LEONARD MADDOX JR
CHERYL L. WEST
LONNIE RAFAEL ALCARAZ
RANDALL K. LUM*
MIKO S. SIMMONS
*Members of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States
GRETA OGLESBY (Fannie Lou Hamer) is an esteemed veteran of the American theatre 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 Theatre; 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 Theatre Company. 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.
MORGAN E. (Music Director / Keyboards / Harmonica / Vocals) is a multi-faceted creative who hails from the south side of Chicago. This is her third production since she began working with FANNIE in June of 2021. She previously served as associate musical director for runs at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and The Goodman Theatre (Chicago), and as music director for runs at True Colors Theatre (Atlanta), Actors Theatre of Louisville, and City Theatre Co. (Pittsburgh). She holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Tennessee State University, a Master of Music Education degree from VanderCook College of Music, and spent several years teaching music from the elementary to high school level. Morgan is also an accomplished saxophonist and her many musical talents can be heard on her debut EP, a collaborative project entitled “Meeting of the Minds,” featuring notable Chicago-based artists. For more info on Morgan E.’s musical projects, as well as her foodie adventures and hand-made jewelry and clothing line, go to linktr.ee/MorganEMusicNow
SPENCER BEAN (Acoustic / Electric Guitars / Vocals) is very excited to be working with TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Spencer attended College at California State University, 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 in Atlanta, Alliance Theatre, various movie soundtrack recordings and jingles, The Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, and Sesame Street. He has also toured worldwide and recorded on multiple Gold and Platinum recordings for Gladys Knight & The Pips, Marvin Gaye, and Barry White, just to mention a few. spencerbeanmusic.com
LEONARD MADDOX JR. (Drums / Vocals) was born in Chicago, IL, and is the son of Julia and the late Leonard Maddox, Sr. He was the Lead Drummer for Steppenwolf Theatre Co.’s The Christians, and has accompanied renowned artists including Gerald Albright, Kurt Whalum, K-Pop sensation TXT BigHit, 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 produced in England, Off-Broadway, on Broadway (Play On!) and in numerous regional theatres around the country, including Arena Stage, The Old Globe, The Goodman Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Minneapolis Children’s Theatre Co., Seattle Children’s Theatre, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Seattle Rep, Indiana Rep, Merrimack, Arkansas Rep, St. Louis Black Rep, Bay Street Theater Festival, Syracuse Stage, Cleveland Play House, South Coast Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Off-Broadway’s Second Stage. She has written TV and film projects at Disney, Paramount, MTV Films, Showtime, TNT, HBO, CBS, BET and is the Webby-nominated writer for the original web series Diary of a Single Mom. Ms. West is currently working on commissions for Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Arena Stage, and Seattle Rep. cheryllwest.com
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, Tim has 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 Theater Company in Irvine, CA and Warsaw, Poland, A Christmas Carol at the Denver Center, Little Mermaid at Syracuse Stage, Million 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.
RANDALL K. LUM (Stage Manager) was recently the associate director of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Stanford University and production stage manager 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 Theater, Berkeley and Seattle Repertory Theatres, Laguna and Pasadena Playhouses, and South Coast Repertory.
JUDITH NIHEI (Artist Counselor & Dramaturg) 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.
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.
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 theatre 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. Minnesota 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 Minnesota Opera; Art is a Verb, Salome, MotherKing Opera. Rock Opera Musicals: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Minnesota’s 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.
LYDIA TANJI (Costume Designer) recently designed Gem of the Ocean at TheatreWorks. Regional theatre credits include American Conservatory Theater (The Headlands), Berkeley Rep, Public Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Arena Stage, Geva Theatre, Syracuse Stage, Huntington Theatre Co., 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.
DEBBIE CHINN (Executive Director, she/her) joined TheatreWorks as Executive Director in November 2022. Over the past 30 years, Debbie has held C-suite leadership positions at Anna Deavere Smith Projects, Opera Parallèle, Carmel Bach Festival, California Shakespeare Theater, Baltimore’s Center Stage, and Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey. Debbie is a board member of Playwrights Foundation, San Francisco Community Music Center, the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco, and is on the Advisory Council and on the EDI Committee of West Edge Opera. She most recently served as Board Chair of Theatre Bay Area. On a national level, she has been appointed to the Leadership Council of the National Small Business Association. Her book, Dancing in Their Light, published March 2022, chronicles her family’s historical connection to the missionaries of China and of the pioneering impact her family of immigrants have made to advance the fields of research, science, medicine, academia, engineering, arts, humanities, and culinary hospitality in the United States. Debbie was the creative consultant for writer William Kinsolving on the development of his new musical, That Week With The Bachs, which was presented at the Spacious Grace Festival in the nave of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco in February 2023. debbiechinn.com