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Cast Announced for THE GOSPEL WOMAN at National Black Theatre

The Gospel Woman tells the story of the Fowlers, a ministry family in Plainfield, New Jersey circa 1972, following the 1967 race riots.

Cast Announced for THE GOSPEL WOMAN at National Black Theatre

National Black Theatre has announced the cast for The Gospel Woman - the first workshop production of its 2022-2023 programmatic season. Presented in partnership with Chelsea Factory, The Gospel Woman was written by TyLie Shider (The Temple) and directed by Adrienne D. Williams (Angela's Mixtape, Crumbs from the Table of Joy), along with musical direction from Aaron Marcellus (Stomp). Performances are set to run from November 9 through November 13, 2022 at Chelsea Factory in NYC. Tickets are available now at

"I'm blown away by the cast our team has assembled! It's a family drama. So it was important for us to cast a company who felt like a family on and offstage." - TyLie Shider (Playwright)

The Gospel Woman tells the story of the Fowlers, a ministry family in Plainfield, New Jersey circa 1972, following the 1967 race riots. Sisters Ruth and Orpah Fowler must find a way to set aside their differences and a feud stemming from a demo that helped launch the younger Orpah's, successful award-winning R&B career, if they are to help their aging father, keep the church from foreclosure while healing and re-connecting as a family unit.

The complete cast of The Gospel Woman includes Kala Ross (Ruth), Carla R. Stewart (Orpah), Charles E. Wallace (Fowler), Ronald Emile (Wino), and Wendell Jordan (Benjamin/Bidder). More info on the cast is below.

"What Tylie has created during his residency really is addressing the roots of one's maternal and paternal bloodline. He is giving us a glimpse into his inheritance and how that legacy is interwoven with spirit, gospel music and a deep sense of faith. He is living up to the values of this program which has been to create a dynamic playground for black playwrights to unleash their soul on paper. With the collaboration of Adrienne as his director, and Aaron as his MD, the possibilities have been endless. Excited to share as a snapshot the world they have been developing through the eyes of this dynamic cast and creative designers in Nov." - Jonathan McCrory (Executive Artistic Director of National Black Theatre)

Tylie is an alumnus of NBT's I AM SOUL Playwright Residency Program. Launched in 2012, the I AM SOUL Playwright Residency Program uniquely serves the best and brightest emerging Black playwrights from around the nation, with a commitment to producing a workshop production of a new original text created over an 18-month process. The program is one leg of NBT's SOUL Series Lab, which is a creative laboratory and home for Black artists and is dedicated to the acceleration and creation of innovative cultural productions, based on NBT's pedagogy forged in 1968. The L.A.B is being supported by the generosity of the Jerome Foundation, Ford Foundation, Andrew Mellon Foundation, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, New York City Council, New York State Council on the Arts, and Howard Gilman Foundation. For more information about each of the residencies and alumni of the SOUL Series LAB, visit and follow NBT on Facebook (@NationalBlackTheatre) and Twitter/Instagram (@NatBlackTheatre).

About Tylie Shider (Playwright)

Tylie Shider is a 2019-20 Playwrights' Center Jerome Fellow. His plays include PARABLE OF THE BACKYARD ROOTS (2019 Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Finalist), BASTARD and TALK. His work has been developed by Liberation Theatre Company, Dixon Place, La MaMa, Frank Silvera Writers' Workshop, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Harlem 9, Homebase Theatre Collective, 3:5 Creative[s], Yendor Arts, The Classical Theatre of Harlem, Luna-Stage/">Luna Stage, Joust Theatre co., New York New Works Theater Festival and The Theater Project. Awards: Drama Desk from Delaware State University and The Theater Project's One-Act competition 2015 Best Play and Audience Favorite. Member: Dramatist Guild of America. Education: He holds a BA in journalism from Delaware State University and an MFA in playwriting from New York University and has studied the Fornésian Method with playwright Migdalia Cruz.

About Adrienne D. Williams (Director)

ADRIENNE D. WILLIAMS is a Harlem born storyteller. She is an Artistic Associate at the Martha's Vineyard Playhouse, and holds an MFA in Acting from Binghamton University. She is a member of The Honor Roll, The Bechdel Group, the Rattlestick Theatre Community, and NCTC. Her directing credits include SHE KILLS MONSTERS, DREAM OF THE BURNING BOY, THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT, ELECTRA, BUS STOP, and more. As an educator, she has taught and directed on the faculties of The David Geffen School of Drama at Yale, Juilliard Drama Division, Tisch Graduate Acting Program, Hunter College, City College of New York, Syracuse University, Brooklyn College, NYU Gallatin School, Marymount Manhattan College, and the American Academy of Dramatic Art. She would like to thank NBT for this beautiful collaboration.

About Aaron Marcellus (Musical Director)

Singer, vocal coach, writer, musician, dancer, and actor are all roles he successfully swings. Born in Atlanta, Aaron has been entertaining crowds across the world for 20 plus years. He got his start singing Gospel music, and recorded albums under the Warner Brothers label "Word Records." In 2011, he auditioned for "American Idol" and was voted Top 24.

About Kala Ross (Ruth)

Ross recently made her Broadway debut in the Tony nominated revival of For Colored Girls. Her latest performances were with Harlem9 and 54 Below. She received her M.F.A from the University of Louisville and her bachelor's in theatre from Tennessee State University. Kala believes that if you match your hard work with your faith, any dream is possible. She would like to extend her gratitude to Tylie Shider, the NBT production team and cast, Sujotta Pace, and Hudson Artists Agency. For more information, please visit IG: @kalaross

About Carla R. Stewart (Orpah)

Carla R Stewart is elated to make her National Black Theatre debut as Orpah. Stewart is an AMDA alumni with Broadway credits including: The Color Purple revival, Tina the Tina Turner Musical. Off Broadway: If Pretty Hurts... National tours: Ghost (Oda Mae Brown) and The Color Purple revival (Shug Avery). Many thanks to agents at HCKR IG:@mzzzruth @Nutchocheese James 1:17

About Ronald Emilie (Wino)

Ronald Emile is a classically trained actor and native New Yorker. Broadway: Macbeth. Regional: Hop tha A, Feeding Beatrice, Actually. TV: Inventing Anna (Netflix). MFA: NYU.

About Charles E. Wallace (Fowler)

Charles E. Wallace, is excited to, finally, be working at The National Black Theatre after being neighbors for over twenty years. He is a veteran of the Stage and TV, and has been seen on Broadway in: Amazing Grace, Miss Saigon (John), Smokey Joe's Café, and Jekyll & Hyde. His Off-Broadway performances include: Dinah Was, Harlem Song and The Headmaster in Tarell Alvin McCraney's Choir Boy, to name a few. Charles appeared as Daddy Warbucks, in Annie, at The Alabama Shakespeare Festival and performed Ntozake Shange's "From Okra to Greens at The National Black Theatre Festival in North Carolina. Additionally, Mr. Wallace was honored to play Roy Wilkins in All the Way at The Denver Theatre Center and Cleveland Playhouse and the role of Davenport in The Arkansas Repertory Theatre's production of A Soldier's Play. In Leon, France, at The Ancient Theatre of Fourvière, Charles performed in Robert Wilson's, internationally acclaimed chamber opera, Zinnias: The Life of Clementine Hunter. God Bless. IG @mrwallacecharles

About Wendell Jordan (Benjamin/Bidder)

Wendell Jordan has a BFA from Howard University and has been an active member of SAG/ AFTRA for 20+ years. Working on such shows as HBO's The Wire, NBC's Homicide, ABC's Golden Boy, & CBS's Person of Interest, and Blue Bloods. Most recent theatre credits include the role of "Mister" from The Color Purple, at the Riverside Center for the Performing Arts, "Amonasro," from Aida, at the Source Theatre "Constellation Theatre Company," in addition to "Ton Ton Julian," from Once on This Island, at Olney Theatre Center. Wendell would like to dedicate his performance to his sun Fate Jordan.

About National Black Theatre

National Black Theatre (NBT) is the nation's first revenue-generating Black arts complex, which was founded in 1968 by the late visionary artist Dr. Barbara Ann Teer. It is the longest-running Black theatre in New York City, one of the oldest theaters founded and consistently operated by a woman of color in the nation and most recently included in the permanent collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC. As featured in the NY Times, the start of construction is now underway for their new and improved mixed-use building which will feature a shopping center, the new theatre, as well as affordable housing.

About Chelsea Factory

Chelsea Factory exists to support artists and audiences as we collectively navigate beyond the Covid-19 pandemic. With an emphasis on support for New York City-based artists, Chelsea Factory provides highly subsidized creation and presentation space, production resources, and dynamic connections that create transformative experiences for its partners across genres. Chelsea Factory was founded by Jim Herbert, Founder and Executive Chairman of First Republic Bank, with significant support from the First Republic Foundation. As a pop-up project with a finite organizational life, Chelsea Factory remains a collaborative and noncompetitive resource to the partners it serves, as well as a place for New Yorkers to find connection, inspiration, and joy. To learn more, visit

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