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Here are the nominees for 2017's Big Easy theater awards

The annual awards honor the top performances of 2016

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The Gambit-affiliated Foundation for Entertainment, Development and Education (FEDE) announced nominees for top performances in 2016. Winners and special award recipients will be announced at the Big Easy Awards April 24 at The Orpheum Theater.

  Christopher Bentivegna, founder of See 'Em On Stage: A Production Company and director of Lizzie, will receive the Theater Person of the Year Award. Bentivegna has carved out a niche for off-kilter musicals, such as The Toxic Avenger and the blood-splashing Musical of the Living Dead and Evil Dead: The Musical.

  Anthony Bean will receive a lifetime achievement award. Bean established Anthony Bean Community Theater in 2000, and last year moved to his own campus in Gentilly. He has starred in and directed numerous works, including all 10 plays in August Wilson's Pittsburgh cycle, a decade-by-decade chronicle of African-American experiences in the 20th century.

  Nominations for performances in 2016 were led by Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, which drew nods for seven productions, including two original pantos for family audiences. The NOLA Project, Southern Rep and Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts all have four nominated productions. Lizzie collected the most nominations with seven, including Best Musical, Best Director of a Musical and Best Actress in a Musical. Cripple Creek Theatre Company's Ragtime drew six nominations, including Best Musical, Best Director of a Musical and Best Actor in a Musical.

  The Big Easy Awards gala will include theater and music awards. Music nominations will be announced in the April 4 issue of Gambit. Not all awards will be presented at the event. Some categories will be announced April 24 on www.bestofneworleans.com.

  Proceeds from the Big Easy Awards support FEDE, which provides annual grants to area artists and educators.

  The gala is Monday, April 24 at The Orpheum Theater. It is sponsored by Gambit, The Orpheum Theater, Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts, Flor de Cana Rum, Sazerac Rye, Plymouth Gin, Stoli Vodka and Abita Brewing Company. General admission tickets are $45, floor seating is $100, and VIP tickets are $150. Call Veronica Bird at (504) 483-3130 for tickets.


Lifetime Achievement in Theater - Anthony Bean - PHOTO BY CHERYL GERBER
  • Photo by Cheryl Gerber
  • Lifetime Achievement in Theater
    Anthony Bean



Theater Person of the Year - Christopher Bentivegna - PHOTO BY KAYLN HEPTING
  • PHOTO BY KAYLN HEPTING
  • Theater Person of the Year
    Christopher Bentivegna




Best Musical
1776, Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts

Lizzie, See 'Em On Stage: A Production Company

Pippin, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

Ragtime, Cripple Creek Theatre Company


Best Play

4000 Miles, The NOLA Project

Colossal, Southern Rep

Grounded,
Southern Rep

The Lion in Winter,
See 'Em On Stage: A Production Company


Best Director of a Musical

A.J. Allegra
1776, Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts

Christopher Bentivegna
Lizzie, See 'Em On Stage: A Production Company

Tom Cianfichi
Pippin, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

Emilie Whelan
Ragtime, Cripple Creek Theatre Company


James Bartelle and Carol Sutton are nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress in a Play for 4000 Miles. - PHOTO BY JOHN B. BARROIS
  • Photo by John B. Barrois
  • James Bartelle and Carol Sutton are nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress in a Play for 4000 Miles.
Best Director of a Play

Beau Bratcher
4000 Miles, The NOLA Project

Stephen M. Eckert
The Flick
, Promethean Theatre Co.

Aimee Hayes
Colossal, Southern Rep

Jessica Podewell
Don Quixote, The NOLA Project


Best Supporting Actress in a Musical

AshleyRose
Bailey Ragtime, Cripple Creek Theatre Company

Janie Heck
The Toxic Avenger, See 'Em On Stage: A Production Company

Idella Johnson
Lizzie, See 'Em On Stage: A Production Company

Abbey P. Murrell
Lizzie, See 'Em On Stage: A Production Company


Best Supporting
Actor in a Musical
Keith Claverie
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

Clint Johnson
Ragtime, Cripple Creek Theatre Company

Preston Meche
II How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts

Bob Murrell
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts


Nicoye Banks and Zeb Hollins III are both nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Play for The High Priestess of Dark Alley. - PHOTO BY JOHN B. BARROIS
  • Photo by John B. Barrois
  • Nicoye Banks and Zeb Hollins III are both nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Play for The High Priestess of Dark Alley.
Best Actress in a Musical

Caleigh Alessi
Funny Girl, Jefferson Performing Arts Society

Leslie L. Claverie
Lizzie, See 'Em On Stage: A Production Company

Shelbie Mac
Sweet Charity, Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts

Jessica Mixon
Pippin, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre


Best Actor in a Musical

Patrick Thomas Cragin
Pippin, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

John Michael Haas
West Side Story, Jefferson Performing Arts Society

Bobby Kelly
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts

Cameron-Mitchell Ware
Ragtime, Cripple Creek Theatre Company


AshleyRose Bailey is nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Play for Don Quixote (pictured) and Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for Ragtime. - PHOTO BY JOHN B. BARROIS
  • Photo by John B. Barrois
  • AshleyRose Bailey is nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Play for Don Quixote (pictured) and Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for Ragtime.
Best Supporting Actress in a Play

Amy Alvarez
Flood City
, The NOLA Project

AshleyRose Bailey
Don Quixote, The NOLA Project

Lucy Faust
The Glass Menagerie, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

Andrea Watson
Becoming Number Six
, Second Star Performance Collective


Best Supporting Actor in a Play

Nicoye Banks
The High Priestess of Dark Alley, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

John Grimsley
Sive
, The NOLA Project

Zeb Hollins III
The High Priestess of Dark Alley, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

Mike Spara
Don Quixote, The NOLA Project


Bobby Kelly is nominated for Best Actor in a Musical for How To  Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. - PHOTO BY JOHN B. BARROIS
  • Photo by John B. Barrois
  • Bobby Kelly is nominated for Best Actor in a Musical for How To  Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Best Actress in a Play

Kerry Cahill
Grounded, Southern Rep

Irene Glezos
Orpheus Descending, Southern Rep

Ashley Ricord
Santos Flood City, The NOLA Project

Carol Sutton
4000 Miles, The NOLA Project


Best Actor in a Play

James Bartelle
4000 Miles, The NOLA Project

Martin Bradford
Jungle Kings, Anthony Bean Community Theater

Ross Britz
Colossal, Southern Rep

Ian Hoch
Don Quixote, The NOLA Project


Airline Highway is nominated for Best Ensemble, and Eric Porter's set is nominated for Best Set Design. - PHOTO BY JOHN B. BARROIS
  • Photo by John B. Barrois
  • Airline Highway is nominated for Best Ensemble, and Eric Porter's set is nominated for Best Set Design.
Best Ensemble

Airline Highway, Southern Rep

The Flick, Promethean Theatre Co.

The House of Bernarda Alba, In Good Company

Let the Good Times Roll, Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts


Best Original Work of Theater
Don Quixote
Pete McElligott, The NOLA Project

Sea of Common Catastrophe
Jeff Becker, ArtSpot Productions

Sleeping Beauty: An American Panto
Jon Greene, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre


Leslie L. Claverie is 
nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for Lizzie. - PHOTO BY LAURA BREAUX
  • Photo by Laura Breaux
  • Leslie L. Claverie is nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for Lizzie.
Best Choreography

Kenneth Beck
West Side Story
, Jefferson Performing Arts Society

Caroline Cuseo
Sweet Charity, Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts

Jeffrey Gunshol
Colossal, Southern Rep

Heidi Malnar
Pippin, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre


Best Music Director

Ainsley Matich
Lizzie, See 'Em On Stage: A Production Company

Alan Payne
Sweet Charity, Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts

Natalie True
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

Jefferson Turner
Ragtime, Cripple Creek Theatre Company


Best Set Design

Jeff Becker
Sea of Common Catastrophe, ArtSpot Productions

Lex Gernon
The Flick, Promethean Theatre Co.

Michael Kramer
Orpheus Descending, Southern Rep

Eric Porter
Airline Highway, Southern Rep



Best Lighting Design

Diane Baas
Colossal, Southern Rep

Joan Long
Grounded, Southern Rep

Evan Spigelman
Flood City, The NOLA Project

Mandi Wood
Orpheus Descending, Southern Rep


Best Costume Design

Sara Bandurian
Lizzie, See 'Em On Stage: A Production Company

Lindy Bruns
Sive, The NOLA Project

Cecile Casey Covert
Steel Poinsettia
s, Ricky Graham and Jeffery Roberson

Kathleen Van Horn
Sleeping Beauty: An American Panto, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre


Patrick Thomas Cragin and Jessica Mixon are nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress in a Musical for Pippin. - PHOTO BY JOHN B. BARROIS
  • Photo by John B. Barrois
  • Patrick Thomas Cragin and Jessica Mixon are nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress in a Musical for Pippin.
Best Sound Design

Brendan
Connelly Airline Highway, Southern Rep

Mike Harkins
Grounded, Southern Rep

Jo Nazro
Sea of Common Catastrophe, ArtSpot Productions

Kevin O'Donnell
Freud's Last Session, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre


Best University Production

The Aliens
Kristin Shoffner, director
University of New Orleans

Hands Up: Seven Playwrights, Seven Testaments
Ray Vrazel, director
Dillard University

The House That Will Not Stand

Laura Hope, director
Loyola University

Julius Caesar
Mel Cook, director
Tulane University

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