3-time Grammy Award Winning Artist, Jamecia Bennett is a nationally renowned and exceptional vocalist, actor, songwriter, producer, and director. She is an NAACP Image Award Winner and a Billboard Chart Topper. More than a triple threat, her stage credits include: Sister Rosetta Tharpe in Marie & Rosetta at PARK SQUARE THEATER, Glinda the Good Witch in The Wiz at CHILDRENS THEATER COMPANY, Bunny in Detroit '67 at PENUMBRA THEATRE, Anne Boleyn/Mother/Wife in The Owl Answers at PENUMBRA THEATRE, Sophia and Church Lady in The Color Purple at PARK SQUARE, Washing Machine in Caroline or Change at the GUTHRIE THEATRE, Joanne in Rent at THE LAB THEATER, Tina Turner/Aretha Franklin in Beehive at HEY CITY THEATER, Mother/ Drummer in Passing Strange at MIXED BLOOD THEATER, Eddie/The Professor in Rocky Horror at THE LAB THEATER, Terry in Lonely Soldier Monologues at the HISTORY THEATER, Eva in Get Ready at PENUMBRA THEATRE, Auntie in Black Nativity at PENUMBRA THEATRE, Young Girl in Blues in the Night at ORDWAY CENTER FOR PERFORMING ARTS, Ensemble in Dutchmen at PENUMBRA THEATRE, Aunt Lucille/Singer/Ensemble in Girl Shakes Loose at PENUMBRA THEATRE, Aretha Franklin in The Aretha Franklin Story at THE CAPRI THEATER. Ms. Bennett's directing credits include Twin Cities Girls Rock at the FITZGERALD THEATRE, Night Before Christmas at the FITZGERALD THEATRE and AD for Annie at the ORDWAY CENTER FOR PERFORMING ARTS, to name a few.
2015-16 McKnight Theater Artist Fellowship Award Winner, City Pages Best Actress of 2015, Aimee K. Bryant has been performing in the Twin Cities for the last 20 years. Some of the highlights of her career include Beneatha in A Raisin in the Sun, Ensemble Member in For Colored Girls, Ensemble member in Black Nativity at PENUMBRA THEATRE; Cobalt in No Distance Between Us, Queen Elizabeth in Two Weeks with the Queen, & Aimee in How Come Ain't No White People in the Show? at ILLUSION THEATER; Esther in Intimate Apparel, Elaria in Emperor of the Moon, Rosabella in The Most Happy Fella, Sarah in Ragtime, Celia in As You Like It & Marian the Librarian in The Music Man with TEN THOUSAND THINGS THEATER; Amy in Oh Shit, I'm Turning into My Mother with THEATER LATTE DA; Sour Kangaroo in Suessical the Musical, Shaneequa in Splash Hatch on the E Going Down, and Everyone in Seedfolks at CHILDREN'S THEATRE COMPANY; Blues Speak Woman in Spunk, and Knowledge of Good in Deep Azure with CONGO SQUARE THEATRE COMPANY; Soprano in 8 Track: Sounds of the 70's at the ORDWAY MUSIC THEATER; Ghetto Superstar in Snapshots at HISTORY THEATRE; Ida B. Wells in Constant Star & Celie in The Color Purple at PARK SQAURE THEATRE; The Moon in Caroline or Change at GUTHRIE THEATER, Shun in In the Red and Brown Water and in Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet, and Martha, Officer Pilate, Miriam, Ida. B. Wells, and Mrs. Thomas in The Gospel of Lovingkindness with PILLSBURY HOUSE THEATRE. She is also a teaching artist as well as a vocalist and songwriter. Her original music can be heard on her debut CD "Becoming."
Laura Esping is a Twin Cities actor & educator most recently performing with FULL CIRCLE THEATRE COMPANY & teaching at the GUTHRIE THEATER. Laura was a founding member of GEESE THEATRE COMPANY, a company devoted to performing & conducting theatre workshops for prison inmates across the country. She served as tour director, actor & educator for tours around the Mid-West, East Coast & Southern states. After moving to Minneapolis , Laura had the honor and pleasure to perform with many local companies including AT THE FOOT OF THE MOUNTAIN, IN THE HEART OF THE BEAST PUPPET AND MASK THEATER, the JUNGLE THEATRE, THEATRE DE LA JEUNE LUNE, ILLUSION THEATER, PILLSBURY HOUSE THEATRE, PENUMBRA THEATRE and the MINNESOTA SHAKESPEARE COMPANY. Productions at GUTHRIE THEATER include A Christmas Carol, Playboy of the Western World, The Venetian Twins, The Invention of Love, Amadeus, Resurrection Blues, Comedy of Errors, Pride and Prejudice , Major Barbara, Jane Eyre, Much Ado About Nothing, Tales from Hollywood and performing in Indecent. Laura toured with the GUTHRIE and taught community workshops to students of all ages across the Mid-West with A Midsummer Night's Dream, Ah, Wilderness , Molly Sweeney (playing Molly) & A Stuff of Dreams. As an educator at the GUTHRIE she has worked in the summer camp programs, taught with Schools on Stage, and in the Guthrie in the Parks, Target Play Dates, library programs, special community request classes and acting levels 1 and 2. She taught theatre history at Concordia College in St Paul. Laura holds a BA from the University of Iowa and an MFA from the University of Minnesota where she taught movement to undergraduates. She has recently written, performed and hopes to tour her one woman show on recovery from addiction.
Brian A. Grandison's most recent roles include Chester Williams at PILLSBURY HOUSE THEATRE, and Raymond Warren for FULL CIRCLE THEATER. He has worked as an actor at the Guthrie (Richard II, Henry IV Part 1 and Part 2, Henry V, A Christmas Carol, Othello (national tour), Merrily We Roll Along, Anything Goes, The Stuff of Dreams (regional tour), The Skin of Our Teeth, Richard III, Pericles, Troilus and Cressida), MIXED BLOOD THEATRE, ILLUSION THEATER, CHANHASSEN DINNER THEATRE and most recently at THEATER LATTE DA in their production of Our Town. Brian has also worked at the GOODMAN THEATRE in Chicago (The Rover and Cry the Beloved Country,) at BROOKLYN ACADEMY OF MUSIC (Suite Saturday Night) as well as many other theatres locally and around the country. He was hired by Showtime to rewrite Don Cheadle's play, Groomed, for broadcast. His play Adrift on the Mississippi was produced at the HISTORY THEATRE in St. Paul and at the BALTIMORE THEATRE PROJECT. He has spent the last two summers in Jamaica as a Fulbright Specialist, teaching children theater and critical literacy skills.
IVEY Award recipient for her role as Antonia in ILLUSION THEATER's production of My Antonia, named Best Actress of 2016 by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Kate Guentzel is an actor and choreographer based in the Twin Cities & has been part of numerous distinguished ensemble performances throughout her career. Her professional stage credits include the GUTHRIE THEATER, BERKELY REP, JUNGLE THEATER, PENUMBRA THEATRE, ILLUSION, PARK SQUARE THEATRE, FRANK, GREMLIN, TIGERLION ARTS & PILLSBURY HOUSE THEATER. Favorite roles include Catherine in The Heiress at the JUNGLE THEATER, Lula in Dutchman at PENUMBRA THEATRE, Celimene in School for Lies at PARK SQUARE THEATRE, & Marthe in Watch on the Rhine at both the GUTHRIE and BERKELY REP. Kate graduated from the University of MN where she studied theater arts and dance. She has worked for the last six years as the resident choreographer for Twin Cities Theater Camp, a musical theater summer intensive for kids, and is thrilled to begin this new venture as movement coach and company member of NEW DAWN Theatre.
2016-17 McKnight Theater Artist Fellowship Award Winner 2016, critically acclaimed actress & vocalist. Thomasina Petrus has recently enjoyed a wildly successful run of Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill at the JUNGLE THEATER, channeling legend, Billy Holiday. Her stage credits include Black Nativity, Diva Daughters Dupree, Ain't Misbehavin' and Amen Corner with PENUMBRA THEATRE, Constant Star, Gee's Bend and To Kill a Mockingbird with PARK SQUARE THEATRE, Daughters of Africa, Two Queens One Castle and Point of Review with MIXED BLOOD, Amen Corner, Caroline or Change with GUTHRIE THEATRE. Thomasina has also given outstanding performances on the stages of TEN THOUSAND THINGS THEATER, ORDWAY MUSIC THEATER, THEATER LATTE DA, CHANHASSEN DINNER THEATRE, CAPRU THEATER and OLD ARIZONA THEATER. She has had the pleasure of working with many local and National celebrities like James "Cornbread" Harris, Sr., Jevetta Steele, Stokley, Sanford Moore, Regina Williams, Austene Van, Aimee Bryant, Greta Oglesby, T. Mycheal Rambo, Lou Bellamy, Lewis Whitlock, Marion McClinton, Dennis Spears and Prince. Her tribute CD "If Only...Billie Unsung" continues to sell locally and worldwide. Her Christmas CD "The Perfect Gift...Songs" was also a local best seller in the Twin Cities gift and coffee shops and now she has sweetened her repertoire with her latest addition to her trademarked production of THOMASINA'S CASHEW BRITTLE; THOMASINA'S APPLE BRITTLE! She continues to perform live throughout the Twin Cities in local theatres and jazz venues and is looking forward to a new Holiday concert production of Thomasina's Hot Chocolate. Please visit Thomasina Production or Thomasina's Cashew Brittle.
Awarded the August Wilson Fellowship to study Dramaturgy and Literary Criticism, Faye Price received her graduate degree from the University of Minnesota. Faye has served as the co-producer of PILLSBURY HOUSE THEATRE mainstage productions since 2000. As an actress, she most recently appeared in the PILLSBURY HOUSE THEATRE productions of The Story, Bel Canto, Boesman and Lena and served as co-director of Mr. Bundy. Faye has also worked extensively at the GUTHRIE THEATER, PENUMBRA THEATRE, MIXED BLOOD THEATER, and ILLUSION THEATER. Nationally, some of the many stages on which Faye has appeared include: CIRCLE IN THE SQUARE in NYC, CENTER SATGE in Baltimore, and the OREGON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL. Faye is an alumnus of the Salzburg Seminar. She has also served as a panelist for the McKnight Fellowships for Theater Artists and as a literary reviewer for the NEA/TCG Theater Residency Program for Playwrights in 1997. From 1995 through 1999, she served as dramaturg for the GUTHRIE THEATER working on over a dozen productions including Crowns directed by Tim Bond, Summer and Smoke directed by David Esbjornson, The Magic Fire directed by Libby Appel, and Thunder Knocking on the Door directed by Marion McClinton.
T. Mychael Rambo is a regional Emmy Award winning actor, vocalist, arts educator, and community organizer. He has made an indelible mark here in the Twin Cities performing principle roles at such theaters as: PENUMBRA THEATRE, GUTHRIE THEATER, ORDWAY MUSIC THEATER, ILLUSION THEATER, MIXED BLOOD, PARK SQUARE THEATRE, TEN THOUSAND THINGS THEATER, THEATER LATTE DA and MINNESOTA OPERA to name but a few. Nationally and internationally his stage credits include CARNEGIE HALL and performances abroad in Africa, Europe and South America. He has appeared in local and national television commercials, feature films (including: The Cure, Justice, Crossing the Bridge, Wooley Boys, HBO mini-series (Laurel Avenue, Equinox), and other television programming. T. Mychael is an accomplished residency artist (COMPAS, Young Audiences, MN State Arts Board, VocalEssence)and an affiliate professor in the College of Liberal Arts, Theatre Arts and Dance at the University of Minnesota. As a recording artist, T. Mychael has released two popular CDs: "Simply" - a collection of jazz standards - and "The Gift; A Christmas with Love" - a selection of original and holiday classics. T. Mychael had the great honor of singing the National Anthem for both President Barak Obama and President Jimmy Carter. Mr. Rambo is also the proud recipient of the 2010 Sally Award in Arts Education - presented by the ORDWAY MUSIC THEATER and the 201 Minnesota Black Music Award. His other honors and awards include Young Audience Art of the Year, McKnight Theatre Artist Fellowship, Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Fellowship, Bush Finalist and both the University of Minnesota Century Council Community Award and Outstanding Community Service Award among others.
Salima Seale is a Stage Manager based in the Twin cities. Her focus is in working with young people and developing new works. Her goal is to create and support environments where creation thrives. Over the past four years that intention has led her to Stage Manage with Penumbra Summer Institute, Mill City Youth players at the GUTHRIE THEATER, TruRoots, and OPEN EYE FIGURE THEATRE. She also served as Assistant Director for MAKING WAVES SOCIAL JUSTICE THEATRE TROUPE. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Theater Arts from Macalester College.
Andre Shoals, native of St. Paul has been performing professionally for over 30 years. He began his career as a dancer graduating from St. Paul Central where he studied under Lewis Whitlock III before joining the scholarship program at the Alvin Ailey School of American Dance. He has worked with such companies as Zenon Dance Company, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane & Co., Jane Comfort Dance Co., Susan Marshall & Co., Doug Elkins Dance, independent choreographers, Sarah Skaggs and Jamie Ortega. While in NYC he also performed with Joey Arias & Raven Oh in the now defunct jazz cabaret show, Strange Fruit and toured with Cirque du Soleil's production of Alegria. While living in Boston he co-founded the fringe theater company, The Gold Dust Orphans, where he was a principal actor for 12 years before returning to Minnesota to continue his career in acting and musical theater. Since returning to Minnesota he has worked with PARK SQUARE THEATRE, CHANHASSAN DINNER THEATRES, CARDINAL THEATRICALS, CHILDREN'S THEATER COMPANY, and THEATER LATTE DA. Andre is also an evaluator for the Hennepin Theater Trusts "Triple Threat" Spotlight Showcase and is a mentor for their "Legacy Project," a mentorship program for a diverse group of Spotlight Education students to discuss and reflect on their own experiences as a part of our multicultural society.
2013-2014 McKnight Fellowship Award winner, IVEY Award recipient for GUTHRIE THEATER's Trouble in Mind and Woodie Award nominee for Best Actor and Best Supporting actor for her multiple roles in both Spunk and Colored Museum at the ST. LOUIS BLACK REP. Austene Van has been a local and national theater professional for 30 years; acclaimed as a gifted, "quietly powerful" and "innovative" actor, director and choreographer. Inextricably woven into her artistic aesthetic is her deep passion to advocate for social justice, equity and equality, which is why Austene also enjoys her roles as an educator, administrator and community builder through varied disciplines of theater. Austene's stage credits include Familiar, Disgraced, Trouble in Mind, Amen Corner, Gem of the Ocean, Crowns and A Christmas Carol at the GUTHRIE THEATRE; Disgraced at MCCARTER/MILWAUKEE REPETORY THEATER; Wedding Band, The Owl Answers, Detroit '67, Spunk, Amen Corner, Blue, Ain't Misbehavin', Dinah Was, Blues for an Alabama Sky, Zooman and the Sign, Seven Guitars and Lost in The Stars at PENUMBRA THEATRE; the title role of Aida in Aida at THEATER LATTE DA at the PANTAGES; Radio Golf at IRT/CLEVELAND PLAYHOUSE; Blanche Dubois in A Street Car Named Desire; Henry IV and The Unsinkable Molly Brown at TEN THOUSAND THINGS THEATER; In The Next Room at the JUNGLE THEATRE; Might As Well Be Dead and To Kill a Mockingbird at PARK SQUARE THEATRE; Shrek the Musical, Once on this Island, Two African Tales, A Very Old Man and Not Without Laughter at CHILDREN'S THEATER COMPANY; A Christmas Story, Singing in the Rain and Dinah Was at THE ORDWAY MUSIC THEATER; Hair at CHANHASSEN DINNER THEATRE; Vices, Two Queens One Castle, Dance On Widows Row and Point of Review at MIXED BLOOD THEATER. Austene's directing credits include The Royale at YELLOW TREE THEATRE; Annie ( AWARDED BEST PLAY, City Pages Best of 2018) at ORDWAY MUSIC THEATER; Hot Mikado at SKYLIGHT MUSIC THEATRE; Intimate Apparel at TEN THOUSAND THINGS THEATER; Blues in the Night at MCKNIGHT THEATRE, THE ORDWAY; Gee's Bend, Hot Chocolate and Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill at PARK SQUARE THEATRE; Black Nativity, 2006-2008, at PENUMBRA THEATRE; Lonely Soldier Monologues and A Civil War Christmas at HISTORY THEATRE; Ain't Misbehavin' at the CAPRI THEATRE; Six Degrees of Separation at THEATRE IN THE ROUND; Joan; Voices in the Fire for the GUTHRIE THEATER EXPERIENCE at RARIG.
Regina Williams is a two-time recipient of the McKnight Theater Artist Fellowship at the Playwrights' Center, a Helen Hayes Nominee for her supporting role in Redshirts at ROUND HOUSE THEATER, and received an IVEY Award for her "fiercely powerful" portrayal of Mama Nadi in MIXED BLOOD THEATER'S production of Ruined. MPLS St Paul Magazine proclaimed her Artful Diva 2011, Minneapolis City Pages, Best Actress 2016, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune have titled her both Best Dramatic Actress and "Artist of the Year Honorable Mention" (Prince was Artist of the year). Critics say she is a "consummate actress who appears capable of assuming any identity..." that "Williams fills a character with a fierce authenticity... " she "shines," is "...luminous." Her acting credits include performances at PENUMBRA THEATRE where she has been a long-time company member, TEN THOUSAND THINGS THEATER, GUTHRIE THEATER, PILLSBURY HOUSE THEATRE, MILWAUKEE REP., SRYACUSE STAGES, PARK SQUARE THEATRE, ORDWAY MUSIC THEATER, CHANHASSEN DINNER THEATRE, and CHILDREN'S THEATRE COMPANY. Ms. Williams is a former member of the Grammy Award-winning Sounds of Blackness, a regular performer at the world-renowned Dakota Jazz Club, has performed at Crooners Supper Club, and released three solo CDs. Some of her most rewarding work is as a TEN THOUSAND THINGS THEATER Core Member, teaching at Penumbra Institute, and as participant of Artist 2 Artist mentorship program. She is based in Minneapolis. Visit Regina Marie Williams' website.
Harry Waters, Jr. created the role of Belize in the first production of Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes in 1991. He is known for his portrayal of Marvin Berry in Back to the Future I and II. TV and film credits include numerous television guest-starring roles. Mr. Waters received his MFA in Directing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has worked as an actor across the country. In the Twin Cities, he has appeared at GUTHRIE THEATER, PENUMBRA THEATRE, MIXED BLOOD, TEN THOUSAND THINGS THEATER, PANGEA WORLD THEATER and PARK SQUARE THEATRE, PILLSBURY HOUSE THEATRE, and DARK & STORMY PRODUCTIONS. He is a Professor in the Theatre and Dance Department at Macalester College, where he has directed productions of Runaway, Proof, Angels in America: Part I: Millennium Approaches, The Colored Museum, Tartuffe, Cabaret, The Laramie Project, student devised piece HIP HOP HOPES, In the Blood, The Cradle Will Rock, "green: an elegy to summer" and Urinetown. Recently he directed Bulrusher at Sonoma State University and Fences at NEVADA CONSERVATORY THEATRE. In the summer of 2018, he co-taught American Acting Scene Work Intensive at München Film Akademie in Munich, Germany with German film students who wanted to address their stage skills.
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