Alisa Claridy (Diva 1) began her music career at age 14 where she discovered her love for performing through choir and theater arts in school. She had the pleasure of singing on the TV program Showtime at the Apollo. She is currently a two time Sammy Davis Jr award winner and 2004 San Antonio’s KSAT 12 “Gimme the Mike” winner. She received a Globe award as “Best Supporting Actress in a Musical” for the production Music for the Soul. She played the role of Effie White in a San Antonio production of Dream Girls at the San Pedro Playhouse. Past performances include La Frantera and Cameo Land by Sterling Houston and had the honor of opening for Brian McKnight and Chaka Khan. She would like to thank her family and friends for their never ending support
Cassandra L. Small (Diva 2) has appeared in TV commercials, feature films, and was an “on-air” radio personality. She is a runway model and motivational speaker, but theater is her first love. Her portrayal of “Mama in 2006 earned a Globe Award for “Excellence – Lead Actress in a Drama” for TRG’s production of “A Raisin in the Sun”. Ms. Small won a second award, “Outstanding Lead Actress” for her role as “Mama” in Tampa, Florida for Stageworks Theatre”s Production in 2013. She was also awarded “Excellence – Supporting Actress in a Drama” as Mrs. Muller in The Church Theater’s production of “Doubt”. Previous productions include Ain’t Misbehavin’, Once On This Island, Zooman and the Sign, Steel Magnolias, and Crowns. Ms. Small is so very grateful to The Renaissance Guild, Bill Lewis, and this awesome cast and crew for the opportunity to perform in San Antonio again.
Danielle King (Diva 3) is a Co-Founder of The Renaissance Guild-San Antonio’s Premiere Black Theatre Company, and her own company, Dramachild Productions. She is an accomplished, multi-award winning actor and singer and has worked in professional entertainment for 20+ years. Her most recent works include “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Classic-ATAC Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy), “Smokey Joe’s Café” (Woodlawn-ATAC Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical), “Ragtime” (Playhouse San Antonio) “African Folktales” (TRG); “Steel Magnolias” (TRG); and “Ethics Follies” (ACS). She is honored to be the recipient of other numerous Alamo Theatre Arts Council Globe Awards.
Besides being on stage, she has a passion for training and inspiring others in theatre and entertainment performance, and she also conducts theatre classes
Evonne Nathaniel (Diva 4)
Briana Foster (Bar Maid) “The Divas of Eastwood” marks her debut performance with
The Renaissance Guild, and she is grateful for the opportunity. She began singing at an early age in church, which fostered her passion for music and the arts. She is an alumni of the Children’s Chorus of San Antonio where she was trained to sing classically in many languages. Briana graduated from Prairie View A&M University, where she was a member of the University Concert Chorale, she also became a member of The Lambda Zeta Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity for Women Inc. She has performed at numerous sporting events including singing the national anthem for the Spurs. She looks forward to future performances with the Renaissance Guild. She sends her love and thanks to her family, friends, and supporters.
Nerryl Williams (Club Owner) is proud to be working with The Renaissance Guild again and her previous shows includes Black Nativity, African Folktales and Mississippi Delta. Her most recent production was Grease (Miss Lynch) at the San Antonio Playhouse. She enjoys spending time her time with her family, husband James, of 28 years, 3 children, Jay and his wife Kelley, Nicholas, Rebekah and little pug Mugsy. I love you guys!
Jessica Mitchell (DJ Vicky G) – Professional, traveler, Poet, lover of new beginnings, and actress. Hailing from the small but well-known city of Daytona Beach, in the sunshine state of Florida, she got her taste of theater as a child in school plays. Since, she has been popping up on stages in California, Georgia, Florida and Texas, appearing in titles such as You Passed Me By; Trials and Tribulations: Silhouettes of a Woman’s Story; and the Renaissance Guild productions of The Mountaintop, for which she won an award; From the Mississippi Delta; and African Folktales.
She has also written and performed her poetry at various venues across the country. She has every intention to continue honing and growing with this craft for nothing more than the love of the art, and the inspiration it provides, as every moment on stage reminds her of her abilities to go after what she wants in life. In addition to theater, she has a passion for the mental health field, music, and meditation. She received her BA from Florida A&M University, and her graduate degree in Counseling Psychology from St. Mary’s University, and she also graduated from the Lisa Maile School of Acting.
Bill Lewis (Conceiver, Writer, Director) has directed three plays for the Renaissance Guild, the latest being “The Mountaintop”. He served as its Artistic Director for three years. It has been a privilege and an experience working with such a talented group of “divas.” It is his hope that they will continue on this journey with him.
The Divas of Eastwood is a work in progress that he hopes will eventually tell the important, though forgotten story of the Chittlin’ Circuit. It is a story, not only of music and culture, but of personal courage, perseverance and talent.
“I thank my wife for her faith in me, and her willingness to endure too many nights alone so that I could pursue this dream.”
Darrin Newhardt(Musical Director & Arranger) has become a “go to” music director around town. He is so happy to be doing his first show with The Renaissance Theater Guild. Some of his favorite shows to date have been “Ragtime” and “The Last Five Years” for The Playhouse San Antonio and “Into The Woods” “Mary Poppins” and “West Side Story” for the Woodlawn Theater. Darrin is also the music director at Forest Hills Presbyterian Church. He rounds out his musical endeavors teaching private voice and piano lessons. He can be found every Saturday night at the Woodlawn Theater as the pianist for the award winning cabaret show “Broadway Nights”.
Andrew Jacobi Jeter(Asst. Director/Choreographer/Stage Manager) has been involved in productions as an actor, director, choreographer, stage manager, and technician. He has taught kids acting classes with River City Kids in Motions, Triuno Productions, Spotlight Academy, and the Woodlawn Theatre. Andrew is also a kids/teens acting coach and teaches hip hop dance classes as well as a Theatre Clinician. Andrew has a creative arts company called Creative Circuit Studio formally, Love to Live. Andrew is founder of Reel Big Talent Management, in which he represent talent of high caliber. Some of Andrew theatre credits include his appearance in the Original Musical A Place to Stand, Arsenic and Old Lace, Once Upon a Mattress, Grease, You Can’t Take it with You, and Disney’s High School Musical. His technical work in tells Woodlawn Theatre’s The Taming of the Shrew, A Diva’s Christmas, Forever Plaid, and Grease (Light/Sound Design) Robert E. Lee Theater Department’s Arsenic and Old Lace (Set Design). He would like to express gratitude to every person who has helped him to continue his dreams. For Andrew’s future shows and projects visit www.andrewjacobi.com. Also, follow Andrew on twitter @andrewjacobi!
Kathrine Johnson (Costume Designer) specializes in custom sewing for costumes and weddings. She studied Master Design Tailoring in Philadelphia and has operated her own company, New Creations-making Fabric Fit Fantasy here in San Antonio for over 20 years. She has worked with families and theatres in San Antonio including The Playhouse, Harlequin, the Carver and Woodlawn and is now Costume Designer for TRG. Some corporate clients include: Top Chef, HEB and IBC and many production companies. Recently she received the Costume Design award from ATAC for “When Pigs Fly,” with Woodlawn Black Box Theatre. She is very excited to be working on this production.
Antoinette Lakey (Co-Writer/Dramaturge) is an accomplished Author most previously under Strebor Publications. Antoinette has participate d in 5 RG productions, this is her 2nd project behind the scenes. Antoinette is a seasoned actress who has enjoyed being a part of such an exemplary company as the Renaissance Guild. “The ability & experience of doing the research for Divas was exciting. I remember Eastwood as a kid & being a part of this project was an honor.” Antoinette, says working with the Legends was an honor & a joy. Antoinette would like to thank Bill Lewis for the opportunity & honor to work closely with him and considers him a “Current Legend” and becoming her mentor.
Foster Dorrough(Sound Engineer) hails from Cleveland, Ohio and has quickly made San Antonio his home. Foster is an accomplished actor who now lives to be behind the scenes operating sounds & writing. He got his start in theater at Cuyahoga Community College and Karamu House the oldest Black Theatre in the country & was their house manager. He formerly was a member of Mainframe Entertainment where he was their Director of Artist Development. This is Fosters’ 3rd Project with TRG and he is happy to be in theatre again after a 30 year hiatus.
Ella Edwards~TRG President
DeLaine Starks(Production Assistant) has been an avid supporter and contributor to the arts most of her life. She is an accomplished writer and poet who has participated in many events around the San Antonio Area. In addition with acting in TRG’s African Folktales for two years she also assisted with the TRG’s recent hit “The Mountaintop” as well as submissions and performing with the Act One series. Writing and the Arts are a passion that she will continue to pursue.
Karen McPeters ~ Production Asst
Billy Ray Sheppard-Sax
Gary ‘Gman Singleton-Guitar