LOU BELLAMY (DIRECTOR & PRODUCER) is the founder and artistic director of Penumbra Theatre. Under his leadership, Penumbra has produced 23 world premieres, including August Wilson's first professional production, and is proud to have produced more of Mr. Wilson's plays than any theater in the world. Mr. Bellamy is an OBIE Award-winning director, an accomplished actor, and sought-after scholar. He has been a member of the University of Minnesota's faculty for 32 years and is currently appointed to the rank of associate professor in the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance. Recent directing credits include Black Pearl Sings!, Radio Golf, Fences and The Piano Lesson at Penumbra, A Raisin in the Sun and Gem of the Ocean, Penumbra productions staged at the Guthrie, Two Trains Running at the Signature Theatre in New York, Jitney at Kansas City Repertory Theatre and Arizona Theatre Company, and the staged reading of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom at the Kennedy Center.
SANFORD MOORE (MUSICAL DIRECTOR) has served as musical director for many Penumbra productions including The Piano Lesson, Get Ready, Blue, Black Nativity - A Homecoming and Ain't Misbehavin'. Other select musical direction credits include Crowns, Dream on Monkey Mountain, Triumph of Love, and As You Like It at the Guthrie Theater and Two Queens, One Castle at Mixed Blood Theatre. Sanford is an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota School of Music, and Minister of Music for Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church.
AUSTENE VAN (MAME WILKS) recently performed in Penumbra's production of Gem of the Ocean, staged at the Guthrie Theater. Other select Penumbra credits include performances in Zooman and the Sign, Dinah Was, The Trial of One Short Sighted Black Woman vs. Mammy Louise & Safreeta Mae and Blues for an Alabama Sky, and she directed Black Nativity-Hear Again the Christmas Story! and Black Nativity: Twenty Years of Holiday Cheer! She has performed at Children's Theatre Company, Mixed Blood Theatre, Guthrie Theater, Ordway Center, Pantages and the Saint Louis Repertory Theatre. Television credits include Vernie and The Shakedown. Musical endeavors include writing and co-producing her own album.
MARY K. WINCHELL
MARY K. WINCHELL (STAGE MANAGER) is a longtime Penumbra Theatre company member. Most recently, she stage managed Penumbra's Black Pearl Sings!, Black Nativity: A Season for Change, Radio Golf and Gem of the Ocean. Other Penumbra credits include The Piano Lesson, Get Ready, Black Nativity: Twenty Years of Holiday Cheer!, Seven Guitars, Jitney, Two Trains Running, King Hedley II and Dinah Was. She has stage managed at the Orpheum Theatre, State Theatre, Pantages Theatre, Children's Theatre Company, Jungle Theater and the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami. She has lent her talents to Macy's Glamorama and served as production stage manager for Dorothy Hamill’s Nutcracker on Ice, Aveda's 20th Anniversary Celebration at Radio City Music Hall, and Super Bowl xxvi Winter Magic.
ED JENKINS (Directing Intern) is the Dramatic Arts Director at Faith Covenant Church in Burnsville, Minnesota where he directs, coordinates, and performs drama ministry presentations for church services. In February he performed an original one-man show depicting the historic journey of African Americans and his mother’s life at Faith Covenant Church and Burnsville area schools. November 2006 he developed and led a performance arts mission team to Hong Kong which performed original movement theatre and music presentations to over 3,000 people. Ed received a BFA in Acting from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1998 and a MS in Recreation Management from University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 2001.
LUCAS BELLAMY (Moving Man) was born and raised in Minnesota and is the company manager at Penumbra Theatre. He grew up with theatre at Penumbra and was formally introduced to acting through drama classes at Breck School in Golden Valley. Penumbra stage credits include Waiting in Vain by Rebecca Rice in 1993 and Get Ready by Jaye T. Stewart and Joe Plummer in 2007. Lucas is thrilled to appear on the Guthrie stage for the first time.
JAMECIA BENNETT (Ensemble) is a manager, singer, songwriter and producer who has sung background for superstars like Janet Jackson, Luther Vandross, Patti Labelle, and Lionel Richie. She is an original member of the Grammy award-winning group Sounds of Blackness, and is a featured soloist on the hit by James Grier & Co, “Don’t Give Up.” Jamecia has also performed in several Tyler Perry shows including, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” and “Madea’s Family Reunion.” She has two sons, Shakur and Jamez, and one daughter, American Idol’s Paris “Princess P” Bennett. Jamecia and her family own Community Fitness Today, a non-profit organization that assists AIDS patients and raises awareness of this disease.
BENNY S. CANNON
BENNY S. CANNON (Corbierre Johnson) is a Penumbra Company member. Select Penumbra credits include On the Open Road, Black Nativity, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Two Trains Running, A Love Song for Miss Lydia, Riff’s and Pill Hill. Other Minnesota theater credits include Oedipus at the Guthrie Theater, The Wild Party at the Fitzgerald, The Meeting at the Great American History Theatre, Jus’for a While at the Illusion Theater and many others. Regional Theater credits include, I am a Man at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Homebound at The Milwaukee Rep, The Piano Lesson at the Portland Rep and Boseman and Lena at the Saint Louis Black Repertory Company. Television and film credits include Suddenly Susan, The Wayan Brothers, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, Crossing the Bridge and many others.
JAMES CRAVEN (ABE) is a long-time Penumbra Theatre company member. Select credits at Penumbra include Fences, The Piano Lesson, Penumbra's production of Gem of the Ocean presented at the Guthrie Theater, Get Ready, Zooman and the Sign, Grandchildren of the Buffalo Soldiers and REDSHIRTS, co-produced with Round House Theatre. He also performed at Kansas City Repertory Theater and Arizona Theater Company in their joint production of Jitney. James is a 2005 recipient of the Spenser Cherashore Fund and was awarded a 2007 McKnight Fellowship.
SHAWN HAMILTON (Vernon Saunders) has been seen at Penumbra in Blue, Stage Directions, Seven Guitars, and Black Nativity. Other local theatres he has worked with include Mixed Blood, Guthrie Theater, Illusion Theater, Children’s Theater, The Jungle, 15 Head, Pioneer Place, Ten Thousand Things, and Thirst. He has also worked regionally with Trinity Rep, Yale Rep, and Dallas Theatre Center. He can be seen next in Ten Thousand Things’ Richard the III and The Children’s Theatre production of Bud Not Buddy, directed by Marion McClinton.
T. MYCHAEL RAMBO
T. MYCHAEL RAMBO (CO-CONCEIVER & SON) is a Penumbra company member. Select Penumbra credits include Gem of the Ocean, The Piano Lesson, Get Ready, Ain't Misbehavin' and several productions of Black Nativity. He has performed locally with the Guthrie Theater, Illusion Theater, Minnesota Opera, Ordway Music Theatre, and Mixed Blood Theatre. He has also performed at Carnegie Hall with the Minnesota Orchestra and throughout Canada, Europe, Africa and Brazil. Television credits include Endeavor, I Led Two Lives and the HBO mini-series Laurel Avenue. Film credits include Mighty Ducks, Crossing the Bridge, Grumpy Old Men, The Cure, Equinox, Wooly Boys and Justice. Recent honors include singing the National Anthem for President Obama during his recent Twin Cities visit, and receiving a 2008 regional Emmy Award.
DENNIS W. SPEARS
DENNIS W. SPEARS (WANDERER) is a Penumbra Theatre Company member and has performed in The Piano Lesson, Blue, and Get Ready. This spring, Dennis embarked on a tour in Crowns, a co-production of Indiana Repertory Theatre and Syracuse Stage. No stranger to jazz, Spears has performed nationally and internationally and is an original vocalist with Moore by Four. He has three solo recordings to his credit. As Creative Artistic Director for the Capri Theater, Dennis produces a very exciting Legends music series.
J.D. STEELE (Roscoe “Reds” Walker) is perhaps most well known as a member and songwriter of the world renowned group, The Steeles. He developed his skills as an arranger and songwriter at the age of 16, and went on to arrange for movies such as Corrina Corrina, Blankman, and Hoop Dreams. He was also nominated for an Emmy for the PBS version of Gospel at Colonus. J.D. developed the choral group, Shangilia, in Nairobi, and the group made its debut in Nairobi in January of 2005. J.D. has been commissioned on ten original musicals, most recently by the History Theatre in St. Paul, and Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis. He has performed and recorded with Prince, Donald Fagen, on Broadway and around the world. He is a recipient of the 2003 Bush Composer Fellowship.
C. LANCE BROCKMAN
C. LANCE BROCKMAN (SCENIC DESIGNER) is a faculty member of the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Minnesota. With this production, he has designed seven shows for Penumbra including On the Open Road, Rollin' on the T.O.B.A., Ain't Misbehavin', REDSHIRTS, Get Ready and Fences. Mr. Brockman's research interest is in historic scenic painting used to create illusionary scenery for opera houses, vaudeville and fraternal stages. He teaches master classes on the historical painting methods utilized by scenic artists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century at universities across the country.
MARK DOUGHERTY (Light Design) has been the lighting designer for Penumbra Theatre's Black Nativity for the past three years. He is currently the Master Studio Technician at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.
MARTIN GWINUP (SOUND & VIDEO DESIGNER) is an associate professor in the Theatre Arts and Dance Department at the University of Minnesota. He teaches audio and video technology, design and production. He has also worked in the Twin Cities area as a freelance sound and video designer and technician for 18 years. Martin has worked for the Frank Theatre, History Theatre, Children's Theatre Company, Cricket Theatre and Eye of the Storm. Select design credits at Penumbra include REDSHIRTS, Get Ready, Blue, Black Nativity - A Celebration of Family, A Celebration for the Soul... Testify! and Grandchildren of the Buffalo Soldiers.
MATHEW J. LEFEBVRE
MATHEW J. LeFEBVRE (COSTUME DESIGNER) has designed costumes for several Penumbra Theatre productions including Fences, REDSHIRTS, Get Ready, Grandchildren of the Buffalo Soldiers, On the Open Road, Black Eagles, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Jitney, and both Scenery and Costumes for Gem of the Ocean. Off Broadway credits include costumes for Two Trains Running at Signature Theatre—Lortel winner, best revival of a play, AUDELCO nominee, best costumes—and Bach at Leipzig for New York Theatre Workshop. Mr. LeFebvre has designed costumes for the Guthrie Theater, The Acting Company, The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, The Kansas City Rep, Arizona Theatre Company, Trinity Rep, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Geffen Playhouse, Mixed Blood Theatre and American Players Theatre.
KALERE A. PAYTON
KALERE A. PAYTON (COSTUME DESIGNER) designed costumes for Penumbra Theatre's The Whipping Man. Other costume design credits include The Wiz and A Bright Room Called Day for The University of Minnesota as well as The Producing House's Power Balladz and Park Square Theatre's Othello. Ms. Payton was the Assistant Costume Designer for several Penumbra productions including Get Ready, REDSHIRTS, Fences, Radio Golf and Black Nativity: A Season For Change. She earned her Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts with an emphasis on Costume Design and Technology from the University of Minnesota.
ERIKA K. DIXON-GOSS
ERIKA K. DIXON GOSS (American Sign Language Interpreter) has been the ASL Interpreter for Penumbra Theater for 11 years. Erika has had the pleasure of interpreting works by the late August Wilson including Seven Guitars and King Hedley II, The Piano Lesson and Gem of the Ocean. Erika also interprets for Hopkin's Stages Theater, Plymouth Playhouse, Anoka's Main Street Stage, and The State and Pantages Theatres.