What Would Jesus Do?
CAST & CREW (click photos for larger images)
YVETTE HEYLIGER * (Writer/Director/Lyricist) is a grant-winning playwright, director and producing artist. She won a grant from Lower Manhattan Cultural Council to assist in producing What Would Jesus Do? at Theatre of the Riverside Church for World AIDS Day 2005. What Would Jesus Do? was written as a result of a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts/Individual Artist Program, with additional assistance from a Harlem Arts Alliance/Rockefeller Foundation re-grant. An unprecedented “celebrity reading” of the play was done at the 2005 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC thrusting the issue of HIV/AIDS on to Black Theatre's national stage. Other plays presented at the National Black Theatre Festival were Hillary and Monica: The Winter of Her Discontent and Ms. Heyliger’s published play, Autobiography of A Homegirl, which was featured in Smith and Kraus’ Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2003 and Best Stage Scenes 2003. In 1996 Ms. Heyliger was nominated “Best Playwright” in the NAACP Theatre Awards for the Los Angeles production of Autobiography of A Homegirl, which was partially funded by Bill Cosby. What Would Jesus Do? Theme lyrics were written by Yvette Heyliger.
YVONNE FARROW * (Producer/Leonta Wilson) won “Best Actress” at the 2005 American Theater of Harlem Film Festival for her role as Monta Cummings in the short film, I’d Rather Be Dancing (IRBD), which she wrote, produced and directed with a grant she won from ABC Entertainment’s Talent Development Program. IRBD was nominated “Best Short,” Pan African Film Festival and “Best of the Best,” FESPACO. Recent television credits include guest appearances on The Bernie Mac Show and Grey’s Anatomy. She also recurred as Diane Dixon on Alias and Vivian on Passions. Some stage credits include the role of Marta Barends in Athol Fugard’s Sorrows & Rejoicings at the Mark Taper Forum, Roanetta in Yvette Heyliger’s Autobiography of A Homegirl, Dr. Coles in Kosmond Russell's The Visit and Lashaun in Michael Ajakwe Jr's Company Policy. For PRODUCER credits visit www.twinbiz.com.
LARRY FARROW (Executive Producer/Composer/ Minister of Music) was named to the A-List of American Composers and Arrangers reflecting his contributions to the history of American choral music by the National Repertoire and Standards Committee. Farrow is best known for his song and instrumental compositions, and choral scores and is a noted composer of concert works. Farrow’s scores are recognized nationally and internationally and consist of secular and religious compositions and arrangements including his top selling original choral composition, Jamaican Marketplace which has become a standard. Farrow has served as composer/music director/arranger for many studios and artists including: Bill Cosby, Nancy Wilson, Harry Belafonte, Gladys Knight, Ann-Margret, Della Reese, Peter Nero, The Jacksons, En Vogue, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, the WB Network and the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, to name a few. Farrow made his 'Pops' debut as composer/conductor with the San Francisco Symphony and has appeared as guest conductor with a number of major orchestras. What Would Jesus Do? Theme music was composed by Larry Farrow.
M. LEE WHITE (John Wilson, Sr.) Lee’s many theatre credits include such classics as: Anna Lucasta, Two Trains Running, Ceremonies in Dark Old Men, A Hatful of Rain, Master Harold and The Boys, and The River Niger. Additionally he starred in the hit play Jumping the Broom for which he earned an NAACP Theatre Award nomination. Notable film and television credits include Robert Townsend’s The Five Heartbeats and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Lee will be directing The Twelve Jewels which opens in January. Lee has a BA degree in Dramatic Art and an MA degree in Counseling from North Carolina Central University and has worked in the helping professions.
HARDIA MADDEN, JR. (Pastor Arthur Hall) formerly a sales engineer, has been enjoying a fruitful acting career. Recent theatrical credits include: The First Breeze Of Summer and Me Too, both at the Stella Adler Theatre, and a preview of Josephine Baker at Stage 52. His role in Monkey Grass at the Victory Theatre Center won him a NAACP Theatre Award for Best Supporting Performance by A Male. Other credits include Anna Lucasta at the Hudson Theatre, Boys Next Door at the 68 Cent Theatre and Split Second at the Actors Workout Studio. Hardia was president of the board of directors at the Victory Theatre Center for four years where he had previously studied at the Gobetti Acting Studio. Television credits include: 24, Profiler, and The X-Files. Feature film credits include an FBI agent sidekick to Burt Reynolds in Pups.
ERICA HUBBARD (Kieta Wilson) was most recently seen in Akeelah and the Bee as Angela Bassett’s oldest daughter, Kiana. Additional film credits include Save the Last Dance, A Cinderella Story with Hillary Duff, and Sisterhood of the Traveling-Pants. Most recently Erica guest starred on CSI: Miami and Everybody Hates Chris. Erica can be seen as a series regular in the upcoming ABC Family drama, Lincoln Heights, which airs in January. She lends her vocal talents to the Disney Channel cartoon currently airing entitled The Replacements. Recent theatre credits include: Haints, Conjureman and Leaving at Theatre/Theatre, Issac I Am at Jewel Box Theatre, and Who Was That Lady at Raven Playhouse. Erica volunteered at the Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina victims and was a mentor at A Place Called Home, a community center for at-risk teens in Los Angeles.
CARLA MARIE (Anne) Film and television credits include: Shoe Shine Boys, How to Be A Player (Russell Simmons Production), Thin Line Between Love and Hate (Martin Lawrence Production) to name a few. Theatre credits include: Aida, Inquest, I Need a Man and A Secret Between Us. Carla Marie graduated from Hampton University with a BA degree in Music/Voice. Carla Marie is presently represented by The Brogan Agency.
BAADJA-LYNE (Mother Wilson) was recently seen on HBO's Lucky Louie and just finished shooting The Blue Hour, a new film starring Clarence William III. Numerous lead and co-star film and television credits include: Dreams, The Hard Easy, The Lady Killers, Dr. Vegas, Cold Case, Charmed, Joan of Arcadia, The Shield, Crossing Jordan, American Dreams, Judging Amy, Without A Trace and Strong Medicine. Theatre credits include Here’s to Life, Soldier Girl, Voodoo Orleans, Steel Magnolias and The Marriage.
ANDRÉ P. HENRY (Brother Jedidiah) appeared with the Hollywood Thespian Company in the NAACP Theatre Award winning plays, Anna Lucasta and Hatful of Rain both directed by Rai Pasco. Television and film credits include: CBS movie of the week Thornwell, Falcon Down, The Norm Show, Love Beat the Hell out of Me, Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles as well as the recently aired, Untold Stories of the E.R., and the soon to be released film, Dark World. André just completed two U.S. tours of the hit play, The Chicken Shack and Legends of Gospel/Voices, Voices of America. In February he will be seen in the world premiere Insindziso Eswatini! (Pray for A Healing in Swaziland) at Pasadena Civic Center. André is the Director of the First AME Drama Guild Los Angeles under the leadership of Pastor John Hunter.
FARLEY JACKSON (David) made his television debut on The SOAP Network’s I Wanna Be A Soap Star as one of the final four. Since then Farley has made several television and film appearances including Cold Case, Sorority Sister Slaughter, and Waist Deep directed by Vondie Curtis Hall in which Farley worked directly with Tyrese Gibson, Meagan Good and Larenz Tate. Theatre credits include Romeo in Romeo and Juliet at the LA Shakespearean Festival. Farley was a member of The Groundlings, an improvisational theatre company.
AMENTHA DYMALLY * (Mattie) made her stage debut in The Amen Corner which was mounted in Hollywood and closed 18 months later on Broadway. She received the 1993 NAACP Theatre Award for Best Supporting Performance/Female as Sara in Neva’s Tale as well as DramaLogue Awards for her work in Jar The Floor and Flyin’ West. Ms. Dymally played Sadie Delany in four different productions of Having Our Say. She was last seen in the Pasadena Playhouse touring company of Blue in the role of Tillie Clark. In a career spanning 43 years, Ms. Dymally has also worked in film and television and currently tours in her one woman show, Gumbo Caribe.
STACI ASHLEY (Geraldine/Sister One) This production marks Staci’s return to the Hollywood stage since the Off-Broadway run of the 2006 NAACP Theatre Award winning play, Girls of Summer, where she originated the role of Toni Bailey to acclaimed New York reviews. Staci is a founding member of the Los Angeles African American Repertory and has received NAACP, ADA, and LAAREP award nominations for Soldier’s Don’t Cry, Girls of Summer, and Diary of A Catholic School Dropout. Staci is soon to co-star as Gloria in the 4Brothers Film, Lastwords, directed by Wes France. She is also looking forward to showcasing her work as a writer with her upcoming stage play, Where Flowers Grow in the Dark (opening Fall 2007), and Home of the Mind a short film in which she will also star. Visit her website at www.staciashley.com.
RICH (Delores/Marion) Rich was most recently seen Off-Broadway, in New York this summer in Layon Gray's Girls of Summer, playing the role of Edie, which she originated. Girls of Summer won this year's NAACP award for Best Production. Additional theatre credits include, Dutchman (Female Clay), West Side Story (Anybodys), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Candy), and Fences (Raynell). Her television credits include; NYPD Blue, and MTV’s Undressed. Rich is a co-founder of the Los Angeles African American Repertory. A dancer/ actress, Rich has played a principal role in various commercials and videos.
CHELSEA LOGAN (Sister Three) most recently starred in the short film, Never Forever and will be seen co-starring in the CW hit television show, Veronica Mars. Chelsea is currently taking time off of her studies at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she majors in acting at Stella Adler Studio. She has performed in the works of Chekov, Shakespeare, Ionesco and Tennessee Williams, among others. Chelsea played the lead role in the film Buy It Now, the story of a young girl selling her virginity online. The film won First Prize in the Cinefondation category at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as the Audience Award at CineVegas.
CARTER MITCHELL (Deacon Brown) came to acting after careers in the restaurant industry and baseball. He has appeared in several television shows including: ER, American Dreams, and General Hospital to name a few. Film credits include: Love Don’t Cost A Thing and Spiderman III. He can be seen in the soon to be released, Rocky Balboa, starring Sylvester Stallone.
PRODUCTION STAFF (click photos for larger images)
TWINBIZ (Producer) creates and produces original projects for stage, television and film which seek to educate, entertain and serve. Short for “twins in the business,” Yvette (Heyliger) focuses on theatre, while Yvonne (Farrow) focuses on television and film. Fans will remember their 1996 surprise hit, Homegirl, which was partially funded by Bill Cosby and extended four times at the Hollywood Court Theatre. Homegirl was chosen “Best of the Weekend” by the Los Angeles Times, a particular honor as it was the twin sisters’ professional debut as a producing team. For more information visit their web site, www.twinbiz.com.
RICARDO FREDERICK EVANS (Stage Manager) served as stage manager for the World AIDS Day 2005 production of What Would Jesus Do? at Theatre of the Riverside Church in NYC. He served as Assistant Stage Manager on Yvette Heyliger’s Hillary and Monica: The Winter of Her Discontent at UnConvention: An American Theatre Festival and Autobiography of A Homegirl, both in the 2001 National Black Theatre Festival, NC and the Women of Color Theater Festival, NY. A native Washingtonian and actor, Ricardo has appeared on many DC area stages including: Actors Repertory Theatre, African-American Collective Theatre, Imagination Stage, The Shakespeare Theatre, Woolly Mammoth/Serenity Players and the Young Playwrights Theatre. He studied Acting at the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts.
WALTER A. ULASINSKI (Set Designer/Lighting Designer) From HB Playwrights Foundation to the members of The Alliance of Resident Theaters, Walter has served the New York theater scene for over 30 years as a Designer and Technical Director. He has taught at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts (NY) and at Sarah Lawrence College. In Los Angeles, Walter is currently the Technical Director for First Stage Hollywood.
ELLEN SNEAD (Wardrobe Stylist) has been the costume designer and wardrobe coordinator for several New York productios at Actors Theatre, Henry Street Settlement and New York Shakespeare Festival. In Los Angeles she has worked at Globe Theatre Hollywood, Inner City Cultural Center, Foxx Follies, Eboony Showcase and 43rd Street Playhouse.
SUZANNE LEE (Lighting/Sound Booth Operator) received her technical theatre training from Walnut Creek’s Contra Costa Musical Theatre and Oakland’s TheatreFIRST. Favorite productions include Damn Yankees, The Great Celestial Cow and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. What Would Jesus Do? is her first production in Southern California.
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