The NAACP Beverly Hills/Hollywood Branch recently announced nominations for the 22nd annual NAACP Theatre Awards. The awards include 32 categories that encompass local and equity nominations.
This year’s nominations include “Twist”—an American musical acquiring seven theater nominations and directed by Golden Globe and multi-Emmy Award-winner Debbie Allen.
“Twist,” is based on the Charles Dickens classic, “Oliver Twist.” The musical transposes Dickens’ story of an orphan boy who falls in with a gang of pickpockets to New Orleans on the eve of the Great Depression. The score is by songwriters Tena Clark and Gary Prim, and the book is by Tony Award nominee William F. Brown. Debbie Allen also choreographed the musical.
There was a tie in second place for most equity nominations with “Blues for an Alabama Sky” and “Fela!” both receiving five nominations.
“Blues for an Alabama Sky” is a 1930’s drama set in a time of rampant unemployment, fierce battles over gay rights and abortion. Times are hard and rent is hard to come by. But people still find time to dream and scheme.
And so it was with Angel, played by Robin Givens, a jobless chanteuse recently dumped by her gangster beau and looking for a meal ticket, a sure thing. Things turn deadly when her plans go awry.
“Fela!,” also recognized with five nominations, is the story of Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s controversial life as an artist, political activist and revolutionary musician, as well as his pioneering blend of jazz, funk and traditional African rhythms that launched the Afrobeat community. This includes Best Director of a Musical-Equity for Tony Award-winner Bill T. Jones and also Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Will and Jada Smith, and Ruth and Stephen Hendel earning the nod for Best Producer-Equity.
Another well-known play, Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun,” garnered several nominations, including Best Director-Equity to Phylicia Rashad. Lastly, in the local Best Director of a Musical-Local category, writer/producer Bill Reid for “Rockin’ in the Ages,” goes up against Anne Gesling for “Chicago” and “Parade,” directed by Ben Lupejkis.
Film and television actress Charlayne Woodard is nominated in the Best One Person Show-Equity category for her performance in “The Night Watcher,” as well as Best Playwright-Equity for “The Night Watcher.”
Kimi Walker is also nominated in the Best One Person Show for her work, “The 1940s Radio Hour.”
Actress Sandy Brown is nominated in the Best One Person Show-Local, “Oh, Yes She Did.” Also nominated, Vickilyn Reynolds for “Hattie . . . What I Need to Know,” and Kaypri for “BabyGirl.”
The NAACP Theatre Awards is presented by board of directors of the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP Branch. Ron Hasson is branch president and Tia Boyd is the executive producer for the NAACP Theatre Awards Show. The prestigious star-studded gala is produced for the purpose of honoring thespians among the best in the field of entertainment. The branch also celebrates with a four-day theater 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 theater in Los Angeles.
This year’s awards show will be held on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, at 6 p.m. at the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood.
For more information on the NAACP Theatre Awards, please visit www.naacptheatreawards.com or call the office at (323) 464-7616.