ArtsATL > Theater > Winners of Suzi Bass Awards for Atlanta-area theater announced

Winners of Suzi Bass Awards for Atlanta-area theater announced

“Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery,” Horizon Theatre’s revival of a 1988 drama starring eight African-American actresses, was named Best Play and Atlanta Lyric Theatre’s version of the popular  ”Hairspray” was named Best Musical at the Suzi Bass Awards for Atlanta-area theater on November 8.

Cast of "Hairspray," Best Musical (all photos by Cayce Caldwell)

The awards ceremony drew a packed, and occasionally raucous, house to the Conant Performing Arts Center at Oglethorpe University. The awards, which are decided by an independent panel of judges who see dozens of local productions every year, are named after a beloved local actress who died in 2002.

The Alliance Theatre won the most Suzis, seven, with three awards for “Avenue X” and three for “Come Fly With Me.”

“I Dream,” from Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc., was named Best World Premiere, and Janece Shaffer won the Gene-Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award for her new play “Brownie Points,” about a girls’ camping trip that leads to discussions of race, which was staged by Theatrical Outfit. It was Shaffer’s second consecutive win for playwriting.

Emcee Rob Cleveland

The sometimes loosely structured evening was emceed by Atlanta actor and comedian Rob Cleveland, who started off by admitting that picking winners in an awards competition is “BS” and then set up the theme for the evening: the family feeling of local theater, where actors and costume designers bounce from company to company and everyone knows everyone. “This is our family. This is our home,” Cleveland said. “We’re celebrating our home.”

The family motif lasted all evening. When Rob Dillard won for Lighting Design, he mentioned that he had married his wife on the Oglethorpe stage, which is also home to Georgia Shakespeare. Soon after, Kathleen McManus gave her acceptance speech for Best Featured Actress in a Musical and recalled that she had sung at Dillard’s wedding.

Some of the acceptance speeches were true orations — these were, after all, actors and other stage folk in front of a large and friendly audience — while others clearly were winging it. “OK. Crap,” an unprepared Kat Conley (Scenic Design) began with a laugh. “I was not expecting to win,” Nyrobi Moss (Costume Design) said. “So I want you all to look at my shoes.” They were, indeed, very nice shoes.

Other winners included Actor’s Express (Audience Choice Award for Best Season) and Rosemary Newcott, artistic director for the Alliance’s Theatre for Youth (Spirit of Suzi Bass Award).

Tess Malis Kincaid, Best Lead Actress in a Play, "Good Boys and True"

Here is the list of the 2010 Suzi Bass Award nominees and winners. The winners are starred.

Best Production – Play

Around the World in 80 Days, Theatrical Outfit

Jitney, Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre

King Lear, Georgia Shakespeare

Lookingglass Alice, Alliance Theatre

*Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery, Horizon Theatre

Best Production – Musical

A Catered Affair, Aurora Theatre

Come Fly With Me, Alliance Theatre

Grey Gardens, Actor’s Express

*Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre

I Dream, Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc.

Best World Premiere (Play or Musical)

Brownie Points, Theatrical Outfit

Come Fly With Me, Alliance Theatre

Fair Use, Actor’s Express

*I Dream, Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc.

Tennis in Nablus, Alliance Theatre

Best Director – Play

David Catlin, Lookingglass Alice, Alliance Theatre

James Donadio, Ethan Frome, Theatre in the Square

*Jessica Phelps West, The Sunset Limited, Theatrical Outfit

Sabin Epstein, King Lear, Georgia Shakespeare

Thomas W. Jones II, Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery, Horizon Theatre

Best Director – Musical

Brandt Blocker, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre

Freddie Ashley, A Catered Affair, Aurora Theatre

*Freddie Ashley, Grey Gardens, Actor’s Express

Jasmine Guy, I Dream, Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc.

Twyla Tharp, Come Fly With Me, Alliance Theatre

Best Music Direction (tie)

*Ann-Carol Pence, A Catered Affair, Aurora Theatre

BJ Brown, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre

Darryl Jovan Williams, Avenue X, Alliance Theatre

Keith Williams, I Dream, Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc.

*Sam Lutfiyya, Come Fly With Me, Alliance Theatre

Best Choreography

Cindy Mora, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre

Cindy Mora, The Will Rogers Follies, Atlanta Lyric Theatre

Danny Pelzig, Avenue X, Alliance Theatre

Jen MacQueen, Shrew: The Musical, Georgia Shakespeare

*Twyla Tharp, Come Fly With Me, Alliance Theatre

Best Lead Actress – Play

Bethany Anne Lind, The Storytelling Ability of a Boy, Aurora Theatre

Kate Donadio, Around the World in 80 Days, Theatrical Outfit

Minka Wiltz, Black Pearl Sings, Horizon Theatre

Naima Carter Russell, Tranced, Aurora Theatre

*Tess Malis Kincaid, Good Boys and True, Actor’s Express

Best Lead Actress – Musical

Bernardine Mitchell, His Eye is on the Sparrow, Theatre in the Square

Caitlin Smith, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre

*Ingrid Cole, A Catered Affair, Aurora Theatre

Jill Hames, Grey Gardens, Actor’s Express

Park Krausen, Shrew: The Musical, Georgia Shakespeare

Best Lead Actor – Play

*E. Roger Mitchell, The Sunset Limited, Theatrical Outfit

Nick Arapoglou, The Storytelling Ability of a Boy, Aurora Theatre

Robin Bloodworth, Ethan Frome, Theatre in the Square

Steve Coulter, The Men of Mah Jongg, Georgia Ensemble Theatre

Tim McDonough, King Lear, Georgia Shakespeare

Glenn Rainey, Best Lead Actor in a Musical, "Hairspray"

Best Lead Actor – Musical

Alan Kilpatrick, The Will Rogers Follies, Atlanta Lyric Theatre

Daniel Thomas May, Cotton Patch Gospel, Theatrical Outfit & Georgia Ensemble Theatre

*Glenn Rainey, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre

Joe Knezevich, Shrew: The Musical, Georgia Shakespeare

Quentin Earl Darrington, I Dream, Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc.

Best Featured Actress – Play

Ellen McQueen, Ethan Frome, Theatre in the Square

Naomi Lavette, Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery, Horizon Theatre

*Nita Hardy, Boeing, Boeing, Aurora Theatre

Stacy Melich, Good Boys and True, Actor’s Express

Tonia Jackson, Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery, Horizon Theatre

Best Featured Actress – Musical

Ann Marie Gideon, Shrew: The Musical, Georgia Shakespeare

Christy Baggett, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre

Courtney Godwin, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre

*Kathleen McManus, Grey Gardens, Actor’s Express

Kayce Grogan Wallace, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre

Best Featured Actor – Play

Andrew Benator, Tennis in Nablus, Alliance Theatre

James Donadio, Around the World in 80 Days, Theatrical Outfit

Jimi Kocina, True Love Lies, Horizon Theatre

Kevin Dougherty, The Men of Mah Jongg, Georgia Ensemble Theatre

*William S. Murphey, Around the World in 80 Days, Theatrical Outfit

Best Featured Actor – Musical

Ben Polite, I Dream, Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc.

*Chase Todd, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Atlanta Lyric Theatre

Chase Todd, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre

Glenn Rainey, A Catered Affair, Aurora Theatre

Jevares C. Myrick, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre

Actors’ Equity Association Suzi for Ensemble – Play

It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, ART Station

Brik Berkes, Kate Donadio, Barry Stoltze, Bryan Brendle, Bethany Irby

Jitney, Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre

Tracey Bonne, Eric Moore, Geoffrey D. Williams, Anthony Chisholm, Yaegel Welch, Cedric Young, E. Roger Mitchell, Ellis Eugene Williams, LaParee Young

*Lookingglass Alice, Alliance Theatre

Molly Brennan, Anthony Fleming III, Lindsey Noel Whiting, Kevin Douglas-Doug Hara

Shooting Star, Horizon Theatre

Leigh Campbell Taylor, Jim Hammond

The Savannah Disputation, Theatre in the Square

Nita Hardy, Judy Leavell, Mary Kathryn Kaye, Peter Thomasson

Best Ensemble – Musical

*Avenue X, Alliance Theatre

Rebecca Blouin, Steve French, Neda Spears, Lawrence Clayton, J.D. Goldblatt, J.D. Webster, Jeremy Cohen, Nick Spangler

Children’s Letters to God, The Legacy Theatre

Brent Davis, Paige McCauley, Benjamin Peacock, Maddie Mateer, Austin Monk

Come Fly With Me, Alliance Theatre

Kristine Bendul, Heather Hamilton, Karine Plantadit, Alexander Brady, Laura Mead, Joel Prouty, Todd Burnsed, Jodi Melnick, Matt Rivera, Dee Daniels, Charlie Neshyba Hodges, Keith Roberts, Matthew Dibble, Rika Okamoto, John Selya, Carolyn Doherty, Eric Otto, John Sorensen Jolink, Holley Farmer, Justin Peck, Ashley Tuttle

Hair, 7 Stages

Dorothy Victoria Bell, Doug Graham, Jenna Tamisiea, Franceca Byrd, Naomi Lavender, Warren E. Ullom IV, Thoedus X. Crane II, Chris Love, Christine Verderese, Christie Lee Fisher, Jason Royal, Jacob Wood

Best Costume Design – Play

Christine Turbitt, King Lear, Georgia Shakespeare

Jonida Beqo, Around the World in 80 Days, Theatrical Outfit

Linda Patterson, Boeing, Boeing, Aurora Theatre

Mara Blumenfeld, Lookingglass Alice, Alliance Theatre

*Nyrobi Moss, Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery, Horizon Theatre

Best Costume Design – Musical

*Douglas J. Koertge, Shrew: The Musical, Georgia Shakespeare

Katherine Roth, Come Fly With Me, Alliance Theatre

Mariann Verheyen, Avenue X, Alliance Theatre

Shilla Benning, I Dream, Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc.

Sydney Roberts, Grey Gardens, Actor’s Express

Best Lighting Design – Play

Christine Binder, Lookingglass Alice, Alliance Theatre

Jessica Coale, Around the World in 80 Days, Theatrical Outfit

Mike Post, Ethan Frome, Theatre in the Square

Rob Dillard, Brownie Points, Theatrical Outfit

*Rob Dillard, The Woman in Black, Theatre in the Square

Best Lighting Design – Musical

*Ken Yunker, Avenue X, Alliance Theatre

Donald Holder, Come Fly With Me, Alliance Theatre

Joseph Futral, I Dream, Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc.

Joseph P. Monaghan III, Grey Gardens, Actor’s Express

Bradley Bergeron, Hairspray, Atlanta Lyric Theatre

Best Scenic Design – Play

Clint Ramos, A Life in the Theatre, Alliance Theatre

Daniel Ostling, Lookingglass Alice, Alliance Theatre

Isabel A. Curley-Clay and Moriah Curley-Clay, The Sunset Limited, Theatrical Outfit

Isabel A. Curley-Clay and Moriah Curley-Clay, Shooting Star, Horizon Theatre

*Kat Conley, Ethan Frome, Theatre in the Square

Best Scenic Design – Musical

Kat Conley, I Dream, Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc.

Lee Shiver, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Atlanta Lyric Theatre

Phillip Male, A Catered Affair, Aurora Theatre

Phillip Male, Grey Gardens, Actor’s Express

*Todd Rosenthal, Avenue X, Alliance Theatre

Best Sound Design – Play

*Christopher Bartelski, The Woman in Black, Theatre in the Square

Clay Benning, Tennis in Nablus, Alliance Theatre

Jonathan Summers, The Sunset Limited, Theatrical Outfit

Ray Nardelli, Lookingglass Alice, Alliance Theatre

Thom Jenkins, Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery, Horizon Theatre

Best Sound Design – Musical

Bobby Johnston, I Dream, Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc.

Brian Patterson, His Eye is on the Sparrow, Theatre in the Square

Clay Benning, Avenue X, Alliance Theatre

Jonathan Summers, Cotton Patch Gospel, Theatrical Outfit and Georgia Ensemble Theatre

*Peter McBoyle, Come Fly With Me, Alliance Theatre

Gene-Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award: Janece Shaffer

Spirit of Suzi Bass Award: Rosemary Newcott

Volunteer Award: Chris Billies

Audience Choice Award: Actor’s Express

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