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Leading Roles 

The Big Easy Entertainment Awards recognize achievement in local theater

Leading Roles The Big Easy Entertainment Awards recognize achievement in local theater By Will Coviello The 19th annual Big Easy Entertainment Awards for theater has announced the nominations for productions in 2006 and will recognize the winners at an awards gala Monday, April 16. Nominees represent a robust year of work across the New Orleans area from a host of both familiar and new faces.

One of local theater's most familiar faces, Ricky Graham will be honored again as Entertainer of the Year. Graham was as prolific as usual in 2006 and is also nominated for roles in L'imitation of Life and for his original work I'm Still Here, Me. Graham won the first Entertainer of the Year award in 1988.

The 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Dr. Don Brady of Loyola University. During his career, Brady has directed more than 50 plays and 12 operas and has appeared in 30 motion pictures and 40 commercials. He currently is at work on productions set to open in Chicago and Minnesota.

Vernel Bagneris will serve as honorary chairman for the awards. Bagneris starred in a production of his original musical One Mo' Time at Le Petit Theatre, and the original production went from the French Quarter to New York to a world tour. Bagneris received the 2003 Ambassador of New Orleans Entertainment award for the productions he brought to New York, including One Mo' Time, Staggerlee and Futher Mo'. He also consulted on Taylor Hackford's film Ray starring Jamie Foxx.

The most nominations were garnered by All Kinds of Theater's production of The Last Madam at Southern Repertory Theatre. The story of French Quarter madam Norma Wallace was adapted by playwright Jim Fitzmorris and Carl Walker from Christine Wiltz's biography of the same name. It earned a total of nine nominations including best drama, best director, best actress, supporting actor and actress and original work for theater. Other top nominated shows included Kimberly Akimbo starring Becky Allen at Southern Rep, The Full Monty at Le Petit Theatre and Urinetown at Rivertown Repertory Theatre, the last two of which both have nominees in six different categories. Shut Up! Sweet Charlotte earned five nominations and One Mo' Time collected four.

With a total of 13 nominations spread between Amadeus, Over the Tavern, Cabaret and Man of La Mancha, Jefferson Performing Arts Society produced a slate of acclaimed shows.

The sleeper hit was InSide Out Productions' version of The Woolgatherer staged off the beaten path at The Big Top Gallery. It earned nominations for best actor, actress, director and drama.

Besides The Last Madam, original local works receiving nominations include Little Bit by John Grimsley and performed at Anthony Bean Community Theater, Ricky Graham's I'm Still Here, Me and Catching Him in Pieces by Bruce France, Nick Slie and Patrick Strange of Mondo Bizarro Productions.

The awards gala, which includes live entertainment performances, will be held at the Harrah's Casino Theater on Monday, April 16. The honor for best performance by a child will be awarded prior to the gala because attendees must be 21 years old to enter the casino. Tickets for the gala are $125, tables of 10 are available for $1,000 until March 31 and VIP tables for $1,500. A dinner buffet and open bar is included. Contact Big Easy Executive Director Gloria Powers for information at 483-3130 or bigeasy@gambitweekly.com. The Big Easy Awards are sponsored by Gambit Weekly, Harrah's New Orleans Casino, John Jay, Abita Beer and Coleman Adler & Sons.

2007 Big Easy Theater Awards Nonimations

Best Musical

The Full Monty
Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

Musical of Musicals: The Musical
BBP Entertainment LLC & Coming Together Nicely LLC

Le Chat Noir
One Mo' Time

Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre
Urinetown
Rivertown Repertory Theatre

Best Drama

Amadeus
Jefferson Performing Arts Society

Fences
Anthony Bean Community Theatre

The Last Madam
All Kinds of Theatre
Southern Repertory Theatre

The Woolgatherer
InSideOut Productions
The Big Top Gallery

Best Comedy

Kimberly Akimbo
Southern Repertory Theatre

L'Imitation of Life
Running With Scissors

Over The Tavern
Jefferson Performing Arts Society

Shut Up! Sweet Charlotte
Magna Puella & Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

Best Director - Comedy

Richard Read
L'Imitation of Life

Ryan Rillette
Kimberly Akimbo

Jeffery T. Roberson
Shut Up! Sweet Charlotte

Gary Rucker
Over the Tavern

Best Director - Drama

Anthony Bean
Fences

Janet Shea
Amadeus

Carl Walker
The Last Madam

James Winter
The Woolgatherer

Best Director - Musical

Leslie Castay & Brandt Blocker
Musical of Musicals

Sonny Borey/Derek Franklin
The Full Monty

Gary Rucker
Urinetown (Rivertown)

Kris Shaw
Cabaret
Jefferson Performing Arts Society

Best Choreographer - Musical

Alton Geno
All Night Strut
Brandt Blocker Presents

Karen Hebert
The Full Monty

Edmond Kresley
Bye Bye Birdie
Summer Lyric Theatre at Tulane University

Diane Lala & Edmond Kresley
Pippin
Summer Lyric Theatre at Tulane University

Best Musical - Director

Lori Dewitt
Urinetown (Rivertown)

Orange Kellin
One Mo' Time

Alan Payne
Cabaret

C. Leonard Raybon
Pippin

Best Set Design

Rick Paul
Bye Bye Birdie

David Raphael
The Last Madam

Jeffery Roberson & Allen Cutler
Shut Up! Sweet Charlotte

Jeff Becker
Catching Him In Pieces
Mondo Bizarro Productions

Best Lighting Design

Su Gonczy
Musical of Musicals: the Musical

John McKernon
One Mo' Time

Gary Solomon, Jr./ Earl H. Lenni, III
The Full Monty

Chad Talkington
Urinetown (Rivertown)

Best Costume Design

Judy Claverie
A Year with Frog & Toad

Cecile Casey Covert
Shut Up! Sweet Charlotte

Linda Fried
Urinetown (Rivertown)

Julie Winn
Pippin

Best University Production

A Christmas Carol
Directed by Richard Holden
Loyola University

A Girl's Guide to Chaos
Directed by Patrick Gendusa
Loyola University

Fuente Ovejuna
Directed by Lorenzo Gonzalez
Tulane University

Urinetown
Directed by Timothy K. Baker
Delgado Community College

Best Performance by a Child

Ethan Andersen
Over the Tavern

Tyler Chetta
The Dracula Spectacula
Crescent City Lights Youth Theatre

Tony Felix
Little Bit
Dog & Pony Theatre Company & Anthony Bean Community Theatre

Jonathan May
The Ransom of Red Chief
Actor's Theatre of New Orleans

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Lara Grice
Kimberly Akimbo

Veronica Russell
Kimberly Akimbo

Kathy Taaffe
Barefoot in the Park
Rivertown Repertory Theatre

Cammie West
The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told
To Do Productions

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy

Leon Contavesprie
Art
Actors' Theatre of New Orleans

Brian Peterson
L'Imitation of Life

Dane Rhodes
Kimberly Akimbo

George Sanchez
Barefoot In The Park

Best Actess in a Comedy

Becky Allen
Kimberly Akimbo

Lara Grice
Last Of The Red Hot Lovers
Zachary A. Casey at Skyfire Theatre

Amanda Hebert
Late Night Catechism 2
Entertainment Events, Inc.

Angie Joachim
Over the Tavern

Best Actor in a Comedy

Mark Fouchi
Barefoot In The Park

Ricky Graham
L'Imitation of Life

Lucas Harms
The Nerd
Actor's Theatre of New Orleans

Jeffery Roberson
Shut Up! Sweet Charlotte

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama

Brittany James
Little Bit
Anthony Bean Community Theatre

Casey Leigh Thompson
Amadeus

Carol Sutton
The Last Madam

Jessie Terrebonne
The Last Madam

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama

Leon Contavesprie
Fat Pig
Actor's Theatre of New Orleans

Harold K. Evans
Fences

J. Patrick McNamara
The Last Madam

Sean Patterson
The Last Madam

Best Actress in a Drama

Patricia McGuire-Hill
The Old Settler
Anthony Bean Community Theatre

Cristine McMurdo-Wallis
The Last Madam

Ashley Ricord
The Woolgatherer

Cammie West
Fat Pig
Actor's Theatre of New Orleans

Best Actor in a Drama

Michael Martin
A Christmas Carol for George Wallace
The Cripple Creek Theatre Co.

Michael Aaron Santos
The Woolgatherer

Kris Shaw
Amadeus

Wilbert Williams Jr.
Fences

Best Actress in a Musical

Becky Allen
The Sophie Tucker Show
MGP Productions

Amy Alvarez
South Pacific
Rivertown Repertory Theatre

Liz Argus
Bye Bye Birdie

Paris Robertson
Living All Alone: The Phyllis Hyman Story
Anthony Bean Community Theater

Best Actor in a Musical

Richard Hutton
Man of La Mancha
Jefferson Performing Arts Society

Robert Richardson
The Full Monty

Dane Rhodes
The Full Monty

J. Michael Tramontin
Cabaret

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical

Randy Cheramie
Pippin

Bob Edes
The Sophie Tucker Show

Lucas Harms
Urinetown (Rivertown)

Scott Sauber
A Year with Frog & Toad

Best Supporting Actress in a Musical

Liz Argus
Musical of Musicals

Helen Blanke
Bye Bye Birdie

Janet Shea
Cabaret

Joan Spraggins
One Mo' Time

Best Original Work for Theater

Catching Him in Pieces
J Hammons, Bruce France, Nick Slie and Patrick Strange
Mondo Bizarro Prod.


I'm Still Here, Me
Ricky Graham

Little Bit
John Grimsley

The Last Madam
Jim Fitzmorris & Carl Walker

click to enlarge The Full Monty earned six nominations.
  • The Full Monty earned six nominations.
click to enlarge J. Michael Tramontin is nominated for his role in JPAS' - Cabaret.
  • J. Michael Tramontin is nominated for his role in JPAS' Cabaret.
click to enlarge Rivertown Rep's Urinetown earned six nominations.
  • Rivertown Rep's Urinetown earned six nominations.
click to enlarge The Musical of Musicals is nominated for best musical and - best direction.
  • The Musical of Musicals is nominated for best musical and best direction.
click to enlarge One Mo' Time is nominated for Best Musical.
  • One Mo' Time is nominated for Best Musical.
click to enlarge L'imitation of Life is nominated for best comedy.
  • L'imitation of Life is nominated for best comedy.
click to enlarge Jessie Terrebonne, Carol Sutton and Cristine McMurdo- - Wallace all received nominations for their roles in The Last - Madam.
  • Jessie Terrebonne, Carol Sutton and Cristine McMurdo- Wallace all received nominations for their roles in The Last Madam.
click to enlarge Paris Robertson is nominated for her portrayal of singer - Phyllis Hyman in Living All Alone.
  • Paris Robertson is nominated for her portrayal of singer Phyllis Hyman in Living All Alone.
click to enlarge Kimberly Akimbo starring Becky Allen collected six - nominations.
  • Kimberly Akimbo starring Becky Allen collected six nominations.
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