L. Peter Callender
L. Peter Callender is the Artistic Director of African-American Shakespeare Company and Associate Artist at California Shakespeare Theater. He has appeared in many productions at CalShakes over the years including Julius Caesar, Nicolas Nickleby, Richard II, Man and Superman, The Importance of Being Earnest, Winter’s Tale, SPUNK, Romeo and Juliet and many, many others. He’s also appeared at Marin Theatre Company (Whipping Man, My Children! My Africa!, Swimmers, The Convert, Seven Guitars); at Aurora Company (Permanent Collection, Breakfast with Mugabe); American Conservatory Theater (The Tempest, Streetcar Named Desire, Tartuffe) and several other local theaters. Callender also appeared on Broadway (Prelude to a Kiss), teaches at Stanford University (Acting Shakespeare and Fundamentals of Directing), directs (American Stage Company, Aurora Theater, AASC), is a private acting coach, and an especially proud Dad of Brandon Callender. www.LPeterCallender.com
Rodney Earl Jackson, Jr.
Rodney Earl Jackson, Jr. made his Broadway debut in The Book of Mormon after graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama and was last seen traveling North America in the first national tour of Motown: The Musical. A San Francisco native who was discovered in his public elementary school at age nine by SFartsEd (Emily Keeler and Danny Duncan). Mr. Jackson, Jr. continued his theatre and performance education at San Francisco Recreation and Park’s Young People’s Teen Musical Theater Company (Diane Price, Anne Marie Bookwalter, and Nicola Bosco-Alvarez); and graduated from the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts’ theatre department (Phillip Rayher). He is now the Artistic Director and co-founder of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company, a non-profit arts organization comprised of San Francisco natives who support artists in all performing arts areas with productions, creative development, mentorship, and engaging a new generation of live theater supporters; bridging the gap between youth and professional theatre. SFBATCO.org Twitter: @RodneyEJacksonJ Instagram: @rodneyearljacksonjr
Marcelo Pereira is the co-founder of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company (SFBATCO). Mr. Pereira has helped produce two off-Broadway shows, The Black Book by Phil Blechman, and rogerandtom by Julien Schwab. Recent acting credits include Theatreworks USA: Skippyjon Jones; Syracuse Stage: Rent; Syracuse University Drama: A New Brain; and Bathwater Productions: A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Directing credits include New York Public Library: Celebrate 12th Night Joyfully with Kathryn Crosby at Lincoln Center; Community Music Center: La Posarela!; Marsh Youth Theatre: Too Many Tamales; and Black Box Players: The Complete History of America [Abridged]. To learn more about the ambitious community work SFBATCO produces, visit SFBATCO.org.
Amanda Christine Ajisebutu
Amanda Christine Ajisebutu, a San Francisco native, graduated from Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA) in San Francisco, where she studied voice (classical, jazz, opera, etc.) Ms. Ajisebutu graduated in 2005 and moved to Los Angeles, where she studied fashion design and began working as a fashion designer/stylist, specializing in women, men, and children highend clothing for both celebrities and fashionistas. Ms. Ajisebutu launched her clothing line “Aji by Amanda Christine” in 2008 and was offered many opportunities in Los Angeles, New York, and internationally. She is currently combining her talents in fashion, art, and music as she works on her debut album Soundwaves, set to be released Spring 2017. Ms. Ajisebutu is grateful for the opportunity to work with the African-American Shakespeare Company and very honored to be selected by her former SOTA classmates (Rodney Earl Jackson, Jr. and Marcelo Pereira) to take on this role. She believes that, “art imitates life, life imitates art. Expect the unexpected.”
Brittany Boutte grew up in the vibrant and electric San Francisco Bay Area. Since a young child she has always loved acting and performing with her childhood friends, creating scenes and acting them out with her best friend at the young age of 6 years old. Ms. Boutte continued acting throughout her childhood and attended Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts Theatre department. It was in high school Ms. Boutte confirmed she would like to pursue acting as a career. Since high school, Ms. Boutte has been a part of College of Marin’s production of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and has taken several acting and improv classes in the Bay Area. Ms. Boutte took a few years off to work and start a family, and she is thrilled to be playing the Fairy Godmother in her first production in over five years. This is just the beginning for Brittany Boutte and she is excited to see what’s to come.
Gabrielle Bracy was born in Berkeley, California. Miss Bracy has been singing and dancing since the age of four, and has won several awards. Miss Bracy added acting to her repertoire at age six when she began theater classes. Currently Miss Bracy trains with Traci De Leon for vocals; and Sara Sanderson for acting. She has big dreams and wants to attend an art academy program before starting a career in film and theater. This is the second time Miss Bracy has appeared with African-American Shakespeare Company and she is thrilled to work with the company again.
L. Peter Callender
L. Peter Callender, Artistic Director of African-American Shakespeare Company, has directed three of August Wilson’s plays (Fences at Harbor Theater in Fairfield, California and Jitney and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at American Stage Company in St. Petersburg, Florida). He has acted in King Hedley II (Hedley), Seven Guitars (Red Carter), Radio Golf (Sterling) and, now as Becker in Jitney. Callender’s other directing credits include: Safe House at Aurora Theatre Company in Berkeley, “We Are Proud To Present…” at San Jose Stage and several productions at African-American Shakespeare Company. His extensive bio, photo gallery, coaching opportunities and upcoming productions can be seen on his site at www.LPeterCallender.com
Trenia Dunbar is a San Francisco native who began performing on stage at the age of five in ballet recitals and school performances. She is so thrilled to make her African-American Shakespeare Company debut as Young Cinderella. Miss Dunbar enjoys acting and has wowed several talent agencies and someday aspires to make it big in everything from TV shows to Broadway. Miss Dunbar thanks her parents for all the love and support they constantly give her. None of this would have been possible without their encouragement! Enjoy the show and live your dreams.
Edward Neville Ewell
Edward Neville Ewell is an actor from Detroit, Michigan and is honored to work with African-American Shakespeare Company for the second time. After graduating from Yale University, Ewell moved to Oakland and studied acting at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Shelton Studios, and the Phoenix Theatre. Last year, he understudied with Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Head of Passes. This past spring, Ewell was the ensemble in Antony and Cleopatra at African-American Shakespeare Company. In the fall, he performed in We Are Proud to Present… at San Jose Stage, and he was most recently seen in TheatreFirst’s VS. Ewell also has a passion for education; he served as an elementary teacher for three years and currently works as a private tutor.
Stephen Benjamin Fambro
Stephen Benjamin Fambro is excited to be in his first production with the African-American Shakespeare Company. Mr. Fambro began dancing at Santa Barbara City College and graduated with a degree in choreography and production from San Francisco State University in 2013. Trained in classical ballet, he has danced in various theater shows around the Bay Area. Mr. Fambro currently is dancing with Blue Scorpion Dance Theater and hopes one day to dance with San Francisco Opera and eventually with New York City Ballet.
Carlos Guerrero Is making his African-American Shakespeare Company debut with Cinderella. He was recently seen in Ray of Lights Theatre Company production of Rocky Horror. Credits includes: Broadway Bares SF: Tech Tails, On Broadway, Broadway Song & Dance, Chicago, Funky Town, Wicked Games: TILT Shift Dance Company, Missionary Man: Alfonzo King Lines Ballet. Mr. Guerrero studies Dance Theatre Production at City College of San Francisco and teaches dance and color guard at Archbishop Riordan High School. He hopes you enjoy the show!
Adella Hand is a 10 year old Bay Area native who has dreamed of acting since she was a toddler, and is excited to be working in a show she has admired for most of her life. When Miss Hand entered elementary school she participated in school plays, memorizing not only her part, but nearly the entire script. With this experience came an even greater passion for theater and an opportunity to study the fundamentals of acting through the San Francisco Recreation and Park’s course, So You Think You Can Act? Miss Hand went on to appear in the Harvey Milk Center for the Arts Junior Acting Troupe’s production of Animal Farm by George Orwell. In addition to theater, Miss Hand performs dance, loves to sing, as well as design and model fashion. She would like to give a special thank you to her parents and sister for all of their support.
Gift Harris has worked on stage at many Bay Area theaters including the Lorraine Hansberry, Marin Theater Company, and Berkeley Repertory’s school touring company. Harris’ stage credits include Fences, Master Harold…and the Boys, and Miss Julie. Harris also toured around the country with the New Shakespeare Company performing As You Like It and A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Harris has performed with the African-American Shakespeare Company one other time in the production of Romeo and Juliet. Harris’ television and screen credits include Weeds, Midnight Caller, and he most recently starred in an episode of Discovery ID’s “Cuff Me If You Can”. Harris appreciates the opportunity to work again with AASC and the chance to work with the talented cast, director and crew of this show. Harris thanks God for the opportunity to share his talent; and also thanks his wife Candy, his mother and family for their support.
Jeffrey May Hyche
Born and raised in the Bayview District of San Francisco, Jeffrey May Hyche is honored to make his African-American Shakespeare Company debut in Cinderella. Mr. Hyche began his musical theater journey with the San Francisco Arts Education Project and is an alumnus of the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts. Mr. Hyche was last seen as the trombone-playing Mayor of Whoville and Wickersham Brother in Seussical! at Freight and Salvage with the Bay Area Children’s Theatre. Favorite credits include Artists Giving Back Chicago: Rent (Angel Dumott Schunard); Berkeley Playhouse: The Little Mermaid (Ray Ray); and Marin Summer Theater: In the Heights (Benny). Peace, love, and laughter. God bless!
Jemier Jenkins is a writer and actress from St. Petersburg, Florida, and is thrilled to be working with African-American Shakespeare Company! She is an alumna of Florida State University and is currently an MBA candidate at Syracuse University. When she is off stage, you can catch her on @IME_TV’s original series Spiked Lemonade or teaching acting workshops at Campbell Park Community Church. New York credits include: Sonnet 128 (Sonnet Project NYC); Sex Relationships & Sometimes Love (The Producers Club); Outcasts (The Actor’s Project NYC); Where Are All The Good Black Men (Afrikan Love Company); Love Questionmark (Boxed Out Productions). Regional Credit: Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Molly, American Stage). Jenkins studied acting at William Esper Studio in NYC, is a Manhattan Monologue Slam champion, & proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She would like to thank L. Peter Callender, African-American Shakespeare Company, her mother, family, sorority sisters, and friends for their prayers, love, and support. You can follow her on social media @JemierBriel and www.JemierJenkins.com.
Trevor Nigel Lawrence
Trevor Nigel Lawrence was born in Guyana, South America and moved to America at age 14. It was not long before he gained an appreciation for the arts, but did not start his career on stage until eight years ago, when he attended the Summer Training Congress at American Conservatory Theatre (A.C.T.) in San Francisco. Since graduating from A.C.T., he has appeared in August Wilson plays Gem of the Ocean, Jitney and Two Trains Running, as well as 12 Angry Men and Emperor Jones. Additionally, Lawrence was a narrator on the award-winning Slave Narratives in conjunction with the Museum of African Diaspora.
Paige Mayes from Denver, Colorado, is an artist in every sense of the word. Ms. Mayes is a singer, dancer, and actress who has wanted to be an entertainer since childhood. She spent her time perfecting her crafts and decided to pursue performance as a career. Ms. Mayes earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and Theater from Arizona State University, specializing in modern, jazz, and ballet technique. She has been involved in campus and community productions and is interested in television/film. Vocally, Ms. Mayes has performed in numerous local talent showcases and resorts, as well as with the sassy female vocal group, Hot Birds. She participated in the American Conservatory Theater for the Summer Training Congress in 2014. Ms. Mayes recently moved to the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the community while finding many ways to share her gifts and make people happy!
Since she began acting a year ago, Erika Morris has performed in Crack. Rumble. Fly, A Little Piece of God, The Hysterical History of Trojan Horse, and Overtones. Miss Morris is now studying with Mary L. Booker and Infinity Productions. Miss Morris would like to become an actress and go to Mercy Burlingame High School to further her education.
Sutchat Mosley-Wise began performing at the age of three; Carla Service and Dance-A-Vision were her first teachers. Miss Mosley-Wise currently is a member of Jr. Girl Brigade at Dance Mission.
Sumayyah Nuriddin-Green is a Bay Area native with talents in acting, dancing, and singing. Miss Nuriddin-Green first appeared as Louis the Alligator in Princess and the Frog at Kids in Dance at the age of 4. She is best known for her role as an orphan in Annie! The Reality Show, a Lyric Performing Arts Academy Production. Miss Nuriddin-Green also enjoys playing golf, meeting with her book club, and has recently begun learning French.
Fred Pitts is excited to return to the African-American Shakespeare Company where he was last seen as Marc Antony/Soothsayer in Julius Caesar. He is a member of Custom Made Theater Company in San Francisco and has worked with several theater companies throughout the Bay Area including Contra Costa Civic, Altarena Playhouse, Berkeley Rep, Hillbarn, Palo Alto Players, Pear Theater, and Dragon Productions. Pitts has numerous film/TV/commercial credits. And the rumors are true—he is a doctor by day. Really. Much love NK!
Eric Reid is originally from Baltimore, MD and has been a Bay Area actor, director, and producer for over 14 years. Reid has recently played Lymon Jackson in Role Players Ensemble’s The Piano Lesson written by August Wilson; Sgt. Bakley in Southern Railroad Theater Company’s Taken; and Co-Directed On The Hill: I am Alex Nieto written by Paul S. Flores. Theatre Bay Area Awards nominated Reid for Outstanding Actor in 2015 for his role as Lee in Sam Shepard’s True West, which he also produced and is a 2016–2017 YBCA Equity cohort. Reid is also the Artistic Director for Theater MadCap, which he founded in 2012. Reid is thrilled to be working with the African-American Shakespeare Company for the first time and being directed by the very talented L. Peter Callender.
Mason J. Smith is an Afro-Xicano Activist, Quintuple Threat (voice, acting, dance, literary, and visual arts) and former SAG/AFTRA Youth Entertainer who was born, raised, and displaced in San Francisco. An alum of Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, Mr. Smith has received movement training in ballet, character, jazz, modern, and Afro-Latin dance as well as acting instruction in Shakespeare, improv, stage combat, voice over, theater, and television. Mr. Smith is elated to return to the stage after a decade-long hiatus during which he pursued a part time literary and playwriting career that led him to workshopping, and mentorship from Ishmael Reed, Michelle Tea, Octavio Solis, Taylor Mac, and Chinaka Hodge. Past productions include Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame Opening Ceremony 1992, God, Museum, Into the Woods, Cabaret, West Side Story, Barnum, The Glass Menagerie, Matty & Lenny at the edge of a Sunny Dawn, and WildcardxFaust.
Since elementary school, Jonathan Smothers has been engaged in the boundless art culture of the Bay Area, outward. Original productions, including a role as Prince Charming in Cinderella with African-American Shakespeare Company, and performances with Youth Entertainment Network (YEN), San Francisco State University, and Oakland Unified School District were spring boards of expression which fostered his love of theater and performing arts in general. With a B.A. in Communication with an emphasis in Performance, and many years singing, it’s truly an honor to have an opportunity to play Doub in August Wilson’s Jitney, a first for him. Smothers has worked in the role of Wilson’s Cory in the Tony award winning Fences among other roles, such as the Wiz and the Lion in The Wiz, the Ethiopian in Prometheus Theater Company production of The Ethiopian Tattoo Shop, Danny Zukko in Grease and even Jim in Big River.
Autumn Taylor is a San Francisco native who began dancing at the age of three and performed in her first production, Grease at the age of nine. She is a Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts alumna, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from San Jose State University in 2013. Ms. Taylor performed with contemporary modern company University Dance Theater for four years, under the direction of Gary Masters and Fred Matthew; and was featured in choreography by Heather Cooper, Holly Johnson, Kara Davis and Mike Esperanza to name a few; all of which were performed at the American College Dance Festival. Autumn Taylor began her own choreographic career in 2008, choreographing over 25 contemporary modern, musical theater, jazz and tap pieces and won the Martha Graham Choreographic Excellence Award in 2011 and 2012. In addition to her performance career, Ms. Taylor held the title Miss Black California Teen 2009 and Miss Black San Francisco 2014 & 2015.
Branden ‘Noel’ Thomas
Branden ‘Noel’ Thomas began singing in 11th grade after he was admitted into Oakland School for the Arts. He joined its award-winning Concert Choir and was later bass singer/award-winning choreographer of Vocal Rush, where he received vocal training. Mr. Thomas progressed as a vocalist in high school and started to perform in musical theater. Credits include: Avenue Q (Gary Coleman); Wish Upon A Star (Ursula); and Hairspray (Motormouth Maybelle). Mr. Thomas desires and hopes to become someone who touches people through his work, hopefully with a career in musical theater. He aspires to inspire.
Devary White, a San Francisco native, is nothing short of excited and humbled to be a part of this amazing production! He was most recently seen in That Jones Gal: The Story of Carmen as Dink, and Dreamgirls. Mr. White gives thanks to God for this gift and all of his family and friends for their unwavering and loving support! Instagram: @dev_the_coolest
Jacob Williams is a 16-year-old Dominican-American actor from the Bay Area. A junior at Oakland School for the Arts, Mr. Williams has studied and performed 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, Charlie 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’ interests include 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.
Samantha Rose Williams
Samantha Rose Williams is thrilled to be playing Cinderella. A native of Alexandria, Virginia, Ms. Williams is a senior at Stanford University earning a Bachelor of Arts in Music. Favorite roles include Stanford: Spring Awakening (Martha); The San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company and 4th Walrus Productions: Sweeney Todd (Mrs. Lovett); Broadway By the Bay: My Fair Lady (Eliza Doolittle).
Tabrela Wilson is a 25 year old San Francisco native who has been dancing since the age of 12. This is her first musical with the African-American Shakespeare Company and Ms. Wilson’s goal is to have a full-time career in dance. She attended Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts where she trained in ballet, jazz and modern dance. While attending San Francisco State University, Ms. Wilson joined a hip hop company called Mind Over Matter and was trained in hip hop with Allan Frias.
ShawnJ West returns after directing African-American Shakespeare Company’s 2015 production of Cinderella. Favorite roles include Sterling North in Permanent Collection with Piedmont Center for the Arts; Lady Percy in The Free Theatre’s Henry IV, Part I; Doaker in The Piano Lesson & George in Of Mice and Men with Role Players Ensemble Theatre; Buckingham in Richard III and Pandarus in Troilus and Cressida with Impact Theatre. Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing; Gooper in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; with African-American Shakespeare Company. As well as challenging roles as Belize in Angels in America; Perestroika, Gidger in The Violet Hour; Raul in Extremities; and Robert in The Exonerated. He’s also enjoyed roles on the musical side of theatre in Grease, Guys and Dolls, West Side Story and A Chorus Line. Here’s to the journey, live, learn & pass it on. Enjoy!!!
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