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Winning Attitude 

With performances and honorees, the 17th annual Big Easy Entertainment Awards showcases the best in music and theatre.

And the winners were ... well, maybe the better question from the 17th annual Big Easy Entertainment Awards, held April 19 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, was who didn't win? While one entity in particular had a reason to be proud, there seemed to be enough honors to go around for everyone at the ceremony, which honors achievement in music and theatre.

Southern Rep led all other theater companies with seven awards spread out among three different productions: Bat Boy: The Musical and In Walks Ed (three apiece), and House of Plunder. But beyond that, there were plenty of other companies represented, including Rivertown Rep, which snagged two awards.

The Iguanas, who in 2003 enjoyed what many believe was a career renaissance, earned awards for Best Roots Rock Band and for its brilliant CD, Plastic Silver 9 Volt Heart. The band performed a song from the album, adding to a night of amazing performances from nominated artists and productions. The clincher was the closing performance, a tribute to Lifetime Achievement Award in Music honoree Harold Battiste. Donald Harrison and Nicholas Payton presented the award, then joined Ed Anderson, the AFO Next Generation and fellow special guests Allen Toussaint, Aaron Neville and Teedy Boutté for a medley. Musical numbers were performed by the casts of Bat Boy: The Musical, Five Guys Named Moe, and Hello, Dolly! as well as by Shades of Praise, Big Sam's Funky Nation with Troy Andrews and Zion Trinity, Bingo!, and Timothea with Theresa Andersson.

The biggest winner of the evening, though, had to have been Entertainer of the Year Deacon John, who pulled off a trifecta of sorts by also winning for Best Male Performer and Best Rhythm & Blues Artist.

Honorary chairpersons for 2004 were the Pfister Sisters for Music and Carol Sutton for Theatre. Sutton acknowledged the arts community's support for Gambit Weekly theater critic Dalt Wonk, who has been recovering from a heart-related illness at his home and hopes to return to work soon. And Gambit Weekly publisher Margo DuBos and Gambit Communications chairman Clancy DuBos presented host Harry Shearer with a first-ever Best Master of Ceremonies award for having helped host the awards ceremony since 1997.

Sadly, two of the awards were presented posthumously. Anthony "Tuba Fats" Lacen, whose group the Chosen Few won for Best Traditional Brass Band, died of a heart attack Jan. 12. He was 53. Soulja Slim, who won for Best Rap/Hip-Hop Artist, was murdered last November. He was 25.

Following the ceremonies, the Stooges led the group to The Howlin' Wolf for the Celebration Bash after-party with entertainment by Davell Crawford's funky band.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Foundation for Entertainment Development & Education. This year's gala was sponsored by Southern Comfort, Gambit Weekly, John Jay, WGNO ABC 26, WB 38, Mardi Gras Productions, Clear Channel Radio, Abita Beer, the House of Blues, Tipitina's Foundation, Rodrigue Gallery and the City of New Orleans Office of Arts & Entertainment.

2004 BIG EASY ENTERTAINMENT AWARDS WINNERS

SPECIAL AWARDS

Entertainer of the Year
Deacon John Moore

New Orleans Ambassador of Entertainment
Nicholas Spitzer

Lifetime Achievement Award in Music
Harold Battiste

Lifetime Achievement Award in Theatre
Michael Howard

Music Heritage Award
Al Belletto

Business Recognition Award
Barbara Motley of Le Chat Noir

MUSIC AWARD WINNERS

Best Traditional Jazz
Evan Christopher

Best Contemporary Jazz
Kidd Jordan & The Improvisational Arts Quartet

Best Traditional Brass Band
Tuba Fats & the Chosen Few

Best Contemporary Brass Band
Hot 8 Brass Band

Best Funk Band
Big Sam's Funky Nation

Best Rhythm & Blues Artist
Deacon John Moore

Best Rap/Hip-Hop Artist
Soulja Slim

Best Blues Artist
Snooks Eaglin

Best Rock Band
Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes

Best Roots Rock Band
The Iguanas

Best Zydeco Artist
Rosie Ledet

Best Cajun Band
Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys

Best Country/Folk Artist
Spencer Bohren

Best Latin Band
Los Vecinos

Best World Music/Reggae Band
Bamboula 2000

Best Gospel Choir
Franklin Avenue Baptist Church Choir

Best Gospel Group/Individual
Cynthia Liggins-Thomas

Best Male Performer
Deacon John Moore

Best Female Performer
Timothea

Best Emerging Artist
Troy Andrews

Best Album
The Iguanas
Plastic Silver 9 Volt Heart

THEATRE AWARDS

Best Musical
Hello, Dolly! (Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré)

Best Drama
Proof (Rivertown Repertory Theatre)

Best Comedy
Hollywood Heaven (Jacquee Carvin, Patrick Lee and the Producers Circle, at Le Chat Noir)

Best Director of a Comedy or Drama
Perry Martin, All My Sons (Evangeline Theatre Company, at Southern Rep)

Best Director of a Musical
Emma Griffin, Bat Boy: The Musical (Southern Rep)

Best Choreography
Jaune Buisson, Five Guys Named Moe (Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré)

Best Musical Director
C. Leonard Raybon, The Pirates of Penzance (Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre)

Best Set Design
Bill Walker, Hello, Dolly!

Best Lighting Design
Bill Liotta, In Walks Ed (Southern Rep)

Best Costume Design
Roy Haylock, Hollywood Heaven

Best Performance by a Child
David Bologna, The Music Man (Rivertown Repertory Theatre)

Best Supporting Actress in a Play
Grace Fraga, Rio Seco (Le Chat Noir)

Best Supporting Actor in a Play
Don Guillory, In Walks Ed

Best Actress in a Play
Maggie Eldred, Angel & Dragon (Mesa Productions, at Cowpokes Theatre Space)

Best Actor in a Play
Tony Molina, In Walks Ed

Best Actress in a Musical
Ann Casey, Hello, Dolly!

Best Actor in a Musical
Adam Hose, Bat Boy: The Musical

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical
Wayne Daigrepont, Guys and Dolls (Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre)

Best Supporting Actress in a Musical
Amy Alvarez, Bat Boy: The Musical

Best Original Play
House of Plunder, by Jim Fitzmorris

Best University Production
The Children's Hour
(Loyola University)

click to enlarge Wendy and George Rodrigue presented awards for - country/folk, Cajun and zydeco artists. -  - Mayor Ray Nagin and Best Female Performer Timothea -  -  - Hollywood Heaven honorees Patrick Lee, Heidi - Junius, Jacquee Carvin and Ricky Graham -  -  - Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes won for Best Rock Band. -  -  - Wendy and George Rodrigue presented awards for - country/folk, Cajun and zydeco artists. - DAVID RICHMOND
  • David Richmond
  • Wendy and George Rodrigue presented awards for country/folk, Cajun and zydeco artists.

    Mayor Ray Nagin and Best Female Performer Timothea

    Hollywood Heaven honorees Patrick Lee, Heidi Junius, Jacquee Carvin and Ricky Graham

    Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes won for Best Rock Band.

    Wendy and George Rodrigue presented awards for country/folk, Cajun and zydeco artists.

click to enlarge Derek Houston od the double award-winning Iguanas - performs - EARL PERRY
  • Earl Perry
  • Derek Houston od the double award-winning Iguanas performs
click to enlarge Mayor Ray Nagin and Best Female Performer Timothea - DAVID RICHMOND
click to enlarge Ann Casey won for Best Actress in a Musical for her role - in Hello, Dolly! at Le Petit - EARL PERRY
  • Earl Perry
  • Ann Casey won for Best Actress in a Musical for her role in Hello, Dolly! at Le Petit
click to enlarge Gambit Communications Inc. chairman Clancy DuBos, - Business Recognition Award Winner Barbara Motley, - master of ceremonies Harry Shearer and Gambit - Weekly publisher Margo DuBos - DAVID RICHMOND
  • David Richmond
  • Gambit Communications Inc. chairman Clancy DuBos, Business Recognition Award Winner Barbara Motley, master of ceremonies Harry Shearer and Gambit Weekly publisher Margo DuBos
click to enlarge Le Petit's Sonney Borey, Derek Franklin and Jim Word - DAVID RICHMOND
click to enlarge Event sponsor John Jay with Honorary Theater - Chairperson Carol Sutton - EARL PERRY
  • Earl Perry
  • Event sponsor John Jay with Honorary Theater Chairperson Carol Sutton
click to enlarge Rivertown Rep's David Bologna won Best Performance by - a Child for The Music Man - DAVID RICHMOND
  • David Richmond
  • Rivertown Rep's David Bologna won Best Performance by a Child for The Music Man
click to enlarge Wayne Daigrepont won Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for Guys and Dolls. - DAVID RICHMOND
  • David Richmond
  • Wayne Daigrepont won Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for Guys and Dolls.
click to enlarge Anne Kaufman and Georgia Gresham won Best University - Production for The Children's Hour at Loyola - University - DAVID RICHMOND
  • David Richmond
  • Anne Kaufman and Georgia Gresham won Best University Production for The Children's Hour at Loyola University
click to enlarge All-star cast: Best Funk Band winner Big Sam's Funky - Nation with Best Emerging Artist Troy Andrews and - World Music/Reggae nominee Zion Trinity - DAVID RICHMOND
  • David Richmond
  • All-star cast: Best Funk Band winner Big Sam's Funky Nation with Best Emerging Artist Troy Andrews and World Music/Reggae nominee Zion Trinity
click to enlarge Jim Fitzmorris won for Best Original Play for his  - House of Plunder - DAVID RICHMOND
  • David Richmond
  • Jim Fitzmorris won for Best Original Play for his House of Plunder
click to enlarge Aaron Neville delivered two Sam Cooke tunes produced - by Harold Batiste - EARL PERRY
  • Earl Perry
  • Aaron Neville delivered two Sam Cooke tunes produced by Harold Batiste
click to enlarge Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu congratulates the Ambassador of - Entertainment honoree, American Routes' Nicholas - Spitzer - DAVID RICHMOND
  • David Richmond
  • Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu congratulates the Ambassador of Entertainment honoree, American Routes' Nicholas Spitzer
click to enlarge Comedienne Grace Fraga won Best Supporting - Actress in a Play for Rio Seco. - DAVID RICHMOND
  • David Richmond
  • Comedienne Grace Fraga won Best Supporting Actress in a Play for Rio Seco.
click to enlarge Charlie Ward celebrates Rivertown Rep's award for - Best Drama (Proof). - DAVID RICHMOND
  • David Richmond
  • Charlie Ward celebrates Rivertown Rep's award for Best Drama (Proof).
click to enlarge Hollywood Heaven's Bette Davis (Ricky Graham) - and Joan Crawford (Roy Haylock) had their own - competition going! - DAVID RICHMOND
  • David Richmond
  • Hollywood Heaven's Bette Davis (Ricky Graham) and Joan Crawford (Roy Haylock) had their own competition going!
click to enlarge Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes won for Best Rock Band - DAIVD RICHMOND
  • Daivd Richmond
  • Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes won for Best Rock Band
click to enlarge The Hot 8 Brass Band won for Best Contemporary Brass - Band. - DAVID RICHMOND
  • David Richmond
  • The Hot 8 Brass Band won for Best Contemporary Brass Band.
click to enlarge The cast of the award-winning Bat Boy: The - Musical performs - EARL PERRY
  • Earl Perry
  • The cast of the award-winning Bat Boy: The Musical performs
click to enlarge Emma Griffin won Best Director of a Musical for - Bat Boy: The Musical. - DAVID RICHMOND
  • David Richmond
  • Emma Griffin won Best Director of a Musical for Bat Boy: The Musical.
click to enlarge Amy Alvarez won Best Supporting Actress in a Musical - for Bat Boy: The Musical. - DAVID RICHMOND
  • David Richmond
  • Amy Alvarez won Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for Bat Boy: The Musical.
click to enlarge Al Belletto graciously accepted the Music Heritage Award. - DAVID RICHMOND
  • David Richmond
  • Al Belletto graciously accepted the Music Heritage Award.
click to enlarge Best Blues Artist Snooks  Eaglin with Black Top Records - founder Hammond Scott - DAVID RICHMOND
  • David Richmond
  • Best Blues Artist Snooks Eaglin with Black Top Records founder Hammond Scott
click to enlarge Don Guillory won for Best Supporting Actor in a Play for - In Walks Ed. - DAVID RICHMOND
  • David Richmond
  • Don Guillory won for Best Supporting Actor in a Play for In Walks Ed.
click to enlarge The Stooges led the second line to the Howlin' Wolf for - the Celebration Bash - EARL PERRY
  • Earl Perry
  • The Stooges led the second line to the Howlin' Wolf for the Celebration Bash
click to enlarge Hollywood Haven's Bette Davis (Ricky Graham) - and Joan Crawford (Roy Haylock) had their own - competition going! - EARL PERRY
  • Earl Perry
  • Hollywood Haven's Bette Davis (Ricky Graham) and Joan Crawford (Roy Haylock) had their own competition going!
click to enlarge Allen Toussaint performed the Lee Dorsey classic "Ya Ya" - in honor of Harold Battiste. - EARL PERRY
  • Earl Perry
  • Allen Toussaint performed the Lee Dorsey classic "Ya Ya" in honor of Harold Battiste.
click to enlarge John Jay and his wife, Bonnie - EARL PERRY
click to enlarge Mary and Roland von Kurnatowski of Tipitina's - Foundation - EARL PERRY
  • Earl Perry
  • Mary and Roland von Kurnatowski of Tipitina's Foundation
click to enlarge Five Guys Named Moe delighted the crowd with - their performance. - EARL PERRY
  • Earl Perry
  • Five Guys Named Moe delighted the crowd with their performance.
click to enlarge Previous award winners Rendell DeBose and Gabrielle - Porter served as presenters this year. - EARL PERRY
  • Earl Perry
  • Previous award winners Rendell DeBose and Gabrielle Porter served as presenters this year.
click to enlarge The Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas - EARL PERRY
  • Earl Perry
  • The Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas
click to enlarge Nicholas Payton and Donald Harrison presented the - Lifetime Achievement Award in Music. - EARL PERRY
  • Earl Perry
  • Nicholas Payton and Donald Harrison presented the Lifetime Achievement Award in Music.
click to enlarge Big Easy executive director Gloria Powers with Music - Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Harold Battiste - DAVID RICHMOND
  • David Richmond
  • Big Easy executive director Gloria Powers with Music Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Harold Battiste
click to enlarge House of Blues general manager Dan Smith and - Honorary Music Chairpersons the Pfister Sisters - congratulate Troy Andrews for his Best Emerging Artist - award. - DAVID RICHMOND
  • David Richmond
  • House of Blues general manager Dan Smith and Honorary Music Chairpersons the Pfister Sisters congratulate Troy Andrews for his Best Emerging Artist award.
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