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
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.
Jazz Hardrict is a six-year-old first grade student who dreams of be-ing a singer, dancer, and actress. She loves the stage and is very excited about performing for the African-American Shakespeare Company for the first time. Miss Hardrict is a member of the Imani Kids for Christ Choir as well as the children’s praise dance team, Imani Ya Watini’s. She studies ballet, piano, and African dance and has performed at Ile Omode for the past two years. Miss Hardrict made her acting debut on stage at 3½ in Rent as a New York child; a French daughter in Funny Face at the age of 4; a Little Magic in Dreamgirls at the age of 5; and most recently a street urchin and the monkey in Aladdin this spring.
Bryce Harper is eleven-years-old and has been in stage productions since he was six. His first performance was Aladdin with the Solano Youth Theatre, and since then, he has been in many productions with the Curtain Call Youth and Kids Program in Vallejo, California. During the school year, he attends Oakland School for the Arts in Oakland, California. With an emphasis in Theatre, he is truly excited to be able to expand his artistic abilities through rigorous theatre courses five days a week. One day he hopes to be a famous actor, a part-time chef, and give back to his community.
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.
Shani Marie Harris-Bagwell
Shani Marie Harris-Bagwell is a native of San Francisco. Ms. Harris-Bagwell received her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance with an emphasis in Musical Theater from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She has performed with the Momma Drama Presents, AlterTheater, the Contra Costa Civic Theater, and the Douglas Morrison Theater. She currently sings Alto with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. Ms. Harris-Bagwell is excited to be returning to the African-American Shakespeare Company: “Working with this cast has been magical.”
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.
Christopher 'Chance' Howard
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 to become the actor he needs to be. Mr. Howard desires to be a well-known and respected actor, director, model, and to capture the hearts of millions.
Kayla Anne-Marie Isabelle
Kayla Anne-Marie Isabelle is extremely proud to be working with the African-American Shakespeare Company in the 2015 production of Cinderella. She is in the fourth grade and her favorite subjects are art, music, and science. Miss Isabelle wants to be a doctor when she grows up. She has performed in several plays and musicals in her church and at school. Recently, she has begun to play the clarinet in her school band. Although born and raised in the Bay Area, Miss Isabelle spent several summers in Southern California with her grandparents where she took dance lessons in both tap and ballet and where she learned Tae Kwon Do. Miss Isabelle has many hobbies, one of which is playing chess. She would like to thank her parents, grandparents and her siblings for their love and support. Miss Isabelle and her family have a deep appreciation for the performing arts and are sure that this experience will be one that is both rewarding and enriching.
Anthone Jackson is humbled and blessed to have an opportunity to share his gifts again with the African-American Shakespeare Company, returning as Prince Charming. Singing since the age of 4 in church, Mr. Jackson has had the opportunity to sing in various venues. Over the last 2 years Mr. Jackson has reclaimed his love for the theatre and is driving full steam ahead. Notable productions have included The Color Purple as Mister at Hillbarn Theatre; Dreamgirls as Curtis at Broadway By the Bay; Lord Why Can’t I Do Right as James with Make You Famous Entertainment; and Violet as Flick with Tabard Theatre. When not acting on stage, Mr. Jackson enjoys singing with various church choirs (Transformed Through Hope Ministries, Emmanuel Baptist Church, and GMWA Young Adult Voices) and doing background vocals for amazing artists throughout the Bay Area such as Tracy Cruz and Prince “Black Magic” Damons. Mr. Jackson graduated from Morehouse College and then acquired his Masters degree from JFK University. Working as a therapist with great students is what Mr. Jackson does throughout his daily life. He also enjoys playing football with an outreach program that goes into the local prisons, and mentors college students through the East Bay College Fund. To keep up with future productions please follow Mr. Jackson online at facebook.com/AnthoneOnStage.
Autumn Johnson is an actress from the Bay Area. Born in Berkeley, California, Miss Johnson is delighted to be performing in her first production with the African-American Shakespeare Company! She is a student at the Oakland School of the Arts with an emphasis in Theatre. Miss Johnson has dreams and aspirations of attending Stanford University and pursuing an undergrad degree in theatre and performance. When she’s not acting, Johnson enjoys shopping, dancing and fashion design.
Maya Elizabeth Lane
Maya Elizabeth Lane is a budding actress from San Francisco. She is thrilled to be cast as Shayla in the African-American Shakespeare Company production of Cinderella! A seventh grader at Katherine Delmar Burke School, Miss Lane has performed annually in her school theater and vocal performances. Her most recent performance was in the school production of Cabaret. Miss Lane studies voice and dance in addition to her performing arts work. Miss Lane is passionate about speech and debate, and enjoyed her experience this summer in the Model UN. She is an avid athlete, participating in basketball and volleyball for her school. She looks forward to expanding her performing arts career!
Clara “Clarae” McDaniel is a singer, actress, and a proud San Francisco native who has shared her many talents since childhood. Ms. McDaniel has performed solo concerts for churches and other audiences throughout the Bay Area. She is very excited to be returning to African-American Shakespeare Company (AASC)! Ms. McDaniel studied acting and voice at City College of San Francisco, The Knox Performing Arts at Contra Costa College, and a Shakespeare workshop with the African-American Shakespeare Company. Some of Ms. McDaniel performances include Your Arm’s Too Short to Box With God, A Little Piece of God, Queenie Pie, Waiting To Be Invited, Ain’t Misbehavin’, The Eubie Blake Review, Hit It, The Bluest Eye, Black & Blue, The Amen Corner, all of the Black Nativity shows with the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Modern Musical, and AASC’s 2014 Cinderella. She performed at this year’s Juneteenth Celebration at the Ruth Williams Memorial Opera House. Ms. McDaniel is a Para Professional with the San Francisco Unified School District, with a passion for children with special needs, and the arts. She attends Destiny Christian Fellowship Church in Fremont, and would like to thank her family and friends for their continued prayers and support!
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.
Todd Risby has an extensive career as an actor, spanning Percy the Slave-boy in Helen Keller’s the Miracle Worker at the age of nine; to Ira Aldridge in Zero Hour Nine AM at Richland Community College Theatre; and the Mayor in Hubba City at the Berkeley Black Repertory Group. TV/film credits include: television series, Midnight Caller; Sneakers and Nine Months; Drowning Hypothetically, an independent film; and as a college professor in Joe Runs Dry, an independent student project produced by Expression College for Digital Arts in Emeryville, CA. Mr. Risby last appeared with African-American Shakespeare Company as Walter Lee Younger in A Raisin in the Sun.
Angelia Richardson is a very talented nine-year-old from San Francisco, and is very excited to be working with the African-American Shakespeare Company! A 4th grader at Fairmont Elementary School, a Spanish immersion school, Miss Richardson has become bilingual in English and Spanish, Miss Richardson has taken pre-ballet at the San Francisco Ballet School and was a member of Talent Allstars, a hip hop dance company, under the direction of Nitty Dupree for three years. She has been a member of the American Gymnastics Club for the past five years and currently competes at level 4. Angelia Richardson loves acting. She has performed smaller roles in the last four annual performances of Cinderella with the African-American Shakespeare Company. She is very excited to play one of the granddaughters this year. Miss Richardson also played Aunt George in the play The Poet and the Prince with ACT.
Rasselas Malcolm Robinson
Eight-year-old Rasselas Malcolm Robinson is in the third grade and enjoys public school in the Oakland Unified School District. He is very excited to be performing with the African-American Shakespeare Company in his second feature. His inaugural stint with the company, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, received critical acclaim in 2013. Mr. Robinson has a passion for basketball and plays on a championship baseball team. He practices Taekwondo and shines as the youngest of five siblings. Mr. Robinson appreciates the opportunities and artistic guidance provided by the African-American Shakespeare Company.
Majesty Scott is a vocalist, actress, dancer, musician, and songwriter from the Bay Area. She earned a BA in Theatre and Performance Studies from UC Berkeley. Ms. Scott has trained and worked with the American Conservatory Theater (A Christmas Carol, Dusk); Lorraine Hansberry Theater (Black Nativity); Broadway by the Bay (Dreamgirls); California’s Great America (40 Seasons of Summer); and the Woodminster Amphitheatre where she recently starred as Aida. Ms. Scott has enjoyed performing as a soloist and with great gospel and R&B artists at several historical venues locally and internationally such as the Wembley Arena in London, England; the Tropicana in Las Vegas, NV; the Paramount Theatre and the Mormon Temple in Oakland, CA. Ms. Scott is excited and honored to be working with the African-American Shakespeare Company in their production of Cinderella.
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 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.
Karen 'KT Masala' Travis
KT MASALA is proud to be in her third production with African-American Shakespeare Company, where she first appeared as Gonzalo in The Tempest and recently as Nurse in Romeo and Juliet. 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 performed 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.
Vivienne Y. Wright
Vivienne Y. Wright attends kindergarten in Oakland where she is a member of the chorus and loves to sing. She is very excited to participate this year in the African-American Shakespeare Company’s production of Cinderella. This is Miss Wright’s first role on the stage, however, she has performed in solo pieces in musical performances at school and also has modeled for the last three years in print photography.
Be an artist at AASC
Want to be a part of the African American Shakespeare family? Join our mailing list to receive information about auditions and upcoming productions.
Join Mailing List
Want to be a part of the African American Shakespeare family? Join our mailing list to receive information about auditions and upcoming productions.
Join Mailing List