The 38th Annual Elliot Norton Awards!!
ON WITH THE SHOW—VIRTUALLY!
Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence
Awarded Posthumously to Johnny Lee Davenport
***Virtual Ceremony Set For Monday, May 11, 2020 at 7 pm ***
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Two dozen nominations of outstanding actors, directors, designers and ensembles have been announced by The Boston Theater Critics Association (BTCA) for the 38th Annual Elliot Norton Awards.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, no live ceremony will be held; instead,
the winners will be revealed in a virtual ceremony on Monday, May 11 at
Details will follow on how to view the 38th Annual Elliot Norton Awards on Monday night May 11 at ElliotNortonAwards.com
The Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence is
being awarded posthumously to Johnny Lee Davenport, a towering actor on
Boston area stages large and small. A Special Citation will be awarded
Shear Madness, the popular audience-participation murder mystery that recently ended a 40-year run at the Charles Playhouse.
This year, in place of a scholarship the BTCA will make a donation of $2,500 to the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund, which provides financial relief to artists in crisis in catastrophic times in Greater Boston.
As president of the Boston Theater Critics Association,
I can say on behalf of all of us that it is more important than ever
before that we acknowledge this season’s outstanding work! The arts
community has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, and we will
continue to support and honor our theater artists the best way we know
how. This season, which would have concluded on March 31st, was
unfortunately cut short. Nevertheless, we will vote on what we were able
to see. All of us on the BTCA have been in constant communication
discussing nominations and have been meeting virtually to finalize the
nominations and will continue this process to vote on the winners.
The 38th Annual Elliot Norton Awards are
being presented free of charge this year, from our living rooms to
yours, and the after party will be held all over greater Boston and
beyond as we celebrate this theater community, support struggling
artists and highlight the importance of what artists bring to our lives.
TheElliot Norton Awards are
presented annually by
The Boston Theater Critics Association (Don
Aucoin, Jared Bowen, Terry Byrne, Carolyn Clay (Secretary), Christopher
Ehlers (Treasurer), Iris Fanger, Nancy Grossman, Joyce Kulhawik
(President), Kilian Melloy, Bob Nesti and Ed Siegel)
to honor the
outstanding productions, directors, designers and performers that
audiences have seen on greater Boston stages throughout the season.
Special and honored guests at the awards in past years comprise a
Who’s Who of distinguished artists whose work has appeared on Boston’s
stages, including: Melinda Lopez, Randy Rainbow, Cherry Jones, Lea
DeLaria, Mary Louise Wilson, Olympia Dukakis, Chita Rivera, Tommy Tune,
Al Pacino, Edward Albee, Brian Dennehy, August Wilson, Julie Harris, Sir
Ian McKellen, Lynn Redgrave and Jason Robards Jr.
johnny lee davenport came to boston in 2006, when he was invited to play claudius in actors’ shakespeare project’s production of “hamlet.” since then, he had performed with nearly every area theater including commonwealth shakespeare company, new repertory theatre, huntington theatre company, company one theatre, lyric stage company of boston, gloucester stage company, wheelock family theatre, greater boston stage company, the poets’ theatre, speakeasy stage company, the front porch arts collective, underground railway theater, wellfleet harbor actors theater and boston playwrights’ theatre. davenport’s acting career began as a teenager. and by the end of it, he had appeared in more than 200 professional productions throughout the united states, canada, greece and ireland and had founded two african-american theater companies, one while stationed at fort campbell during the vietnam war. once discharged from the army, davenport began performing in chicago. with a goal to perform in professional productions of shakespeare’s entire canon, he traveled extensively, appearing as a guest artist for numerous shakespeare troupes, including shakespeare & company, orlando shakespeare theater, tennessee shakespeare company, actors’ shakespeare project, commonwealth shakespeare company, alabama shakespeare festival, washington dc’s shakespeare theatre, milwaukee shakespeare company, elm shakespeare company and the illinois shakespeare festival. in all, he played nearly 60 roles in 26 of shakespeare’s 39 plays. davenport died on february 2, 2020. in his honor, a non-profit organization has been formed to realize his dream of training minorities in classical theater. called “beyond classical theatre,” the non-profit “honors the legacy of johnny lee davenport by giving actors of color, with a specific passion for classical theater, opportunities to prepare for excellence in the performance of classical theater and to become role models and teachers for other actors of color who share this same passion.” to that end, a gofundme campaign is underway. the organization’s website is beyondclassicaltheatre.org.
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