Camille A. Brown Leads The 2020 Lortel Award Choreography Noms
Updated: Apr 22
Camille A. Brown. Photo credit: Whitney Browne.
In case you missed it, Camille A. Brown is still cornering the New York City dance market.
With this morning's announcement of the Off-Broadway League's 2020 Lucille Lortel Award nominees, Brown showed that, yet again, she cannot be stopped.
Even in a season cut short due to the theater industry's total shutdown resulting from the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, Brown leads the field of five nominees for Outstanding Choreographer with two nominations, herself. First, for last fall's production of 'For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When The Rainbow Is Enuf' at the Public Theater, and second for last summer's 'Toni Stone' at Roundabout Theatre Company's Laura Pels Theatre.
Nominations aside though, Brown’s monster year didn't stop there.
For Brown, the early part of 2019-20 season began on the crest of a career-high wave of industry-wide buzz stemming from a 2019 Tony Award nomination for choreographing ‘Choir Boy', NBC's 2018 Live production of 'Jesus Christ Superstar', and the success of 'ink' — the third installment of a trilogy on identity — with her company, Camille A. Brown & Dancers.
A busy summer — including 'Toni Stone' — led into a seemingly non-stop autumn and winter. Brown not only managed to helm the dances behind the massive first-in-a-generation revival of ‘Pory & Bess’ at the Metropolitan Opera, but also artistically directed and choreographed two major pieces with her own company, (a restaging of her Bessie Award-winning Mr. TOL E. RAncE at The Joyce and a reimagined 'City Of Rain' set on Alvin Ailey dancers), as well as the launch of a national touring company of ‘Once On This Island’, and the Public's production of 'For Colored Girls...'.
Camille A. Brown. Photo credit: Hunter Canning.
“It takes a team!” Brown told me last fall in an interview for DanceNetwork.tv. “This is a wonderful opportunity to lift up my choreo teams for all of the projects happening now. Their assistance is invaluable and they have been so supportive as I create specific movement languages for each show. It’s all about the people you surround yourself with who you can trust and depend on to help follow through on your work.”
Brown is almost always supported in part by her long time associate and "right-hand-man", Rickey Tripp, as well as other assistants like Catherine Foster, Juel D. Lane, Mayte Natalio, Christopher Figaro Jackson, and Jay Staten.
Camille A. Brown, Raja Feather Kelly, Sam Pinkleton, & Travis Wall.
Brown is also in good company with her fellow Lortel nominees.
Also nominated for 2020 Lortel Awards for Outstanding Choreographer are the feath3r theory artistic director Raja Feather Kelly for his work choreographing Michael R. Jackson's 'A Strange Loop', former Tony nominee Sam Pinkleton for the Public Theater's 'Soft Power', and two-time Emmy winning choreographer Travis Wall for MCC's 'The Wrong Man'.
As with much of the entertainment world, there is much uncertainty in what's to come for Brown for the rest of the 2020 season. Brown has already had three projects canceled or postponed — New York City Center's revival of 'Thoroughly Modern Millie' which Brown was supposed to choreograph alongside Lear deBessonet's direction was scrapped, and Westport Country Playhouse's 'Ain't Misbehavin' — a production supposed to be Brown's directorial debut — has been postponed. The highly anticipated developmental lab production of 'Aida' was also canceled when Broadway went dark back in mid-March.
Camille A. Brown, along with choreographer, Pam Tanowitz, and NYCB Principal Dancer, Ashley Boulder as part of PBS Thirteen's NYC Arts.
Brown is slated, however, to be the choreographer for the Broadway-bound 'Soul Train' musical, and Disney's plans for the aforementioned 'Aida' still remain hopeful for a 2021 revival national tour.
Nominations for the 35th Annual Lucille Lortel Awards for Outstanding Achievement Off-Broadway were announced Tuesday by theatre veterans Jeremy Jordan and Ashley Spencer. The Awards will be presented during a special online event on Sunday, May 3, broadcast on the official website – www.LortelAwards.org – beginning at 7:00 pm ET. A virtual “host” and presenters will be announced at a later date. As always, the Lortel Awards will be a benefit for The Actors Fund.
Michael Mahany serves as NYC Dance News & Culture’s founder and Editor-At-Large. Additionally, he is a professional actor, singer, dancer who appears nightly in the 10th Anniversary production of 'Rock Of Ages' in New York City. He's also a co-host of the 'Pod De Deux' dance podcast. Follow him on Instagram, Twitter, or visit www.michaelmahany.com for more. Story tips? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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