Powerful and life affirming. A tour de force.
— The Siskiyou Daily News
“To hope is to vote!”
Famed activist and civil rights hero Fannie Lou Hamer makes this impassioned rally cry, reminding us that change begins with just one voice. Tracing her steps from sharecropper to activist to political candidate, Fannie takes audiences on a gospel-filled journey of justice and self-determination, inspiring every American to rise up and fight for the vital issues of our time. Featuring a live band and the return of Greta Oglesby, star of last season’s critically-acclaimed Gem of the Ocean!
At TheatreWorks we offer a variety of accessible programming with each production.
GRETA OGLESBY (Fannie) is an esteemed veteran of the American theater community. Her performances have been described as “ravishing,” “indelible,” “powerful,” “magnificent,” “heartbreaking,” and “brilliant.” Last season, she appeared on TheatreWorks' stage as Aunt Ester in August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean. Selected other credits include Thunder Knocking on the Door, Once on This Island, King Lear, and The Furies at Ten Thousand Things Theater; The Wiz, The Piano Lesson, Amen Corner, and A Love Song for Miss Lydia at Penumbra Theater; Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, The Crucible, Caroline, or Change, and Burial at Thebes at Guthrie Theater; Beggar's Strike, Five Fingers of Funk, and Last Stop on Market Street at Children’s Theater. She is author of the book Mama 'n 'Nem, Handprints on My Life and its companion play, Handprints, which was produced as a film by Ten Thousand Things Theater and Free Style films.
SPENCER BEAN (Guitars / Vocals) is very excited to be working TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. Born and raised in Los Angeles California, Spencer attended College at California State University of Los Angeles. Music and theatre performance credits include The August Wilson African American Cultural Center in Pittsburgh, The Actors Theatre of Louisville, Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Co., the Alliance Theatre, various movie sound track recordings and jingles, The Grammy
Awards, American Music Awards, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Sesame Street New York City, and has also toured world wide and recorded on Multiple Gold & Platinum recordings for Gladys Knight & The Pips, Marvin Gaye, and Barry White to mention just a few.
LEONARD MADDOX JR. (Drums / Vocals) was born in Chicago, Illinois, and is the son of Julia and the late Leonard Maddox, Sr. He was the Lead Drummer for the Steppenwolf Theatre's production of The Christians, and has accompanied renowned artists including Gerald Albright, Kurt Whalum, K-Pop Sensation TXT BigHit, The Grammy Award-winning Darius Brooks & The Tommies, among others. Leonard is a young, highly sought-after musician who has performed worldwide.
CHERYL L. WEST (Playwright)'s plays include, FANNIE: The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer, Last Stop on Market Street, Shout Sister Shout, Akeelah and the Bee, Pullman Porter Blues, and Jar the Floor (optioned for Broadway). Her plays have been seen in England, Off-Broadway, on Broadway (Play On!) and in numerous regional theaters around the country. She has written TV and film projects at Disney, Paramount, MTV Films, Showtime, TNT, HBO, CBS and is currently working on commissions for LaJolla Playhouse, Arena Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Seattle Rep.
LYDIA TANJI (Costume Design) recently designed Gem of the Ocean at Theatreworks. Regional theater credits include American Conservatory Theater (The Headlands), Berkeley Rep, Public Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Arena Stage, Geva Theatre, Syracuse Stage, Huntington Theater, Guthrie Theater, Children’s Theatre Co, Indiana Rep, Dallas Theater Group, Seattle Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Mark Taper Forum, and South Coast Rep. She has been awarded six Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle awards and two Drama-Logue awards. Film credits include The Joy Luck Club, Hot Summer Winds, and Dim Sum. Recently, she co-produced Vanishing Chinatown: The World of The May’s Photo Studio which aired on KQED, KVIE, and screened at seven film festivals.
MIKO S. SIMMONS (Projection Design) is an international award-winning Multimedia Artist & Projection Designer who has been innovating in the convergence of Film/Animation and Theatrical Production for more than 20 years. Recent theater productions include: Seattle Children’s Theater; The Boy who kissed the sky, The Watsons go to Birmingham 1963. Guthrie Theater; Valor, Fast Company, Macondo, Caviar on Credit, Postcards from Earth, Confluence, Bring Love to my Doorstep. Penumbra Theatre; Sugar in Our Wounds, Ashe Lab. The Mn History Theatre; Gloria, Dirty Business. New Dawn Theatre; Crowns. Old Log Theatre; Ghost Musical, Jack & Beanstalk. Park Square Theater; Snow Queen. Mixed Blood Theater; House of the Spirits. At Mn Opera; Art is a Verb, Salome, MotherKing Opera. Rock Opera Musicals: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Mn Ordway Theater. In Korea; Count of Monte Cristo, Wizard of Oz, Elisabeth Musical, Rudolf Musical. Other Music and Dance productions include Threads Dance, Uncertain Realties. Earth, Wind, and Fire International tour. MLK Sculpture Inauguration Ceremony on National Mall in D.C.
RANDALL K. LUM (Stage Manager) was recently the associate director of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Stanford University and production stage manager on for Old Vic’s production of A Christmas Carol. Selected TheatreWorks credits include In Every Generation, Nan and the Lower Body, Sense and Sensibility, They Promised Her The Moon, Pride and Prejudice, The 39 Steps, Archduke, Fun Home, Hold These Truths, Finks, Skeleton Crew, Around the World in 80 Days, The Prince of Egypt, Constellations, Rags, Outside Mullingar, Confederates, The Velocity of Autumn, Jane Austen’s Emma, The Country House, Fallen Angels, The Lake Effect, Peter and the Starcatcher, Time Stands Still, Other Desert Cities, and Once on This Island. Other companies: Oregon and San Francisco Shakespeare Festivals, Denver Center Theatre Company, La Jolla Playhouse, Center Theatre Group, The Old Globe, American Conservatory Theater, California Shakespeare Theatre, Berkeley and Seattle Repertory Theatres, Laguna and Pasadena Playhouses, and South Coast Repertory.
TIM BOND (Director) joined TheatreWorks as Artistic Director in July 2020, and made his TheatreWorks directorial debut in 2021 with August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean. He is a nationally-known director and educator with past leadership roles as Producing Artistic Director at Syracuse Stage, Associate Artistic Director at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Artistic Director at Seattle Group Theatre, and tenured full Professor and Head of the Professional Actor Training Program at the University of Washington School of Drama. Over the last 37 years, Timhas directed at many theatres including the Market Theatre, Baxter Theatre Centre, Guthrie Theater, Seattle Rep, Milwaukee Rep, The Wilma Theater, Arena Stage, GEVA Theatre Center, Cleveland Play House, Indiana Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, PCPA, Arizona Theatre Co., Portland Center Stage, Dallas Theater Center, A Contemporary Theatre, Empty Space Theatre, Paul Robeson Theatre, and Seattle Children’s Theatre. He is the recipient of two Backstage West Garland Awards, two Syracuse Area Live Theatre (SALT) Awards, and a Dallas-Fort Worth Critics Forum Award.
LONNIE RAFAEL ALCARAZ (Lighting Design) is a professor at the University of California, Irvine, where he is the head of the lighting program. He is delighted to return to TheatreWorks, after designing Gem of the Ocean last season. Other recent designs include Curie Curie for Transversal Theatre Company in Irvine, California and Warsaw, Poland, A Christmas Carol at the Denver Center, Little Mermaid at Syracuse Stage, Mission Dollar Quartet and American Mariachi at South Coast Repertory, Mojada at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Portland Center Stage. He is an associate artist at South Coast Repertory and Cornerstone Theater Company and is the Resident Lighting Designer at South Coast Repertory, Ballet Repertory Theatre, and Great River Shakespeare Festival (where he is also a Co-Associate Artistic Director). He is a member of the United Scenic Artists, Local 829/International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. His complete design portfolio can be found at lradesigns.com.
LYRE ALSTON (Wig Design, he/him/she/her) is a costume, wig, hair, and makeup designer and artisan from the San Francisco Bay Area. Credits include California Shakespeare Theater, American Conservatory Theater, New Conservatory Theatre Center of San Francisco, Marin Theatre Co., Chabot Theater, Shotgun Players, Berkeley Playhouse, and Cal State East Bay Theater, among others.
ANDREA BECHERT (Scenic Design) has designed 37 productions with TheatreWorks, including Fun Home, Native Gardens, Crimes of the Heart, and Night of the Iguana. Ms. Bechert designs for theatres across the country including Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, the Cleveland Playhouse, The Jewel Theatre, Chautauqua Theatre Company, American Musical Theatre of San Jose, The Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, The Starlight Theatre, Opera San José, Center REPertory Theatre, and many others. Awards include several Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle awards, the Silicon Valley Laureate Award, and a Denver Ovation Award. Her designs were included in the World Design Expo and Prague Quadrennial. She teaches design at San José State University, and is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829, where she serves as Exam Committee Chair.
GREGORY ROBINSON (Sound Design) designed TheatreWorks productions of Calligraphy, Proof, Water By the Spoonful, The Mountaintop, The Pitment Painters, Snow Falling on Cedars, Time Stands Still, Living Out, You Can’t Take it With You, An American Daughter, Be Aggressive, and Present Laughter. A United Scenic Artists Local USA 829 Member, Gregory is “An Artist That Paints With Sound.” His creations have been featured in local, regional, and national advertisements, short films, documentaries, corporate videos, and theatre. His work has been featured in an Emmy Award-winning documentary, and he’s been recognized by the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle with a Sound Design “Excellence in Theatre” award for Water by the Spoonful, and a nomination for Proof. Recent credits include compositions for Aurora Theatre Co.’s Paradise Blue, redesigned sound/music for Marin Theatre Co.’s production of August Wilson’s Two Trains Running, and Syracuse Stage Co.’s Salt/City/Blues.
JUDITH NIHEI (Artist Counselor) is a San Francisco-based licensed psychotherapist in private practice. She has been a theatre director, dramaturg, writer, actor, and administrator. A founding member of Seattle’s Northwest Asian American Theatre, she returned home to work with San Francisco’s Asian American Theatre Company and began a long career in improv with The Committee. She consults for schools, nonprofits and community-based organizations, facilitating the incorporation of stress-reduction and cultural humility as an integral part of trauma-informed services. Clients have included Edgewood Center for Children and Families, Japanese Community Youth Council, and Theatre Communications Group, Inc. She continues her improv career as one of The Bad Aunties.