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Reported by Jean Charles, Antigonee Hawkins, Shakira White
with Advisors Elaine Johnson, Garland Lee Thompson
Photos by Shem Rajoon

See QuickTime Movies of the Reception and a listing of the winners (to be posted by 12/8/98)

What others ignore
AUDELCO applauds. A thunderous, foot stomping, joyful recognition of outstanding Black plays and performers of the 1997-1998 season was once again held at the beautiful Aaron Davis Hall on the City College Campus. It was a star-studded evening in the village of Harlem. Carrie Jackson, Executive DirectorThis 26th annual Vivian Robinson AUDELCO Recognition Awards Ceremonies held Monday, November 16th was slammin' off the meter with Black luminaries of the theatre. These thespians had a ball, all coming together once a year, to be honored by the community that nurtured and supported their careers. A Star-Studded V.I.P. Reception
The elegant V.I.P. reception, hosted by the board of directors and their new
AUDELCO Executive Director, Carrie Jackson, turned into a "Homecoming" with both freshman and graduates of the Black theatre in attendance. There was in one corner of the Theatre B Reception room, Imamu Amiri Baraka and Melvin Van Peeples, reminiscing. At the other end of the room, you found actress/singer Leslie Uggams and George Faison networking (He won the AUDELCO Best Choreographer Award during the gala evening). At the buffet table was actor Count Stovall and poet/playwright Ntozake Shange sampling the fine delicacies. She was guest Hostess for the gala evening and she is famous for writing the Broadway hit choreo-play, "for colored girls who have considered suicide when a rainbow is enuf." Looking across the room, you found "the Grand Dame" of the evening, 84 years young, Gertrude Jeannette (Her company, the H.A.D.L.E.Y. Players won five AUDELCO Awards during the big event) enjoying her meal with her guests. There were hugs and kisses with well wishes all through the night. And especially from Producer Woody King and other playwright-nominee Joyce Sylvester, to Best Playwright Award-winner, Lillie Marie Redwood. Satan Never Sleeps
"The family" was in the house as was Lloyd Richards, director of two Pulitzer Prize plays by August Wilson. And did they celebrate loudly when actor/playwright Ronald Wyche's musical play, "Satan Never Sleeps," won four
AUDELCO Awards in the Musical categories. Answer to the "Great White Way"
It all began in 1973, when Ms. Vivian Robinson, who was working for the New York Amsterdam News in Harlem, saw the need for Black thespians to be honored for their work, by people who saw their artistic talents firsthand. According to one guest, these performers were overshadowed and often were over looked by the "Great White Way" and the New York Theatre scene.
Sensing this need for an organization which critiques and supports Black theatrical productions, she created AUDELCO (Audience Development Committee) with a few of her lady friends. Now these were not your average and typical church ladies. God Bless them for they loved the theatre, culture and the arts. They liked to party hearty! Now in it's 26th year of existence, AUDELCO is continuing to honor and recognize "Black theatrical productions, actors, directors, playwrights and designers of the past and present. This year they are honoring some of the best Black playwrights of the 20th century. Ed Bullins ("Goin' a Buffalo", "In The Wine Time" & "The Electronic Nigger") Imamu Amiri Baraka ("Dutchman" and "The Slave") and filmmaker/writer Melvin Van Peebles (He wrote the Broadway plays, "Ain't Supposed To Die A Natural Death" & "Don't Play Us Cheap," as well as the hit 70's pioneer Black film, "SweetBack's Badass Song") They were given "Outstanding Pioneer Awards" for their commitment and contribution to African-American playwrighting and literature. The theme of the evening was: "Power of the Word." In other words, this award show highlighted some of the most profound and creative minds of the century in American literature. So, without a doubt, it was an honor and treat for our HarlemLive youth online magazine "posse," to be in the house, covering "the super bad" event, for the first time. After this HarlemLive report, everybody's has to be there next year in November, 1999, for the last AUDELCO Award night gala in the Millennium.



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