Monica Cappuccini has most recently performed with Palo Alto Players (Eurydice), Pear Avenue Theatre (Arcadia), Shotgun Players (The Coast of Utopia), African-American Shakespeare Company (Cinderella), Hillbarn Theatre (Master Class, Lettice & Lovage), Impact Theatre (The Play about the Naked Guy), CustomMade Theatre (The Diary of Ann Frank and Top Girls), Dragon Productions (Show People), City Lights Theatre Company (Equus), CalShakes (Romeo & Juliet understudy), and TheatreWorks (New Works Festival). Ms. Cappuccini is delighted to be returning to African-American Shakespeare Company.
Audreya DeShazier is elated and proud to join the African-American Shakespeare Company’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Ms. DeShazier lives in San Jose and attends DeAnza College where she is pursuing a degree in Theatre and Film. Ms. DeShazier has appeared in student-produced short films, stage productions, production of Fame, the Musical; and has interned with independent film production companies like BellHammer. Audreya DeShazier would like to thank her mother for always keeping faith, the directors for their time and consistent dedication, and her high school drama teacher Anna Woods, for inspiring her love of the theatre.
Kai Estrella Kowal is deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with African-American Shakespeare Company. Mr. Estrella Kowal has a deep passion for the performing arts. Previous acting roles include Bill in A Hairy Tale; Wise Prince Jason in Wooing Wed Widing Hood; and Henry the Cook in The Princess King. A 6th grader studying theater at Oakland School for the Arts, he also plays violin with the Holy Names University Preparatory Music Department and sings with the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir. When he is not studying, practicing his music, or rehearsing, his favorite past times include writing comic books, building Legos with his little sister, and relaxing with his family.
Justin Foster’s acting career began at Notre Dame de Namur University where he played Valentine in Twelfth Night; lead role in the production of Dracula as Johnathen Harker; and the role of Philinte in The Misanthrope. Professional theater credits include: Lysander in Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Company; and a number of roles with the Playwrights Foundation’s One Minute Play Festival. Mr. Foster is currently an undergraduate student at the University of San Francisco, studying Sociology and Theatre.
Gift Harris has worked on stage at many Bay Area theaters including the Lorraine Hansberry, Marin Theater Company, and Berkeley Rep’s school touring company. His stage credits include Fences, Master Harold… and the Boys, and Miss Julie. Mr. Harris has toured around the country with the New Shakespeare Company performing As You Like It and Midsummer Night’s Dream. He has also had the opportunity to perform a show with the Geese Theatre Company at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. Mr. Harris’s T V and screen credits include Weeds and Midnight Caller; and he most recently starred in an episode of Discovery ID’s Cuff Me If You Can. Mr. Harris has also worked at schools around the Bay Area as an Artist in The Schools, teaching acting and spoken word. Mr. Harris appreciates the opportunity to work with the African-American Shakespeare Company as well as the chance to work with the talented cast and crew of Romeo and Juliet. Mr. Harris likes to always thank God for the chance to share his talent, and his wife Candy for her support.
LeShawn Darnell Holcomb is a playwright, poet and performer living in Marin. Mr. Holcomb is excited about stepping into the role of Balthasaar with the African-American Shakespeare Company. He is currently a theater teacher at Creative Arts Charter School, and serves as an Education Advocate at The Hannah Project where he leads educational workshops, leadership trainings, and art explorations for middle and high school students of Marin City. He recently worked with Marin Theatre Company, leading theater workshops throughout Marin County. Prior to the Bay Area, Mr. Holcomb taught playwriting residencies throughout Kentucky and Northern Indiana School Districts with Actors Theatre of Louisville. In 2012, Mr. Holcomb graduated from California State University (Fullerton), with a Bachelor of Science in Human Services and Afro Ethnic Studies. Mr. Holcomb’s plays have been produced and performed at theaters in California, New York, Washington D.C., Arizona, Utah and Michigan. Mr. Holcomb wishes to continue writing for the stage: more specifically, he wishes to continue creating theater with youth, where he gets the opportunity to foster and nurture young new voices.
Chance Howard is passionate about opening up to a whole new understanding of acting and the responsibilities that come with it. Because at the end of the day, the reality is the understanding of the acting world. Mr. Howard has taken the first step and enrolled in Academy of Art University which prides itself on being the vanguard of innovation and creativity and will help hone his skills. Mr. Howard has performed as an extra in movies and in a TV series. Because of his early training in taekwondo and traveling all over the world with military parents, Mr. Howard has gained the discipline that allows him to focus more, read more, learn more, practice more, and train more into becoming the actor he needs to be. Chance Howard envisions himself as an actor and director. Mr. Howard desires to be a well-known and respected actor, director, model and to capture the hearts of millions.
David McKneely is a poet, model, and actor originally from Oakland, CA, and finds it a great experience to be working with the African-American Shakespeare Company. Mr. McKneely started off his acting career as a young apprentice at A.C.T., where he was taught the basics of finding your inner character and how to playwright. Mr. McKneely also co-starred in a short film titled A Long Walk Home. When he is not performing on the stage, Mr. McKneely works on his physique because he feels that the body and mind work as one and both need to be healthy to produce at full potential. David McKneely will next be starring in Daddy Issues, a short film he is currently working on.
Jazara Metcalf is a San Francisco native and renaissance young woman who possesses an unquenchable passion for life and is very excited to be working again with African-American Shakespeare Company. Ms. Metcalf has been a company actor for 10 years and has performed in such works as A Comedy of Error, nine seasons of Cinderella, and Much Ado About Nothing. Ms. Metcalf has also appeared in numerous school productions and most recently was seen in the production of Dracula Rides Again and The Lottery. Ms. Metcalf is a National Honors Society member who attends St. Ignatius College Preparatory High School where she has maintained a high GPA. Ms. Metcalf is a successful competitive tap and ballet dancer who has trained with Westlake School for the Performing Arts and ODC. Jazara Metcalf also enjoys playing the piano, basketball, soccer, ice skating, swimming, and sharing a good laugh with her friends. Jazara Metcalf would like to thank the AASC for believing in her dream, the audience for making the dream a reality, her Mom and Dad for their unconditional love and support, and God for all her blessings!
Steve Ortiz is a San Francisco actor, and is very excited to be back working with the African-American Shakespeare Company! Mr. Ortiz received a BA in theater from SFSU and attended the BADA Graduate program in London. Mr. Ortiz has worked with the Asian American Theater Company, Thick Description, Luminarias, Darvag Theater, Teatros de la Esperanza, Campesino, Sabor and Vagon, and the San Francisco City Theatre Company for whom he just completed a successful run as George in their production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf directed by David Acevedo. Mr. Ortiz wants to give a shout out to Each One Reach One whose outreach program brings the skills of playwriting to at risk youth in the Bay Area’s detention centers.
Singer, actor, and dancer: the 15 year old Wilgens Pierre has almost done it all. Participating in California Shakespeare Conservatory since he was 7, Mr. Pierre’s roles have included the title role in Macbeth; Sebastian in Twelfth Night; Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet; Benedick in Much Ado about Nothing; and Lysander in Midsummer Night’s Dream. Mr. Pierre studies theater at Oakland School for the Arts where he played Asagai in Raisin in the Sun. Mr. Pierre has trained as a dancer and has participated in the Alvin Ailey summer program at U.C. Berkeley. Born in Port-au- Prince, Haiti, Mr. Pierre speaks French and has lived in Oakland since 2002. Wilgens Pierre is very honored to be part of the African-American Shakespeare Company, and to be taught by L. Peter Callender, Rhodessa Jones, and Sherri Young. Last season, Mr. Pierre was the understudy for Caliban in The Tempest, a member of the ensemble cast of Cinderella, and Chocolate Boy in Xtigone.
Atiana Gabriella Skokan is an actress, musician, composer and singer from San Francisco, and is very excited to be working with the African-American Shakespeare Company! A freshman at the International High School in San Francisco, Miss Skokan has studied acting at the African-American Shakespeare Company, the Westlake School for the Performing Arts (WSPA) and at the French American International School (FAIS). Miss Skokan also plays the piano and has studied Jazz music at the Jazz School at the California Jazz Conservatory. Miss Skokan has performed in the WSPA adaptation of the Lion King—“Hakuna Matata”—and the FAIS presentation of Liberté Ou la Mort (Freedom or Death). Miss Skokan has a passion for the arts, plays tennis, and enjoys volunteering at the San Francisco Public Library. Last year, Miss Skokan along with her Spanish class at FAIS traveled to Guatemala to experience the culture and raise money for school supplies for Guatemalan children. Miss Skokan speaks French, English, and is learning to speak Spanish. Through her love of acting and music, she hopes to spread happiness and joy to the world!
Brittany Sims is an actress, singer, a native of the Bay Area from San Leandro, CA, and is very excited to be working with the African-American Shakespeare Company! Growing up, Ms. Sims was a member of the Oakland Interfaith Youth Gospel Choir and performed with them in Vancouver, Canada. Ms. Sims studied and received her B.A. in Theater Arts from Sacramento State University (CSUS) and performed in The Vagina Monologues, North Star, You Can’t Take It with You, The Wiz, and numerous performances with Sons & Ancestors Players. After four years, Ms. Sims is finally doing what she loves to do, be back on stage! Ms. Sims recently worked with All Terrain Theater and Don’t Trip Productions. Ms. Sims would like to thank her family for all their love and support, especially her mom who has always told her to never stop reaching for your dreams.
Fenyang A. Smith is an Actor and Musician from Richmond, CA. Mr. Smith got his start acting in and writing music for plays while a student at Marin Academy in San Rafael. At eighteen, he got his first professional position as the Lead Composer and Sound Designer for Phantom Theatre’s summer 2008 production of Italo Calvino’s The Baron in the Trees in Warren, VT. During his time at the University of California: Santa Cruz, he began studying and acting in Japanese language Kyogen and Manzai theatre productions. Fenyang is passionate about the world of the theatre and is incredibly excited to be working as a part of the African-American Shakespeare Company.
Thomas Times is extremely proud and honored to be a part of this production. A singer and actor, Mr. Times is a recent graduate of LIU (Long Island University) Post. where he graduated with a BFA in Acting. Some of Mr. Times’s most recent credits include: Julius Ceasar in Julius Ceasar; and performing as Plaid Cranston in the stage debut of The Walls. Although New York is where Mr. Times received a great deal of his acting training, he is thrilled to return home to the Bay Area and perform with this company for the first time. Mr. Times would like to thank God, for always being the guiding force in his life; his mom and family for always supporting him; and his friends for keeping him level-headed and down to earth, and always providing him with a much needed laugh.
KT MASALA is proud to be in her second production with African-American Shakespeare Company, where she first appeared as Gonzalo in The Tempest. She is a 2008 ELLY Nominated Supporting Actress in The Amen Corner, and 2005 ELLY Award Winner for costume design of Lady Blue in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. Along with For Colored Girls, Ms. Masala has been featured in several other productions with Celebration Arts Theater including In The Red And Brown Water, The Bluest Eye, Steel Magnolias, Neat, and A Raisin In The Sun. Ms. Masala debuted as an assistant director in Permanent Collection, and has stage-managed, performed lights and sound production in several productions as well. Ms. Masala performed in several California Musical Theater Martin Luther King Theater Projects: her favorite role was Mona Rae St. Clair in the 2003 MLK Project, Keeping the Dream Alive. A founding company member of Images Theatre Company, Ms. Masala has per formed with them in Wings of Freedom, Freedom, and Everyday People. She holds a Masters degree in Educational Counseling, and is founder of Will Succeed Mentor Services, and The Audition. In addition, Ms. Masala is a co-founder of Exodus Culture Arts & Film, and a proud board member of Celebration Arts in Sacramento, California.
Jacob Williams is a 15-year old Dominican-American actor from the Bay Area, who is very excited and honored to be working with the African-American Shakespeare Company. A sophomore at Oakland School for the Arts, Mr. Williams has studied and per formed theater since first grade at Isla Vista Elementary School in Santa Barbara. After being cast in numerous school-related and non school-related productions such as Archangels Don’t Play Pinball by Dario Fo, Charley and the Chocolate Factory (adapted for the stage) by Richard R. George, and The Dresser by Julia Franks, Mr. Williams took on stage managing for multiple plays at Oakland School for the Arts, and Broadway West Theatre Company in Fremont. Mr. Williams also has a diverse range of interest such as environmental activism; community leadership; and community service, especially with the Black Star Organization branch “Uhuru Foods”, which is dedicated to creating an independent economy for Africa. Some of his hobbies include instrumental music (piano, guitar, organ, ukulele, banjo, drums,), sports (volleyball, baseball, soccer, lacrosse), and photography.
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