Franky Award

Named in honour of Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Executive Director and PRELUDE founder Dr. Frank Hentschker, the FRANKY Award was created to recognize an artist who has made a long-term, extraordinary impact on contemporary theater and performance in New York City.


Sade Lythcott


Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Executive Director and PRELUDE founder Dr. Frank Hentschker with Franky Award 2021 Awardee Sade Lythcott

The Franky Award 2021 is awarded to:

Sade Lythcott

Harlem native Sade Lythcott is the Chief Executive Officer of the historic National Black Theatre (NBT), the nation’s first revenue generating Black Arts complex and the longest run theater by a woman of color. Sade is the daughter of the late Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, founder of NBT and legendary champion of African-American arts and culture. Sade currently serves as the chair of the Coalition of Theaters of Color, an alliance of 52 theaters across New York City; founded by Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee in 2004 to combat the systemic inequities in the field and to ensure that theaters of color are funded equitably.  Most recently Sade Co-leads Culture @ 3 a daily call that brings together more than 300 cultural leaders from across NYC to help navigate COVID-!9 and leads its reopening working group, helping New York’s cultural sector  navigate reopening post COVID-19 statewide quarantine. Lythcott also proudly sits on the national board of advisors for Art in a Changing America. 


Sade’s activism work has been written about in national publications including the New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar and Essence magazine. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Key to Harlem for her excellence in the Arts, the Networks Journal’s top 40 under 40 award, the Legacy Award from Black Theatre Network and the Cultural Icon award by Harlem Fashion Week.  In 2012, Sade wrote and produced the highly acclaimed musical A Time To Love, garnering three AUDELCO nominations and is currently in development in partnership with the world famous Apollo theatre.

During the virtual award celebration, we will be joined by

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Keith Adkins

Keith Adkins is a playwright, screenwriter and artistic director. His plays include: The West End (currently running at Cincinnati Playhouse), The People Before the Park, A Refugee in Detroit, Safe House, Pitbulls, The Final Daze, Sugar and Needles, the Last Saint on Sugar Hill. He's been produced Off-Broadway, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, National Black Theater, St. Louis Rep, among others. He was recently commissioned by the Apollo Theater in New York City to help curate their inaugural season at their new Victoria Theater. Keith's the recipient of the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, Samuel French's Award for Impact and Activism in the Theater Community, and National Black Theater's Teer Spirit Award. He is also the artistic director of The New Black Fest, a 10-year-old theater organization committed to fostering insurgent voices from the African Diaspora. Keith's TV writing credits include shows on Netflix, Starz, CBS, and ABC. His feature film with Gamechanger Films will be released later this year on Amazon. 


Jonathan McCrory

Jonathan McCrory is an Obie Award-winning, Harlem-based artist who has served as Artistic Director at National Black Theatre since 2012 under the leadership of CEO, Sade Lythcott.He has directed numerous professional productions and concerts which include: How the Light Gets In (NYMF), Klookand Iron John (NAMT),  Dead and Breathing, HandsUp, Hope Speaks, Blacken The Bubble, Asking for More, Last Laugh and Enter Your Sleep. He has worked at ETW at TISCH NYU with Emergence: A Communion and evoking him: Baldwin and at Suny Purchase directing Exit Strategy, &  A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes.In 2013, he was awarded the Emerging Producer Award by the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston Salem, North Carolina, and the Torch Bearer Award by theatrical legend Woodie King Jr. He is a founding member of the collaborative producing organizations Harlem9, Black Theatre Commons, The Jubilee, Next Generation National Network and The Movement Theatre Company. McCrory sits on the National Advisory Committee for and was a member of the original cohort for ArtEquity. A Washington, DC native, McCrory attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and New York University’s TISCH School of the Arts. To learn more, please visit

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Watch Franky Award 2021 Celebration

Thursday 28th October, 2pm Eastern

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