VIDEO: Devanand Janki & Laiona Michelle Join Goodspeed's IN THE (HOME) OFFICE Series

By: Jul. 16, 2020

This week's episode will feature Devanand Janki, founder of Live & In Color. Located in Salem, CT, Live & In Color develops new works that celebrate diversity, emphasizing non-traditional casting and multi-ethnic participants.

Writer and Actress Laiona Michelle (Goodspeed's Amazing Grace) will also join us to discuss her new musical Little Girl Blue - The Nina Simone Musical, which was developed through Live & In Color and had a sold-out run at the George Street Playhouse last year.

LIVE & IN COLOR A creative home for faces and stories that reflect the diversity of today's world. Live & In Color develops new work for the stage that promotes and celebrates diversity. Emphasizing non-traditional casting, multi-ethnic participants, and bold theatricality, we offer unique development opportunities for new plays and musicals that encourage dialogue among artists from a variety of cultures. LEARN MORE:

Devanand Janki (ARTISTIC DIRECTOR & FOUNDER) is an award-winning Director-Choreographer based in New York City. His credits include, Off-B'way: Zanna, Don't! (Winner Lortel, Callaway and GLAAD Awards), Junie B. Jones (Lortel nom.), Henry and Mudge (Lortel nom.), The Yellow Brick Road (Callaway nom.), Skippyjon Jones (Lortel Nom.), This One Girl's Story, Cupid and Psyche, Love and Real Estate and Romantic Poetry (MTC). The All Star Broadway concerts for the Actors Fund: Hair, Funny Girl, Dreamgirls (Assoc.) and Seth Rudestky's Broadway 101. Lincoln Center: Amahl and the Night Visitors, Babes in Toyland and Anything Goes in concert (Choreo. Assist.); 9 years as Artistic Assoc. for BC/EFA's Broadway Bares. Regional Theatre: Little Girl Blue - The Nina Simone Musical (George Street Playouse), The Wings of Ikarus Jackson , Barrio Grrrl! (Kennedy Center), Rent, Xanadu, Rocky Horror Show (Hangar Theatre) Disney's Aladdin (Chicago Shakespeare), Asphalt Beach,The Full Monty, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Man of La Mancha. TYA tours: Martha Speaks, Nate the Great, If You Give a Pig Pancake, The Berenstain Bears. He is Director of the Musical Theatre Division at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting. As a performer Dev has appeared on Broadway in Cats, Miss Saigon, The King and I and Side Show and tours of West Side Story and A Chorus Line. He is the Artistic Director of Live & In Color, which develops new plays and musicals that celebrate diversity.

Laiona Michelle, a native of Springfield, MA, made her Broadway debut as Nanna, a principle role, in the hit musical, Amazing Grace, which opened at the Nederlander on July 16, 2015. Prior to her Broadway debut, Laiona had been on the road, cast in the first national tour of the musical, Book of Mormon, which won nine Tony Awards in 2011. Laiona's passion as an actor took a different turn during the run of Amazing Grace, which was written by a first-time playwright. That story captivated the writer's side of her. And what began with a thought, turned to obsession, and led to a re-discovery of her writing skills, one she now continues to perfect. In 2018, Little Girl Blue - The Nina Simone Musical made its way to the George Street Playhouse, where it had a limited run engagement and played to sold-out audiences, standing ovations and stellar reviews. It was written and starred Laiona Michelle who one critic called - a "triple-threat". She has since been commissioned by the Mandela estate to collaborate on a new, Broadway-bound, Mandela Musical. As an actor, she has been nominated for a number of awards including the Independent Reviewers of New England, Best Lead Actress award (2001, Stonewall Jackson's House), Laiona is the recipient of the Barrymore and Carbonell Awards (2004, Constant Star), The NAACP Hollywood award (2005, Constant Star) and she was nominated for the Helen Hayes Award (2005, Yellowman).

Her long list of credits includes regional theatre roles in the Westin Playhouse production of Once On This Island, Merrick Theatre's Twelfth Night, Colorado Shakespeare Festival's Henry V and Julius Caesar, New Repertory Theatre's Stonewall Jackson's House, Arena Stage's Yellowman, The Woolly Mammoth's Bootycandy and TheatreWorks' (Palo Alto) Clementine in the Lower Nine. Laiona's musical theatre appearances include Cape Playhouse's Leader of the Pack and Beehive, Merrimack Repertory Theatre's Dinah Was, as well, Goodspeed and Bank of America Theatre's production of Amazing Grace. Prior to joining the cast of Amazing Grace, she was part of the first national tour of The Book of Mormon.