Andre De Shields and Marie Thomas
in Knock Me a Kiss
(© Lia Chang)
Andre De Shields and Marie Thomas
in Knock Me a Kiss
(© Lia Chang)
The 2011 Vivian Robinson/Audelco Awards (known as the "VIV") were presented in a ceremony held at Harlem Stage/Aaron Davis Hall on Monday, November 14.

The awards promote and celebrate African-American involvement in American Theatre, and were co-hosted by NY-1 Anchor Cheryl Wills and Def Poetry Jam co-founder Danny Simmons.

The New Federal Theatre/Legacy Creative Arts Co. production of Knock Me a Kiss swept the awards, winning for Dramatic Production of the Year, playwright Charles Smith, director Chuck Smith, lead actor Andre De Shields, supporting actress Marie Thomas, lighting designer Shirley Prendergast, set designer Anthony Davidson, costume designer Ali Turns, and sound designer Bill Toles.

Sanaa Lathan and Kimberlee Monroe tied for Lead Actress for their respective work in By the Way, Meet Vera Stark and Nobody Knew Where They Was. Acting winners also included Andre Holland, who won for his supporting performance in The Whipping Man, as well as Toni Seawright and Tommie Thompson, who won for their respective musical performances in The Widow and Miss Mamie.

The Widow and Miss Mamie also won for director Lee Kirk, musical director Ron Granger, and tied for Musical Production of the Year with New Haarlem Arts Theatre's It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues.

Additional winners include choreographer Tracy Jack (It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues), solo performer Stephanie Berry (The Shaneequa Chronicles), and Playing with Heiner Muller, for Outstanding Ensemble Performance.

Special Achievement Awards were given to Hazel Rosetta Smith, Clifford B. Simmons, Blue Nile Passage, Inc., and Significant Elders; The Rising Star Award went to Eden Sanaa Duncan-Smith; Outstanding Pioneer Awards were given to Felix E. Cochren, James Pringle, and Mary Alice; and Board of Directors Awards went to Jackie Jefferies, Jacquetta L. McMurray, and Rome Neal.