TUSCALOOSA, AL – Theatre Tuscaloosa held the 25th annual T. Earle Johnson Awards Ceremony on Thursday, September 17, 2020, via live stream on their YouTube channel to acknowledge the 2019-20 winners.
Each year, Theatre Tuscaloosa holds its version of the Tony Awards: The T. Earle Johnson Awards, which is lovingly shortened to “The T. Earles.” This program strives to recognize excellence demonstrated by Theatre Tuscaloosa performers, technicians, volunteers, patrons, sponsors, and contributors.
Audience members, board and staff members, and All Star Cast members are encouraged to vote for the performance-related categories.
Over the years, this program has grown with new categories and awards being added to recognize more and more people who invest their time, treasure, and talent to make Theatre Tuscaloosa the amazing organization it has become.
Jenny Ryan received the Paul K. Looney, “Our Ox is in the Ditch” Award for taking on the role of “Mrs. Brady” after the first two actresses cast in the role suffered injuries that prevented them from performing. Newcomer of the Year was awarded to both Alex Momoh and Katonio “KJ” Crews who played the lead roles of brothers “Kenny” and “Byron” respectively in The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963. Ian Akins received the Jake Leigeber Volunteer of the Year Award for going above and beyond the call of duty as an assistant stage manager. Ryan Alford received the Patron of the Year Award for being an extraordinarily dedicated audience member. Butch Chandler received the Doug Perry Outstanding Service to the Theatre Award for providing climate-controlled storage space for the costume inventory for many years, and Alexandra Smith received the Charlie Dennis “Bear It” Award for Technical Service for her exemplary work backstage. The rare Charles Prosser Straight Flush Award was not awarded since no individual participated as a volunteer in every mainstage production.
The acting awards included:
- Outstanding SecondStage Actress: NorQuina “Q” Rieves as “Karla” in Sentences & Words(3rd Annual Festival of One Acts)
- Outstanding SecondStage Actor: D’Mar Tarront-Milton as “Eli” in One Lane Bridge(3rd Annual Festival of One Acts)
- Outstanding Featured Actress: LaQuenteshia Whitfield as “Mrs. Alums” in The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963and as “Mrs. Loomis” in Inherit the Wind
- Outstanding Featured Actor: Khalifa Nunn as “Dancer” in The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963
- Outstanding Supporting Actress: Crystal Lassiter as “Wilona” in The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963
- Outstanding Supporting Actor: Taril Slater as “Daniel” in The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963
- Outstanding Leading Actresses (Tie):
- Kenyatta “YaYa” Browne as “Clairee” in Steel Magnolias
- Kathy Wilson as “M’Lynn” in Steel Magnolias
- Outstanding Lead Actor: Josh Kauffman as “Bertram Cates” in Inherit the Wind
Two special awards were also presented. The cast of Father of the Bride received “The Show that COVID Quarantined Award” for learning their lines and continuing to rehearse as the pandemic was just getting started and subsequently never getting to perform. Costumer Jeanette Waterman was awarded the “Phantom of Tuscaloosa Award” for spending her free time sewing masks for DCH and many other individuals in the Tuscaloosa area.
Over the last few decades, Kathy Wilson has appeared in over 30 notable roles such as “Vera” in Smoke on the Mountain, “Maggie” in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, “Stella” in A Streetcar Named Desire, “Mrs. Lynch” in Grease, and “M’Lynn” in Steel Magnolias. In recognition of her accomplishments, Wilson was inducted into the All-Star Cast. Inductees of this prestigious group must have received three prior T. Earle Awards. Once inducted, they are no longer eligible to be nominated for future awards. Honorees receive an All-Star Cast medal and are acknowledged on a plaque in the Wilson Carr Rehearsal Hall. Members of the All-Star Cast serve as mentors and ambassadors to new actors, technicians, and volunteers.
Theatre Tuscaloosa’s YouTube Channel – www.youtube.com/theatretusc – hosts the complete recording of the awards ceremony. More details about the categories and the history of the T. Earle Johnson Awards are available at www.theatretusc.com or at 205.391.2277.
Theatre Tuscaloosa is a 501c3 not-for-profit community theatre located on the Martin Campus of Shelton State Community College. Theatre Tuscaloosa has been enriching the greater Tuscaloosa community since 1971 through quality theatrical productions and educational outreach.