Outstanding Lead Performance in a Play, Male as Boy Willie in "The Piano Lesson"
San Diego,CA - Mark Christopher Lawrence, well known for his role as “Big Mike” on the hit NBC show “Chuck,” has been nominated for a prestigious Craig Noel Award by the San Diego Theater Critics Circle. The nominationas Outstanding Lead Performance in a Play, Male, for Lawrence’s role as Boy Willie in Cygnet Theatre’s production of August Wilson’s “The Piano Lesson,” was one of three garnered by the play, along with Outstanding Sound Design and Outstanding Ensemble.
TheCraig Noel Award recognizes excellence in San Diego regional theater, and this year includes over 100 nominations from 12 local theater companies. This year’s ceremony is dedicated to the memory of award namesake Craig Noel, the long-time Old Globe Theater director who passed away in April of this year. The ceremony is also dedicated to Donald Shiley who with his wife Darlene, was a major sponsor of the Craig Noel Awards, He passed away on July 31 at age 90.
Mark Christopher Lawrence is no stranger to the stage, having performed in the 2008 Cygnet Theatre production of Wilson’s play “Fences.” That play, along with “The Piano Lesson,” makes up a portion of the acclaimed playwright's 10-play “Pittsburgh Cycle” exploring the African American experience. When first told about his nomination, Lawrence’s response was "I am truly honored and completely surprised by this nomination. Once I get over the shock of it, I'll get excited." His nomination comesas no surprise to many local theatergoers and critics, including James Hebert of the San Diego Union-Tribune and Anne Marie Welsh of the North County Times who both remarked on Lawrence’s passion and emotion in the role. Mark Christopher Lawrence is truly a force to be reckoned with in all facets of acting.
The nomination of the cast for Outstanding Ensemble was, for Mark Christopher Lawrence, a natural choice. The entire team became an extended family during the preparation and production of the show. Four of the cast had previously worked together in “Fences,” and took the newer members to heart. "If not for the efforts of the amazing team of cast and crew on ‘The Piano Lesson,’ this nomination would not have happened,” said Lawrence.
The winners of the Craig Noel Awards will be announced during a ceremony at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla on January 10, 2011. At that time the San Diego Theater Critics Circle will also award its first a Sandra Ellis-Troy Memorial Scholarship for promising young actors. The scholarship honors the work of Ellis-Troy who passed away on December 4 of this year. Visit http://sdcriticscircle.org/ for information regarding the San Diego Critics Circle.
Mark Christopher Lawrence is well known for his role as “Big Mike” on the hit NBC show “Chuck,” now in it’s fourth season. Mark is a San Diego resident while commuting regularly to Los Angles for film and TV. Mark is also producing and performing in stand-up comedy shows, serves as vice-president of the board of Moxie Theatre, and is involved with notable charities such as Toys for Tots, ACT Today, and Operation Smile.
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