#TheatreThursday – Father Comes Home from the Wars

Father Comes Home

Father Comes Home

If you follow me on ANY form of social media (but especially Instagram: @brittanyinge), then you know that I’m currently playing the role of Penny in the Actor’s Express production of Suzan-Lori Parks’s epic masterpiece, Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3).

We currently have only 4 SHOWS LEFT! Tonight at 8pm… Friday at 8pm (in which my understudy may perform… because God is good. #BOOKED)… Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm. If you’re in Atlanta and you haven’t seen the show yet, I strongly encourage you to join us!

Father Comes Home

               This show has been a GIFT. When I first read the script, before auditioning— many things intimidated me, including the show’s length and the emotional vulnerability that I knew it would require. I have learned SO much from “Penny” and I know that I will carry her with me for many, many years to come. I have also learned a ton from the glorious and generous actors who make up this cast. They’re honestly all so talented and will likely be featured on TNSA in the future (individually) as Artist Highlights. So, just keep an eye out for them! Every night with this show is an adventure and quite literally, an EPIC journey—of mind, body and spirit for the actors and the audience. I love telling this story but more than that, I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of peeling back the MANY layers Suzan-Lori Parks created to make the story and each character dynamic in their own right.

Father Comes Home

We were fortunate to work under a brilliant and collaborative director by the name of Martin Damien Wilkins. His vision included nuanced contemporary elements being present alongside this mostly factual (and only sometimes otherworldly) historical body of work. We worked hard in rehearsals. VERY hard. But we also spent A LOT of time having discussions about the number of things Parks “could have meant by that” (“That” being; any of the brilliant present-day parallels created by her usage of contemporary language or her usage of very specific pauses and punctuation choices or her writing original music to bridge the show’s three acts ). Peeling back the layers, unfolding the mystery, creating a backstory… that’s my favorite part of being an actor. Truly. It’s where grounded and layered storytelling happens! I feel privileged to have been able to dive in and do the aforementioned kind of work on a script as well-written as this one. Legit!

Father Comes Home

Okay… I’m rambling a little bit (Because I’m at a lost for words. I’m in my feelings.) So, I’m not sure how much sense this blog will make when I read it back, but my point is this… Father Comes Home from the Wars has been a transformative experience for me as a Black woman. As voiceless as I (and I’m sure many others) sometimes feel in our current world… I have been wearing the shoes of a woman whose voice is even less valued. I have had the challenge and honor of doing the work to find her value for myself AND for the audience night after night. No easy feat. As an artist, I’m grateful for the opportunity. As a woman, I’m moved by the storytelling. As a Black person, I am in-touch with the show’s themes around the “true” meaning of freedom. As a collaborator, I am FULL. Our main character, Hero (Evan Cleaver), takes a monster-sized personal and physical journey in our show and I feel that I’ve taken a monster-sized artistic journey while playing “Penny” and sharing space with such powerful and beautiful artists. Grateful. Onward.

#TheatreThursday | “Simply Simone: The Music of Nina Simone”

Simply Simone

Simply Simone

Last night, I went to see “Simply Simone: The Music of Nina Simone”, a show which featured four extraordinary musical theater actresses who embodied the music and life story of one of the greatest to ever do it: Nina Simone. To say I was impressed with this show would be a grave understatement. It was SO well cast and SO well sung and SO well put together! The lights. The choreography. The staging. The costumes. Literally… everything was on point. I was overjoyed to see 4 super-talented “BLACKTRESSES” command the stage of Atlanta’s Theatrical Outfit with so much depth, intensity, light and artistry.

Simply Simone

I could go on and on about how much I enjoyed this show but honestly… I just want as many people as possible to RUN and go see it for themselves. The “Simply Simone” cast includes two past #TNSA artist highlights: Tina Fears and Chani Maisonet, both of whom BROUGHT THE HOUSE DOWN with their respective solos. My personal favorites were “I Put a Spell on You” (Tina Fears, Nina 3) and “Strange Fruit” (Chani Maisonet, Nina 2). You have to see and hear these powerhouses for yourself… EXTRAORDINARY. There is honestly not a single weak link in the cast. Chelsea Reynolds, who plays Nina 1 does a beautiful job capturing Nina’s youthful joy and curiosity in combination with her already mature talent level at a young age. Marliss Amiea (Nina 4) is spellbinding from the moment she sets foot onstage until the cast takes their final bow. She beautifully and sensitively embodies Nina Simone towards the end of her life, when struggles were many and family/friends were few. It is masterful work. Truthfully, all of the ladies gave masterful performances! I was touched and inspired by the artistry that I witnessed last night, which is ALWAYS the goal!

Chelsea Reynolds Chelsea Reynolds  Chani Maisonet Chani Maisonet

Tina Fears Tina Fears              Marliss Amiea Marliss Amiea

We go to the theater to FEEL. We create art in hopes that it impacts others and makes them FEEL something. As actors, our goal is to draw audiences into the story we’re telling and have them experience the highs and lows alongside our characters. It’s the magic of truthful storytelling. That is the magic the four ladies of “Simply Simone” were able to create last night. If you’re in Atlanta, DO NOT miss this show! Directed and Choreographed by Patdro Harris. Closing April 15, 2017. BUY TICKETS HERE. Thank me later!

Check out this AMAZING “Simply Simone” Promo Video!

There’s a First Time for Everything

TNSA Live

On the morning of January 1, 2017… I woke up with a little idea. A very specific, very vivid, albeit small, idea. Maybe I had dreamed it, I don’t remember. But once awake, I immediately sent text messages to two artist friends of mine, both male, and asked if they’d be interested in being a part of a live art event in March (for Women’s History Month) that would showcase the work/contributions of Black male artists who have honored Black womanhood through their art.

I didn’t have an event title. I didn’t have a venue. I didn’t have a budget. I sent them exactly what you just read… and they both said yes. Immediately, I was terrified. Now that I had shared my idea, I had to follow through. YIKES!

I’m learning every day that the more you walk in your divine purpose, the easier it is for the right people, ideas and circumstances to flow to you. (In other words, we don’t have to work so hard or make the path to our destinies any harder than they need to be.) I was able to confirm 2 artists for a nameless, venue-less, dateless event at the top of the year and I had no idea how I would find other artists to be involved or all that it would take to mount a #TNSALive Event that I could be proud of… but I knew I had to make it happen.

TNSA Live

TNSA’s Founder, Brittany Inge

Shortly after confirming those two artists, I got busy reaching out to other creatives who I thought might be interested. I also set out to put a team together to help me effectively plan this event, which now had a name: “TNSA Presents… The Art of Black Women through the Eyes of Black Men”. I also now had a better idea of how I wanted the event to be set up. I envisioned an interactive museum with various stations/displays, including a listening station, interactive art pieces (featuring live models) and various photographs and paintings throughout the space. I wanted everyone who entered the event to encounter art at every turn. In the end, I was able to create exactly that, with 7 artists’ work on display and over 12 artists/vendors involved to pull the entire evening off without hitch!

TNSA Live

#TNSALive in full swing.

When I first decided to put on a live TNSA event, I knew I needed a solid team… not a large one, not an expensive one, just solid. A team who was down for the cause, had strong individual work ethics and didn’t need to be micromanaged. I found that in three people who I must name: Brian Jordan, Jr., Brittani McElveen and Nzingha Shaw. There are so many things I could say about these people individually but then this blog would never end! What I will say is that Brittani and Nzingha were both SO helpful during preliminary planning; taking it off of my plate to do research on certain event elements and helping me to draft contracts for the artists and vendors involved. They were both also extremely helpful the day of the event… with Nzingha flying in from Washington, DC to participate and Brittani coming to help set up AND clean up before and after a play that she’s currently in! (#BlackGirlMagic) Brian Jordan, Jr. was literally 3 team members in one, all by himself. He was my hands-on, in the trenches, right AND left hand man! On top of all the event planning and event design he did (Don’t even get me started on that flower wall! Handmade by Brian via his company: The BATCHELOR, Atlanta!), he was also one of the featured artists for the evening! He wrote and performed an original monologue: “I Promise”, which addressed the many stereotypes and boxes that society attempts to place the Black Woman in. I asked so much of him during the planning of this event and he delivered on EVERY front… you don’t find many friends or artists like that these days. Needless to say, my gratitude level is on 1000!

TNSA Live

Brittany Inge & Brian Jordan, Jr.

Speaking of featured artists, let me tell you a little more about the other artists who were featured and what they do! Devin White, who also came in from Washington, DC, is a recording artist whose music video “QUEEN” was showcased as a part of the listening station. (FUN FACT: Devin is my best friend since high school. His presence at this event meant THE WORLD to me!) Spencer Charles is a photographer who puts particular emphasis on the Black female body in his work. His photographs were on display during the event. Beeombi is a fashion designer who created a custom piece specifically for our event which represented the Black woman being caged inside a society of white supremacy. Deep stuff! Gorgeous creation! Markelle O’Day is a content creator who developed a reality show sizzle reel for a buzzing, Black female entrepreneur; the sizzle reel was on display at the event’s listening station. Michael Gillespie is a fashion stylist who styled our five live models for the evening’s interactive art pieces; titled “The Closet Series”, because the models were styled out of their own closets to embody various scenarios. Craig Stanley is an artist whose paintings were on display throughout the space. He also did live airbrushing at the event and had one of his gorgeous pieces auctioned off to a lucky attendee!

TNSA Live

Pictured L-R: Michael Gillespie, Markelle O’Day, Spencer Charles, Devin White, Craig Stanley, Beeombi, Brian Jordan, Jr.

Honestly, TNSA’s first event was more than I dreamed it would be! The space was filled with positive, supportive and creative energy. I believe every attendee left the event having learned/experienced something new, beautiful and impactful. If you missed it, you missed something special… but don’t worry, there’s more where that came from! There’s a first time for everything and planning TNSA’s first live event taught me A LOT! It was not the easiest or cheapest journey (LOL!), but it was absolutely worth it. Thank you to ALL who attended, all who bought tickets but couldn’t attend and the artists/models/vendors who gave of their time and talent to help TNSA bring this vision to life. God bless you! Onward.

Visit TNSA’s Facebook Page to see ALL the photos from Sunday’s event! Photographer Credit: Sherita Bolden

“TNSA Presents… The Art of Black Women through the Eyes of Black Men” RECAP Video

Videographer Credit: Ariel Hairston

TNSA Presents… The Art of Black Women through the Eyes of Black Men

TNSA LIVE FLYER

TNSA LIVE FLYER

TNSA is hosting our first LIVE EVENT this Sunday, March 19th! “TNSA Presents… The Art of Black Women through the Eyes of Black Men”.

I am SO excited (and nervous and anxious)… but mostly excited! This event is going to (hopefully) make an impact, inspire and empower! I’m excited about connecting dope artists with other dope artists. I’m excited about creating a beautiful evening of artistic offerings. I’m excited about creating a space and opportunity for Black Men to shower Black Women with the love and honor that we deserve. I’m excited about ART… period!

When I say you DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS EVENT, I don’t say that lightly. Featured artists include: Brian Jordan, Jr. (Actor/Choreographer/Director), Michael Gillespie (Fashion Stylist), Beeombi (Fashion Designer/Tailor), Markelle O’Day (Content Creator), Spencer Charles (Photographer), Devin White (Recording Artist) and Craig Stanley (Painter).

These fellas have put together some amazingly beautiful work to share just with YOU! After showcasing their DOPE artistic offerings, there will be a live panel/Q&A hosted by yours truly. BE THERE!

LINK: BUY YOUR TICKETS TODAY!

 

 

#TheatreThursday | “Sincerity Forever”

VST Sincerity Forever

VST Sincerity Forever

Hey #TNSA! Surprise, surprise… I’m in a play!

That was sarcasm by the way.

I’m on a roll with the rhyming! Just call me Dr. Seuss.

VST Sincerity Forever

Pictured: Brittany Inge, Erin Boswell, Gwydion Calder, Cody Vaughn, Kathrine Barnes

No, but seriously, I’m in a play called Sincerity Forever. This play is serving as the inaugural production for the Atlanta-based “Vernal & Sere Theatre Company”. It is written by Mac Wellman and directed by VST Co-Founder, Sawyer Estes. I am playing the role of Jesus H. Christ. You read that right… JESUS H. CHRIST! Originally, I was terrified of this role for obvious reasons… I mean, it’s JESUS! Duh! But I had other concerns that were connected to the sensitive topics and visuals associated with the show. I was not sure how I felt about my brand (Pause. Yes, my mind is always there. YOURS should be too!) being affiliated with the play’s subject matter. But now, I have to say, I am SUPER excited about it! I was asked by one of my cast mates, Erin O’Connor (who is also a VST Co-Founder), last night about what comes to mind for me when I think about Jesus, especially after taking on this role. When I think about Jesus in the context of this play, but also in general, I see a ton of strength. I see an entity that is equal parts love and no-nonsense and I see beautiful BLACKNESS. Taking on the role of Jesus H. Christ has empowered me in ways that I never expected and everyday brings more discoveries! My favorite things about this role are: 1. Mac Wellman specified that the role of Jesus H. Christ be played by a Black woman and 2. He did the work to ensure that Her voice would be heard authentically in response to the world’s insanity– all while maintaining the show’s imaginative foundation.

Mac Wellman

Playwright, Mac Wellman

In a 2015 interview with The New York Times, Wellman made it clear that he loathes “the theater of the already known”. That is, the unsurprising, conventional, refined and unoriginal. As a result, much of his work is considered “strange”. Sincerity Forever is no exception! Yet, even in its strangeness, it is driven home by message. That’s what I find most powerful!

VST Sincerity Forever

Wellman quotes Greek philosopher, Heraclitus in the opening pages of the “Sincerity Forever” script

Our show runs Friday-Sunday, Dec. 2-4 and Dec. 9-11 at The Robert Mello Studio (4048 Flowers Rd. Suite #210 Atlanta, GA 30360). If you’re in Atlanta and you have $15 to spare, CLICK THIS LINK and come see us!

VST Sincerity Forever

Pictured: Tech Week

Check out an excerpt of VST’s write-up on Sincerity Forever below:

“The inhabitants of small-town Hillsbottom are under siege: from high anxiety, toxic waste, carbon pollution, global warming, and (perhaps most of all) mystic furballs. Two profane aliens have landed and turned typical country small talk into something sinister. Is God watching? Does he care? Is God a he?

In the play that simultaneously won Mac Wellman an Obie Award and lost him favor with the National Endowment for the Arts, American consciousness is examined with a peculiar humor, imagination and honesty. In its inaugural production, Vernal & Sere Theatre Co. seeks to establish its mission of presenting imaginative, avant-garde theatre that makes no apologies and no concessions. Borrowing from the great Samuel Beckett, the company’s name suggests that it will focus on work both classical and new that straddles the line between sacred and profane, fertility and barrenness, life and death. Mac Wellman’s play, written in the early nineties, seems especially appropriate [in the aftermath of the] presidential cycle, [which found] political discourse exchanged for talking heads, argument for belligerence and humility for arrogance. Feeling as if, in reality, America has been visited by a kind of “furball”, VST presents Sincerity Forever with urgency and hilarity at the inaneness of it all.”

SEE YOU AT THE THEATRE! => TICKETS!

Use Your Voice! Artivism NOW!

Toni Morrison

So. Last week. A LOT. Yeah?

I know many of us are feeling a variety of emotions as we recover from last Tuesday’s election results. Personally, I had the blindfold ripped from my eyes about the country I live in, these “United” States of America, long before this past Tuesday night. I would be lying to you if I told you I was surprised. But… I have to be honest in saying that my prior “awareness” didn’t make the reality hurt any less. The world we live in can be pretty awful sometimes… that’s why, as artists, we can’t allow ourselves to be silenced.

The world needs us! The world needs us to share our pain, frustration, fear, hope and faith through our gifts. We must use our voices now, more than ever, not only to tell our stories but also to affect change like never before. In one of the first blogs I ever wrote for #TNSA, I talked about arts activism and what it means to be both an artist and an activist in today’s society. The young kids online are now calling it #Artivism or being an #Artivist! I love it! And yes, we ALL need to be about that “ARTIVISM” life!

Toni Morrison

There is a particular quote from an extraordinary “artivist” by the name of Toni Morrison that has been circulating the internet for the last week. After sharing it on the #TNSA Instagram page (@TNSArtists), I decided to do some more research on Ms. Morrison. As a result, I came across a few other timely, and some might say “controversial” quotes that I thought were worth sharing.

Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison

I honestly just wanted to write this blog to check in. Say hey. Again, I have to be honest in saying that last week got thrown off for me as a result of the what I consider to be complete foolishness! I had a new VLOG I was preparing to film and everything, chile! But… sometimes, in the best interest of self-care, we have to take a beat. Take a breath. Sit in our solitude. And then, move back to purpose. That’s what I intend to do. I encourage you all to do the same. Love, Light, & Caviar to you all! GO CREATE. GO INSPIRE.

Toni Morrison

#TheatreThursday – “BReaTHe: 5-Minute Play Festival”

BReaTHe Flyer

WAJO Flyer

I’m not sure I have all of the right words…

This has been a rough week to say the LEAST. I’m happy to share and promote “BReaTHe: 5-Minute Play Festival”, presented by Karibu Performing Arts, LLC, as the place to be this upcoming Saturday, September 24th. I’m even happier to share that I will be serving as your host for the evening. “BReaTHe” is taking place in conjunction with another event: “I Love the African in Me”. Together, these two events create “Wa’jo (Come Together)”, which will be an evening of cultural education/exposure, food tasting and artistic expression! That being said,  I’m not AT ALL happy about the many reasons why we need this event and many more like it.

I wrote a status on my personal Facebook page on Tuesday, September 21st after hearing of Terence Crutcher’s brutal, unnecessary, heartless and completely unprompted MURDER at the hands of MURDERER, police officer, Betty Shelby. I am heartbroken like so many other people across this nation. We have lost another UNARMED Black man at the hands of someone who was supposedly appointed to “protect and serve”. Hmph.

Just Breathe

I can’t find all of the necessary words right now, so I feel it best to share an excerpt from my Facebook status to describe my feelings about the state of “our nation” and this very necessary upcoming event. Find the excerpt below:

“I’m SO tired. I am… And at the same time, as exhausting as it is to be BLACK & BEAUTIFUL in this country, I wouldn’t want to be anything but who and what I am. We really are LIT, y’all. That’s why so many people keep trying to dim and extinguish our GLOW. But, I digress. We all need an outlet. Right?! As an artist/activist (#Artivist), I am honored to have been asked to serve as host for “BReaTHe: 5-Minute Play Festival”, which is taking place this Saturday, Sept. 24th from 7pm-9pm at The Performance Factory (3220 Butner Rd. Atlanta, GA 30331). These stories were written FOR Black people and BY Black artists for the purpose of highlighting the issues that Black/African people have been tackling since our ancestors were brought to this country by FORCE hundreds of years ago. Since then, so many of our beautiful brothers and sisters have taken their last breath as a result of this country’s teachings, social conditioning and ideologies. For those of us still breathing, sometimes the pain and post-traumatic effects can be overwhelming. It’s hard to catch our breath. But we have to… with every breath we are blessed to take we have to#SayTheirNames and #BReaTHe for them. For their stories. For their families. For their memories. Atlanta, join us on Saturday night. #BReaTHe with us! We all need it. #ArtsActivismTNSA #BlackLivesMatter The fight continues… Onward.”

Click HERE for more information => “BReaTHe: 5-Minute Play Festival”

legalize-being-black

#TheatreThursday – “When Things Are Lost”

When Things Are Lost

Playbill

This past Monday night, I had the pleasure of experiencing an intriguing night of theater courtesy of the Essential Theatre Play Festival and playwright, Derek Dixon. “When Things Are Lost”, directed by Amber Bradshaw, is a play that asks this question: “If someone you loved was lost, how far would you go to find them?” The show’s journey encompasses friendship, loss, forgiveness and the desire to understand the cause and effect of people’s personal stories.

The play’s main character, Andrew, played BRILLIANTLY by Barrett Doyle, is on a quest to find his best friend, Michael… who has gone missing. Andrew goes to many lengths, places and spaces (literally and figuratively) to gain as much information and insight as he can regarding what may have happened to his best friend. The beauty and sincerity of Doyle’s performance had the audience captivated and made us truly care if Andrew ever finds Michael or what happened to him. (Go see the show if you want to know the answer!)

To that end, you have two more chances to catch the world premiere of “When Things Are Lost” at the West End Performing Arts Center, which is running through August 27th in repertory as co-winner of the Essential Theatre Play Festival playwriting award, alongside “Dispossessed” (another world premiere) by Karen Wurl. The festival specializes in “giving Georgia playwrights a voice on Georgia stages”, which is what it has been doing since 1999.

The cast of “When Things Are Lost” is full of super talented actors, many of whom play multiple roles. Stand out performances included Anthony Goolsby (Every character he played was distinct and unique… BRILLIANCE!), Gina Rickicki (Super funny!), Kerwin Thompson (Versatile and Hilarious!) and Alex Van (Grounded and Versatile!). If you’re in the Atlanta area, make some time tonight, August 25th or Saturday, August 27th and GO SEE THIS SHOW! Support new plays/playwrights! To purchase tickets and for more information, click HERE.

 

#QintheStreets Radio Interview

qinthestreets

QintheStreets TNSA Flyer

Tonight at 8pm, #TNSA will be interviewed, in-studio, by the “Q in the Streets” Radio Show team. You can listen to the interview on 107.7 FM or stream online at www.wtntradio.com. Video of the interview will also be streaming live via the #QintheStreets Facebook page! I am SO excited to sit down with Q and his crew to discuss life as an actor, activist, blogger and creator. You don’t want to miss this! Send me picture/video of you tuning into tonight’s interview via Instagram and Twitter! Tag @TNSArtists and hashtag #QintheStreetsTNSA! TUNE IN! TELL A FRIEND! 8pm! See you then!

Artist Highlight – Cast of “for colored girls”

for colored girls

Colored Girls

for colored girls

  1. Are you currently working a day job? If yes, can you say where?

“I work at Marlow’s Tavern… and no, you can’t get my discount!” –Nia Witts

“Yes! I’m a Music Executive Assistant/A&R for a music publishing company, LRL Pinnacle Music Group.” –Britney Cheney

“Yes. I am an Atmosphere Performer at Georgia Aquarium.”–Chelcy Cutwright

“I performed at Stone Mountain Park this summer, so that was my day job. I hope to continue to work with them as my 9to5.”–Brittani H. Minnieweather

“Yes, I work for a film/television production company.” –Brittany Inge

“I’m a full time performer whether I’m booked or not! The life of a performer IS THE JOB!!! (Erupts in laughter) But… also, I’ve recently transitioned into managing and investing in real estate part-time.”–Shanna Marie Burris

“Yes, I work for the Mayor’s Office for Film and Entertainment for the City of Atlanta. Long title. It’s my responsibility to administer film permits and develop/maintain a healthy relationship between our office and productions.” –Britny Horton

  1. What’s your favorite way to feed your spirit (i.e. stay inspired) during “dry seasons” in your artistic life?

“I read a lot. Mostly, I try to keep myself encouraged to go to auditions, even when I am not booking things.” –Brittani H. Minnieweather

“I stay inspired by reading plays and going to the theatre.” –Chelcy Cutwright

“Spending time with my family. They are a crucial part of my journey to sanity.” – Britny Horton

“During my dry seasons, I write—A LOT [and] surround myself with people who love me. I also watch tons of Beyonce videos for inspiration, Ha!”–Britney Cheney

“I will study in anyway I can—i.e. workshops, watching movies, reading plays, helping other people self-tape and learning from them, watching my own self-tapes and learning from them, yoga, meditation, etc. –Nia Witts

“I like to write (create my own content) and stay in acting classes! Doing the work of bettering my craft helps me stay focused on what’s important—the journey.” –Brittany Inge

“[I feed my spirit through] meditation, traveling, reading the biographies/autobiographies of people who have inspired me, writing, designing/sketching gowns and studying my craft. [I work on] staying ready so that I don’t have to get ready.” –Shanna Marie Burris

Shanna Marie BurrisShanna Marie Burris | Lady in Red

  1. Do you think the term “starving artist” is still valid today? Why or Why not?

“I don’t think it’s valid because everyone can afford peanut butter and jelly! We as artists now live in a time where we can have our cake and eat it too. We can work to pay bills AND create our OWN content/stories. We can do this in our own time and in [any] way that we want.” –Nia Witts

“Figuratively? ABSOLUTELY! There wouldn’t be any art if artists weren’t starving to elucidate their perspectives of the world around them. Someone has to say what everyone else is too broken, fearful or politically correct to say. [Now], literally starving? No! There are many opportunities to create income in our field. You just have to get creative. Just keep it legal! Ha!” –Shanna Marie Burris

“I think it is extremely valid and a harsh reality. As an artist, you live to be fulfilled and to fulfill. However, bills and debt collectors are a real thing. It’s important to have your art (and protect it) but also make a living until your art makes room for you. What helps me (most of the time) is [choosing work] within my industry. That way, I am networking and building as an actor, while making sure Sallie Mae and Georgia Power are happy with me.”–Britny Horton

  1. Who are your 3 biggest artistic inspirations?

“Easy, my artistic inspirations are Beyoncé, Audra McDonald and Patina Miller.” –Britney Cheney

“Visual Art, my relationship with Christ and my community of Actors (I wouldn’t have the guts to act if it wasn’t for them).” –Britny Horton

“1. Whitney Houston 2. Gina Rodriguez 3. Mindy Kaling” –Brittani H. Minnieweather

“Debbie Allen. Whitney Houston. Kerry Washington. They’re all brilliantly talented chameleons who hold/held multiple artistic titles.” –Brittany Inge

“Viola Davis, Angela Bassett & Debbie Allen. [Debbie is] the reason why I started acting.” –Nia Witts

“South Baton Rouge, Ghandi, and the gorgeous artisans of For Colored Girls… myself included. Ha! Pray for me, church!” –Shanna Marie Burris

My three biggest artistic inspirations are 1. Phylicia Rashad. I mean who doesn’t love Clair Huxtable?! Watching her made me want to be an actor.   2. Audra McDonald. I’ve followed her career since I found out who she was! She is Broadway’s Queen. 3. Angela Bassett.  I don’t even have to explain why I picked her.  Y’all know why! –Chelcy Cutwright

Chelcy Cutwright Chelcy Cutwright | Lady in Orange

  1. Do you believe that “struggle” (of any kind) is a necessary part of every artist’s journey? Why or why not?

I do believe that struggle is necessary for artists. It helps you appreciate the good times.  –Chelcy Cutwright

“Of course! You have to have some struggle because it’s what motivates us to say: “Hey, this is what I want to do with my life, I have to keep pushing forward.” –Brittani H. Minnieweather

“Struggle is necessary in any part of life. Without struggle, the good times won’t feel as good. Struggle is the only thing that can build character. Struggle is what makes an artist, an artist. That uncomfortable place is healthy as well as inevitable… makes you more REAL, more gangsta.” –Britney Cheney

Britney Cheney Britney Cheney | Lady in Yellow

  1. Have you ever quit a “real job” for an artistic gig? If yes, explain.

“I haven’t exactly quit… but I’ve never let a “real job” stand in the way of my artistic existence. I go to auditions on my lunch breaks (regularly); I’ve used my vacation time after booking theatre or commercial gigs, etc. My number one job title is ARTIST and I walk very clearly in that truth. (Also, I’d quit in a heartbeat if I could… SOON COME!)” –Brittany Inge

“Honey, have I ever?! I am the queen of when my art calls, I go. I believe that each job outside of my art is temporary and that while I am in that position, I have to be a good steward over my money so that when it’s time to go (because I booked a job), I can and I will. Quickly. I strongly encourage [anyone] quitting a boring job (if you can financially) to pursue your art. Hell to the yes.” –Britny Horton

“Ha! ABSOLUTELY! My number one priority is my career so when a great role accompanied with a great check [has] presented itself…I [have] presented myself!” –Shanna Marie Burris

  1. What is your favorite project you’ve worked on, so far?

“Honestly, this project (for colored girls…) is one of my favorite projects. This project has pushed me in ways I didn’t know were possible. I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone and done things I probably would not have done a year ago (like dance a solo). Also, working with these AMAZING women has seriously changed my life. They are some of the most talented, beautiful and giving people I’ve ever met. They are my sisters.” -Chelcy Cutwright

“In film, Pitch Perfect 2. In theatre, it’d have to be between “for colored girls…” and “Steel Magnolias”. All 3 [of these] projects had a fabulous director/crew and such talented, hard working and pleasant casts. I know… you [only] asked for one.” –Shanna Marie Burris

“By far, my favorite project would be “for colored girls”. This show has brought me out of a 2 and a half year retirement from the stage, and made me feel like I never left, while simultaneously reminding me why I chose to give up my basketball scholarship in college to pursue [performing].” –Britney Cheney

“To be honest, it would have to be this one (for colored girls…). This show came [to] me when I didn’t want to [act] anymore. I was really discouraged and life had kicked my ass. I was frustrated. Through this process, I met myself where I was and I grew to love the person who just needed to believe again. This show gave me that—a chance to believe again.” –Britny Horton

“My favorite project I’ve worked on was “FAME: The Musical”. It was the first time I really got to SING, DANCE and ACT—and it was really HARD WORK. I loved every moment of it. It was the first time I was really pushed to be great.”–Nia Witts

 

Nia Witts Nia Witts | Lady in Green

  1. Summarize your experience working on “for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf” in 4 WORDS.

“Powerful. Sisterhood. Beautiful. Inspirational” –Chelcy Cutwright

“Fulfilling; Colored Girls Rock! One of the most fulfilling experiences I have ever been a part of. People say Black women don’t get along [or that we] can’t do things together. Well, they are wrong! We are 7 Black women who created something amazing together… (With Brian’s help, of course).” –Brittani H. Minnieweather

“Spiritual journey of evolution.” –Nia Witts

“Found God in myself.” –Brittany Inge

“Liberating, Pulchritudinous, Sisterly and Gratifying” –Shanna Marie Burris

“Spiritual. Motivating. Fearless. Liberating.” –Britney Cheney

“Humbling. Uplifting. Needed. Life-saving.” –Britny Horton

 

Britny Horton Britny Horton | Lady in Blue

  1. Describe Brian Jordan, Jr. as a director/choreographer.

“It has been a beautiful and artistically gratifying experience working with Brian. He had a very collaborative approach to the project, which is a bit of an anomaly and greatly treasured. I believe that our show has been so successful due to the compilation of his male perception and our female experience. That is how he birthed (through our wombs), a human experience that our audiences have connected to… no matter their gender, background or ethnicity.” –Shanna Marie Burris

“I would describe Brian Jordan Jr. as being open as a director/choreographer. He was always open to listening to our ideas (even if he didn’t like them or use them). I never felt afraid to speak up if a choice didn’t feel right. He made [our rehearsals] a safe environment to play and be free.” –Chelcy Cutwright

“Director and Choreography!!! Brian is great. He has a wealth of knowledge and he is very generous with that knowledge. He is open to collaboration, which is also great. I am excited to see his journey/growth.” – Britny Horton

“I can’t describe him as a choreographer, I can only describe him as choreography! (LOL) He is one of the kindest, most generous individuals/artists I’ve ever met.” –Nia Witts

“I was able to perform “for colored girls…” in high school. The way Brian has approached it is completely unique from anything I had ever done. He has an actor’s mind and I think that brings a different perspective [to his directing]. [Brian is] just a wonderful person to work with and he has had us “dancing down”. –Brittani H. Minnieweather

“Brian is an AMAZING person. His brain works like no other. He’s an “outside of the box” kind of guy [which is what] gives him that IT factor as a director. He is so selfless and encouraging. Little do our supporters know, but he slayed the dances we do [in our show]; only difference is he ended his [versions] with double pirouettes and fouette turns. We’d be looking at him like, okay… you done orrrrrr?” –Britney Cheney

“Brian is BRILLIANT. Working with him as a director has been a true gift… I’ve learned so much in such a short time! His belief in himself and his abilities is inspiring and trickles over into his belief in us as a cast. He pushes everyone to be their personal best—you couldn’t ask for a better quality in a director.” –Brittany Inge

 

Brittany Inge Brittany Inge | Lady in Purple

10. What’s your favorite thing about being a performing artist? Least favorite thing?

“My favorite thing about being an artist is the experience I have on stage. To be honest, it is the only time I experience true worship. That is how I know it is my service to the world because when I am on stage, though I’m in front of people, it is my alone time with God. I go there to meet Him and it’s beautiful. My least favorite thing is how easily performance artists are exploited. We are the least paid, we are taken advantage of and are not seen as craftsmen. I also have issues with being a plus-sized actor, but that’s a different story for a different day. –Britny Horton

“My favorite thing about being a performing artist is being able to play different characters. In [real] life I’m very quiet and shy, [so] being able to develop a character that is nothing like me is exciting.  My least favorite thing is the rejection that comes along with [this industry].” –Chelcy Cutwright

[My favorite thing is] leading a life of non-judgment. I can greatly attribute my walk in compassion, unconditional love and peace to my Christian faith and being an actor. It’s hard to judge someone when God doesn’t judge you and when you’ve had to look through the lens of everyone from a drunken lounge singer to a penny pinching old hag! Chile!” –Shanna Marie Burris

My favorite thing is feeling the audience go on the journey with us. Least favorite thing: Auditioning! Haha! I know I have no choice.”–Brittani H. Minnieweather

Brittani Minnieweather Brittani H. Minnieweather | Lady in Brown

11. If you could change one thing about the way the world treats artists, what would it be?

“Pay us what we’re worth. It should NOT be as difficult as it is to make a day-to-day living as a full-time performing artist.” –Brittany Inge

“I believe the world thinks of artistry as something that should only be done for fun or they look at it as a cop out from a “real” job. The way I see it, I could make $1,000 doing what I love to do, or $1,000 in a job I care nothing about. Either way, that $1,000 will still be $1,000 once that check hits my account. You won’t believe how many times I’ve heard “it’s not practical” or “the chances are slim”. I wasn’t taught to look at life that way. I was taught that I could do ALL things through Christ who will give me the strength to do those things that align with His will for my life. I have done tons of things already that people told me I [could] not do. I would be foolish not to continue to do the ‘impossible’.” –Britney Cheney

“More R. E. S. P. E. C. T. We are free, yes! And that looks strange in a world full of people who are unconsciously enslaved by the notions and expectations of society. BUT, we are bravely living our truths, even if [they’re] different than most—they all greatly warrant respect.” –Shanna Marie Burris

“Stop and see the world from our point of view—because it is beautiful. Don’t judge us, feel us. Don’t question us, trust us. Don’t fear us, love us. Without artists, you wouldn’t have music, painting, performing, etc. Artists allow individuals to live in spaces that they could not otherwise [occupy]. I would say: we’ve come to share our worlds with you… so come share [in] them.” –Nia Witts

For Colored Girls Flyerfor colored girls7 Stagesfor colored girls selfie

“for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf” is running NOW through August 28th at Atlanta’s “7 Stages”! Click HERE to purchase tickets! Don’t miss this stellar cast’s take on Ntozake Shange’s legendary 1976 choreopoem!