Columbia College Chicago Hosts 25th Annual Black Theatre Alliance Awards Oct. 14; Columbia Alumni and Faculty Among Nominees

Columbia College Chicago will host the 25th Annual Black Theatre Alliance/Ira Aldridge Awards on Monday, October 14, 2019. The awards ceremony takes place at the college’s Conaway Center, located at 1104 S. Wabash in Chicago’s South Loop. The event begins with a reception at 7 PM followed by the awards ceremony at 8 PM. Tickets are $35-$50. For more information, call 773-624-5729.

The Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department proudly congratulates the Columbia College alumni, faculty, and current and former students who have been nominated for this year’s Black Theatre Alliance/Ira Aldridge Awards, including:

The Sidney Poitier Award for Best Leading Actor in a Play:

Michael Pogue
Michael Pogue

alum Michael Aaron Pogue ’06, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Acting, for The Recommendation (Windy City Playhouse).

The Ruby Dee Award for Best Leading Actress in a Play:

Tyla Abercrumbie

alum Tyla Abercrumbie ’98, for Pipeline (Victory Gardens Theatre).

The Ethel Waters Award for Best Actress in an Ensemble:

AnJi White

former Theatre Department Acting program student AnJi White, for For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow Is Enuf (Court Theatre), which was also nominated for the Target Community Relations Award for Best Ensemble.

The Phylicia Rashad Award for Most Promising Actress:

Bre Jacobs

Bre Jacobs, a senior in the Theatre Department’s BFA Program in Musical Theatre Performance, for Caroline, or Change (Firebrand Theatre and TimeLine Theatre Company)

The Douglas Alan Mann Award for Best Direction of an Ensemble:

Ilesa Duncan

Columbia College alumna Ilesa Duncan ’99, for Eclipsed (Pegasus Theatre Chicago).

The Duke Ellington Award for Best Musical Direction:

Jermaine Hill
Robert Reddrick

Columbia College Theatre Department Musical Theatre Program faculty member Jermaine Hill, for The Total Bent (Haven Theatre and About Face Theatre), and former Columbia College Chicago Music Department student Robert Reddrick, for Style and Grace: In Tribute To Lena Horne and Nancy Wilson (Black Ensemble Theatre).

The Ed Burbridge Award for Best Set Design:

Jacqueline Penrod
Therese Ritchie

Theatre Department associate chair Jacqueline Penrod, for Eclipsed (Pegasus Theatre Chicago), and Columbia alum Therese Ritchie ’18, a graduate of the Theatre Department‘s BA Program in Theatre Design, for No Child . . . (Definition Theatre Company).

Jason Epperson
Jason Epperson
Abigail Trabue
Abigail Trabue Epperson

The complete list of nominees for this year’s Black Theatre Alliance Awards was published September 9 by PerformInk, the Chicago theatre community’s premier online news site. PerformInk is published by Columbia College Theatre alum and former faculty member Jason Epperson ’14, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Theatre Design. Epperson’s wife, Columbia College alum and former faculty member Abigail Trabue Epperson ’04, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Musical Theatre, is the publication’s editor.

Vincent Williams

The Black Theatre Alliance Awards were established in 1995 by Columbia College Chicago alumnus Vincent Williams ’03, a graduate of the BA Program in Performing Arts Management from what is now the Columbia College Chicago Business and Entrepreneurship Department. The awards were founded to honor African Americans who achieve excellence in theatre, dance, and all areas of the performing arts in the Chicagoland area. The 2019 awards recognize Chicago-area stage productions produced and presented between August 1, 2018, and July 31, 2019. The awards also pay homage to Ira Aldridge (1807-1867), an African American actor famed for his performances in Shakespearean roles in Europe.