One of the things on my bucket list is to attend the Tony Award and get to celebrate the best of the best of the past year’s theatre shows. I got a step closer when I attended my first Suzi Bass award program. Modeled after the Tony Awards, Atlanta has the Suzi Bass Awards that recognized the best theatre of the past year from twenty-one participating theatres. After a very comprehensive matrix the awards come from results from participating Suzi Bass member judges.
Ten of the twenty-one participating Suzi Bass Award Theatres won awards. Of the 31 awards given out that night, twenty-seven were shown related awards to fifteen different shows. Of those fifteen shows, I am proud to say I had seen ten of them.
This was an awesome night to pause and share in the excitement of the Atlanta theatre scene that is vibrant and full of creativity. Taking a note from Theatrical Outfit’s motto, these plays represent stories that stir the soul.
The night’s theme was creative black tie and with a flowing red carpet lining up the entrance of the Porter Sanford, III Performing & Community Center you felt you were at a big celebration for those who bring the arts to life.
In his red sneakers master of ceremonies Rob Cleveland keep the night-light and kept the program under two and a half hours. Mix in the award presentations were musical numbers, the top being Ingrid Cole who blew the roof off in her performance of “Some People” from Gypsy as did the petite blond Claci Miller who hit the right notes in “Gimmie, Gimmie” from Thoroughly Modern Millie in a feisty fun musical number.
The top award winner for the night was the Alliance Theatre for 8 awards but the most enthusiastic group has to go to the Aurora Theatre who with 7 wins really got the party started. When accepting one of the awards in Musical Direction Ann-Carol Pence shared that this work was an “opportunity to rise in what you get to do.”
The most touching moment was when Red actor Jimi Kocina won the Featured Actor for a Play described the words shared by fellow actor Tom Keys each night before show time: “Tonight is going to be better than last night, but not as good as tomorrow.” Later Tom Key as he accepted the award for Outstanding Production of a Play in Red shared that, “Change is inevitable but growth is a choice” and how this play Red was a love story that helped him grow. Key that as an equity member since 1974 and getting a chance to work with Jimi made him work harder and also gave him hopeful for the future of the craft.
There was moment that paused to acknowledge the contribution of actors that had been lost in memorial of Jane Bishop, Vincenzo Tortorici, and Susan Wiener.
The spontaneous standing ovation came when “The Spirit of Suzi Award” to Theatre in the Square was giving to Palmer Wells. Theatre in the Square closed the past year after 30 years and it also was one of the last place where the namesake of the evening Suzi Bass performed.
Freddie Ashley of Actor’s Express in accepting Outstanding Production of a Musical Spring Awakening noted that show was one of those “once in a lifetime opportunity” as he was surrounded with a full cast.
The introductions were funny and witty. Veronika Duerr showed up with a binder of actresses to present and came a list of one liners and there was a tribute to the viral Gangnam video. Junior presenter Royce Mann was looking sharp in tux and Frank Sinatra style hat.
With flowing drink and food the after party went on well after midnight as these artists celebrate their craft.
Below is a list of the 2012 Suzi Bass Awards Winners but for more details on the Suzi Awards and support them visit: http://www.suziawards.org/
To see the 2012 Suzi Bass Awards check out: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/1022514/events/1413641/videos/5822242
2012 Suzi Bass Awards Winners List:
Actors’ Equity Association, 1 Win:
2012 Spirit of Suzi Award: Actors’ Equity Association
Actor’s Express, 1 Win:
Outstanding Production of a Musical– Spring Awakening at Actor’s Express
Alliance Theatre, 8 Wins:
2012 Gene-Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award: Broke by Janece Shaffer produced by the Alliance Theatre
Outstanding Costume Design of a Musical– Lex Liang for Into the Woods at Alliance Theatre
Outstanding Scenic Design of a Musical– Todd Rosenthal for Ghost Brothers of Darkland County at Alliance Theatre
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play–Tess Malis Kincaid for Broke at Alliance Theatre
Outstanding Lighting Design of a Musical– Robert Wierzel and Adam Larsen for Ghost Brothers of Darkland County at Alliance Theatre
Outstanding Ensemble in a Play– The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls at Alliance Theatre
Kate Goehring, Alexandra Henrikson, Judy Leavell, Diany Rodriguez, Bree Dawn Shannon, and Sarah Elizabeth Wallis
Outstanding Costume Design of a Play– Ivan Ingermann for The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls at Alliance Theatre
Outstanding Sound Design of a Play– Kendall Simpson & Adair Mallory for I Just Stopped By to See the Man at Alliance Theatre
Atlanta Lyric Theatre, 3 Wins:
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical– Ingrid Cole for Gypsy at Atlanta Lyric Theatre
Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical– Ain’t Misbehavin’ at Atlanta Lyric Theatre
Kayce Grogan-Wallace, Kenya Hamilton, Eric Moore, Jevares C. Myrick, and D. Woods
Outstanding Choreography of a Musical– Karen Hebert for Thoroughly Modern Millie at Atlanta Lyric Theatre
Aurora Theatre, 7 Wins:
2012 Audience Choice Award for Outstanding Season: Aurora Theatre
Outstanding Director of a Musical– Lonny Price for Clyde ‘n Bonnie: A Folktale at Aurora Theatre
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical– Karen Howell for Clyde ‘n Bonnie: A Folktale at Aurora Theatre
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical– Bryant Smith for Clyde ‘n Bonnie: A Folktale at Aurora Theatre
Outstanding Sound Design of a Musical– Bobby Johnston for Clyde ‘n Bonnie: A Folktale at Aurora Theatre
Outstanding Music Direction of a Musical– Ann-Carol Pence for Clyde ‘n Bonnie: A Folktale at Aurora Theatre
Outstanding World Premiere Production– Clyde ‘n Bonnie: A Folktale at Aurora Theatre
Georgia Shakespeare, 2 Wins:
Outstanding Director of a Play– Richard Garner for Much Ado About Nothing at Georgia Shakespeare
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play– Bethany Anne Lind for The Glass Menagerie at Georgia Shakespeare
New American Shakespeare Tavern, 2 Wins:
2012 Lifetime Achievement Awards: Costume Designer Anne Carole Butler – New American Shakespeare Tavern
2012 Volunteer Award: Sandra Meierhofer, New American Shakespeare Tavern
Serenbe Playhouse, 2 Wins:
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play– Mark Kincaid for Shipwrecked: An Entertainment at Serenbe Playhouse
Outstanding Lighting Design of a Play– Andrew Carson for Shipwrecked: An Entertainment at Serenbe Playhouse
Theatre in the Square, 1 Win:
Special Spirit of Suzi Award: Theatre in the Square
Theatrical Outfit, 3 Wins:
Outstanding Production of a Play– Red at Theatrical Outfit
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play– Jimi Kocina for Red at Theatrical Outfit
Outstanding Scenic Design of a Play– Lee Maples for Red at Theatrical Outfit
The Legacy Theatre, 1 Win:
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical– Stephen Mitchell Brown for Jane Eyre: The Musical at Legacy Theatre
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