D E B R A   A N N   B Y R D  -   F O U N D E R   &   P R O D U C I N G   A R T I S T I C   D I R E C T O R.

TREZANA BEVERLEY* [King Lear] is the winner of the 1976 Tony Award for her performance in the Broadway production of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf . Other highlights from her distinguished acting career include: Peer Gynt; Flyin West; Macbeth; The Bacchae; and Raisin In The Sun.   film: Resurrection; Beloved and In The Line Of Duty.  As director her production of Salome at PlayMakers Repertory Co. was sighted in American Theatre Magazine as one of the five best of its’ season. Among other noted directing credits are: The Bluest Eye; Yellowman; The Darker Face Of The Earth and Blue Door. Ms. Beverley is also a guest director on the Drama faculty of the Juilliard School and the artistic director and co-founder of her production company, OdD Socks Productions | www.oddsocksproductions.com.  Ms. Beverley is represented by, Kerin Goldberg Theatrical c/o Mr. Ron Ross, 212-838-7373.To God Be All The Glory!


JAMES EDWARD BECTON* [Edmund] credits include: Going After Cacciato Pvt. Johnson, Twelfth Night Sabastian, As You Like It Orlando; Caligula Cherea; The Colored Museum Miss Roj/The Kid/Narrator; Thorougly Stupid Things Bibi LaFlam; Jesus Christ Superstar Judas; Macbeth Ross; Godspell Jesus; Measure for Measure Lucio; The Dutchman Clay; Macbeth; A Walking Shadow Witch 1/Doctor; Inside the Boom Boom Room Eric; Much Ado About Nothing Don Pedro; Assassins The Balladeer.  James is a company member of manhattantheatresource and is associated with Whirled Peas, Horizon Theatre Repertory, Hudson Warehouse. Proud member of Actors Equity Association.


FREEMAN BORDEN [Albany] Born from a theatrical family, Freeman has spent the last 27 years of his life on the professional stage, performing in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and New York. His other Shakespearean credits include: As You Like It, Coriolanus, Cymbaline, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo and Juliet, Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, and Two Gentlemen of Verona. His latest production of Ceremony of Innocence won him an achievement in acting award from the Theatre Association of New York State.


LEON ADDISON BROWN* [Kent] Broadway: On The Waterfront, Prelude To A Kiss, (u/s) Someone Who'll Watch Over Me, Off-B'way: Two Trains Running (Hambone) The Alexander Plays (Signature Theatre) The Lights (Lincoln Center) Before It His Home (Second Stage) A Tempest (UBU Rep) As You Like It (TFANA) Limbo (Naked Angels).  Regional: The Long Wharf, Hartford Stage, Westport Country Playhouse, Williamstown Theatre Fest., The Berkshire Theatre fest., Yale Rep, Shakespeare Theatre Of NJ, Cleveland Playhouse, Milwaukee Rep, Arizona Rep, Indiana Rep, Cincinnati playhouse,Missouri Rep.  Film: The Whirly Girl, Music Of the Heart, Hamlet, The Edge, TV: The Jury, Law & Order, L & O SVU.  Training: UNC School Of The Arts.


JIM DEMONIC [Gloucester] is a graduate of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, where he currently serves as Academic Coordinator and Head of the Voice & Speech Department. His work as an actor and director has been seen at such venues as The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Hartford Stage, Playwrights Horizons and Circle Rep. Jim would like to thank Timothy, whose generous spirit, gentle soul, and extraordinary talent have always been an inspiration.  Thanks to his friend Dino Scopas, the Director of Instruction at AADA, for his understanding and support. And, to his wife Betty . . . for everything.


ALVIN CHAN [Edgar] is tremendously excited to be working with Take Wing And Soar. Originally from Honolulu, Alvin graduated with a BA in Theatre from the University of Hawaii, where he has studied and performed various types of theatre from Shakespeare, to Kabuki, to Bejing Opera. Alvin was last seen in The Elves & The Shoemaker at the Manhattan Children's Theatre, and will be seen this spring in True West with the Curious Frog Theatre Company. Much love to his friends & roommates for their support and laughter.  


MATTHEW COHN [Curan] is a recent graduate of Dartmouth College, where he majored in Philosophy and Theater.  In to the training received at Dartmouth, he has also studied at Shakespeare and Company, in Lenox, MA.  Some favorite recent roles include Berger in Hair and Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream.


LARRY FLOYD* [Burgundy | Gentleman | Doctor] was last seen as Jack Washington in Jump Jim Crow (MITF Award for Best Supporting Actor).  Other credits include Man #2 in the multiple Award Winning “Black Man Rising” at the Players Theatre, the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston Salem, N.C and at the National Black Theatre in NYC. Other credits include Hamlet, Greener Grasses (TNC), Split Second with John McDonald (Cagle & Co.), SANGO, Lord of Thunder (NBT), Two Gentlemen of Verona, Miss Evers Boys, Henry II, Henry IV-Parts 1 & 2, Henry V, King Lear with Avery Brooks (Yale Repertory), Jesus Christ Superstar, Purlie, You Can't Take it With You, A Streetcar Named Desire, In The Blood, Natasha, Seven Guitars, On Striver's Row, The Colored Museum, Boys Next Door and A Soldier's Play.  He is also a writer.  Larry studied with Barbara Montgomery and currently studies with Petronia Paley and June Stein.  Proud member of AEA, AFTRA.


MARY HODGES* [Fool] his is Mary's fifth project with Take Wing and Soar Productions: Hamlet (Ophelia) starring Timothy D. Stickney as "Hamlet" and Arthur French, Sr. as "Polinius/Grave Digger"; Antigone (Ismene) directed by Chuck Patterson; Medea (Chorus) starring Trezana Beverley and Dathan Williams, directed by Petronia Paley; and Twelfth Night (Sir Tobey Belch) as staged by Ms. Paley.  Mary has performed at The Berkshire Theatre Festival, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, for The Lark Theatre Company, Judith Shakespeare Company, The Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the late Ernie McClintock's Jazz Actors Theatre.  Mary has a MFA in acting from The University of Connecticut.  Many, many thanks to Timothy and Debra Ann.  And a special thanks to my 'E'.


JENNIFER LE BLANC* (Regan) recently received her MFA from the National Theatre Conservatory. While at the Denver Center she played the Assistant in the world premiere of Theresa Rebeck's Our House and Kitty in Pride and Prejudice. She played the title role in Eurydice at ART in Portland, Oregon after having understudied the role in Berkeley Repertory Theatre's production directed by Les Waters. Other credits include Lady Macduff in Macbeth, Constance in Three Musketeers, and the Princess of France in Love's Labour's Lost with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Katherine in Love's Labour's Lost with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, and Desdemona in Othello with Marin Shakespeare Company.


ANJA LEE* [Cordelia] is excited to debut this season with TWAS! Favorite roles include Margaret in Much Ado at the Cleveland Public Theatre, the Witch in Love at Stake at New Jersey Repertory Theatre Brut, and Bev in I Came Here to be Insulted at NYU's First Look Theatre. Catch Anja on TV as Nurse Terry on As the World Turns and as a guest TV Host on the QVC Network.  Other credits include One Life to Live, All My Children, and a leading role in an Indie Feature Film called Honeysuckle.  Thank you to Debra Ann and Timothy for this opportunity!


ROBIN LEMON* [Goneril] This is Robin's debut working with Take Wing and Soar Productions.  Her recent stage credits include Ghosts With Insomnia (Maureen) with Prometheus' Fire, Romeo & Juliet (Juliet) and Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death (Tomboy) both with The Classical Theatre of Harlem, Men (Lily, Kendra) with the Manhattan Repertory Theater, In the Blood (Hester) with Jireh Productions.  Her recent commercials include Optimum Business, Subway, and QVC.  Her recent television appearances include Guiding Light, Law & Order CI, and the upcoming series Cupid.  She would like to thank Grady for his continued love and support.


MARCUS LORENZO [Ensemble] is extremely excited to be working with Take Wing and Soar Productions at the Natl. Black Theatre with such an exciting cast. He recently moved to New York from the Great State of Texas, and is looking forward to taking New York by storm. He would like to thank his family for supporting him, and people of New York for opening their arms and welcoming him. Marcus can't wait to see what it's in store next.


TOM MARTIN [Old Man | Ensemble] A native New Yorker who’s theater credits include, Montaigne in 9 Steps from Saint Ann's Street, Marcellus and 3d Player in Hamlet and The Husband in WWJD.  Among His television credits are Barry Rogers (Lawyer) on All My Children and numerous commercials.  I am blessed to be part of this extraordinary production.


MORAN MCGUIRE [u/s Cordelia | Ensemble] is a 2007 graduate of Marymount Manhattan College where she received a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Acting.  While attending Marymount Manhattan College Morgan was a part of such productions as The Colored Museum, The Old Law, and Machinal.  This is Morgan's professional debut in New York City.  She would like to thank her parents, her sister, the entirety of her family and her community for their support.


KHEMALI MURRAY* [Ensemble] is excited to be working with NBT and such a talented cast, what a way to learn! TV/Film credits include L&O SVU, Under The Harlem Moon, Not A Day Goes By and The Apartment. Theater credits include The Devil With Boobs, Boy Times Man, Colored Girls, H.U.E. and The Blacks where she was nominated for an Audelco award for her ensemble performance. Passin Time'  a solo show written and performed by Khemali, directed by Chuck Patterson.


DECLAN SAMMON [King of France | Ensemble] was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland.  He attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts from 2005-2008 and is freshly setting forth on his hopefully lifelong journey of acting. He adores both reading and performing the works of the great William Shakespeare and is extremely excited and honoured to be a part of such a wonderfully talented team as Take Wing And Soar.  Sometimes he wonders if Lear actually isn't crazy, just a little misunderstood; it is at these times he realizes that he's been fully absorbed by New York City!


J. H. SMITH III [Ensemble] was a member of the 2008 Public Theater Shakespeare Lab and recently completed master classes with LAByrinth Theater Company.  Favorite roles include: Messenger in Medea (Columbia Stages), Lucky in Waiting for Godot (Marietta College).  James received BFA Acting training from Marymount Manhattan College.  Proud AEA member.


CHRIS TRIANA [Oswald] is a graduate of the William Esper Studio where he trained under Bill Esper in the Meisner Technique and completed in depth course studies in Shakespeare.  He is also a trained baritone in Italian Bel Canto under the tutelage of George Gavira and Antonio Barasorda.  His professional credits include; Theatre: Caligula   (Theater  Row, NYC),   The   Complete  Works  of   William  Shakespeare Abridged (Coco Grove Playhouse), Don Juan in Chicago (Center for Performing Arts), Fools (Hollywood Playhouse), Titus Andronicus (Jackie Gleason Theater), and Blood Weddings (Coco Grove Playhouse).  Film: Wednesday’s Farwell, Every Saturday Night, and A Revisited Fate.


ARMAND VALDES [Ensemble] is thrilled to be making his debut with TWAS.  Armand was last see in the Northern Stage production of The History Boys (Akthar) and other credits include Dog Sees God (Van), Grimm’s Fairytales (Lead player), and Twelfth Night (Sir Andrew Aguecheek).  He also had the amazing opportunity to organize and perform in a charity event, One Night Stand, A Shakespeare Revue which raised money for Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDs.  Armand trained at Wagner College, where his love for the bard was nurtured by his amazing professors John, Felicia, and David (thanks guys!).  He would also like to recognize his family and friends (King Lear is super heady) for their continued support and inspiration.  


KARI NICOLE WASHINGTON* [Ensemble] is happy to be a part of this Take Wing And Soar production. NY credits include Twelfth Night, Peace, The Cherry Orchard, The Imaginary Invalid, and The Seagull. Thanks to the cast, crew, Timothy, and Norman. BFA NYU. Proud Equity member. www.kariwashington.com


BRYAN WEBSTER* [Cornwall] most recently appeared as John in Juan Michael Porter II's Whoreworks directed by Patricia R. Floyd, (info at whoreworks.com). For TWAS: Creon in Medea, Horatio in Hamlet and Clarence in Richard III. He has performed with the Public Theater in Everybody's Ruby, directed by Kenny Leon; Theater For a New Audience in As You Like It , directed by Mark Rylance; and The Ridiculous Theatrical Company in Big Hotel, directed by Everett Quinton. In addition He's performed at several Shakespeare Festivals including those in Boston, North Carolina and Camden, Maine. His voiceover work has been heard on national commercials for Prilosec.  He can be seen in the upcoming Julie Taymor film The Tempest. He is the recipient of the 2008 Earl Hyman Award.


TIMOTHY D. STICKNEY [Director] has been a theater professional for more than twenty years; working with Take Wing and Soar Productions since it's inaugural season. Timothy has led award-nominated productions of Richard III  and Hamlet for TWAS; as well as directing gender bending workshops of Julius Caesar and Othello and taking on the position of Associate Artistic Director for the company.  In 2008, decades after his first professional gig as Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet with National Shakespeare Company; Stickney reprised Juliet's kinsman for The Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada. He was also Pothinus  in  Caesar and  Cleopatra with  Christoper Plummer for the festival; which was recorded for broadcast and theatrical release by Bravo and CTV. Mr Stickney returns to Stratford this season to be Banquo in their production of Macbeth. 2008 also saw Timothy's Macbeth for the New York State Theatre Institute receive glowing reviews. Recent seasons have seen Timothy's Audelco nominated Othello (Africa Arts); Oswald in Public Theater's King Lear with Kevin Kline; and Escalus in Romeo and Juliet at the Delacorte in Central Park; as well as productions of Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 and The Taming of the Shrew with Morgan Freeman for the Public Theater; Achilles, Troilus and Cressida (Shakespeare Theater); Orsino, Twelfth Night (Seattle Rep.); Lorenzo, The Merchant of Venice (Hartford Stage).  Graduate: American Academy of Dramatic Arts/Company. Proud Member of Actor's Equity Association. "All my Love and Thanks to Lee for boundless Support, Faith and Love; cause I aint easy."  


MARK RINGER [Dramaturg | stand-in Gloucester] has worked as a professional dramaturg, director and actor throughout the United States and Europe. He co-adapted The Hear of My Mystery: The Hamlet Project with Barbara Bosch for two Off-Off Broadway runs.  His books Electra and the Empty Urn: Metatheater and Role Playing in Sophocles (Chapel Hill) and Opera’s First Master: The Musical Dramas of Claudio Monteverdi (Amadeus Press) appeared in 1998 and 2006.  Dr. Ringer’s third book, Franz Schubert’s Theatre of Song (Amadeus Press) is scheduled for publication in April 2009.  He holds an M.F.A. in Acting from University of California, Los Angeles and a Ph.D., in Theatre History, Literature and Criticism from University of California, Santa Barbara.  Mark is Professor of Theatre at Marymount Manhattan College.  King Lear is his third collaboration with TWAS Inc.


WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE [Playwright] For more than 350 years, William Shakespeare has been the world's most popular playwright. On the stage, in the movies, and on television his plays are watched by vast audiences.  People read his plays again and again for pleasure.  Students reading his plays for the first time are delighted.  Shakespeare's continued popularity is due to many things. His plays are filled with action, his characters are believable, and his language is thrilling to hear or read.  Underlying all this is Shakespeare's deep humanity. He was a profound student of people and he understood them.  He had a great tolerance, sympathy, and love for all people, good or evil.   While watching a Shakespearean tragedy, the audience is moved and shaken.  After the show the spectators are calm, washed clean of pity and terror.  They are saddened but at peace, repeating the old saying, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”  A Shakespearean comedy is full of fun. The characters are lively; the dialogue is witty.  In the end young lovers are wed; old babblers are silenced; wise men are content.  The comedies are joyous and romantic.


PAVLO BOSYY [Scenic Design] Assistant Professor of Theatre at Oakland University, Michigan (USA), Pavlo  Bosyy  has earned his MA in History and Political Science from Kirovohrad State University (Ukraine) and his MFA in Scenography from Ohio University (USA). He has taught Theatre Arts, History, and Humanities for nearly 15 years at the university level. He designed, directed or performed in over 60 projects at regional and academic theatres in Ukraine and the USA and Off-Broadway companies.  Pavlo’s works participated at SETC, ACTF, USITT’s Young Designers’ Forum, Ming’s Clambake World Design Forum and Prague Quadrennial and at numerous International conferences in the United States and Western Europe.  Recent professional credits include Kropyvnytsky Regional Theatre - one of the oldest professional resident companies in Ukraine, New York Fringe Festival, Equity Showcase at Take Wing and Soar company (NYC), Texas Shakespeare Festival, Meadowbrook Theatre, Plowshares Theatre Company and Jewish Ensemble Theatre in Michigan. Pavlo founded an English-language company, The Little Globe Theatre, located in Kirovohrad, Ukraine. He enjoyed serving as the Artistic Director/Producer as well as stage director, scenographer, sound designer, actor and dramaturge at various times. Credits include plays and musicals by Chekhov, Shakespeare, Pushkin, Genet, Ionesco, Beckett, Berlin, Brecht, Dykes, Shevchenko, Jose Rivera, Krasnogorov, Shaw, August Wilson, Kander and Ebb, Kalman, Kopit and Yeston, Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart, Cynthia Robinson, Frances Rouse and others. In 2008, Pavlo Bosyy became one of the faculty honorees at the Thirteenth Annual Faculty Recognition Luncheon, Oakland University.  "Pavlo Bosyy dedicates his work to the memory of his belowed teacher, Ursula Belden"


ALI TURNS [Costume Design | Make Up Artist] is the proud winner of the 2006 – 2007 AUDELCO AWARD, for Best Costume Design, for HAMLET.  Produced by, Take Wing and Soar Productions.  She was also the 2004 – 2005 AUDELCO AWARDS, nominee for, Great Men Of Gospel, produced by Woodie King, for New Federal Theatre.  Ali has enjoyed working with some of the greats in the ‘biz’; Ms. Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, in a play written for her by husband, Last Dance For Sybil, and with Tony Award winner, Trazana Beverly both as an actress and director; most recently in, MEDEA.  Ali is proud to be apart of yet another amazing production by TWAS and working with all those involved.  Praise God from whom all Blessings flow.


JOYCE LIAO [Light Design] Based in New York City, Joyce Liao has designed lighting for operas, musicals, dance and plays both in New York and across the country. Her lighting design for Caucasian Chalk Circle won the USITT Peggy Ezekiel Award for Outstanding Achievement Lighting Design and was included in the World Stage Design 2005 Exhibit in Toronto. Joyce's selected New York credits: The Stronger, directed by Stephen Wadsworth, ArcLight Theatre, Handball, Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, The Alice Complex, Cherry Lane Theatre,   Nowadays at  the Metropolitan  Playhouse  and  Joyce  has  recently designed Soul Of Shaolin at Marquis Theatre on Broadway. Joyce holds an M.F.A. in Theatrical Lighting Design from Ohio University. Contact: [email protected]


DAVID D. WRIGHT [Sound Design] is a multiple award winning sound designer, musical director and percussionist. He has toured with the Fania All Stars, Eddie Palmieri’s Harlem River Drive, Mark Radice, Brass Construction, K.C. and the Sunshine Band to name a few.  He has worked with Charles and Ella Moore, Alvin Ailey, Obediah Wright, Baraka De Soleil. He has won five Vivian Robinson Audelco Awards for Excellence in Black Theatre that include The National Black Theatre's "The Legacy", as Outstanding Musical Director. Amiri Baraka's " Meeting Lillie", Rome Neal's, "Julius Caesar set in Africa", Nuyorican Poets Cafe's production of "Shango de Ima", and the American Place Theatre's production of "Fly", garnered David the Outstanding Sound Design Awards. He has sound designed for many of the metropolitan area theatres including The Negro Ensemble Company, New Federal Theatre, Amas, and the Theatre of the Riverside Church.  He sound designed and co produced River Tales CD which one him a Parents Choice Award. David's credits include engineering, producing, hosting, sound designing, and writing radio dramas which aired on WBAI-FM in NYC, resulting in him receiving a Golden Reel, Silver Reel, and Special Merit Awards from National Association of Community Broadcasters. David continues to sound design and create soundscapes across the country including the National Black Theatre Festival, held in Winston - Salem, North Carolina. He most recently received an Audelco nomination for his sound design of his Yoruba Dance Drama “Sango Lord of Thunder”.  David won the Law Enforcement Video Award for his score of an NYPD training film, and he soundscaped Fred Ho's opera "Warrior Womyn".  David received an Audelco nomination for his portrayal of the late Louis Armstrong in the Ishmael Reed play entitled “The C above C above high C”.  He is the Producing playwright of the Orisha Tales Repertory Radio Theatre Company. He has written and successfully produced five of his seven dance dramas. David would like to take this opportunity to thank The Ancestors, Olodumare, and Orisha for his success.


JIM ROBINSON [Fight Director] is very pleased to be back with Take Wing And Soar, having choreographed the violence for their critically acclaimed production of Richard III. In addition to his choreography work stretching from the NY Renaissance Faire to stunt coordinating the film PROUD Jim also pursues work as an actor. He's worked on stage from NY to Florida to Arizona. He recently performed in National tours of Lost In Yonkers and Trip To Bountiful.


NORMAN ANTHONY SMALL [Production Stage Manager] is an Actor, Stage Manager, Producer, Singer, Songwriter, Producer, and Musician.  Stage management  credits include Medea,  Pecong, and  Camp Logan.  Norman’s  acting credits include Ebony Black (Growls), SCRIBBLIN’ at the AUTOMAT (Young Man, Narrator), and Twelfth Night (Priest).  Norman would like to thank Debra Ann Byrd for this wonderful opportunity, Timothy D. Stickney for his incredible guidance and patience, and Norman’s family, friends, and the entire Company of King Lear for their support.  [email protected]


CARLOS CASTILLO [Assistant Scenic Design] is a current senior at Marymount Manhattan College with a concentration in Set Design and Technical production.  Previous TWAS Inc. productions include Hamlet and Medea.  Design credits include Now That I’ve Seen You Naked at the Sage Theater, “Major Barbara” At Marymount Manhattan College (MMC), My Favorite Animal at the 45thst Theater. He is currently working on a production of She Stoops to Conquer at MMC.  Carlos would like to thank his beautiful girlfriend, Briana Jones, and family, The Castillo’s for all the support. He would also like to thank Katie Chai for her help.


MERCEDES AYALA [Assistant to the Chief Executive | Marketing Associate] This phenomenal spirited actor alumni is an AUDELCO member and proud native of the Bronx, in New York.  She received most of her training at The National Black Theatre and has performed as well as worked tech on various film and stage productions throughout the city.  Mercedes’ most recent work includes the voice of Michael in “Peter Pan” at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre at Central Park in New York City.  She is currently in training for Television Production and teaches pre-school at The Learning Tree also in the Bronx.  Mercedes is grateful for the Gift from God, the sacrifices of our Ancestors, the support of her family Mel, Shanasia, Nakia, and Mikhael, and special friends Angela, and Nelly, and most appreciative for opportunity to work with mentor Debra Ann Byrd and the family of The National Black Theatre, Institute of Action Arts.  Contact Info: 347.866.1981


NATALIE CLARKE [Marketing & Promotions] has worked with arts, cultural, and dance organizations, and theater companies, for the last six years in promotion and audience development with such productions as The Jackie Wilson Story, Lackawana Blues, Def Poetry Jam, Hairspray the musical, Caroline or Change, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Gem of the Ocean, Radio Golf, Plantanos & Collard Greens, Everything' Turning Into Beautiful, Bhuthan, Dutchman, Hoodoo Love, THURGOOD, The Country Girl, Basic Training,  The Alvin Alley American Dance Theater, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Gabrielle Lansner and Company, The Audelco Awards, Signature Theatre, The Cherry Lane Theatre, Theatre for a New Audience.  She is Senior Director of Marketing and Client Services at WICG and recently received an AUDELCO PIONEER AWARD.


PENNY LANDAU/Maya PR [Press Representative] saw her first Broadway show, West Side Story, when she was 9 years old.  Since then, she has performed, stage managed,  directed,  teched, taught  and, for  the last 23 years, run her own PR firm.  Maya PR has repped Renee Taylor & Joe Bologna; the multi-award winning Jelly Roll! starring Vernel Bagneris; Edge starring Angelica Torn as Sylvia Plath (NY, London & Australia); Third Eye Rep's acclaimed Godspell; actors Rena Strober (currently on tour with Topol in Fiddler on the Roof), Geri Jewell ("Deadwood"),  BarBara Luna ("Star Trek"), France Nuyen (Joy Luck Club), Sal Richards (Out for Justice, "The Sopranos"), Karen Lynn Gorney (Saturday Night Fever); Kathy Garver ("Family Affair");  vocalist Suzanne Carrico; actor/singer Franc D'Ambrosio (Phantom of the Opera, The Godfather, Part III); musical comedian & impressionist Stephen Sorrentino; Barefoot Theatre Company, Gorilla Rep, upcoming film The Big Gay Musical, Turner Publishing, The Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs, The League of Professional Theatre Women &  Big Apple Comic Book, Art & Sci-Fi Conventions. She is honored to be working with Debra Ann Byrd & Take Wing And Soar Productions.


LAZETTE MCCANTS [House Manager] was introduced to the “black theatre experience”, over twenty years ago, by Ms. Vivian Robinson, the founder of AUDELCO.  She has enthusiastically supported arts and culture in general and black theatre, in particular.  Most recently she was Volunteer Coordinator and House Manager for the National Black Theatre’s co-Production of “Hattie…” . Currently she serves as the Director of Volunteer Services for Take Wing and Soar Productions.  Also, for 2009 she is the Managing Director of RhythmColor Associates’ the 4th Annual POTPOURRI - World Women Works Series.  LaZette continues to volunteer and consult with community-based, cultural and social service organizations.  Over the past year, she has also begun to develop a group called Volunteer Divas Plus.  This group is comprised of individuals with various background related to theatre and includes, actors, writers, producers and enthusiasts.  LaZette’s goal is to look for ways to be involved and perpetuate the spirit of volunteerism while passing on her skills, knowledge, commitment and experience.


DEBRA ANN BYRD [Producer | General Manager] is the Founder of Take Wing And Soar Productions, Inc., where she currently serves as Chief Executive and Producing Artistic Director.  Ms. Byrd has guided this company's growth from its birth as the passionate dream of one determined woman into a viable support organization serving classical artists of color and theater arts groups throughout New York.  As an actor, producer, arts manager, and business leader she has received more than 20 awards and citations and was recently selected for inclusion in the 2008 ~ 25th Silver Anniversary Edition of Who’s Who In The World and is the recipient of the 2006 Josephine Abady Award for Excellence in Producing works that foster diversity.  This award winning theater arts professional received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Acting from Marymount Manhattan College, and a certificate of completion from The Public Theater’s Shakespeare Lab Program.   In  2007   she  was  selected  for  producer  training  at  The  Commercial Theatre Institute, a special project of The League of American Theatres and Producers and the Theatre Development Fund.  She received additional training from the Arts Leadership Institute, a unique Leadership Training Program for Arts Managers at Teacher’s College/Columbia University.  Ms Byrd is currently on the Producing Team at The National Black Theatre, Inc. and an Associate Producer for 6-10 Productions, Inc.  Her credits as a producer include: For TWAS Inc.: MEDEA, Hamlet, The Darker Face Of The Earth, CORIOLANUS: The African Warrior, Richard III; four years of the Take Wing And Soar Spirit Of Excellence Awards and five seasons of the TWAS Classical Lab Reading Series.  For the National Black Theatre; HATTIE…What  Need You To Know!; Orunmila, Don’t Play That Song For Me, Black Man Rising, Dorothy Dandridge: Before, After and Now, Yesterday Came Too Soon: The Dorothy Dandridge Story, Yesterday’s, Serenade The World: The Music and Words of Oscar Brown Jr., and Marian Anderson: The Lady From Philadelphia; and for 6-10 Productions Broadway Sings The Odd Potato: A Chanukah Musical.  A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU TO MY MENTORS; Veronica Claypool, John-Phillip Parkman and Dorothy Olim.  Your guidance and encouragement has been the wind beneath this little ‘byrd’s’ wings.  And to my special mentor Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, who now looks down from on high, “Thanks a million for your many years of support, your strong leadership and guidance, your unending love, and the many blessings you have left me with.”  


JACKIE JEFFRIES [Producer] Latest credits in 2008 include: Associate Producer of Orunmila at the National Black Theatre, Producer of the Billie Holiday Story at the Cherry Lane Theater, Producer of Phil’s Speakeasy at the Nuyorican Poet’s Café, Producing Director of WEBEIME with The Negro Ensemble Company, producing with RhythmColor Associates Potpourri and co-producing Medea, starring Trezana Beverley with Take Wing And Soar Productions.  As Associate Producer for the National Black Theatre in 2007, she worked on productions such as the Audelco Award winning Black Man Rising, the inspirational Tell It, Sing It, Shout It and Jackie Moms Mabley and Her Ladies starring Clarice Taylor. Her other off-broadway producing credits include Hamlet at the Workshop Theater starring, Timothy Stickney, The Darker face of the Earth, by Rita Dove at American Theater of Actors, Sango by David Wright at the National Black Theatre. She worked as production manager for Offspring by Jim Barden at the 45th Street theatre with the Negro Ensemble Company and the off-broadway production of Jackie Mom’s and Her Ladies on Theatre Row in 2004. Some of her producing credits for NBT include: Dorothy Dandrige: Before, After and Now, Yesterday Came too Soon: The Dorothy Dandrige Story, Yesterdays: A Tribute to Bille Holiday, Senerade The World: The Music and Words of Oscar Brown Jr., Fannie Lou Hamer: This Little Light, Jackie Mom’s Mabley and Her Ladies starring Clarice Taylor, Marion Anderson: The Lady from Philadelphia, NBT Miracle Mondays Reading Series  and  Gussie Mae in America.  She has been an Associate Producer for Take Wing and Soar’s Classical Lab reading Series since 2004, some of those works included: Antigone, Pekong, Othello, Lord Arthur’s Seville, Julius Caesar and Coriolanus: The African Warrior, The 2004-2005 Classical Lab Reading Series, the 2005 TWAS Benefit Performance of The Women of Shakespeare and the 1st Annual Take Wing and Soar Spirit of Excellence in awards. She co-produced The Wiz at the Olympic Theatre 2001, at Lincoln Center 2001, the Associate Producer at Sounds of Blackness Concert at the Apollo Theatre 2000.  She was the resident Production Manager at Rites and Reason Theatre from 1994-1999 under tutelage of Elmo Terry Morgan and Karen Baxter. Jackie has had a 21-year illustrious career in theatre as a General, Production and Stage Manager, which began at NBT in 1987. She received her MFA in Film from City College. Film credits include the documentaries: Imajin, A Tribute to Tunde Samuel, and The Making of Mom’s Mabley. She is a 2007 graduate of CTI. Thanks to the tutelage of Tunde Samuel, she is now enjoying a career as a producer. Thank You, Adunni, Elmo, Dr. Barbara Ann Teer and the NBT family God Bless.


FLORA GILLARD [Producer | Concessions Manager] is a founding board member of Take Wing And Soar Productions and has served on the board for the past five years.  In addition to being a fine trustee, she has served as an Associate Producer and Producing Associate on all TWAS Inc. Projects.  She thanks her family and friends for their support and encouragement.


NATIONAL BLACK THEATRE, INC. [Lead Sponsor] An historic institute for African-American dramatic arts, the National Black Theatre enriches the heart of Harlem.  Located on the dividing line between East and West Harlem, NBT was founded in 1968 by Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, thereby becoming the country's first revenue-generating black theater arts complex.  The 64,000 square foot interior, rich with colorful African artwork and decor, bursts with warmth and a deep sense of cultural pride.  NBT's spaces host all manner of performances--musical and dramatic--as well as lectures, workshops and dance classes.  The splendid Liberation Temple on the third floor is an octagonal-shaped room with an intimate feel and seats 272.  (The Temple is accompanied by a cozy reception area with ample amenities.) The smaller Performing Space on the third is a charming 140-seat theater with an elevated stage and excellent visibility.


ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION [AEA] founded in 1913, represents more than 45,000 actors and stage managers in the United States.  Equity seeks to advance promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society.  Equity negotiates wages and working conditions, providing a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans.  AEA is a member of the AFL-CIO, and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions.  The Equity emblem is our mark of excellence.  www.actorsequity.org

Photo Credit: Hubert Williams | Images of Us

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