TALKS: Kimille Howard – Assistant Director, Ain’t Too Proud

Kimille Howard

Ain’t Too Proud closes at Berkeley Rep this weekend after a successful 2-month run. A few weeks ago we had the chance to talk to AIC alum Kimille Howard, the assistant director on the show, about her experiences.

1. Tell me a little bit about your background (how did you get into theater, why you came to NYC, etc)

I started out as a dancer, beginning ballet at the age of 3 and increased to tap, jazz, flamenco, hip-hop, modern, and character at the Jordan College Academy of Dance as I got older. My parents always took me to see theater growing up, and my grandmother would take me to Broadway shows when I visited her in New York. When we performed a tap piece to West Side Story songs when I was 9, my parents got me the laser disc (yep) of the film and I fell in love. Continue reading

TALKS: Actor Robby Ramos on HYSTERICAL at T. Schreiber Theatre

13557736_10157221449440601_2994830954315080431_nCurrently running at T. Schreiber Studio & Theatre is a world premiere of a new play written by Emmy nominated Disney Executive Jim Geoghan entitled, HYSTERICAL directed by Crystal Edn. A workshop production, this dark comedy finds an ideal venue in T. Schreiber’s intimate black box where the focus is on the fine actors telling the stories through complex character relationships in the setting of a Las Vegas mental hospital. One of the play’s most intriguing characters is Monroe, played by Robby Ramos, the hospital’s resident schizophrenic drug dealer. Robby Ramos is utterly captivating in this role, both hysterically funny and heartbreaking at the same time. Ramos is a standout in this production and Arts in Color had the pleasure of interviewing him!

AIC: Where are you from? When did you decide to become an actor?

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TALKS: Cheryl L Davis

Cheryl L Davis backstage at Bridges. Photo by Paul Chinn provided by the Berkeley Playhouse

Cheryl L Davis backstage at Bridges. Photo by Paul Chinn, provided by the Berkeley Playhouse

Arts in Color recently had the opportunity to interview multi-talented playwright, librettist, lyricist, and screenwriter Cheryl L Davis, who impressively balances her day job as a partner in a law firm with her award-winning writing career. In 2005, she won the prestigious Kleban Prize in Musical Theater for her work as a librettist. The same year, her musical Barnstormer was recognized with a Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Award via the The Lark Play Development Center. More recently, a 2014 production of her play Maid’s Door was recognized with 7 Vivian Robinson/AUDELCO “VIV” Recognition Awards for Excellence in Black Theatre, including Best Playwright and Dramatic Production of the Year.

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TALKS: Actress Heather Alicia Simms on Barbecue at The Public

Heather Alicia SimmsBarbecue is the highly anticipated new Robert O’Hara play now in previews downtown at The Public Theater. The show boasts a bevy of distinguished performers and is set to open October 8th. Arts in Color had the privilege of interviewing a Public regular, actress Heather Alicia Simms.  Continue reading

TALKS: Laiona Michelle is Nanna in Amazing Grace on Broadway

Laiona Michelle Headshot

Laiona Michelle

Amazing Grace, the new Broadway musical currently playing at the Nederlander Theater is a biomusical about John Newton and the story behind the famous Christian hymn published in 1779. The tale also features fictitious characters who add to the historical drama, such as Nanna. Talented Broadway newcomer Laiona Michelle plays Nanna, a vital character who…. well, let’s just have Laiona Michelle tell you. AIC writer Halle Morse caught up with Laiona to learn all about Nanna and her journey to Broadway.

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TALKS: Dael Orlandersmith of NYTW’s FOREVER

Dael Orlandersmith in FOREVER  (Photo Credit: Joan Marcus)

Dael Orlandersmith in FOREVER
(Photo Credit: Joan Marcus)

New York Theatre Workshop is closing their 2014-2015 season with the one-woman show Forever written and starring Obie award-winning actress, poet, playwright, and teacher Dael Orlandersmith. Directed by Neel Keller, the Associate Artistic Director of Center Theatre Group and recent director of The NetherForever a memoire that reflects upon family as Dael journeys to the famous Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris where countless artistic icons in history are buried. While exploring  the graves of such greats like as Morrison and Oscar Wild, Dael takes a look back at her past – from the New York City up bringing to the strained and abusive relationship with her mother, from her passion for music and art to her to her conviction to success where her mother couldn’t.

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TALKS: Heesuk Chae on Artistic Asians Runs On Shorts

file-page1Artistic Asians Runs on Shorts (AAROS) is the inaugural showcase for works created by a collaborative collective of Asian and Asian American artists in New York City. Taking place at the architecturally gorgeous former firehouse on 87th Lafayette St. in Manhattan, the May 16th event brings together performances, videos, and exhibitions from actors, directors, dancers, filmmakers, musicians, and visual artists. Featured works include Caroline Shin’s delightful YouTube series in which local grandmothers are interviewed while cooking traditional dishes and a unique musical art installation from James Wu in which the sound of a violin interweaves with recordings of NYC subways. AAROS founder Heesuk Chae spoke with Arts in Color about the inspiration behind the collective, the upcoming showcase, and her hopes for the project’s future. Continue reading

TALKS: Ito Aghayere on The Liquid Plain (Off-Broadway)

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Ito Aghayere

The Liquid Plain runs until March 29th at the Signature Theatre.  Set on the docks of late 18th century Rhode Island and based on the tales of true events, the narrative centers around runaway slaves Adjua and Dembi. Winner of the 2012 Horton Foote Prize for Promising New American Play, The Liquid Plain brings to life a group of people whose stories have been erased from history. Ito Aghayere portrays one of those people, Dembi, in this play.

Ito is absolutely brilliant in the role of Dembi. Her portrayal of the cross dressing runaway slave is truly transcendent. Continue reading

TALKS: Pearl Sun on Long Story Short (Off-Broadway)

Long Story ShortProspect Theater Company’s Long Story Short shares the story of a 50-year long marriage between an Asian-American woman and a Jewish man.

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TALKS: Arpita Mukherjee, Co-Founder of Hypokrit Theatre Company

Romeo and Juliet - Hypokrit

Credit: Kabir Chopra Photography

Last fall, Arpita Mukherjee teamed up with Shubhra Prakash to found Hypokrit Theatre Company. Their goal is to provide minority artists with opportunities to showcase and market their work. This month, Hypokrit’s inaugural production Romeo and Juliet opened at the Access Theater in NYC. AIC spoke to Arpita about founding a theater company, Romeo and Juliet, and what’s next for Hypokrit.

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TALKS: Jennifer Lim and Telly Leung on The World of Extreme Happiness at MTC (Off-Broadway)

worldofextremeArts in Color is honored to share the stories of Jennifer Lim (Sunny) and Telly Leung (Pete) of The World of Extreme Happiness as they premiere this intense and enlightening piece of theater, this month, Off-Broadway.

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TALKS: John Clarence Stewart

KindSouls3702_CEWAwarded the outstanding actor fellowship at the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival in 2011 and named an actor to watch by Arts Atlanta last year as part of their “30 under 30” series, up-and-coming young performer John Clarence Stewart is currently in New York starring in the new play Kind Souls at Shetler studios. He took time out of his hectic schedule to introduce himself and his play to Arts in Color.

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