Pearl Cleage (Playwright)
Pearl Cleage is an Atlanta based writer, currently Distinguished Artist in Residence at the Tony Award winning Alliance Theatre. Her new play Angry, Raucous, and Shamelessly Gorgeous, had its world premiere as a part of the theatre’s 50th anniversary season in 2019 and is scheduled for productions around the country when the theatres reopen next year. Her other plays premiered at the Alliance include Pointing at the Moon, What I Learned in Paris, Blues for an Alabama Sky, and Flyin’ West, the most produced new play in the country in 1994. Her play The Nacirema Society Requests the Honor of Your Presence at a Celebration of Their First One Hundred Years was commissioned by the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and co-produced with the Alliance in Montgomery and Atlanta in 2010. Her first play for young audiences, Tell Me My Dream, was commissioned and produced by the Alliance in 2015. Her book for children, In My Granny’s Garden, was co-authored with her husband, writer Zaron W. Burnett with illustrations by Radcliffe Bailey. Her first of 8 novels, What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day, was an Oprah Book Club pick and spent nine weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Her other novels include Baby Brother’s Blues, which received an NAACP Image Award for Literature, I Wish I Had A Red Dress, Babylon Sisters, and Things I Never Thought I’d Do. Her memoir,Things I Should Have Told My Daughter: Lies, Lessons and Love Affairs, was published by Simon and Schuster/ATRIA Books in April, 2014.
Camille A. Brown (Director)
Brown is a prolific Black female choreographer, who is reclaiming the cultural narratives of African American identity. She is a 2020 Dance Magazine Award recipient and 2020 Obie Award Winner for Sustained Excellence in Choreography. She is a Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellow, Audelco Award recipient, five-time Princess Grace Award winner, Guggenheim Fellow, Jacob's Pillow Dance Award recipient, United States Artists' Awardee/Jay Franke & David Herro Fellow, TED Fellow, and Doris Duke Artist Award recipient. Her Bessie award winning company, Camille A. Brown & Dancers (CABD), tours nationally and internationally and is featured on Google Arts & Culture. As a 2020 Emerson Collective Fellow, Ms. Brown is building the "Social Dance for Social Change" virtual School to provide opportunities for dance education, cultural engagement, and mentorship during the pandemic and beyond. Broadway and Off-Broadway theater & television credits include: Tarell Alvin McCraney's Choir Boy (Tony and Drama Desk nominations), Tony Award-Winning Broadway revival, Once On This Island (Drama Desk, Outer Critics, and Chita Rivera Nominations), Toni Stone (Drama Desk, Lortel nominee, Audelco nominee), Emmy Award- Winning Jesus Christ Superstar Live on NBC, BELLA: An American Tall Tale (Lortel, Audelco winner), Much Ado About Nothing (Audelco winner, SDCF finalist) for Shakespeare in the Park, among others
Debbie Allen (Betty)
Allen is best known for her work in the musical-drama television series Fame (1982-1987), where she portrayed dance teacher Lydia Grant, and served as the series' principal choreographer. For this role in 1983 she received Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Television Series Musical or Comedy and two Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography and was nominated for an four Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Allen later began working as director and producer, most notable producing and directing 83 of 144 episodes of NBC comedy series A Different World (1988-1993). She returned to acting playing the leading role in the NBC sitcom In the House from 1995 to 1996, and in 2011 began playing Dr. Catherine Fox in the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy also served as an executive producer/director. She directed more than 50 television and film productions.
Phylicia Rashad (Anna)
Phylicia Rashad is an accomplished actor and stage director. Known for her role Claire Huxtable on "The Cosby Show," Rashad has appeared on "This Is Us" (2019 Emmy nomination), "Empire," and "David Makes Man." Her long list of stage credits, both on and Off-Broadway, include several musicals such as "Jelly's Last Jam," "Into the Woods," "Dreamgirls," and "The Wiz." She was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame and received the 2016 Lucille Lortel Award for for her performance in Tarell Alvin McCraney's "Head of Passes" at The Public Theater, a role she reprised at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Rashad performed in "Richard II," the 2020 Shakespeare on the Radio collaboration between The Public Theater and WNYC. On Broadway, Ms. Rashad has performed in "August Osage County," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (a role she reprised on the London stage), "Gem Of The Ocean" (Tony nomination), and "Cymbeline." She received both the Drama Desk and the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance in the 2004 Broadway revival of "A Raisin In The Sun."
Heather Alicia Simms (Kate)
Heather’s Broadway credits include Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, A Raisin in the Sun, and Gem of the Ocean. Other credits include Born Bad, The Exonerated and Insurrection: Holding History. Her film credits include Red Hook Summer, The Nanny Diaries, Broken Flowers, and the upcoming Roxanne, Roxanne. Her television credits include Law and Order, Whoopi, and The Good Wife. She received an Audie award for her work on the audiobook Upstate, and the prestigious TCG/Fox Foundation Fellowship.
Alicia Stith (Pete)
Alicia Stith is a fierce actress born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She is a graduate of the drama program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she received foundational training in the Meisner technique. Alicia has had the privilege of playing characters ranging from Yvonne Wilson in Tracey Scott Wilson’s The Story, to Shakespeare’s Boyet, to real-life Ethiopian Empress, Taytu Betul. Alicia is a very passionate young lady, driven by her love for God, herself, her family, and the world around her. She has a deep belief that behind every living being is a deep and complex story that has shaped who they are and the ways in which they interact with the world around them. She therefore believes that if we all took the time to understand one another’s complexities, the world would grow much more patient and empathetic. Alicia’s deepest desire as an actor is to take on characters whose complexities are often overlooked by the world at large, and embody them in such a way that their humanity cannot be ignored.