Atlanta theater community recognized in 2022 Suzi Bass Award nomination list

The Alliance Theatre dominated the Suzi Bass Award nominations announced last week, scoring 62 total nods for seven shows from their 2021-22 season — including the most-nominated musical and play.

Trading Places: The Musical,” adapted from the classic 1983 comedy film, was the most recognized show, receiving 15 nominations, including Outstanding Production of a Musical and Outstanding World Premiere Production. The most nominated play was the Alliance’s new take on “A Christmas Carol,” starring Andrew Benator as Ebenezer Scrooge, which returns to the stage this holiday season. It received nine Suzi nods.

ExploreReview: 'Trading Places: The Musical'

The awards, which honor the best of Atlanta theater, will be announced Nov. 14 at the Southwest Arts Center in the city of South Fulton. This is the first time that competitive Suzis will be given since 2018. Nominees for the 2019 competitive prizes were announced, but no prizes were given.  In fall 2020, Suzi organizers announced that they wouldn’t give a full slate of awards for the COVID-19 interrupted season, instead giving Spirit of Suzi prizes to organizations including Atlanta Artist Relief Fund, Atlanta Theatre Artists for Justice and Black Leaders Advocacy for Cultural Theatre.

ExploreReview: 'A Christmas Carol'

This season, Aurora Theatre and Actor’s Express tied as the second-most nominated theaters behind the Alliance, both receiving 15 nominations for their productions.

In a change from previous years, the acting awards will no longer be separated by gender. Instead, two prizes will be given in principal and featured performer categories, with 10 to 11 nominees.

For some first-time acting nominees, this recognition is incredibly heartening.

Charlie Thomas, who was nominated as Featured Performer in a Play for his work in “Bootycandy” at Actor’s Express, said he was happy for his play’s five-person cast, including his nominated castmates Caleb Clark and Parris Sarter.

ExploreReview: 'Bootycandy'

“The icing on the cake is being nominated with my fellow castmates because that show was a dream,” he said. “I share my nomination with all five of us, actually. We are very, very blessed.”

Thomas said it was particularly thrilling to see his name alongside other Atlanta actors he has long admired.

ExploreReview: 'Toni Stone'

“Since I’ve moved to Atlanta, Enoch King and Neal Ghant were two major artists who I immediately aspired to work like,” he said. “To watch my name in the same category as them made me emotional. That was the biggest personal achievement, to stand next to people I consider my artistic role models.”

King received two nominations for his work this year, as Featured Performer in a Play for the Alliance’s “Toni Stone” and as Principal Performer in a Play for “The Light” at Horizon Theatre. His “Light” co-star Cynthia D. Barker was nominated in the same category.

ExploreReview: 'The Light'

Robin McGee, who portrayed an iconic civil rights activist in the one-woman show “Fannie: The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer,” at Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company, received her first Suzi nomination for the play. It was McGee’s first show on an Atlanta stage; the actress moved from Tacoma, Washington, during the pandemic.

“Being a newcomer to the Atlanta theatre scene as of a year and a half ago, I must say I am ecstatic,” McGee said in a message. “To have been nominated among some of the most amazingly talented actors of Atlanta, all I can say is that I’m truly blessed by God!”

ExploreReview: 'Fannie: The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer'

Jasmine Renee Ellis, nominated alongside co-star Amitria Fanae for her work in the musical “Marie and Rosetta,” thanked True Colors for trusting her with the role of famed gospel singer Marie Knight.

“This category has some heavy hitters, and I’m just grateful to be amongst them,” Ellis said in a message. “I would have never guessed I’d be nominated for my first-ever principal role in a musical — a two-person show at that. I’m speechless. This show pushed me beyond my comfort zone, and my co-star (Fanae) has become a sister, even after the curtain closed.”

ExploreReview: 'Marie and Rosetta'

This year’s winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Spirit of Suzi Award, Volunteer of the Year Award and Gene-Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award will be announced closer to the event.

See the full list of nominees here.

Credit: ArtsATL

Credit: ArtsATL


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