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‘Brothers of the Dust’ tops Black Theater Alliance Awards

ShanesiDavis James T. Alfred were honored Monday night for their work “Brothers Dust.”

Shanesia Davis and James T. Alfred were honored on Monday night for their work in “Brothers of the Dust.”

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Updated: November 26, 2011 8:10AM

The Congo Square Theatre Company production of “Brothers of the Dust,” the sizzling family drama about land, lust, money and inheritance in 1950s Arkansas, was named best play of the past season Monday night as the 17th annual Black Theater Alliance/Ira Aldridge Awards were presented at the Illinois Institute of Technology. The awards honor excellence in Chicago area theater and dance productions dealing with African-American life.

“Brothers of the Dust” also garnered awards for its Kansas-bred playwright Darren Canady; director Daniel Bryant; leading actor James T. Alfred; leading actress Shanesia Davis; featured actor Austin Talley, and sound designer Rick Sims. Canady shared the playwrighting award with Darlette McAlpin, whose “Field of Souls” was presented by the eta Creative Arts Foundation.

Named best director of a musical was Lilli-Anne Brown for her Bailiwick Chicago production of “Passing Strange,” the rock musical by Heidi Rodewald and Stew about the coming of age of a young songwriter. Jayson Brooks was named best actor in a musical for his role as the show’s narrator, with Osiris Khepera named best featured actor.

Katrina V. Miller received the award for best actress in a musical for her work in Black Ensemble Theater’s “All in Love is Fair.” Celeste Williams received the award for best featured actress in a play for her work in “Tree,” at Victory Gardens Theatre.

Other award winners include:

Ensemble: “The Trip” (eta Creative Arts Foundation).

Musical Direction: “All in Love is Fair” (Black Ensemble Theater).

Most promising actor: Wardell Julius Clark.

Most promising actress: Christina Harper.

Choreography: Ronald K. Brown, “Gye Nyame” (Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago).

Set Design: Shaun Renfro, “Blues For An Alabama Sky” (Greenetree Productions).

Lighting Design: Casey Diers, “Ghosts of Atwood” (MPAACT).

Costume Design: Michael Alan Stein, “The Nativity” (Congo Square Theatre Company)

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