The NAACP Beverly Hills/Hollywood Branch announced the complete list of honorees for the 22nd Annual NAACP Theatre Awards. The show will be held on Monday, November 5, 2012 at the famous Directors Guild of America in Hollywood and will feature musical performances by Tichina Arnold (Everyone Hates Chris) and Shoshana Bean (Wicked). Celebrity presenters include Samuel L. Jackson (Avengers), Blair Underwood (L.A. Law), Kate Burton (Grey’s Anatomy), Judy Reyes (Scrubs), Richard Roundtree (Shaft), Victoria Rowell (The Young and the Restless), Nadine Velazquez (My Name is Earl), Jamie Kennedy (Malibu’s Most Wanted), Clifford Smith (Methodman), LisaRaye McCoy (Single Ladies), Tonya Pinkins (All My Children), Brian White (Good Deeds), Rochelle Aytes (The Forgotten), Vicci Martinez (The Voice), Russell Hornsby (Grimm), Selita Ebanks (Celebrity Apprentice), Tory Kittles (Sons of Anarchy), Nadine Ellis (Let's Stay Together) and many more.
The following distinguished individuals will be honored with special awards at this year’s ceremony:
James Pickens, Jr. - The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual whose theatrical contributions have been revolutionary, and whose efforts have "made a historic difference" in the entertainment profession. This year’s honoree started acting at the Karamu House, distinguished as the oldest African-American theater in the United States. Pickens, a member of NEC (Negro Ensemble Company), was featured in “Soldier’s Play” with co-stars Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson. He recently appeared on a Los Angeles stage in the play “8,” a reading of the actual court documents in the historic Proposition 8 marriage equality case, which was directed by Rob Reiner and included an all-star cast, including George Clooney, Martin Sheen, Kevin Bacon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Christine Lahti, John C. Reilly and Brad Pitt. Pickens is well known to television audiences for his recurring roles on the hit series “Grey’s Anatomy,” where he received a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Drama Ensemble and most recently won an NAACP Image Award.
Stephen Byrd & Alia M. Jones (Front Row Productions) - The Trailblazer Award is presented to individuals whose pioneering theatrical contributions have been outstanding and unique, and whose efforts have "blazed a trail" in the entertainment profession. This year’s honorees are the only African-American theatre producers to produce on Broadway and on London’s West End. Byrd is the founder of Front Row Productions, with Alia joining in 2006, and together they are the producers of the first African-American Broadway Production of “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” starring James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad, Terrence Howard and Anika Noni Rose, the highest grossing play on Broadway in 2008. The London transfer of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” starring James Earl Jones, Phylicia Rashad, Sanaa Lathan, and Adrian Lester garnered the duo London’s prestigious Olivier Award in 2010. Byrd and Jones followed “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” with “A Street Car Named Desire” starring Blair Underwood, Nicole Ari Parker, Daphne Rubin-Vega and Wood Harris, yet another successful run on Broadway.
Nicole Ari Parker - The Spirit Award is presented to an individual who brings energy, tenacity, innovation, commitment, talent, and of course, spirit, to the theater scene. She is a seven-time NAACP Image Award nominee best known for her outstanding performance as ‘Teri Joseph’ of Showtime’s award winning original series “Soul Food”. Nicole was just seen at the Broadhurst Theater in her Broadway debut as “Blanche DuBois” in Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire” opposite Blair Underwood for director Emily Mann. She has performed in For Colored Girls directed by Jasmine Guy, and The Vagina Monologues. Nicole is a graduate of NYU’s famed Tisch School of the Arts, Circle in the Square Studio. She has received a special award at the Urban World Film Festival for Outstanding Body of Work as an Actress. Nicole also starred alongside former “Soul Food” co-star and real life spouse, Boris Kodjoe in the Paramount/UPN sitcom “Second Time Around.”
Willis Edwards -The Humanitarian Award is presented to a group or an individual who has a history of giving back to the community. This year’s honoree was a longtime Vice-President and National Board Member of the NAACP, who passed away on July 13, 2012 at the age of 66. He was a key force behind bringing national television exposure for the NAACP Image Awards and gaining a postage stamp image and a Congressional Gold Medal for civil rights icon Rosa Parks. Edwards was a civil rights pioneer, who joined the campaign team for Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and was by Kennedy’s side when he was assassinated in 1968. He is a Vietnam War veteran who was awarded a Bronze Star and then-Los Angeles Mayor Thomas Bradley appointed Edwards to the city’s Social Service Commission in 1973. Diagnosed with HIV/AIDS later in his life, Edwards became an outspoken advocate in the efforts to end the pandemic. He was involved with the Minority AIDS Project and helped shape the NAACP’s HIV/AIDS policy.
Sponsors for the award show and festival includes 8th District Councilmember Bernard C. Parks, Rent A Center, and Southwest Airlines. Platinum, Gold and Bronze Tickets for this year’s award show can be purchased at 1680 N. Vine Street, Hollywood, CA 90028 or by calling (323) 384-5303. For more information on the NAACP Theatre Awards, please visit naacptheatreawards.com or call (323) 464-7616.
About The NAACP Theatre Awards
The NAACP Theatre Awards is presented by the Board Of The Directors for the Beverly Hills/Hollywood NAACP Branch. Ron Hasson is Branch President and Tia Boyd is the Executive Producer for the NAACP Theatre Awards Show. The prestigious star-studded gala is produced for the purpose of honoring thespians among the best in the field of entertainment. The branch also celebrates a four-day theatre festival, which provides a platform for thespians to express their craft and share their contributions with an audience of their peers, the community and other individuals who celebrate live theatre in Los Angeles.