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.
DOMINIC TAYLOR (ASSOCIATE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR) is a director, playwright and the head of Penumbra's OKRA New Play Development Program. Most recently, Mr. Taylor directed Black Nativity: A Season for Change at Penumbra. Other select directing credits include the new opera Fresh Faust at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, The Negroes Burial Ground at the Kitchen, N.Y.C., Uppa Creek at Dixon Place, and Ride The Rhythm in the Hip-Hop Theatre Festival. He is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota where he has directed The Wiz, Night Train To Bolina and this spring will direct Execution of Justice. Mr. Taylor has worked with Crossroads Theater, Rites and Reasons Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, The Public Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, and Ensemble Studio Theatre, among others. He is an alumni member of New Dramatists and holds a Bachelor's and a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Brown University.
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.
SARAH BELLAMY (EDUCATION DIRECTOR) is the principal scholar and editor for Penumbra Theatre. Her work includes the research and composition of the contextual essays to accompany Penumbra's main-stage productions. Ms. Bellamy also oversees the creation of standardized, original curricula for educators to engage culturally specific arts in their classrooms. She has designed several programs that engage patrons of the theatre in critical thinking, dialogue and action around issues of race and social justice. Among the most renowned are the "RACE Workshop: Meet Your Metaphor," curated to accompany the Science Museum of Minnesota's exhibit RACE: Are We So Different?, and Penumbra Theatres Summer Institute, an intensive theatre-training program for youth to practice socially responsible art and civic engagement. Ms. Bellamy is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, and holds an M.A. from The University of Chicago. She is currently working toward her doctorate in Comparative Studies and Discourse in Society at the University of Minnesota.
JAMES T. ALFRED
JAMES T. ALFRED (Cory) recently appeared at Penumbra in REDSHIRTS. He also performed in Penumbra's co-production, with Kansas City Rep and Arizona Theatre Company, of August Wilson's Jitney. Other credits include To Kill a Mockingbird at Kansas City Rep and Arizona Theatre Company, Conversations on a Dirt Road and Killing Me Softly at the ETA Creative Arts Foundation in Chicago, Sundown Names at the Chicago Theatre Company, and Romeo and Juliet at the American Repertory Theatre. Film and television credits include Fox's Prison Break and the film One Week. He is a graduate of the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University, and he holds a Master of Fine Arts in acting from the Moscow Art Theatre School in Russia.
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.
MAHOGANY ELLIS (Raynell) is an honor student at Breck School. She is interested in acting for the stage, television and film, and in spoken word and modeling. Her stage credits include The Living Nativity, The Wizard of Oz, A Bug in Michael Bird Boys Garden, Alice's Rockin Adventures, Once On This Island, Heartbeat of the Drum, The Wiz, City Children's Nutcracker, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Story of Hope, Nickel and Dimed, Young MLK and a Child Shall Lead, Macbeth, and The Dining Room. She has appeared in several television commercials, and performed in the film Agora and in the Rondo Oral History Video Project and Curriculum/Interactive-CD.
MARIANNA MCGEE (Raynell) is making her Penumbra Theatre stage debut. She attends the Perpich Center for the Arts and Education where she has performed in Hearts & Bones and Under Milk Wood.
MARION MCCLINTON (Jim Bono) is an accomplished director, actor, playwright and a founding Penumbra company member. Directing credits at Penumbra include The Dutchman, A Soldier's Play and the 1993 production of The Piano Lesson. Marion has directed at many theatres throughout the country including the Mark Taper Forum, The Goodman Theatre and The Royal National Theatre of Great Britain as well as on Broadway. Most recently, he directed Bulrusher at Pillsbury House Theatre. Marion has received an Obie Award for Direction, a Drama Desk Award and a Tony nomination. He is a New Dramatist Alumni.
ELAYN J. TAYLOR
ELAYN J. TAYLOR (Rose) is a Houston native now living in Los Angeles. Elayn recently appeared as 'Lena Younger' in Houston at The Ensemble Theatre in the production of A Raisin in the Sun. She received a best actress award for her work. In Los Angeles she played 'Rose' in The Odyssey Theatre production of Fences, earning an Ovations Award nomination. Also in Los Angeles, she appeared as 'Ella' in the West Coast premiere of Permanent Collection at The Kirk Douglas Theatre. Elayn has been seen in a number of television shows and commercials and is looking forward to the release of three independent films this year, Humboldt County, You Own Me, and Defiled. Elayn is a lifetime member of The Actors Studio.
KEVIN D. WEST
KEVIN D. WEST (ROOSEVELT HICKS) is a Penumbra company member. Penumbra credits include Fences, Zooman and the Sign, Two Trains Running, Some Place Soft to Fall, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Seven Guitars, A Raisin in the Sun and Freefall. Kevin has also performed with Children's Theatre Company, Jungle Theater, Mixed Blood Theatre, Pillsbury House Theatre, Alchemy Theater, History Theatre, Theater Latté Da, Minnesota Jewish Theater, the Guthrie Theater and the Phoenix Theater. Film and television credits include The Death of Tommy Grime, Sweet Caroline, Kingdom Hospital, Bill's Gun Shop and Justice. Kevin serves as Artistic Associate with the Capri Theater where he teaches acting to high school students.
JAMES A. WILLIAMS
JAMES A. WILLIAMS (Troy Maxon) is a founding Penumbra company member. He has also performed at Pillsbury House Theatre, Children's Theatre, Illusion Theater, Guthrie Theater, Centerstage, The Goodman, Mark Taper Forum, The McCarter, Seattle Rep, Yale Rep, and on Broadway in August Wilson's Radio Golf. He has led performance workshops throughout the world including at Brown University, University of Minnesota, the International School of Kenya, Nshupu School, Tanzania and Penumbra Theatre Summer Institute. In 2009, he will head the drama program at Shangalia School in Nairobi. He is a recipient of the 2008 TCG Next Generation Leaders Grant, St. Paul Companies Leadership Initiative in the Neighborhoods Grant, 2003 City Pages Artist of the Year, and a 2005 NAACP Image Award Nominee.
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.
DON DARNUTZER (Lighting Designer) designed the lighting for the Tony-nominated Broadway show It Ain't Nothin' but the Blues. He also designed the Off-Broadway shows Hank Williams: Lost Highway, The Immigrant and John Denver’s Almost Heaven. Don has worked for the Guthrie Theater, Denver Center Theater Company, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Mark Taper Forum, B.B. King's Blues Club in NYC, Shakespeare Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, Arena Stage, Old Globe Theater, Alley Theater, Geffen Playhouse, Kansas City Rep, Seattle Rep, Arizona Theatre, Cleveland Play House, Palm Beach Opera, Minnesota Orchestra, The Minnesota Opera, Portland Opera, New Orleans Opera, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, San Jose Repertory, Saint Louis Repertory Theatre and Geva Theatre.
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.
CARLA MEGAN SANDOVAL
CARLA MEGAN SANDOVAL (Assistant Scenic Designer) is a native of Chicago who recently moved to the Twin Cities to earn her M.F.A. in Theatre Design and Technology at the University of Minnesota. Her degree emphasis is in Scenic Design and Scenic Painting. Previously, Carla attended Ball State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Design and Technical Theatre in 2007. Carla has worked on a number of shows in the Twin Cities, including The Count of Monte Cristo on the Minnesota Centennial Showboat and The Guthrie Experience in the Guthrie's Dowling Studio.
ANSA AKYEA (Understudy) was last seen on stage in Penumbra Theatre's The Piano Lesson. He has also appeared at Mixed Blood Theatre, History Theatre, Black Ensemble Theatre, Chicago Theatre Company, Frank Theatre, and many other stages around the country. He can be seen and heard on radio and television for Gillette Hospital, Goodwill Industries, Great Clips, Qwest, and on the big screen in movies such as Repetition and Zora Neale Hurston's The Gilded Six Bits. Ansa was named City Pages 2007 Best Actor.
TERRY BELLAMY (STERLING JOHNSON) is a founding member of Penumbra Theatre Company. He began acting at the age of six and has been on stage professionally for over 30 years. He has worked at numerous theatres including Chimera, Mixed Blood Theatre, American History Theatre, The Hennepin Center for the Arts, Park Square Theatre, Minneapolis Car Garage, Illusion Theatre Company, Guthrie Theater, The Goodman Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville and many others. He has been a dramaturge at the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis, taught advanced acting at the Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis and he taught Black Drama at Penumbra Theatre Company in 1990, 1991 and 1994.
KELI GARRETT (Understudy) is a playwright and performer. She most recently appeared in Sound Check at HERE in New York. Other performances include Drowning Sorrows, Eden, and Late Bus to Mecca at Victory Gardens, and she played the title role in Saint Joan at The Bailiwick Repertory. An award-winning playwright, her plays include UPPA CREEK produced at Dixon Place in New York. Her stage adaptations include Faith and the Good Thing by Charles Johnson, seen earlier this year as part of Penumbra Theatre's Word(s)PLAY festival. Her most recent play SPACE will be given a staged reading at New York Theatre Workshop this fall. Keli holds a Bachelor's Degree from Columbia College of Chicago and an MFA from Brown University.
RICK JACOBSON (Audio Describer) has been describing theatre for 13 years and provides description for blind patrons at over 25 theatres in the Twin Cities. Recent shows include Fences, Spamalot, The Rocky Horror Show, and Les Misérables. He is the audio description coordinator for the Minnesota Fringe Festival. He describes the annual Flint Hills Children's Festival. Rick can be heard on Nickelodeon and PBS stations across the country. In 2006, he received an Access Arts Award from VSA Arts Minnesota. He also describes for blind and low-vision passengers on cruise ships, most recently in Mexico.
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.