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Dance News

UW-Madison’s Walker works with two alums, is nominated for VIV Award

November 08, 2019

UW-Madison’s Chris Walker, a professor with the School of Education’s Dance Department, was recently nominated for a VIV Award in the category of choreography for his work on the “Secret Life of Bees, the Musical," based on a novel of the same name. 

This marks Walker’s second time working with Lynn Nottage, who wrote the musical. In the spring of 2018, he served as the movement director for Nottage’s production of “Milma’s Tale,” a story about an elephant “trapped in the clandestine international ivory market” and the ensuing greed, desire, and corruption of the ivory market. That play premiered at the Public Theater in New York in April 2018. 

Walker and UW alums
(Left-to-right) UW-Madison alumni Joe Cassidy and
Nathaniel Stampley post for a photo with Chris Walker.
When working on “Bees” in spring of 2019, Walker learned that UW-Madison alumni Nathaniel Stampley and Joe Cassidy were cast to play roles in the musical. Cassidy, who plays Clayton in the musical, received his bachelor of arts in 1989, while Stampley earned his  bachelor’s degree in music performance in 2008. Both Cassidy and Stampley have held roles in other prominent musicals on Broadway, such as “Waitress” and “The Lion King.” Stampley was also nominated for a VIV Award in the Featured Actor category for his portrayal of Neil, a school principal in “Bees.”

In addition to Walker and Stampley’s nominations, several others were nominated for VIV Awards for their work in the musical. 

VIV Awards are made through the Audience Development Committee, Inc. (AUDELCO), an organization established in 1973 by Vivian Robinson to acknowledge and honor excellence in Black theatre and its artists in New York City. The annual Vivian Robinson AUDELCO Recognition Awards will be presented on Nov. 18 at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York.

View information about VIV nominations here.

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