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Black Nativity 2011 Cast and Crew Bios


Black Nativity 2011 Cast Bios
All Photos by Ron Abrams unless noted

Aaliyah Frazier (Singer/Ensemble) studies at Bradley Middle School. Her gifts and talents include dancing, singing, and she is an aspiring artist as well as a stellar athlete. These gifts have made room for her, enabling her to dance and sing at weddings and other social events, play on her school volleyball team, and minister at New Creation Christian Fellowship Church. Aaliyah is no stranger to the stage and looks forward to ministering to you and impacting you forever.

Aishiana Thomas (Vocalist/Praise Dancer) makes her stage debut in TRG’S The Black Nativity. She is a ninth grader at Milton B Lee Academy of Science and Engineering where she plays on the varsity volleyball and basketball teams. She’s a member of Shiloh Baptist Church and serves as President of Youth Usher Board, sings in choir and praise dances. She has done Auditioning/Improv/On Camera workshops with Alpha Tyler and Babs Sheppard. Singing is her Blessing from God.

Andres Cymone Miles (Ensemble) is a natural born performer. She has a strong interest and exceptional skills and ability in acting, and she writes and performs her own plays. She is an honor roll student and choir member at her school, is an active member of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, and a member of the Junior Daughters division of the Knights of Peter Claver. Andrea is the daughter of proud parents Dr. D. Anthony Miles, PhD. and Ms. Charla Hudgins.

Andrew L. Johnson, Jr (Narrator #3) was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan and is a proud father to a lovely daughter and wonderful grandson. He has done some acting and has been a comedian for most of his life. He earned an Associate in Applied Science, served in the US Army and Reserve, and is a proud Vet. He feels his day is not completed if he hasn’t brought a good laugh to anyone who may need one. He loves everything, everybody, and using the gift that God blessed him with.

Anitra Little (Vocalist/Youth Choir Director) is a Junior Theatre Major, Production and Performance, and Music minor at Texas State University. She is the President and Chaplain over the Gospel Expressions Association (GEA) choir on campus. Her anticipated graduation date is May 2013. She played Candace in “Gots Ta Be Mo’ Carefool” by Bobby McMorris and this is her first performance with The Renaissance Guild.

Anquinette Thomas (Ensemble) makes her stage debut in this production. She is a native of San Antonio, Texas and a recent Graduate Nurse with an Associate of Applied Science from Lamar State College – Port Arthur. She enjoys writing poems and songs. She is a wife, mother and grandmother. She gives God all the glory for giving her the strength to stand.

Anthony Hall Jr (Praise Dancer/Ensemble) continues with his fifth production with TRG. His passion for dancing and singing & acting started when he was 7 yrs old. He has participated in many plays and different events. Just this past summer he was TRG’s choreographer for their theatre camp and was a part of the amazing cast of The Wiz. Anthony wants to thank God, his family & Paul Riddle the amazing Producer of the best theater company in San Antonio and Danielle King the wonderful co-founder.

Ayanna M. Milbry (Ensemble) is a 13 year old 8th grader who enjoys Theater. This is her first live stage performance. She thanks her grandma for getting her into the Black Nativity and hopes to be on stage again with a better understanding.

Beverly Hurston (Old Woman/Ensemble) makes her first ever performance in a stage production. A native of Detroit MI, she is a USAF retiree, USPS retiree and business owner. Bev loves God, music and Missions, having been to Haiti, Russia, and many South American countries to be an example of God’s grace and love for all. She calls the opportunity to be involved in this production a check off her “retirement bucket list” and hopes to fulfill many more.

Blake Willeford (Shepherd#4/Ensemble) is a Junior home-schooled student, and an Eagle Scout. He loves to entertain people and bring glory to God. He has participated in Leadership Training for Christ with his church, where he has helped write skits, and performed in dramas and puppet shows since 2007. He starred in a student short film with Crater Productions, “Reversal of Fate”, in 2009. He is currently training with Actors, Models and Talent for Christ.

Cathy Maduro (Asst. Choreographer/ Praise Dancer) Born in Tortola BVI and lived in San Antonio most of her life. This marks her debut performance with TRG and is she grateful for the opportunity. She has been dancing and teaching the ministry of dance for over 10 years and enjoys it to the fullest! She is a member of New Creation in Windcrest Texas for almost 4 years and truly loves the Lord. Cathy would like to thank family and friends for all their prayers and support over the years but most of all Jesus Christ “My Hero”.

Courtney Hansford (Praise Dancer) is a 13 year old that loves dancing. She has danced since she was five, and with many teams and various venues. She attends church at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church and has danced with the church’s dance group, A.O.K., for four years. Courtney attends a Junior State Conference yearly and has won an award every year. And this year she will attend a national conference to showcase her dancing skills. Courtney was also a featured dancer in The Wiz this summer.

David A. Gibson (Ensemble) hails from Detroit, MI and is a member of Grace 1st Baptist Church. Texas certify in Special Education K-12. David has his M.A. in Education; B.S. in Computer Science; MCSE, CCNA, and A+ certifications. Retiree of the USAF; David has participating in “Operations Iraq’s Freedom”. David is the founder of “Ruth’s Gift of Charity”. David has two beautiful grown-up daughters, and two handsome grandsons. Jesus Christ is David A. Gibson: Lord and Savior.

Deandre Alexander (Ensemble) is a 7th grade honor student at Edgar Allen Poe Middle School who likes to sing and is learning the trumpet. His favor subjects are math and science. He attended the TRG summer theatre camp and Black Nativity is his first main stage production. Deandre is very happy for this opportunity to grow in Christ and sing His praises. He would also like to thank his family for their support.

Dewitt Walker (Shepherd #1/Ensemble) is an artist and dance instructor. He has been teaching Chicago Style Steppin for the past 5 years. This is his first play performance. He is a born-again Christian and he loves the Lord. His greatest accomplishment was helping save his sisters’ life by donating his kidney to her 2 years ago. He is thankful to God for everything and he prays the play will be a blessing to everyone.

Edward Lawrence Burkley IV (King #2/Vocalist) is a native of Houston. He received a Bachelor of Music from Alcorn State University and was soloist with the Concert, Men’s, Gospel, and Inter-faith Choirs. He was soloist with Natchez Music Festival: “Songs of the South”, Natchez Opera: “Porgy and Bess”- Mingo; “Treemonisha” –Zodzetrick, “Show Boat and was selected to be “Lake Junaluska Singer”. In 2010, while pursuing a Master of Music he performed “Candide” – King of Eldorado with Texas State University and this summer he was TRG’s and Pennington’s production of The Wiz as the Lion. He continues to perform across the United States.

Ella Nathaniel (Narrator #1/Vocalist), Native Texan, Mom, Grandma, friend to all, Ella loves to smile, talk, read and listen, she works as a Nurse appeal advisor and Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ and finds great joy and challenge in both roles. She hopes to complete her first Children’s book by next year and enjoys performing a second year with the TRG in the production of the Black Nativity

Narrators

E’Mya Edwards (Ensemble) is a delightful aspiring actress. This is her first play and she is excited to be doing it with the Renaissance Guild. She would like to thank her aunt for driving her to rehearsal, her grandmother for cooking dinner and all of her new fans.

Evonne Nathaniel (Angel/Vocalist) was born in Ft. Ord California to military, native Texan parents. From an early age, music has been a part of her life. Recognizing their children’s natural harmony and singing ability; Evonne’s parents pushed her & two older siblings to develop their own musical style. Evonne has shared the stage with Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, Michael Ward, and Kirk Carl as well as been a featured soloist for artist the likes of Donald Lawrence and Lamar Campbell.

Gabriel O. Ume II (Joseph/Ensemble) (Joseph/Ensemble) is the first-born son of Margaret & Gabriel Ume. Gabriel maintains a 3.7 GPA at Palo Alto College, where he studies to become a music teacher. Gabriel also coaches in the San Antonio After School All Stars program at Highland Hills Elementary. Gabriel enjoys playing sports and creating music in his spare time. Gabriel has been playing the Clarinet for 8 years, and this is his first on-stage performance.

Gerri DeLaney (Praise Dancer) is a member of The Vessels of Praise Dance Ministry of New Creation Christian Fellowship, San Antonio and The National Liturgical Dance Ministry. The Black Nativity is her first theatrical involvement. However, she is not new to worshiping God through the gift of dance.

Gwendolyn Page (Choir Director/Singer) has sung since she was a small child. Her voice is always present in church choirs and ensembles. On several occasions she is a featured soloist at weddings. She is currently a Choir Director at church. Gwen has done some local theatre productions – to include “Dish Me This Dirt”.

Harlon Ume (Shepherd #2/Ensemble) is the youngest son of Margaret & Gabriel Ume. Harlon is an Honor roll student at Metzger Middle School, plays the snare drum in the band and is very competitive at band competitions. Harlon also enjoys reading, playing with his dog and participating in sports. Harlon was a part of Woodlake Elementary’s inaugural championship basketball team. This is his second on- stage performance but his first with The Renaissance Guild.

Jamizia Manous (Praise Dancer/Vocalist) is a middle school student and first time performer for a major production. She has been singing and dancing in church and for special occasions since the age of four. She sang the National Anthem for the MLK and Caesar Chavez opening marches in 2011 and has been requested to do so again in 2012. Her love for family and friends is awesome. Jamizia truly expresses her love to God.

Jeneen Harris (Lead Choreographer/Dancer) is a Detroit native, she has participated in multiple TRG productions since 2010, most recently dancing in “Silent no More”. She adds to her experience with TRG, Choreography and Dancing in the play “Black Nativity” in 2010. Jeneen is the founder of Great Jubilee Dance Company and Ministries where she educates and mentors in the art of dance within the San Antonio community and surrounding areas. She is thankful for the support of friends, and family.

Jessica Faith-Alexandria Givens (Ensemble) attends KIPP UPREP HS as a 9th grader. Singing and acting make up the things that she loves to do. At school she is known as a basketball and softball player, but off the court she is a singer and actor. She is an active member at Great Evangelist Temple Church of God In Christ. She hopes to change someone’s life and bring hope to many others during this play.

Jillian Jones (Asst. Choreographer/ Praise Dancer) was born
in Okinawa, Japan and raised in < San Antonio, Tx,. She made her debut in Black Nativity 2010 as Mary and she is delighted to return back. She is currently attending UTSA and majoring in psychology. She wants to thank God for giving her this opportunity to work with such a diverse and wonderful cast and crew. She also thanks her parents, family and friends for their support.

K.C. Onwuchekwa (Female Narrator #3/Ensemble) is a high school teacher and coach in San Antonio. She has had a passion for poetry, music, and theatre since an early age and was a part of her high school theatre troupe, choral and show choir. After almost 10 years away from the stage, she is excited to begin her career again working with The Renaissance Guild. She gives all thanks to God for blessing her with her talents.

Angels

Katrina Webber (Woman #1/Vocalist) with her role in Black Nativity, has come full circle with The Renaissance Guild. One year ago, she was in the audience. Now, she’s thankful to be part of this production. It’s actually her second show with TRG, also having been part of the ensemble for The Wiz this summer. Katrina loves music and sings in the Holy Redeemer Church choir. When she’s not on stage, you can see her on TV, reporting for KSAT 12 News.

Kenny Patterson (King #3/Vocalist) is performing for the first time with The Renaissance Guild; however, he’s no stranger to the stage. In San Antonio, Kenny has appeared in performances with the Woodlawn and Trinity University theaters. He has also appeared in a number of productions across the Midwest. When he’s not performing, he works for the Alamo Colleges, and he is also pursuing a doctorate degree.

Kevin Majors (Elder) is an aspiring actor who began his acting career in Indianapolis, Indiana where he participated in numerous high school plays. Kevin’s long list of credits includes: commercials, corporate videos, and an appearance on Showtime at The Apollo. His TRG performances include Dearly Departed, Spell #7, Riff Raff, and In the Blood, for which he won a Best Supporting Actor Award from A.T.A.C. This “brotha” is keeping it real!

La Sandra Melton-Dolberry (Narrator #2/Vocalist) is Founder/Director of Reflections Christian Drama Theatre (San Diego), and Harambee Creative Dance & Arts. Her focus is the synergy of Ministry and Arts. Two of her productions are “From Hedges to Highways” and “Excess Baggage.” Her Texas dance troupes have worked with Morgan-Scott Dance Company (New York), Amazing Grace Liturgical Dancers (Atlanta), and the Carver Fiesta Praise Dance Celebration, annually. Rev. Dolberry’s chief passion is for disenfranchised children and the people who love them!

Lindsay White (Ensemble/Vocalist) attends Bradley Middle School and is in the 7th grade. She is in her fourth production and her second show with TRG. She just recently sang Silent Night at the Arneson Theatre and also sang the National Anthem at a high school graduation. Her past shows were Aladdin Jr., Cats, and The WIZ. She is so blessed to be in this production with the help of God, and her family.

Lorenzo Hall (Praise Dancer) is very excited to be in the Black Nativity 2011. This isn’t his first time with TRG he has participated in many events with TRG his latest one was The Renaissance Guild’s annual gala where he ministered in dance with his other dance members Jillian and Anthony. Lorenzo is a freshman at The University Of Texas at San Antonio majoring in biology. Lorenzo wants to thank God and TRG for this great opportunity.

Maddison Krueger (Mary/Praise Dancer) has performed in several plays i.e. Tom Sawyer, Beauty and the Beast, and Once Upon a Playground, where she won Most Outstanding Actress in the 2010 UIL Competition. She recently portrayed Michael Jackson in the Thriller video re-enactment. She is an anointed praise/worship dancer who has been dancing for 3 years. She loves praising the Lord, and is thankful for her gifts. She prays she will be on the Big Screen one day.

Michelle M. Willingham (Ensemble) is a 48 year young Army Veteran, mother of 3, and she is currently a nursing student at SAC. This is her first appearance on stage since high school. She is enjoying sharing the stage with her granddaughter Ayanna. She sends her love and encouragement. In all things, Pray!

Oletha L. Sabbs (Praise Dancer) is a Professional Dancers that gives all praise and honor to the gift of dance to our Lord and Savior. In the past 10 years, she trained, danced, and choreographed for University of Texas at San Antonio (danced), San Pedro Playhouse in San Antonio (choreographed), and True Vision Church in San Antonio (choreographed). SA SPURS (danced), Dallas Black Dance Theatre (trained) and Concord Baptist Church in Dallas, TX (danced). Dance is her minister, love, and life. (Courtesy photo)

Robert Tre’Vonte’ Young (King #1/Vocalist) is a 17 year old student at the School of Excellence in Education, Hawkins Campus. He is a gifted and multi-talented young man. The Lord has Blessed him the gift of song, because he has been singing since he was three years old, and directing since he was two years old. Being multi-faceted, Robert not only sings, but he is also a musician. He plays the drums, piano/keyboard, organ, and percussion. Robert is a member of New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church.

S’Keyah Mackey (Praise Dancer/Ensemble) is a 17 year old junior at Wagner High School and is a member of the Student Council. She is a former Jr. Asst. with Great Jubilee Dance Co. and Ministries; a student with Carver School of Visual and Performing Arts and is returning for the spring semester. She is a member at Childress Memorial Church of God In Christ where she participates with the youth department. She is a member of High P.R.A.I.S.E. Dancers, The C.M.C. Youth Choir and Purity Class.

Scharlette Donald (Angel#3/Vocalist) is an actress, vocalist, and writer. She has participated in multiple TRG productions since 2007. Scharlette is also a Board Member of TRG. She has performed in multiple local music venues in San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin as she continues to pursue her passion of music, theatre, and writing.

Shaundra Gail Lamkin (Vocalist/Church woman#2) studied performing arts at Brackenridge High School, St. Philips College, and Huston-Tilloston College. Shaundra has spent years in the community of San Antonio as a vocalist, actress, and avid supporter of the arts. Her most recent performances include Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Black Nativity 2010, and The Wiz. She thanks God for leading her to TRG and for all His many blessings. Shaundra is also dedicated to helping raise awareness for Autism which affects 1 in 90 children.

Sherrie Dawn Wilson (First Lady/Vocalist) was born in Princeton, KY, and raised in an army family traveling the world. Music has always been a part of her life from church choir as a child on up to an adult. Writing is her passion she’s had a few published poems. Sherry is a certified medical assistant and phlebotomy tech, now furthering her education in Cosmetology at Milan institute with the expectation to graduate March 2013 as a licensed cosmetologist.

Stephanie Bankston (Vocalist/Ensemble) started singing at age 7. She loves the Lord, and blessed to have sung all over the world, including Barbados and Europe. She has shared the stage with artist including Daryl Coley (Beyond the Veil), Kirk Franklin, Donald Lawrence, Bobby Jones, and the late Olanda Draper. Her greatest accomplishments include winning the USAFE Idol/Spangdahlem and singing the National Anthem at a 2007 Frankfurt Galaxy game, where she received a standing ovation from a crowd of over 39,000.

Thomas Givens (Male Narrator #2/Ensemble) makes his first performance with The Renaissance Guild’s Black Nativity. His previous stage performances are A Raisin in the Sun, West Side Story and Aida at the Majestic Theatre. God’s light shone down and the call was answered by his mother, Charlesetta Givens, who would be proud of him.

Tori Foutz (Angel #3 /Vocalist) is a native Texan and proud wife and mother of three beautiful kids. She has had a flare for drama all of her life. She is currently pursuing her Bachelors in Counseling at Texas A&M San Antonio. She is grateful to The Renaissance Guild, Paul Riddle and Danielle King for the amazing opportunity to fulfill a dream and to her consistent family and friends for their love and support.

Veloria Turner (Praise Dancer/Ensemble) is excited about being in her second production with TRG. She just finished playing in “The Wiz”. Veloria has loved dancing her entire life. Her proudest moments were opening acts for The Time, Melba Moore, and Selena. Presently she dances on various local praise groups. Veloria works as a Registered Nurse and her hobbies are water sports and cooking. She would like to thank God and her family for their presence and unconditional love.

Vianne McKinney (Inn Keeper/Vocalist) was born in New Orleans, Louisiana where she began singing lead vocals at the age of nine. She attended Tulane University and is a licensed Architect. HEB Grocery Company employs her as a Construction Facilities Manager, and her church home is Antioch Baptist Church. Having been involved in various productions in school and church in her formative years, Vianne began her community theatre experience locally with Hornsby Entertainment. She blesses God for her many talents!


Black Nativity Musician Bios

Linda Johnson (Vocal Director) hails from Wichita Falls, Texas and is the tenth of eleven children. Her musical training began at the age of four when she learned to sing, and playing piano “by ear” when she was five. Playing for church choirs, soloists, and mass choirs has been her vocation for the past 49 years and her specialized area has always been working with voices to perfect harmony. It is her greatest desire to always give back to the Lord the gift that He has given to her.

Rev. William Butler (Music Director/Keyboard) is currently the Music Director at St. Paul United Methodist Church. He has 35 years of gospel music experience playing for church and community choirs. He currently performs with Reconciliation, a Christian Jazz ensemble which recorded their first Christmas Cd in 2002.

William D. Cogdell (Bass Guitarist) bought his first guitar without having any skills at playing, just a desire to learn. With kind words and encouragement from his brother Ray Cogdell and friend Reverend Lemelle Taylor, Brother Cogdell is playing bass for Chosen Generation Baptist Church, Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church and sometimes Mount Zion Baptist Church.

Michael Alexander (Drums) is a seasoned gospel, R&B, funk, rock, Latin, fusion, and smooth jazz Drummer from San Antonio, TX. Michael has been performing for over 20 years at various churches and festivals all around Texas. He has shared the stage with artists like Peter White, Jeff Kashiwa, John P. Kee, and George Benson just to name a few. Michael is honored and blessed to be a part of this remarkable production with TRG, and to share this opportunity with so many talented people from his community.

Black Nativity Crew Bios

Directors & Producer

Danielle King (Director)
Danielle King (Director) is a Christian, Co-Founder of The Renaissance Guild-San Antonio’s Premiere Black Theatre Company, and founder of DramaChild Productions. Her recent theatre performances include roles in Hairspray, Rumors, Crimes of the Heart, Ethics Follies, Black & Blue, and the musical Crowns. She has won several Alamo Theatre Arts Council Globe Awards, including her last two for Best Actress in a Drama for Blues for An Alabama Sky, and Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for Nuncrackers. She is especially proud to be a member of the Rose of Sharon Ministries and enjoys sharing the “Good News”! “I believe there is still a massive amount of untapped talent in this area that must be seen, heard, and experienced – So bring it on!” She is overjoyed by the wonderful people who have dedicated so much to this production and mostly to God for letting it all happen.

Sharon Lisa Smith (Assistant Director, Costumes Designer) is a Director, Writer, Actress, Poet, Co-owner of Hallelujah Films. She is an ATAC Judge for San Antonio, is represented by Condra Artista Talent Agency, and was over True Vision Church Drama Ministry for 7 yrs. She has been in several stage plays and was the Lead Actress for “I’m Still A Man”, and “A Way Out” A B MoHoly Produtions. She has been in over 15 TV commercials including HEB, Target, Taco Cabana, Via, and Ancira, several short films, and in the 2006 Movie “The Return”. She is truly blessed and Loves the Lord, without God none of this would have been possible.

Ella Edwards (Stage Manager/Ensemble) is no stranger to the stage as she has been performing for over 20 years. She is really excited to be working again with the Renaissance Guild. She performed as a Citizen in The Wiz was truly a delight. When she is not performing she can be found writing or working on issues concerning children and the elderly. She is thankful for her children and family. She is also excited about return to school to work on her Ph.D.

Rene Brooks(Production Assistant/Ensemble) has enjoyed entertainment since she was a young girl. From writing poetry, drawing, and writing skits for her sisters and cousins to role play. Rene’s greatest love is comedy, as she believes laughter is God’s remedy, blessing, and message that everything will be alright. She is a Christian and delights herself in the Lord’s wonderful works. Her favorite saying is “keep your eye on the Lord because He winks at us, and then we know it’s all good!”

Ron Abrams (Photographer) is a graduate of Webster University with a BS degree in Management and is currently pursuing dual masters degrees in Procurement Management and Human Resource Development. He honorably retired from the US Army in 2005. He has been the lead photographer for the Renaissance Guild since 2007 and is responsible for the great head shots you see on our website and brochures
www.

Paul Riddle Jr. (Producer) is a co-Founder and President of (TRG).
Paul began his acting career 17 years ago and some of Paul’s onstage appearances include The Gin Game, A Soldier’s Play, The Colored Museum, and Fences. He appeared in TRG’s premiere play Betrayal, as well as Spell #7 to name a few. His credits also include the S.T.A.G.E production of Blessed Assurance winning Bulverde’s Best Actor award for the 2002 – 2003 season. He also produced several Act One Series and main stage plays including A Raisin In The Sun (2006 winner of 6 ATAC awards). Paul is proud of the Black Nativity cast and crew. And is happy to watch others on and off stage enjoying the magic of theatre and is thankful to the community, family and friends for their love and support.


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