As an actor, I’ve had the great opportunity of performing in some great shows. Once in a while there are those shows that come along that stay with you forever. Blues for Mister Charlie by James Baldwin is one of them.
My “Blues” journey began shortly after I resigned from my job. I went into the audition unknowing of the greatness I was embarking upon this past summer. I had never read the play before, (Shame on me, I know) and didn’t know the magnitude and importance of this piece. With a cast of 21 and rehearsals Mon-Sat from 10am-4pm we became a family rather quickly. From May through the end of July this was my home away from home
Blues for Mister Charlie was the inaugural show of the New Haarlem Arts Theater- “In this new theater company, emerging professional actors from the CCNY community will work alongside the most daring, imaginative, and creative artists in their field on a high professional level.” Taking on the role ofJuanita Harmon pushed me to grow as an actress. The role was given to City College student Tiffany Warren and professional actress Franceli Chapman. Director, Gene Nesmith pushed Tiffany Warren and I during the rehearsal process for the infamous “He Layed Beside Me” monologue. Usually women placed in the same role can become very catty but Tiffany and I worked together, learned from each other and most importantly cheered each other on at every show! We discovered we both lost a parent in college and used that pain in our performance.
Check out Tiffany and I being interviewed by Tracie Strahan of Positively Black on NBC : http://bit.ly/qzOYul
Thanks to the theater amazing relationships are born! Another great cast mate playing my childhood love, Richard Henry is Reginald L. Wilson. Always willing to stay late or arrive early to run lines, go over character objectives or just feel the space, Reggie provided great leadership to our cast. Since Blues, we continue to work together and support one another. We both now sit on the Advisory Board for the New Haarlem Arts Theater.
The show was well received by the Harlem community as well as receiving a great amount of press. (see below) Special thanks to our awesome Press Agent: Jonathan Slaff as well as everyone in the crew and production team that helped make Blues such a success! Thank you for giving me the opportunity and joy to work with all of you and giving us all a show we can be proud of.
NY THEATRE –“The impressive ensemble of twenty actors supports stand-out performances from Juanita (Franceli Chapman)…”