A scene from Tarell Alvin McCraney's "Choir Boy," honored as best play.
A scene from Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “Choir Boy,” honored as best play.

The Alliance Theatre, one of the largest companies in the Southeast, won 11 Suzi Bass awards on Monday night, as local theater professionals convened to honor their own. The Alliance won five of its Suzis for the Barry Manilow Holocaust musical Harmony and three for Tarell Alvin McCraney’s heartbreaking Choir Boy.

It won two Suzis for The Geller Girls, the story of two sisters during the 1895 Cotton States Exposition by Atlanta playwright Janece Shaffer and one for its Family Series staging of Shrek: The Musical.

Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville won six Suzis for its staging of Mary Poppins.

The awards are named for the late Suzi Bass, a force of nature who appeared on stages all over town from the late 1970s until her death in 2002.

Monday’s ceremony was filmed by students and faculty in the TV production program at Chattahoochee Tech for broadcast on Atlanta’s PBA30 TV station. Look for it at 10 p.m. Dec. 13. Broadway’s Amber Iman, an Atlanta native, helped pay tribute to deceased members of the Atlanta theater family by singing “No Tears in Heaven” during an “In Memoriam” segment.

Five special awards were presented: Suehyla El-Attar won the 2014 Gene-Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award for Third Country, based on events in Clarkston and produced by Horizon Theatre; wig and hair designer Monty Schuth was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award; and Beverly Powell of Stage Door Players was named Volunteer of the Year.

Theatrical Outfit house manager Wendell Johnson won a new award, the Callboard Award, which recognizes work by theater professionals in production areas not included in performance awards (stage managers, technicians, front of house and patron staff are among those eligible).

And finally, Actor’s Express won the Audience Choice Award for Outstanding Season with a lineup comprising Venus in Fur by David Ives, Pluto by Steve Yockey, Six Degrees of Separation by John Guare, Maple and Vine by Jordan Harrison, End of the Rainbow by Peter Quilter and last, but not least, The Rocky Horror Show.

The winners:

BEST MUSICAL: Harmony by Alliance Theatre.

BEST PLAY: Choir Boy by Tarell Alvin McCraney at the Alliance Theatre.

OUTSTANDING WORLD PREMIERE: Pluto by Steve Yockey, Actor’s Express. Yockey, formerly of Atlanta, is a Los Angeles-based playwright.

THEATER FOR YOUTH PRODUCTION: 1001 Nights: A Love Story About Loving Stories, Center for Puppetry Arts.

DIRECTOR / MUSICAL: Tony Speciale for Harmony, Alliance Theatre.

LEAD ACTRESS / MUSICAL: Galen Crawley as Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins, Aurora Theatre.

LEAD ACTOR / MUSICAL: Andy Meeks as Bert in Mary Poppins, Aurora Theatre.

FEATURED ACTRESS / MUSICAL: Marcie Millard as Miss Hannigan in Annie, Atlanta Lyric Theatre.

FEATURED ACTOR / MUSICAL: Austin Tijerina as Will Parker in Oklahoma!, Serenbe Playhouse.

ENSEMBLE / MUSICAL: Harmony at the Alliance Theatre. Cast: Will Blum, Liberty Cogen, Hannah Corneau, Chris Dwan, Bryan Thomas Hunt, Greg Kamp, Shayne Kennon, Leigh Ann Larkin, Chad Lindsey, Lindsay Moore, Brandon O’Dell, Patrick O’Neill, Charles Osborne, Kim Sava, Dave Schoonover, Lauren Elaine Taylor, Will Taylor, Douglas Williams and Tony Yazbeck).

MUSIC DIRECTION: Ann-Carol Pence for Mary Poppins, Aurora Theatre.

CHOREOGRAPHY: Jen MacQueen for Mary Poppins, Aurora Theatre.

COSTUME DESIGN / MUSICAL: Sydney Roberts for Mary Poppins, Aurora Theatre.

LIGHTING DESIGN / MUSICAL: Jeff Croiter & Darrell Maloney (projections) for Harmony, Alliance Theatre.

SCENIC DESIGN / MUSICAL: Shannon Robert for Mary Poppins, Aurora Theatre.

SOUND DESIGN / MUSICAL: John Shivers & David Patridge for Harmony, Alliance Theatre.

DIRECTOR / PLAY: Trip Cullman for Choir Boy, Alliance Theatre.

LEADING ACTRESS / PLAY: Natasha Drena for End of the Rainbow, Actor’s Express.

LEADING ACTOR / PLAY (tie): Andrew Benator and Neal A. Ghant, both for Race at True Colors Theatre Company.

FEATURED ACTRESS / PLAY (tie): Courtenay Collins for The Geller Girls at the Alliance Theatre & Lala Cochran for Best of Enemies at Theatrical Outfit.

FEATURED ACTOR / PLAY: Richard Garner for One Man, Two Guvnors, Georgia Shakespeare.

OUTSTANDING ENSEMBLE / PLAY: Choir Boy at the Alliance Theatre. Cast: Nicholas L. Ashe, Joshua Boone, Caleb Eberhardt, Jeremy Pope, Scott Robertson, John Stewart, Charles E Wallace.

COSTUME DESIGN / PLAY: Erik Teague for The Navigator, 7 Stages.

LIGHTING DESIGN / PLAY: Ken Yunker for The Geller Girls, Alliance Theatre.

SCENIC DESIGN / PLAY: Isabel A. & Moriah Curley-Clay for Elemeno Pea, Horizon Theatre

SOUND DESIGN / PLAY: Klimchak for The Navigator, 7 Stages.

 DIRECTION / TYA: And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank, Georgia Ensemble Theatre. Director: Peter Hardy.

DESIGN / TYA: Shrek the Musical at the Alliance Theatre. Scenic design by Kat Conley, costume design by Sidney Roberts, lighting design by Pete Shinn and sound design by Clay Benning.

PERFORMANCE OR PERFORMANCE ENSEMBLE / TYA: 1001 Nights, Center for Puppetry Arts. Cast: Ally Duncan, Terry Guest, Mary Nye Bennett, Googie Uterhardt, John Wright.




About Kathy Janich

Kathy Janich is a longtime arts journalist who has been seeing, working in or writing about the performing arts for most of her life. She's a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, Americans for the Arts and the National Arts Marketing Project. Full disclosure: She’s also an artistic associate at Synchronicity Theatre.

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