Fela! received Actors' Equity Association's Advisory Committee on Chorus Affairs (ACCA) fourth annual ACCA Award for Outstanding Broadway Chorus on Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at Actors' Equity's headquarters in New York.
The award, created by former Equity Vice President Jean-Paul Richard and the only industry award of its kind, honors the distinctive talents and contributions made by the original chorus members of a Broadway show.
The winners of the ACCA Award for Outstanding Broadway Chorus of the 2009-10 season, all of whom were part of the Fela! chorus on the musical's November 23, 2009 opening night, are: Corey Baker, Hettie Vyrine Barnhill, Lauren De Veaux, Nicole de Weever, Elasea Douglas, Rujeko Dumbutshena, Catherine Foster, Raaen-Elijah "Talu" Green, Shaneeka Harrell, Chanon Judson, Abena Koomson, Ismael Kouyate, Gelan Lambert, Jr., Farai M. Malianga, Shakira Marshall, Afi McClendon, Adesola A. Osakalumi, Jeffrey Page, Daniel Soto, Jill Marie Vallery, J.L. Williams, Iris L. Wilson and Aimee Graham Wodobode.
"This award was created to acknowledge the enormous talent and contributions members of a chorus make to a Broadway production," said Equity 2nd Vice President and Chair of the ACCA Rebecca Kim Jordon. "The chorus members of Fela! truly exemplify the hard work, dedication and talent it takes to be outstanding in a Broadway show".
ACCA 1st Vice President Jeff Williams welcomed everyone and addressed the cast members, praising the "fierceness of your bodies, the fierceness of your technique and talent, and your ferocious dedication and spirit." He then read the following statement from Equity President Nick Wyman:
"Although 'chorus' is a term of art at Equity, we performers tend to self-identify as being in 'the ensemble' rather than 'the chorus.' Chorus brings to mind actors in a Greek play speaking as one, a bunch of picturesque townsfolk suddenly bursting into four-part harmony, a cadre of dancers synchronized a la Busby Berkeley. 'Ensemble' makes us think of a group of actors in similar-sized roles working together, listening and behaving and supporting one another to create an absolutely believable world to which the audience is carried away. That definition exactly fits the ensemble of FELA! You carry us off to Lagos, and you create the world of the Shrine. Your individual, idiosyncratic performances and dancing create the joy, the danger, the defiance, the pain and the pathos of Fela Kuti's life. The sum of your glorious parts creates an even more glorious whole. You are all Queens - and a few Kings!"
Lead producer Stephen Hendel congratulated the cast on the behalf of the producers, and said: "Fela! is incredibly physically and emotionally demanding, so it's particularly appropriate that our ensemble is being recognized by their peers in the professional chorus community. Their work is simply amazing."
Individual awards were presented to each member of the original chorus.
Special thanks to National Chorus Business Representative David Westphal for orchestrating and emceeing this spectacular event.