Joyce Meggerson-Moore felt really honored when she learned that New Horizon Theater had won 11 African American Council For The Arts Onyx Awards for the theater’s outstanding production “I Gotcha! The Story of Joe Tex and The Soul Clan.”
“We were happy to win all of those awards and we were happy that we could compete with other local theater companies on that level,” said Moore, chairperson of New Horizon Theater.
“I Gotcha! The Story of Joe Tex,” told the real-life story of soul singer Joe Tex and his sojourn as a prolific, innovative singer and his devout devotion to the Nation of Islam later in his life. The story was written by Chicago-based writer Joe Plummer and co-written by David Barr.
“I thought we would get nominated because of the caliber of work. We were beside ourselves that we won so many awards,” Moore said excitedly.
Moore was unable to attend this year’s awards ceremony because she was out of town. In her place she sent a New Horizon volunteer who accepted the awards on New Horizon’s behalf.
“I think Joe Tex resonated with people because it was a true story about a soul group and it had music in it and our patrons are receptive to productions with music. We try to do one play a year that has music in it,” Moore added. “The play also had humor and drama.”
Moore said Joe Plummer’s work is a favorite of New Horizon Theater attendees.
“Joe Plummer’s work is believable and our audiences really like his work,” she said.
The theater put on one of Plummer’s other productions “Get Ready.” The play was such a fan favorite that New Horizon brought the production back for a second time.
According to Moore, New Horizon Theater has won Onyx Awards in the past (the most being for “Get Ready”) but never 11 in one year.
The Onyx Awards was founded seven years ago by Pittsburgh native Victoria Bey who has been involved with the arts for more than two decades. Bey established the awards to highlight the talents of African-Americans who participate in theater and its production in the Pittsburgh area.
Awardees are judged on their work as dancers, performers and technicians. Actors are judged in various categories including best play, best musical and several specialty categories including the Rob Penny Lifetime Achievement Award and the Pride of Pittsburgh Award.