Musician, arranger, composer and educator Harold Battiste will add the Lifetime Achievement in Music honor to his collection of awards.
Newer artists and offerings sat comfortably next to longstanding traditions in the nominees for this year's awards ceremony, which will be held Monday, April 19, at the New Orleans Hilton Riverside (Poydras Street at the Mississippi River). Comedian, actor, Simpsons' voice-cast member, Le Show radio host and part-time New Orleanian Harry Shearer returns once again to host the awards, along with Honorary Music Chairpersons the Pfister Sisters and Honorary Theatre Chairperson Carol Sutton.
In the music categories, newer faces such as World Leader Pretend (Best Rock Artist), the Tin Men (Best Roots Rock Artist, Best Album) and Ballzack (Best Rap/Hip-Hop Artist) made their presence felt. But then there was the legendary Deacon John, whose year was not only filled with the Best Album-nominated Deacon John's Jump Blues but also nominations for Best R&B Artist and Best Male Performer (along with a profile on ABC).
Carol Sutton, stage and screen actress, will serve as this year's Honorary Theatre Chairperson.
In the theatre categories, two companies with vastly different approaches are tied. Southern Repertory Theatre, which under Ryan Rilette has brought some of the newest, critically acclaimed theater works to New Orleans, had 13 nominations for works such as Bat Boy: The Musical. So did the venerable Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré, with such classics as Hello, Dolly!.
Legendary musician, arranger, composer and educator Harold Battiste will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement in Music award, while big band conductor and saxophonist Al Belletto will receive the Music Heritage Award. Tulane Summer Lyric artistic director Michael Howard, whose direction of The Pirates of Penzance earned him a nomination, will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement in Theatre award. Nick Spitzer, whose nationally syndicated, public-radio program American Routes, originates from the French Quarter, will be this year's Ambassador of Entertainment. (The show is carried locally by WWNO 89.9 FM at 8 p.m. Sundays.)
Tickets to the Big Easy Entertainment Awards are $125 (tables of 10 can be reserved for $1,000 before March 31) and can be purchased by calling Gloria Powers at 486-5900, ext. 136. Tickets include a dinner buffet, open bar, live performances by nominated artists, and admission to the Celebration Bash after-party. Proceeds from the Big Easy Entertainment Awards benefit the Foundation for Entertainment Development & Education. Sponsors for the event are Southern Comfort, Gambit Weekly, John Jay, Mardi Gras Productions, WGNO TV ABC 26, WNOL TV WB38, and Coleman E. Adler & Sons.
2004 BIG EASY ENTERTAINMENT AWARDS
Big band conductor and saxophonist Al Belletto will be honored with the Music Heritage Award.
Carol Sutton -- Honorary Theatre Chairperson
Pfister Sisters -- Honorary Music Chairpersons
Michael Howard -- Lifetime Achievement in Theatre
Harold Battiste -- Lifetime Achievement in Music
Al Belletto -- Music Heritage Award
Nick Spitzer, host, American Routes -- Ambassador of Entertainment
CATEGORIES AND NOMINEES
Tulane Summer Lyric artistic director Michael Howard will receive the Lifetime Achievement in Theatre award and will compete for Best Director of a Musical.
Kermit Ruffins & Barbecue Swingers
Kidd Jordan/Improvisational Arts Council
Traditional Brass Band
Olympia Brass Band
Treme Brass Band
Tuba Fats & the Chosen Few
Contemporary Brass Band
Hot 8 Brass Band
Lil' Stooges Brass Band
ReBirth Brass Band
American Routes radio program host Nick Spitzer is this year's Ambassador of Entertainment.
Big Sam's Funky Nation
Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen
Rhythm & Blues
Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes
World Leader Pretend
Living legend Aaron Neville keeps going with two nominations, including Best Male Performer.
BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet
Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys
New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars
Actor, comedian, radio host and Simpsons voice-cast member Harry Shearer returns once again as the master of ceremonies.
Daughters of the Promise
Franklin Avenue Baptist Church Choir
Shades of Praise
Craig Adams & Higher Dimension of Praise
Rocks of Harmony
Cynthia Liggins Thomas
Tricia Boutte aka Sista Teedy
Le Petit's Hello, Dolly! earned eight nominations, including one for Ann Casey (right, with Bob Edes, also nominated, for Tennessee Speaks in Tongues for You).
Emerging Group or Artist
Hazard County Girls
Deacon John -- Deacon John's Jump Blues
Iguanas -- Plastic Silver 9 Volt Heart
Aaron Neville -- Nature Boy
Tin Men -- Super Great Music for Modern Lovers
2004 THEATRE AWARDS NOMINEES
Bat Boy: The Musical (Southern Repertory Theatre)
Five Guys Named Moe (Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré)
Hello, Dolly! (Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré)
The Pirates of Penzance (Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre)
Best Contemporary Brass Band nominees the Lil' Stooges
All My Sons (Evangeline Theatre Company, at Southern Repertory Theatre)
House of Plunder (Southern Repertory Theatre & The Port of New Orleans)
Proof (Rivertown Repertory Theatre)
Topdog/Underdog (Dog & Pony Theatre Company, at the Contemporary Arts Center)
Bunk Bed Brothers (Sweetwood Productions, at Le Chat Noir)
Hollywood Heaven (Jacquee Carvin, Patrick Lee and the Producers Circle, at Le Chat Noir)
The Mystery of Irma Vep (Le Petit Theatre Du Vieux Carré and All Kinds of Theatre)
Double threat: Ricky Graham earned one of six nominations for Pirates of Penzance (pictured) and two of Hollywood Heaven's three nominations.
Best Director of a Comedy or Drama
Keith Briggs, Proof
Perry Martin, All My Sons
Ryan Rilette, In Walks Ed (Southern Repertory Theatre)
Best Director of a Musical
Brandt Blocker, Five Guys Named Moe
Derek Franklin and Sonny Borey, Hello, Dolly!
Emma Griffin, Bat Boy: The Musical
Michael Howard, Pirates of Penzance
Jaune Buisson, Five Guys Named Moe
Karen Hebert and Anita Landry, Hello, Dolly!
Edmond Kresley, Guys and Dolls (Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre)
The Pfister Sisters assume the duties of Honorary Music Chairpersons.
Best Musical Director
Brandt Blocker, Five Guys Named Moe
Derek Franklin, Hello, Dolly!
C. Leonard Raybon, Pirates of Penzance
Best Set Design
David Korin, In Walks Ed
David Raphel, Angel & Dragon (Mesa Productions, at Cowpoke's Theatre Space)
Bill Walker, Hello, Dolly!
Best Lighting Design
Bill Liotta, Bat Boy: The Musical /In Walks Ed/House of Plunder
Steven Thurber, Cabaret (Jefferson Performing Arts Society)
Bill Walker, Forever Plaid/Hello, Dolly! (Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré)
Angel & Dragon earned four nominations, including ones for Maggie Eldred (left) and Veronica Russell (right). (Stacey Arton is at center.)
Best Costume Design
Cecile C. Covert, The Mystery of Irma Vep/Angel & Dragon
Roy Haylock, Hollywood Heaven
Trish McLain, The Women (Rivertown Repertory Theatre)/All My Sons
Elizabeth Parent, House of Plunder
Best Performance by a Child
David Bologna, The Music Man (Rivertown Repertory Theatre)
Sara Rose Brignac, Gypsy (Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre)
Graham Martin, Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge (Southern Repertory Theatre)
Best Supporting Actress In A Play
Grace Fraga, Rio Seco (Le Chat Noir)
Veronica Russell, Angel & Dragon
Janet Shea, All My Sons
Jessie Terrebonne, All My Sons
Fiorella's mainstay Bingo! is up for Best Emerging Artist.
Best Supporting Actor In A Play
Martin Covert, Small Craft Warnings (Mesa Productions, at Cowpoke's Theatre Space)
Don Guillory, In Walks Ed
Dane Rhodes, House of Plunder
Gary Rucker, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (True Brew Cafe)
Best Actress In A Play
Jan Chimento, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Maggie Eldred, Angel & Dragon
Yvette Hargis, Proof
Ashley Nolan, Mr. & Mrs. Hollywood (Southern Repertory Theatre)
After all these years, R&B singer Timothea received her first nomination: Best Female Performer.
Best Actor In A Play
Randy Cheramie, All My Sons
Bob Edes, Tennessee Speaks in Tongues for You (True Brew Cafe)
Tony Molina, In Walks Ed
Lance Nichols, Topdog/Underdog
Best Actress in a Musical
Liz Argus, Guys and Dolls
Ann Casey, Hello, Dolly!
Lara Grice, Bat Boy: The Musical
Melissa Marshall, Pirates of Penzance
Best Actor in a Musical
Christopher Carey, Pirates of Penzance
Adam Hose, Bat Boy: The Musical
Leo Jones, Five Guys Named Moe
Gary Rucker, Sugar (Rivertown Repertory Theatre)
Cynthia Liggins Thomas received a nomination for Best Gospel Group/Individual.
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical
Wayne Daigrepont, Guys and Dolls
Ricky Graham, Pirates of Penzance
Jimmy Murphy, Hello, Dolly!
Rob Thomas, The Andrews Sisters Hollywood Canteen (Running With Scissors, at Le Chat Noir)
Best Supporting Actress In A Musical
Amy Alvarez, Bat Boy: The Musical
Helen Blanke, The Music Man (Rivertown Repertory Theatre)
Lisa Davis, The Rocky Horror Show (Moonsong Productions, at Cowpoke's Theatre Space)
Andrea Frankle, Bat Boy: The Musical
Best Original Play
Hollywood Heaven, by Ricky Graham
House of Plunder, by Jim Fitzmorris
Mr. & Mrs. Hollywood, by Barrett O'Brien
Rio Seco, by Dalt Wonk
Best University Production
Camwood on the Leaves -- Loyola University
The Children's Hour -- Loyola University
The Laramie Project -- University of New Orleans