The Gambit-affiliated Foundation for Entertainment, Development and Education (FEDE) announced nominees for top performances in 2016. Winners and special award recipients will be announced at the Big Easy Awards April 24 at The Orpheum Theater.

  Christopher Bentivegna, founder of See 'Em On Stage: A Production Company and director of Lizzie, will receive the Theater Person of the Year Award. Bentivegna has carved out a niche for off-kilter musicals, such as The Toxic Avenger and the blood-splashing Musical of the Living Dead and Evil Dead: The Musical.

  Anthony Bean will receive a lifetime achievement award. Bean established Anthony Bean Community Theater in 2000, and last year moved to his own campus in Gentilly. He has starred in and directed numerous works, including all 10 plays in August Wilson's Pittsburgh cycle, a decade-by-decade chronicle of African-American experiences in the 20th century.

  Nominations for performances in 2016 were led by Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, which drew nods for seven productions, including two original pantos for family audiences. The NOLA Project, Southern Rep and Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts all have four nominated productions. Lizzie collected the most nominations with seven, including Best Musical, Best Director of a Musical and Best Actress in a Musical. Cripple Creek Theatre Company's Ragtime drew six nominations, including Best Musical, Best Director of a Musical and Best Actor in a Musical.

  The Big Easy Awards gala will include theater and music awards. Music nominations will be announced in the April 4 issue of Gambit. Not all awards will be presented at the event. Some categories will be announced April 24 on www.bestofneworleans.com.

  Proceeds from the Big Easy Awards support FEDE, which provides annual grants to area artists and educators.

  The gala is Monday, April 24 at The Orpheum Theater. It is sponsored by Gambit, The Orpheum Theater, Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts, Flor de Cana Rum, Sazerac Rye, Plymouth Gin, Stoli Vodka and Abita Brewing Company. General admission tickets are $45, floor seating is $100, and VIP tickets are $150. Call Veronica Bird at (504) 483-3130 for tickets.



Best Musical

1776, Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts

Lizzie, See 'Em On Stage: A Production Company

Pippin, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

Ragtime, Cripple Creek Theatre Company

Best Play

4000 Miles, The NOLA Project

Colossal, Southern Rep

Grounded, Southern Rep

The Lion in Winter, See 'Em On Stage: A Production Company

Best Director of a Musical

A.J. Allegra

1776, Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts

Christopher Bentivegna

Lizzie, See 'Em On Stage: A Production Company

Tom Cianfichi

Pippin, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

Emilie Whelan

Ragtime, Cripple Creek Theatre Company

Best Director of a Play

Beau Bratcher

4000 Miles, The NOLA Project

Stephen M. Eckert

The Flick, Promethean Theatre Co.

Aimee Hayes

Colossal, Southern Rep

Jessica Podewell

Don Quixote, The NOLA Project

Best Supporting Actress in a Musical

AshleyRose

Bailey Ragtime, Cripple Creek Theatre Company

Janie Heck

The Toxic Avenger, See 'Em On Stage: A Production Company

Idella Johnson

Lizzie, See 'Em On Stage: A Production Company

Abbey P. Murrell

Lizzie, See 'Em On Stage: A Production Company

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical

Keith Claverie

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

Clint Johnson

Ragtime, Cripple Creek Theatre Company

Preston Meche

II How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts

Bob Murrell

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts

Best Actress in a Musical

Caleigh Alessi

Funny Girl, Jefferson Performing Arts Society

Leslie L. Claverie

Lizzie, See 'Em On Stage: A Production Company

Shelbie Mac

Sweet Charity, Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts

Jessica Mixon

Pippin, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

Best Actor in a Musical

Patrick Thomas Cragin

Pippin, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

John Michael Haas

West Side Story, Jefferson Performing Arts Society

Bobby Kelly

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts

Cameron-Mitchell Ware

Ragtime, Cripple Creek Theatre Company

Best Supporting Actress in a Play

Amy Alvarez

Flood City, The NOLA Project

AshleyRose Bailey

Don Quixote, The NOLA Project

Lucy Faust

The Glass Menagerie, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

Andrea Watson

Becoming Number Six, Second Star Performance Collective

Best Supporting Actor in a Play

Nicoye Banks

The High Priestess of Dark Alley, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

John Grimsley

Sive, The NOLA Project

Zeb Hollins III

The High Priestess of Dark Alley, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

Mike Spara

Don Quixote, The NOLA Project

Best Actress in a Play

Kerry Cahill

Grounded, Southern Rep

Irene Glezos

Orpheus Descending, Southern Rep

Ashley Ricord

Santos Flood City, The NOLA Project

Carol Sutton

4000 Miles, The NOLA Project

Best Actor in a Play

James Bartelle

4000 Miles, The NOLA Project

Martin Bradford

Jungle Kings, Anthony Bean Community Theater

Ross Britz

Colossal, Southern Rep

Ian Hoch

Don Quixote, The NOLA Project

Best Ensemble

Airline Highway, Southern Rep

The Flick, Promethean Theatre Co.

The House of Bernarda Alba, In Good Company

Let the Good Times Roll, Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts

Best Original Work of Theater

Don Quixote

Pete McElligott, The NOLA Project

Sea of Common Catastrophe

Jeff Becker, ArtSpot Productions

Sleeping Beauty: An American Panto

Jon Greene, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

Best Choreography

Kenneth Beck

West Side Story, Jefferson Performing Arts Society

Caroline Cuseo

Sweet Charity, Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts

Jeffrey Gunshol

Colossal, Southern Rep

Heidi Malnar

Pippin, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

Best Music Director

Ainsley Matich

Lizzie, See 'Em On Stage: A Production Company

Alan Payne

Sweet Charity, Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts

Natalie True

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

Jefferson Turner

Ragtime, Cripple Creek Theatre Company

Best Set Design

Jeff Becker

Sea of Common Catastrophe, ArtSpot Productions

Lex Gernon

The Flick, Promethean Theatre Co.

Michael Kramer

Orpheus Descending, Southern Rep

Eric Porter

Airline Highway, Southern Rep

Best Lighting Design

Diane Baas

Colossal, Southern Rep

Joan Long

Grounded, Southern Rep

Evan Spigelman

Flood City, The NOLA Project

Mandi Wood

Orpheus Descending, Southern Rep

Best Costume Design

Sara Bandurian

Lizzie, See 'Em On Stage: A Production Company

Lindy Bruns

Sive, The NOLA Project

Cecile Casey Covert

Steel Poinsettias, Ricky Graham and Jeffery Roberson

Kathleen Van Horn

Sleeping Beauty: An American Panto, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

Best Sound Design

Brendan

Connelly Airline Highway, Southern Rep

Mike Harkins

Grounded, Southern Rep

Jo Nazro

Sea of Common Catastrophe, ArtSpot Productions

Kevin O'Donnell

Freud's Last Session, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre

Best University Production

The Aliens

Kristin Shoffner, director

University of New Orleans

Hands Up: Seven Playwrights, Seven Testaments

Ray Vrazel, director

Dillard University

The House That Will Not Stand

Laura Hope, director

Loyola University

Julius Caesar

Mel Cook, director

Tulane University