Carol Sutton: life on stage and screen

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The annual ceremony recognized achievements in acting, directing and choreography, as well as lighting, costume and set design, for the dozens of productions that ran throughout New Orleans over the past year.

At the event, the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Carol Sutton, an actress whose decades of experience were an inspiration to many of the young actors in the room.

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Carol began her acting career at Dillard University four decades ago and has been involved in a multitude of stage productions ever since. Although nominated several times, Sutton had never won a Big Easy. “I felt like the Susan Lucci of the Big Easy Awards,” she joked in her acceptance speech.

In addition to her work in New Orleans theaters, Sutton has made a name for herself on the big screen as well. She has appeared in 54 movies and television programs since 1974, including stand-out performances in the TV movie The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, and films such as Monster’s Ball, Runaway Jury, Ray and, most recently, The Help, in which her character delivers a poignant speech about life as a maid in Jackson, Miss.

Sutton can be seen on screen right now in the New Orleans-shot film adaptation of 21 Jump Street, in which she plays a principal at the high school the two main characters, played by Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, attend. She noted, “I went from the maid to the principal!”

Although Sutton claims that she is “retiring," I expect that we’ll see her on stage and screen for many years to come.

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