Best Actress - 2009
Tie: Brandii Edwards, Carey Hart, and Carolyn Johnson
404 NW 26th St.
Miami, FL 33127
Delta was a play with three leads, each of whom would briefly assume the role of Indesha Ida Mae Holland before passing it off to a costar. Those not playing Indesha in a given moment would play secondary characters — Indesha's mother, a gin-addled crank, a minister, the voice of God. Interspersed with the vignettes of Indesha's youth were song snippets, sung a cappella — eerie and full of blue notes or, in happier moments, as bright and spit-polish perfect as the latest single from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Within this free-flowing structure, Brandii Edwards, Carey Hart, and Carolyn Johnson galvanized each other, and all three soared to heights of gutsiness and invention seldom seen on any stage. Each had at least a single moment so delightful that it literally stopped the show — when Carolyn went into some kind of hoodoo trance during a baby-birthing scene; when Hart narrated the scene as a giddy, motor-mouthed tween; and when Edwards staggered onstage as the gin monster and began woozily gnawing the scenery. The audience erupted, the actresses paused, and a bar was quietly raised in Miami.