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The Artists

Jordan Arrasmith

Performer, he/him

Jordan is beyond grateful to be a part of this influential work of art that gives a megaphone for all black voices to be heard and educated those who don’t or can’t hear them. Jordan has worked all over the county in musical theatre performances such as Newsies, Mamma Mia, A Chorus Line, and West Side Story. Jordan would like to dedicate this piece to his wonderful black mother, Nana, Aunt Deedra, and his beautiful black friends all over. #BlackLivesMatter #SayOurNames #NoJusticeNoPeace

Aria Caldwell

Performer, she/her

Aria is very honored to be a part of this virtual performance. Times are different, but theatre still lives! During the pandemic, she’s gotten to keep her passion for performing alive with a couple of virtual cabarets and play readings, which has been super rad. During the day, she can be found teaching two-year-olds their ABCs and colors. Shout out to her cat, Bandit for putting up with all of the Zoom show-and-tells.

Ian Coulter-Buford

Writer, he/him

Ian is reeling to be making his playwright debut during such a momentous festival as this! A native of southern Illinois and based in New York City,  Ian is an award-winning performer, choreographer, top 40 international recording artist, instructor, and creative director.  Most recent performing credits include u/s Lazarus and Male Swing in Joe Iconis’ Broadway Bounty Hunter Off-Broadway, and his Henry Award Nominated performance as Archie Stone in Trav’lin: The 1930’s Harlem Musical at Arvada Center. Other credits include touring as Tap Brother in Broadway’s After Midnight, Ken in Smokey Joe’s Café (Riverside Theatre FL), Disney’s Aladdin (The Muny), The Scarecrow in The Wiz (Maltz Jupiter & The Black Rep St. Louis), and Jacob in La Cage Aux Folles (Lake Dillon Theatre.) TV/FILM: Modern Love (Amazon). Choreographer credits include Camp Morning Wood (Off-Broadway) and Fat Kid Rules The World world premiere in association with LiveWire Theatricals. He is represented by Prevail Artists, The Mine Agency, and BFA from Illinois Wesleyan University. When he not being creative he is searching for all the vegan food places. Follow all of Ian’s adventures @iancoulterbuford on ‘the gram.’ Love God, Love Arts, Love People.

Gregory J. Fields

Writer, he/him

Gregory is excited to be writing for BLACK JOY.  Recent Chicago acting credits include: Clementine (Little Time Theatre Co.), Thirst (Strawdog Theatre), P.Y.G., Or The…(u/s) (Jackalope Theatre), The Burrow (MCA Chicago & Prop Theatre). Gregory received his BFA in Acting at The Theatre School at DePaul University while completing a screenwriting minor. He currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico and is represented by DDO Artists Agency.

alfonzo khalil

Writer, he/him and they/them

alfonzo is a performance artist that specializes in, and communicates through, the spoken word and the dramatic arts. Raised on the Westside of Chicago, alfonzo believes in the power of performance to document, dismantle, enchant, and build. alfonzo holds a BFA in theater from New York University and was last seen in Free Street Theater: 50 Years of Joy & Justice, Still/Here, and Goodman Theatre’s Live @ Five: Celebrating August Wilson event

Ben F. Locke

Performer, he/him

Ben is happy to be part of this show alongside such beautiful and talented Black and Brown creators. Ben is an actor, director, choreographer, teacher/coach and writer. He’s an Artistic Associate with Random Acts Chicago, a dancer with Ardent Dance Company and an independent theatre/tv/film writer. His work can be found on The New Play Exchange. He is very passionate about giving back to his communities and setting up the next generation to succeed. What we do matters. Who sees us matters. If we died today, did we horde ourselves away, did we keep our resources for ourselves or did we invest in others to take over and grow without us?

Tracie Marie

Performer, she/her

Tracie is from South Bend, IN. She now resides in Chicago as a second year graduate student at Columbia College Chicago, where she’s passionately pursuing her MFA in poetry. Some of her previous and favorite shows include: Thirst (Strawdog Theatre Company), and Rabbit Hole (Muncie Civic Theatre). As an actor and writer, she strongly believes creating art during this time is essential, and she is immensely lucky to experience and grow in the shows she is involved in. This is her second show in Chicago.

Morgan McCane

Performer, she/her

Morgan is a 2020 graduate with a degree in Music Theater from Illinois Wesleyan University. She recently finished her apprenticeship with the Georgia Ensemble Theatre, and while there, she got the opportunity to play Meg in “A Wrinkle In Time.” Morgan is very excited to be a part of this project, and she wants to thank everyone involved for allowing her to be a part this group of artists in telling stories that are near to our hearts.

Breauna L. Roach

Writer, she/her

Breauna is a poet from Detroit, Michigan. Her work has appeared in various publications including Callaloo, Prairie Schooner, Vinyl, and Obsidian. Breauna is a Cave Canem Fellow and a Callaloo Fellow. She earned her MFA from Emerson College in 2017 and is currently and always making art that is dedicated to the radical act of being Black & joyful at the same time.

Larry D. Trice II

Performer, they/them

Larry is proud to be participating in BLACK JOY. This interdisciplinary artist is also a team member with Trans Voices Cabaret Chicago and former Production Manager of Artists Giving Back. Larry is excited to continue using their voice to help change the world for the better and advance the voice of the under-represented and under-appreciated people. Some of their favourite credits include: Back In The Day (Urban Theater Company), Shrek (Windy City Performs), Kingdom (Broken Nose), Magic Treehouse: Showtime with Shakespeare (Emerald City Theatre), Once On This Island (That Was a Show Theatre Co.), Rocky Horror Show (Stage Wright Productions), Pirates Of Penzance (COT/ASM), Spring Awakening (Music For Theatre Chicago), and countless other shows and play readings. Love to friends, fam, and my little guy, Eli. 

Ariel Etana Triunfo

Writer, she/her

Ariel is a dancer, singer, actor, writer, poet, choreographer, and creator of all kinds. She is a weaver of dreams, who sees art in everything and is on a constant quest to find and explore the connections between every aspect of humanity and the art of life itself. Ariel has performed and worked with various Chicago theatre companies, and other dance and theatre companies across the country; as well as collaborating virtually with people all over the world. Her calling is to spark thought, inspire connectedness, and initiate healing through her creative endeavors.

Kayla V. White

Director and Adaptor, she/her

Kayla was born in Detroit, grew up in Phoenix, but finally feels at home here in Chicago. She earned her BFA in Music Theatre from Illinois Wesleyan University, and has since been performing, directing, choreographing, and teaching dance/theatre/yoga in the greater Chicago area. Teaching accessible yoga and making art are her two great loves, and she is moved by this and every opportunity to elevate her community.

Maria White

Writer, she/her

Maria is a lyricist, book writer, and performer from Phoenix, Arizona. She received her BFA in Musical Theatre Performance from AMDA College of the Performing Arts in May 2020. Her musical, Dome 483, was a part of the Creating Your Vision workshop at AMDA. Most recently, she performed her original song, Sins of Mine, at a virtual cabaret celebrating BIPOC Artists called “Amplify!” She is currently studying to receive her Masters in Musical Theatre Writing at NYU Tisch.

Octavia White

Writer, she/her

Octavia is a teacher, poet,  and dancer who strives to share joy, beauty, and her Catholic faith with those she encounters.  Her passion for ministry, education, and Spanish language & culture have enabled her to build connections with and support often marginalized members of her community.  She is deeply grateful to be a part of this project.

Lesley Fisher Chapman

Production Manager, she/her

Lesley is a Chicago based theatre teacher and director and a long-time Clock Productions alumna. Most recently, she directed (Un)Seen, Last Laugh, and The Snow Queen all with Clock. During the day, Lesley is usually teaching theatre to children all over Chicago. She is the Education Director with The Shakespeare All-Stars and just finished directing and editing their all-virtual production of The Tempest. When she is not doing theatre, Lesley is reading good books, aggressively playing on the PS4, making masks for people, and chasing after her toddler. She is so grateful to her partner, CJ, who has done the best job keeping the aforementioned toddler away from the many Zoom calls and reminding Lesley to eat.

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