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Creative Team  
Ashley L. Ware (Celie),
 is a native of Washington D.C. She studied classical voice under Samuel L.E. Bonds at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, received a B.S. in Sociology from Shenandoah University, is a recent Alum of The Stella Adler Studio of Acting (Summer Conservatory) and has studied privately under Professor Vera J. Katz and at the Studio Theater. Ashley has been a featured artist at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center sharing the stage with various well known artists. Favorite credits include: Dreamgirls (Deena Jones), The 2010/11 National Tour of The Color Purple (Ensemble, u/s Shug, Nettie and Celie), Aida (Aida), F*ing A (Canary Mary), For Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf (Lady in Yellow), Women’s Peace, Breath, Boom! (Cat), Junkanoo (Ensemble), and Bubblin’ Brown Sugar (Irene). Ashley is so grateful to be returning to The Color Purple for the 2012 season as Celie. She gives uncountable thanks to God. And to her ever-supportive mother, Tari, wonderful boyfriend, Anthony, and the rest of her family she expresses her extreme love and gratitude for their constant encouragement!
Deidra Grace (Sofia),
Originally from Miami Fl, Deidra is a graduate of The American Musical And Dramatic Academy. Credits include: National tour of The Drowsy Chaperone (Trix), Hairspray (Motormouth), The Full Monty (Joanie/minster), All Shook Up (Sylvia), BMI Workshop of Scarlet Take A Tumble (Amaryllis), Hair(Dionne/tribe), Lasos (Soloist/ensemble), Dreamgirls (stepsister/ swing), The Life(Chi Chi/Sonja u/s/Ensemble) and Dolly Parton's country music video for Jesus and Gravity. She would like to thank God and her family but most of all she would like to thank her mother who although is no longer with her is the biggest inspiration for in her life.
Taprena Augustine (Shug Avery),
Credits include Broadway National Tours: The Color Purple (Shug Avery), The Pajama Game (Mae); Selected Regional Credits: Caroline or Change (Dotty), Little Shop of Horrors (Crystal), Frankenstein (Midwife), Hairspray (Dynamite), West Side Story (Consuela), Cats (Bombalurina), Swing! (Lead), Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies (Swing), A Christmas Carol (Bess), and Little Shop of Horrors (Ronnette). She has performed at Carnegie Hall and with the San Jacinta Dance Company at the infamous Congo Square. After attending the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, she toured the country with the I.U. Soul Revue and African American Dance Ensembles as well as various R&B recording artists. She is a New Orleans native who dedicates every performance to her family and loved ones. Visit: for more!
Edward C. Smith (Mister),
has been blessed to have played such theatrical roles as Coalhouse Walker Jr. in Ragtime, Capt. Davenport in A Soldier’s Play, Judas Iscariot in Jesus Christ Superstar, Delbert Tibbs in The Exonerated, John in Miss Saigon, and King Amonosro in Aida, in which he toured internationally. All of which have helped to contribute to his portrayal of Mister in The Color Purple. For more info, insight and media visit:
Cameron J. Ross (Harpo),
is ecstatic to reprise his dream role, Harpo. A native of Houston, TX, he is a graduate of the High School for Performing and Visual Arts. Training: The New School University and Ann Reinking’s Broadway Theatre Project. He recently starred in the Theatre Under the Stars production of Guys and Dolls as Nicely-Nicely Johnson. Regional credits include: Hairspray (Seaweed J. Stubbs), Pippin, Once on This Island (Papa Ge), Dreamgirls (C.C. White), The Wiz and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. He has performed in numerous concerts including “A Tribute to Kander and Ebb” alongside Jennifer Holiday, Chita Rivera, and Liza Minnelli, and “Feeling Good,” a showcase directed by Tony-nominated director Marcia Milgrom Dodge. Thanks to Mom, Dad, Grant, family, friends, Renee and his loving wife Miss Sofia. Peace and MUCH Love. “Look what God has done.”
Dayna Marie Quincy (Nettie),
Dayna is a native of Detroit, MI. She received her B.A. and M.A. in Music both from Morgan State University. Quincy has performed worldwide in the Czech Republic, South and West Africa, China, and Italy, and in such great venues as Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center. Credits: Ragtime, Highway 1, USA, Aida, Sarafina (Mistress It's a Pity), Dreamgirls (Michelle), Black Nativity, One Night Only: A Musical Theater Revue (Director). Dayna gives thanks to God and Her Girl Shirl' (mom) for this gift of music.
Jade Eshete (Squeak),
is delighted to join The Color Purple cast. Born to Guyanese and Ethiopian parents in the heart of Brooklyn, New York, she is thrilled to embark on this national tour. Credits: Finian’s Rainbow (Susan) produced by Harlem Repertory Theater, Gypsy (June) at Aaron Davis Hall, NY, Damn Actors (Caroline) at The Kraine Theater, NY. All my love to the Armstrong/George/Glasgow families and friends for your continued patience and love and special thanks to Alex C. and Julio and for all of your support.
Deaun Parker (Church Lady Jarene),
is so honored to be part of such a great production. She received her B.A. from Central State University in Music Education. Upon graduation she taught music in the Columbus public and Los Angeles School systems. Her credits include: Kwamina, The Wiz, Talkin Bout the Church and Black Resurrection.
Charity Dawson (Church Lady Darlene),
is thrilled to be a part of this amazing production! After discovering her love for the arts at age nine, she began the pursuit of perfecting her craft (which she still continues to this day), which eventually brought her to New York in 2003 to study musical theatre. She is a graduate of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy (NYC). Favorite credits include Unbeatable (Ally), The Black Theater Troupe’s season closer Smokey Joe’s Café (B.J), Aida (Aida), If This Hat Could Talk with George Faison (Billie Holiday), West Side Story (Rosila), Raisin (Ruth), and Beehive (Aretha). Other credits include The Wiz, Cinderella, Tilt and Once Upon A Mattress as well as numerous cast recordings. She would like to thank her family and friends for their continued love and support. God Bless! Enjoy the show!
Phillip Brandon (Ol Mister, Preacher),

A native of Inglewood, CA. Being the eldest of three boys, he is grateful to have been blessed with such a loving and supporting family. Since graduating from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, he has performed in works such as Porgy & Bess and Ragtime, as well as worked with artists including Carlos Santana, The Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and many others. When not on stage, Phillip also has passion for education and its importance in our youth. He is very excited to be a a part of this cast. "The greatest failure is never having tried at all."

Kadejah Oné (Church Lady Doris, Church Soloist),

a native of New Orleans, is a singer, songwriter, and actress who is committed to using her gift to help heal and motivate people and who recognizes this anointing is from God and she uses it to spread the message of the healing power of His love. In 2002, she starred in the African Continuum Theater Company’s adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston’s SPUNK at the Kennedy Center which landed her the Helen Hayes Award for “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Resident Musical.” Kadejah is a graduate of Bowie State University, receiving a BA in Fine and Performing Arts. She studied under Dr. Maremal Holmes in voice concentration, and Professor Elliott Moffit in theater. Regional: Ain’t Misbehavin’, Dreamgirls, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, and The Wiz. She attributes her success to God. She thanks The Holy Spirit for guidance, her mother Dr. Betty Brown for all her love and support through life, her son David (deceased) who is her shining angel, her support group and a host of family and friends.

Lessinger Grimes (Pa/Grady/Ensemble),
A native of San Antonio, Texas, he has appeared in Porgy and Bess, Riverdance, Insurrection: Holding History, Jelly’s Last Jam, Smokey Joe’ s Café, Isis in Nubia, Le Griffon, Dreamgirls, Show Boat, A Raisin in the Sun, A Soldier’s Play, Once On This Island, The Ebony Game and Ragtime. TV/film credits: “General Hospital,” “Cedric the Entertainer Presents,” “Wanda at Large,” “The Parkers,” “All About the Andersons,” “Stories from the ER,” “The West Wing,” “Judging Amy,” “Crossing Jordan,” “Fast Lane,” “Dragnet,” “Presidio Med,” “Just Shoot Me” and “Getting Played.” Lessinger is thankful to God for grace, love and purpose
Melanie L. Gaskins (Ensemble),
graduated with a BFA in dance from Temple University. She has performed as a member of the NJ Nets NBA Dance Team, Danco II, and Dance Theatre X. Favorite roles/features include the National Tour of Joseph… Dreamcoat (Mrs. Potiphar), The Wedding Singer (Crystal/Tina Turner), All Shook Up (Lorraine), A Chorus Line (Sheila), Show Choir! The Musical—2007 NY Fringe Festival (Sabrina Turner), Black Nativity (Mary), Evita (Tango Dancer) and Dreamgirls (Steppe Sister). Melanie thanks friends and family for their continual support.
James Johnson (Adam/Ensemble),
a native of Chicago’s west side, is so excited and honored to be a part of this production. James began his training at the Chicago Academy for the Arts under Anna Paskevska, then to SUNY Purchase College. While in New York he performed with Forces Of Nature, Creative Outlet Dance Theater of Brooklyn, and Sidra Bell Dance. Mr. Johnson danced with Hubbard Street 2, DanceWorks Chicago, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Lyric Opera, Chicago Opera, and Cirque Du Soleil (Beatles LOVE). He has performed works of Alvin Ailey, Katherine Dunham, Twyla Tharp, Robert Battle, Paul Taylor, Donald Mckayle and Mario Schroder. James has also received NAACP Awards, 1st and 2nd place for choreography and solo. “Thanks to God for his Blessings and Mercy. My family for their love and support. Ma and Ma I Love U!”
Robert Mason (Buster/Bobby/Ensemble),
began his classical ballet training on a full scholarship at the Atlanta Ballet. He performed in Romeo and Juliet, 1001 Knights and The Nutcracker under the direction of John McFall. He also played the role of Joseph in Jomandi’s production of The Black Nativity. He then joined the Alvin Ailey School on a full scholarship where he performed works with the company including Memoria and Satckup. In 2010 Robert joined the Amalgamate Dance Company in New York. Robert alongside his wife are co-artistic directors of City Gate Dance Theater Co. Inc. in Atlanta, Ga.
JoNathan Michael (Ensemble),
a NJ native, began dancing at the age of ten under full scholarship with Joel Harrison and Freddie Moore at The Hudson Repertory Center for the Performing Arts; BFA in Modern Dance Performance from The University of The Arts. Credits: Candide (Candide), West Side Story (Pepe), Fame (Tyrone), Grease (Kenickie u/s Ensemble), Dreamgirls (Jimmy Early) and works by Christopher L. Huggins, Ronen Koresh, Shawn Lamere Williams, Hinton Battle, Kim Bears Bailey, and Vernard J. Gilmore; featured background vocalist for Michelle Williams (Destiny’s Child), Mos Def and appearances on “The View,” “The Early Show” (CBS) and “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”
Karen Niceley (Daisy/Ensemble),
began ballet training at five in Wash. DC at the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet. She received her BFA in Dance Education at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and began teaching in NYC for the Dance Theatre of Harlem and danced/toured with the Michael Mao Dance Company. Karen has worked with choreographers such as Louis Johnson, George Faison, Keith Lee, Ronen Koresh, Marguerite Derricks as well as the Metropolitan Opera and Cirque Du Soleil. Karen also founded her own non-profit production company, Gritty Cherries, Inc., teaches dance for the Leadership Program of NYC and performs and guest teaches for the Dance Theatre of Lynchburg. Karen thanks her family and friends for always supporting her dreams in the performing arts.
Khori Petinaud (Olivia/Ensemble),
is beyond excited to be joining the cast of The Color Purple. She graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a B.F.A in Dance and is currently a member of the Steps Repertory Ensemble, the resident contemporary company of the world renowned Steps On Broadway. Love and thanks to my amazing family, especially my mommy, daddy and husband! To Lana Bear, Jaylen and Camille, never give up on your dreams! Jeremiah 29:11 To God be the Glory! He is so good!
Roslyn Seale (Ensemble),

Roslyn is thrilled to be joining the cast of The Color Purple. Born and raised in Brooklyn NY, Roslyn's regional theatre credits include Hairspray (Dynamite), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Aremlia), The Civil War (Harriet), The Full Monty (Joanie), Annie (Mrs. Pugh), Violet (Gospel Singer) and Bubbling Brown Sugar (Young Irene). Thanks to God for his continued blessings, Jasper Grant, Mark Minnick and a huge thanks to Mom for always believing in me. Visit


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