Black Nativity 2013 Cast Bios
All Photos by Ron Abrams unless noted
Aishiana Thomas (Vocalist/Praise Dancer) is 16 years old and a junior at Milton B. Lee Academy. She is president of the Youth Usher Board at Shiloh Baptist Church where she also sings in choir. In 2012 she completed the bridge program with Actors, Models, and Talent for Christ, and she was a top ten finalist for Christian Athlete of the Year. She is a child of God letting her light shine.
Alayne Harris (Narrator Team #2) is a mother of four. She has been in the medical field for over 20 years, which began while serving in the Navy. She is also an active member of St. Paul United Methodist Church. She enjoys spending time with family, reading, watching TV, singing, and listening to all types of music. Her participation in this year’s play is at the encouragement of her son Myles, who is a returning shepherd, and the support of her entire family.
Alexis Chelpaty (Ensemble) is an active participant in the Arts at the Carver center and enjoys ballet and has participated in classes in acting under the guidance of Ms. Danielle King. Alexis is 12 years old and looks forward to establishing a career in the performing arts.
Amira Mata (Praise Dancer) was born to dance. She is a fifth grader and attends ML King Academy. This marks her debut performance with TRG and is indebted to God for this auspicious opportunity. She is a member of New Creation where she is in the praise dance ministry with the Children of Miriam. Amira is thankful to her pastors Bishop David Copeland and Pastor Claudette Copeland and her family for their prayers and support. Amira loves her Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ and loves to dance before her King Jesus.
Anderson Clair (Joseph/ Narrator #3) was born in Denver, Colorado,the middle of 3 children. He was a host of a Christian TV program founded in the Phoenix valley area, as well a young adult and youth pastor. He has been acting since the age of 9, and he gives Jesus Christ all the glory for everything he has accomplished in his life. This is his first time with the Renaissance Guild, and is honored to be part of an amazing cast.
Anquinette Thomas (Ensemble) works as a registered nurse, and her true passion is writing poems and songs. She is a Deaconess at Shiloh Baptist Church and this marks her third year with Black Nativity. She gives God all the glory for giving her the strength to stand.
Anthony Hall (Sinner/Praise Dancer/Vocalist) continues with another production with TRG. His passion for dancing, singing and acting started when he was 7 years old. He has participated in many plays and different events with TRG. Anthony sends his Thanks to: God for his gift; his family; the late Paul Riddle, Jr. for being an amazing Co-Founder and Producer of the best theater company in San Antonio; and Danielle King the wonderful co-founder.
Dan Walker, III (Elder) began acting as a young child and continued his passion for the stage in both vocal music and theatre through High School, having been awarded a Best Supporting Actor Award in UIL Competition. Dan has appeared in several productions including ‘Pippen’, ‘West Side Story’, ‘Our Town’, ‘Porgy & Bess’, and ‘Into The Woods’. He most recently completed ‘A Raisin in The Sun’ and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’. This is his 4th TRG production. He is eternally grateful to God, his family and friends.
Destiny Jones (Mary) is an aspiring actress and native Texan. At an early age, Destiny demonstrated the talent for acting and in middle school she performed in the classic play “45 minutes from Broadway”. A graduate of Roosevelt High, she participated in the school’s step team and studied Theatre 1&2. Recently she performed in Gemini Ink’s play festival in the play “You Wouldn’t Expect”. This is Destiny’s first year in Black Nativity and she is grateful to her supportive family and friends.
Donavan Washington (Ensemble) is a San Antonio native that discovered his love for music at a young age. His love started with the drums, then dance, and singing. He has been influenced by dancing by such greats as Michael Jackson and James Brown. His dancing experience includes the youth dance team, talent shows, and he has shared the stage with John P. Kee in Kyle, TX. He is a 3rd grader at Olympia Elementary.
Edward Lawrence Burkley, IV (King #2/Vocalist) is a native of Houston. He received a Bachelor of Music from Alcorn State University where he was a lead soloist in many of their choirs, and is now pursuing his Master’s degree. He has performed in numerous productions across the United States including Porgy and Bess, Show Boat, and Candide. His most recent performance was as Coalhouse in Ragtime with The Playhouse. His TRG performances includes: A Raisin in the Sun, Black Nativity, Miss Evers’ Boys and The Wiz. He wishes to thank his wonderful family and friends for all of their support.
Ella Nathaniel (Narrator Team #1/Vocalist) has loved and lived in TX all her life. She is the proud Momma of three powerful Christian Leaders and Grandma of six wonderfully blessed angles. Ella has been a successful nurse for over 25 years and she loves reading especially the Bible and romantic fiction. She loves to pray and encourage others to be the best they can be and has done so for over 40 years. Ella has been blessed to be a cast member of the Black Nativity for three times and hopes to present a one-woman show in the future.
Ellen Washington (Angel #2/Old Church Woman #1) is a Texas native, born into a world of music and Ministry. From a young age, music was a part of her life. She sang in her local church youth choir, and with a group comprised of her siblings. She has sung with the San Antonio Youth Ensemble, the Davidian Project, Psalmist La’Toya Alexander and others. She shared the stage with Kirk Franklin and Donald Lawrence, and also provided background vocals for three Bobby McMorris plays. She is the wife to Jonathan and mother of Donavan & Aniyah.
Gwendolyn Page (Church Woman #2/Vocalist) is excited to be returning to Black Nativity for the 3rd year. Loving to sing for as long as she can remember, she has been a part of choirs, as well as a featured soloist on many occasions. As a Choir Director, Gwen is always moved by the beauty that comes from God given voices working together for His glory. Gwen has also performed in other productions – to include “Stepping On My Toes”.
Johnathan McPeters (Shepherd #3) made his debut with TRG in Black Nativity in 2010 and later worked as a prop hand and moving man in “A Raisin in the Sun”. Jonathan is a High School Senior and will be graduating in June 2014. Although he hasn’t decided which college he will be attending, he has plans to major in Theatre. He would like to thank all of his family and friends for their support.
Kaitlyn Williams (Little girl/Ensemble) is making her debut in theater. She is 7 years old and attends Idea Carver Academy. She enjoys music, and attending the symphony and musical theater with her parents. She is a member of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church and sings in their youth choir. Kaitlyn wishes to thank her family for supporting her dream to pursue theater.
Karen McPeters (Young Woman) started her acting career at Kingwood College in Kingwood Texas. She made her debut with TRG in 2010 in Black Nativity and later worked as Prop Manager in “Steel Magnolias” and as Stage Manager in “A Raisin in the Sun”. She feels blessed to be able to be a part of TRG productions and is looking forward to making her debut as Director in a future TRG production. Stay tuned!
Kenny Patterson (King #1) This marks Mr. Patterson’s fourth year with the Black Nativity cast. In addition, he has been seen performing on stages in the Midwest, including performances with Wabash College, Footlite Musicals and Indiana Repertory Theatre. In San Antonio, he’s performed onstage at the Woodlawn, Trinity University, and San Pedro Playhouse. When he’s not performing, he works with Pearson Education developing educational assessment products and is pursuing a doctoral degree in education.
La Toya Alexander (Angel #4) Truth. Hope. Compassion. Love. These are just a few themes that worship leader La’Toya Alexander desires to communicate through the music God has given her. She comes from a tradition of great gospel-rooted singing and where she finds herself now is on the cutting edge of inspired creativity in writing and recording her own praise & worship music. LaToya has shared the gospel music platforms with artist such as Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, and Donald Lawrence as well as been a featured soloist for artist the likes of James Fortune.
Lanee Colins (Praise Dancer) is a graduate of the University of Texas-San Antonio with a Bachelor of Business degree in General Business. She is a member of The National Liturgical Praise Dance Network- San Antonio Chapter, The Southwest AME District Praise Dance Group, The Carver School of Visual and Performing Arts Praise Dance Family, and the Co-Director/Choreographer of St. James AME Praise Dance Ministries, Spirit and Truth. She has ministered with various recording artists, such as GLO Entertainment.
LaSandra Melton (Narrator #2/Vocalist) is the Founder/Director of Reflections Christian Drama Theatre (San Diego) and Harambee Creative Dance & Arts. Her focus is the synergy of Ministry and Arts. Productions include “From Hedges to Highways” and “Excess Baggage.” Her dance troupes have worked with Morgan-Scott Dance Company (New York), Amazing Grace Liturgical Dancers (Atlanta), and the Carver Fiesta Praise Dance Celebration. Rev. Dolberry’s chief passion is for disenfranchised children and the people who love them! She attends The Center of Worship, Pastors R.Lee & Tina Tate.
Lorenzo Hall (Praise Dancer) is very excited to be in the Black Nativity 2013. This is not his first time with TRG as he has participated in many events; his latest one was becoming the choreographer for the TRG Theater Summer Camp for kids. Lorenzo is a student at The University Of Texas at San Antonio majoring in biology. Lorenzo wants to thank God and TRG for this great opportunity.
Myles Harris (Shepherd #4/Vocalist) is a talented well rounded person, academically, spiritually and morally motivated. Presently, he is in the 7th grade at St. Anthony Catholic School, where he is on the A-B Honor Roll. Many of his talents were developed during his educational career and summer programs at the Carver Community Cultural Center. Myles participates in the youth choir at St. Paul United Methodist Church, where he is a member. He is constantly singing everywhere he goes, from the time the sun comes up until the sun goes down and beyond. Singing is his true love in life.
Nerryl Williams (Narrator Team #1/Vocalist/Sign Language Coordinator) is honored to be making her TRG debut with such an amazing production. Mrs. Williams has been married for 26 years with 3 beautiful children. She is excited to show the world the hope that comes from the baby born in Bethlehem to save us all! May our hearts be open to receive that everlasting hope, joy and peace that came to us on that glorious morning; Jesus is the reason for every Season!
Nichole Moraldo (Ensemble) makes her debut performance with TRG. She served over 18 years in the Armed Forces and is now pursuing a Bachelor’s in Religion Major – Business Minor. Her performance passion started as a youth when she participated in her first talent show in 2nd Grade placing 2nd, and in others through High School. She discovered her love for writing and wrote lyrics for and was part of the Hip-Hop Rap duo “Ruthless Quest”. That same passion for performance has been passed on to her son, Tremayne (Shepherd #2).
Nichole Williams (Mommie) is from San Antonio, TX. She is a Senior Trainer at Travelocity and a member of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church. Nichole has always loved attending theater and the symphony and was excited when the Renaissance Guild invited her to join the cast. She wishes to thank her family for their support.
Paula Mata (Female Narrator #3) also known as “Lady Paula” studied Drama at her alma mater Sam Houston High School under the tutelage of Mr. Nick Roberson and studied Public Speaking in college. This marks her debut performance with TRG and is excited for the opportunity. She is a member of New Creation where she is active in numerous ministries. She loves writing poetry and essays and is a spoken word artist. Most of all, Paula has a close relationship with God. Paula is fond of the stage and has shared this stage with her high school friend Edward Morgan of The Edward Morgan Ballet (former The Morgan Scott Ballet) of New York City. Paula would like to show gratitude to her NCCF family and her natural and spiritual family for their prayers and support.
Rebekah Williams (Praise Dancer/Vocalist) is extremely excited to be a part of Black Nativity this year. She has previously performed in Ethics Follies; Ragtime; and Crazy Locomotive at Trinity University. Ms. Williams would like to thank her Lord and Savior and her family for their love and support.
Rob Shaver (King #3) Rob is incredibly humbled and excited to be a part of this cast. Rob is a pretty new resident to San Antonio and has enjoyed his short time on the San Antonio stage. He just finished the Ethics Follies’ production of Age of Rock (Bobby Rose) as well as The Playhouse’s productions of Ragtime and Les Miserables. Rob has an extensive background in a cappella gospel music, and is a pharmacist by trade. Love you all!
Royshian McCloud (Praise Dancer) is a graduate of the University of Texas-San Antonio with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. She is a member and Prayer Chaplain of The National Liturgical Praise Dance Network- San Antonio Chapter, The Southwest AME District Praise Dance Group, The Carver School of Visual and Performing Arts Praise Dance Family, and the Co-Director/Choreographer of St. James AME Praise Dance Ministries, Spirit and Truth. She has ministered with various recording artists, such as GLO Entertainment.
S’Keyah Mackey (Praise Dancer) is the daughter of proud parents Loma and Alvin Hayes. She is a member of Childress Memorial C.O.G.I.C. Her performance accomplishments are: The Renaissance Guild presents “The Black Nativity” 2011-2013; The Carver School of Visual and Performing Arts; Great Jubilee Dance Company and Ministries Junior Assistant; Acts of Kindness Nursing Home Ministry; and many community projects. She is a student at St. Philips College and will study Nursing. She thanks her mother for her support.
Shawn Traylor (Innkeeper) was born in Atlanta, GA and relocated to San Antonio from Greensboro, NC three weeks ago. He enjoys acting and has performed with Club Lighthouse Outreach Ministries, Inc. in Greensboro, NC for approximately three years as an actor and tech crew worker. He also performed as an actor with Woods of Terror for two years during the Halloween season.
Shayla Hudson (Praise Dancer) is 16 years old and is a cheerleader, National Honor Society member, and a praise dancer at her church. She has a passion for acting and dancing and has been in several productions such as Murder Runs in the Family and Stealing Christmas. Shayla will be graduating in 2015 and would like to attend Howard University and major in Mass Communications or Theatre.
Taylore Gills (Praise Dancer) dances everyday of her life. She has been a part of the dance team at New Creation Christian Fellowship since the age of 4. Taylore is 14 and attends Cornerstone Christian School where she is on the 8th grade basketball team. This marks her second year performing in Black Nativity and she enjoys every part of it. She’d like to thank God and her family for their support.
Tiffany Marshall (Woman #1/Vocalist) an evangelist, was born in San Antonio, Texas and is the daughter of Elder Cleophus Marshall and Minister Marilyn Marshall- Pierce. She sings jazz and trained in the classical style of Bel Canto, characterized by the smooth sound and colored tones created by the technique. Evangelist Marshall also operates a ministry to reach the homeless with Gospel of Christ, prayer, food, and counseling. She is the proud mother of Alexis Chelpaty, who is also participating in this performance.
Tremaine Moraldo (Shepherd #2) made his debut performance with Renaissance Guild Theatre Company as Shepherd boy #2 and ensemble in the Black Nativity 2012. In February 2013, he made a significant impact as Assistant Stage Manager for TRG’s “A Raisin in the Sun”, and played the character of Desmond in Eric Pitty’s “Putting out Fires” in TRG’s ActOne Series. He went on to perform the role of the Magic Mirror in The Brother’s Grimm production staged at Judson High in which he studies Theatre Arts 1.
Yvette Hardin (Angel #3/Vocalist) who is a San Antonio native, found her love for God & music at an early age. In high school, she was cast in “A Raisin in The Sun”. Yvette graduated with a B.S. of Psychology; M.S. of Agriculture & Human Sciences from Prairie View A&M. While there, she helped charter Sigma Alpha Iota Inc., Music Fraternity for Women. Yvette attends Antioch M.B.C., where she’s a mentor in Rites of Passage and director of the young adult choir. Yvette is also 1/2 of Urban Gospel Duo, F.RE.E.
Black Nativity 2013 Band & Crew Bios
All Photos by Ron Abrams unless noted
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 Ragtime, 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.
Charlene Duncan (Asst Director) is an actress, playwright, director, song writer and choreographer. As a young adult she studied theatre with The Bushfire Theatre Co., The Freedom Theatre and Village of the Arts and studied dance with the Arthur Hall African American Dance Ensemble and the Ione Nash Dance Company all located in Philadelphia, PA. Upon relocating to Greensboro, NC for nineteen years, she performed in several plays with the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, the Richard B. Harrison Players 7AM Productions, the Barn Dinner Theatre, various churches and Club Lighthouse Outreach Ministries, Inc where she was the Executive and Artistic Director. Also a former member of Joyful Praise Community Choir with Dr. Terry Poteat, former member of Mt Zion Baptist Church Praise Team under the direction of Corey Williams and Artistic Director of a summer youth acting camp in Greensboro, NC, She enjoys working with youth and look forward to working with some in San Antonio.
Ella Edwards (Stage Manager) 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 Stage and Managed Miss Evers Boys. 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 returning to school to work on her Ph.D.
Rev. Bill Butler (Music Director) 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.
Evonne Nathaniel (Vocal Director/Angel #1) was born in Ft Ord California to military, native Texan parents. From an early age, music have been a part of her life, starting at are four when Evonne join the youth choir at her local church. Recognizing their children’s natural harmony and sing ability; Evonne’s parents pushed her and her two old siblings to develop their own musical style. In 2007, Evonne graduated from Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas wit Bachelor’s in Business Management. While attending TSU, Evonne further honed her signature mellow jazz sound. This is Evonne’s fourth time in Black Nativity. Evonne is a vocal director and board member for The Renaissance Guild.
Steve Wire (Technical Director)
Jillian Jones (Choreographer) has been with The Renaissance Guild in previous productions and this will be her 4th season of participation in Black Nativity. She is currently a year away from graduating with a B.A. degree in Psychology from the University of Texas at San Antonio. 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.
Nerryl Williams (Sign Language Organizer)
Kathrine Johnson (Costume Mistress)
Diane Hannah (Marketing Director)
Belinda Hercule (Marketing Assistant) has been with TRG since its inception. She worked closely with Paul Riddle, Jr. as his marketing assistant and continued on after his passing. Belinda is a retired appraiser from the Bexar Appraisal District and attends Holy Redeemer Catholic Church. She enjoys being a part of TRG’s growth in the community.
Shelley Daugherty (Personal Assistant) Danielle’s Asst. for two years now it has been an experience she would not change for the world. She wishes to give God ALL honor and glory to be part of this great ministry.
Ron Abrams (Photographer)
Paul Riddle Jr. [August 11, 1960 – April 20, 2012] (Producer) was a co-Founder and President of (TRG). Paul began his acting career 17 years ago and some of his 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).
Black Nativity was one of Paul’s favorite productions and he was always happy to watch others on and off stage enjoying the magic of theatre. Till we meet again – God Bless you all!