝟏𝟗): Ain’t Misbehavin (Faison Firehouse Theater-2014); Caroline Ou Changer (Le Théâtre Public-2006); Choir Boy (Manhattan Theater Club-2013); Don’t mind, I can’t cope (Downtown New York-2018); 5 guys named Moe (Black Spectrum Theater-2007); Great Men Of Gospel (New Federal Theater-2004); Oya (National Black Theater-2001) and Strange Loop (Playwrights Horizons 2019).
AUDELCO has been here for 49 years to recognize what our people do and to say, good job to so many members of our Black Theater community family and continues to do so. This year’s Legacy Award recipients are Mary B. Davis, Je Franklin and Lawrence Holder. The Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to Marjorie Moon (former executive director of the Billie Holiday Theater) and Carl Clay (founder of the Black Spectrum Theater). The recipients of the Pioneer Award will be Lynda Gravatt, Ebony Jo-Ann, Ron Cephas Jones and Shirley Faison. Awards of excellence will be presented to Jackie Alexander and Lawrence Evans. The Special Achievement Awards will be received by Sade Lythcott (National Black Theater) and Ty Jones (Classical Theater of Harlem). Board honors will go to Don Hayden, Charles White and Linda Stewart. There will be a special tribute to the one and only Woodie King Jr.
The national virtual presentation will be live on Zoom and free tickets can be booked for your virtual seat by visiting Eventbrite.com. For more information, you can call 949-291-8266 or 212-368-6906 or visit www.audelco.org #BlackTheatreMatters. Let’s experience it together, live and marvel at the creativity of our people!