William Hall, Jr. (West) is more than pleased to be returning to Syracuse Stage for his third time having previously appeared in Fences and The Boys Next Door, both also directed by Timothy Bond. His theatre credits include August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Jitney, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Gem of the Ocean, Seven Guitars and The Piano Lesson. Other credits include Driving Miss Daisy (also the movie), I’m Not Rappaport and Death of a Salesman, among others. He is very thankful to be back in Syracuse to be part of this important work.
LeLand Gantt (Wolf) last appeared at Syracuse Stage in Radio Golf (2011) and is thrilled to renew his collaboration with Tim Bond and crew. This production of Two Trains Running marks the 7th August Wilson play that LeLand has performed in, leaving only Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson and King Hedley II outstanding. Regional credits: The Fall of Heaven (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), Gem of the Ocean (Arena Stage), Jitney (Pittsburgh Public Theatre), and In Walks Ed (Longwharf Theatre). New York credits: Another Man’s Poison (Peter Jay Sharpe Theatre), Oyamo’s Killa Dilla (Off – Broadway premiere), Let Me Live (Drama Desk and Audelco Award nominee – Featured Actor) and the Broadway revival of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (u/s Rock Dutton). Film and Television credits include: Miracle at St. Anna, Requiem for a Dream, Malcolm X, Presumed Innocent, Law and Order, Law and Order SVU and HBO’s The Affair.
Erika LaVonn (Risa) is happy to start the New Year with Syracuse Stage! Most recently, Ms. LaVonn appeared in the world premiere production of The Comfort Team at Virginia Stage Company. She has enjoyed working overseas and at numerous theatres coast to coast, including Portland, Denver, Louisville, Kansas, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Delaware, Hartford and Boston, and has had the great privilege of performing on the stages of the Kennedy Center and Broadway twice. Favorite past productions include Nobody and The Fall of the House (Alabama Shakespeare Festival), A Raisin in the Sun (The Guthrie, Arizona Theatre Company, Cleveland Playhouse, Kennedy Center) and The Lion King (Broadway). Erika would like to express gracious thanks to her family for their Forever Love and Support.
Robert Manning, Jr. (Sterling) is a graduate of the University of Washington’s MFA Professional Acting Training Program. Television credits: Southland, South of Nowhere, The Unit, Criminal Minds and two soon to be released films: Frogtown, and Warner Brothers’ The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. Theatre: Cassio in Othello, Banquo in Macbeth and Capt. Lee King in the Pasadena Playhouse production of John Patrick Shanley’s play Defiance (2008 NAACP Theatre Award Nomination – Best Lead Actor). Awards: 2010 NAACP Best Supporting nomination for his role in Battle Hymn, 2012 NAACP Best Ensemble win for Pasadena Playhouse’s production of Blues for an Alabama Sky. Robert recently completed the Broadway run of Magic/Bird. He would like to thank his parents and his lovely wife for their continued love and support. For more information on Robert, please visit robertmanningjr.com.
Abdul Salaam El Razzac (Holloway) is an alumnus of the Karamu Theatre in Cleveland, OH and a founding member of the Penumbra Theatre in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He has received the Los Angeles Drama-Logue Award for best director for Oliver Mayer’s Joe Louis Blues, and the N.A.A.C.P. Image Award best director nomination for That Serious He Man Ball. He has directed productions at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, Zephyr, L.A.T.C. and Glaxa Theatres in Los Angeles as well as staged readings for the Audrey Skirball-Kenis Theatre and the Mark Taper’s Mentor Reading Series. Regionally, as an actor, he has performed at the Willamstown Theatre Festival, Los Angeles Theatre Center, A.C.T., Long Wharf Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, The Guthrie Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Penumbra, Trinity Repertory Theatre, Indianna Repertory Theatre, The Cleveland Playhouse, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Kansas City Repertory Theatre and Arizona Theater Company. El Razzac also performed as Avery in the national tour of The Piano Lesson. He has received the N.A.A.C.P. Image Award and the L.A. Drama Critics Award for his performance as Toledo in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and the Image Award for his role as Spencer in Etta Jenks. An Emmy nominated actor, his numerous television and film credits include Martin, Out All Night, Frank’s Place, The John Larroquette Show, Star Trek: The Next Generation, General Hospital, Generations, The Division, Pretty Woman, Glory, Malcolm X, Terminator II, Female Perversion, Becker, Fraiser, Lucky, 8 Mile, Crazy and Conversations With God.
Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr. (Hambone) most recently co-wrote and appeared in Dispatches From (A)mended America (Epic Theatre Ensemble), a documentary play about the American South and President Obama’s 2008 election. Syracuse Stage: A Raisin in the Sun (dir. Claude Purdy) and Blues For An Alabama Sky (dir. Timothy Douglas). Artistic Director of Civic Ensemble in Ithaca. Off-Broadway: Passion Play, Macbeth, A More Perfect Union, Widowers’ Houses, Einstein’s Gift, A Hard Heart (Epic Theatre Ensemble), The Old Settler (Primary Stages), Betty’s Summer Vacation (Playwrights Horizons), Free Market (Working Theatre), Ice Island (Melting Pot Theatre), Murder at the Cathedral (Brooklyn HQ), Leader of the People (New Georges). Regional: Arena Stage, People’s Light and Theatre Company, Round House Theatre, Barrington Stage. Film: Mark Harris’ The Lost Children (Film Society/Lincoln Center). Other films by Audrea Topps (Raw Intensity) and Christina Kotz-Cornejo (The Appointment). TV: All My Children, As the World Turns, Law & Order, NYPD Blue, Third Watch. He has taught acting at Cornell University, Binghamton University and Marymount Manhattan University. Lifetime member of Ensemble Studio Theatre. For Sarah, Sam, Matthew, and Mark.
G. Valmont Thomas (Memphis) is returning to Syracuse Stage with Two Trains Running after performing the role of Roosevelt in 2011’s Radio Golf. He has performed as Cutler in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston, and created the character of Blue in Universes’ Party People at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Regional credits: The Cherry Orchard (dir. Dan Sullivan) at Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seven Guitars (dir. Kenny Leon) at Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF). As a member of the Acting Company of OSF for 13 seasons, his credits include Macbeth in Macbeth, Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Feste in Twelfth Night, Lincoln in Topdog/Underdog, Boy Willie in The Piano Lesson and Solly in Gem of the Ocean. Film and television credits: Child in the Night, Singles and I Love You to Death. Mr. Thomas recently narrated the audiobook of Manning Marable’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, “Malcolm: A Life of Reinvention”.