Kala Ross (Dorothy)
Kala, born in Atlanta, Georgia, is a senior, theatre major, attending Tennessee State University. Kala has performed in productions such as Race, Dreamgirls, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Sorry Wrong Number, Where’s Mary and Blacktress, a one woman show that she wrote and directed. She believes that it is her life's purpose to use her gifts to inspire others. This is her second Circle Players’ production and she couldn't be more excited to “Ease on Down the Road” with such a talented cast and crew. Kala hopes to encourage all actors to pursue their dreams. “If you match your hard work with your faith, any dream is possible.”
Chamberlin Little (Scarecrow)
Chamberlin is honored to make his debut with Circle Players and perform on the stage of Tennessee State University in one of his all-time favorite shows, THE WIZ. He is a 15-year-old high school sophomore from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, who has been performing on various local stages since the age of 6. He loves performing and plans to attend college and major in musical theatre. But enough about Chamberlin-- he doesn't have a “brain.” -- sit back and Ease on Down the Road with the gang!!!
Treston Henderson (Tin Man)
Treston is from Oak Ridge, TN, and is a freshman at Austin Peay State University majoring in Musical Theatre. He has been performing for 5 years and is very excited to be in his first Circle Players’ production. Treston found an interest in theatre his sophomore year of high school after seeing The Lion King and Newsies on Broadway in New York City. Previously, he has played roles such as Nicely Nicely Johnson in Guys & Dolls and Billy Crocker in Anything Goes at Austin Peay. When he is not performing, Treston is usually dancing or playing his guitar.
Stewart Romeo (The Lion)
This is Stewart’s second performance in a Circle Players’ production after his turn as “Sweaty Eddie” in Sister Act the Musical. He is a junior majoring in Theater and Psychology at Tennessee State University, where he has performed in several productions including Joe Turner’s Come And Gone (Bynum), Antigone (Tiresias) and West Side Story (Riff). Stewart’s goal after college is to continue training and performing professionally as a stage actor. He dedicates this performance to the memory of his late Grand Aunt Alice Ethel Stewart Douglas.
Donald E. Carter III (The Wiz)
Donald hails from Fort Smith, Arkansas, and is a graduate of Fisk University, where he majored in music under the guidance of Valija Bumbulis and performed with the Fisk Jubilee Singers under Dr. Paul T. Kwami. Raised within a musically-inclined family, Donald’s early years were spent singing in church and on the road with his mother as she toured with local groups around the country. Donald has performed background vocals for several recording artists including Johnny Lang’s Grammy-nominated “I Believe.” Although he has performed on stages and venues throughout the country, including Carnegie Hall, The White House and American Idol, Donald continues to work on perfecting his craft as an entertainer under the mentorships of William Crimm and Dr. Peter Fields. Currently pursuing an MBA from Tennessee State University, Donald is grateful for the chance to work again with Tim Larson and Circle Players.
Jamila Hunter (Evilene/2nd Munchkin/EC Citizen)
Jamila is a graduating senior at Austin Peay State University, where she will receive a BFA degree in Musical Theatre. Jamila is delighted to perform her dream role as Evilene in The Wiz. This is Jamila’s second appearance in a Circle Players’ production: she performed as a hooker who converted to a nun, Sister Miguel, in Sister Act The Musical.
Pauline McGowan (Addaperle)
Pauline is a native of Murfreesboro, TN, and graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a degree in Theater. If you’ve ever made your way to Murfreesboro, you may have seen her play a variety of roles such as Margaret in Amen Corner, Shug Avery in The Color Purple the Musical and Lil Inez in Hairspray the Musical. This is her first production with Circle Players, but she hopes it won’t be her last. She would like to thank Tim Larson for casting her in one of her favorite roles, and Mr. Crimm for believing that should could sing like “Addaperle, The Feel Good Girl.” She would also like to thank her parents for preparing her for this role by exposing her to The Wiz and all other things made in the 70s at a young age..
Breanna Williams (Glinda/Tornado/Poppy/Winkie)
Breanna is a Georgia native and a rising young artist based in Nashville, TN. She recently performed the role of Consuela in West Side Story at Tennessee State University and appears regularly with Inversion Vocal Ensemble as an Apprentice Artist. Ms. Williams has been featured in performances at the Mompox and Sinsu Jazz Festivals in Colombia, South America, and has participated in masterclasses with Solomon Howard and Karen Slack of the Metropolitan Opera. With the TSU Meistersingers, she performed in the world premiere of Anthony Plog’s Magdalene with the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra and was the featured soloist in the finale of the Harry T. Burleigh commemorative spiritual festival. Currently, Ms. Williams is pursuing a B.S. in Music (Business) at TSU and studies privately with Dr. Darryl Glenn Nettles. Ms. Williams is excited to complete her first Circle Player’s production!
Cordnie Ellese Brown (Aunt Em/EC Citizen/Winkie)
Cordnie Ellese was born and raised in Nashville. She is a senior Theatre Major at Tennessee State University. Cordnie’s theatre performance credits include West Side Story and Funnyhouse of A Negro, a play which she also directed. This is Cordnie's first time to perform in a Circle Players’ production (she has previously been a member of stage crew for 2 Circle shows) and she is elated to be connected with such a wonderful, exciting cast and crew. She would like to thank Tim Larson for this amazing opportunity and Dr. Fields and Mr. Crimm for pouring their talents and wisdom into her with no questions asked! Cordnie Ellese is more than ready to "Ease on Down" with the The Wiz!
Barrett Thomas (Uncle Henry/Crow/EC Citizen/Winkie)
Barrett is pleased to appear in his third production with Circle Players this season, having performed in Jesus Christ Superstar and Stuff Happens. He is in his final year of graduate study at Vanderbilt University. Barrett would like to thank his friends and family (especially Jackbug) for their support. He also thanks everybody behind the scenes at Circle Players for their tireless efforts, particularly Jason, Clay, and Tim for including him!
Henry Harrington (Royal Gate Keeper/Crow/Kalidah/EC Citizen/Monkey)
Henry is honored to be a part of Circle Players production of The Wiz. This is his first production with the Circle Players. Previous credits include his 2008 appearance as Charlie in the independent film The Boys of Summerville.
Miya Robertson (Lord High Underling/Tonado/Poppy/ EC Citizen/Winkie)
Miya Rene' Robertson, a native of Jackson, TN, is a familiar face in the local entertainment industry. With a string of commercials, videos, film projects, stage plays and print ads, Miya is a multi-talented model, actress, and dancer. She is the drama teacher at Gower Elementary with a Bachelor's degree in Speech Communication and Theatre from Tennessee State University and Master of Arts in Education degree from Union University. Miya's all time favorite movie just happens to be The Wiz. "This experience is truly a dream come true and I am honored to work with such a talented cast and be led by amazing visionaries in their own right."
Ashley Johnson (Kalidah Queen/Tornad/Poppy/EC Citizen/Winkie/understudy Dorothy)
Ashley is is overjoyed to participate in her first production with Circle Players! She is a freshman Theatre Major at Tennessee State University who has has participated in numerous musical productions, including Hairspray (ensemble), Shrek the Musical (Humpty Dumpty), Mary Poppins the Musical (Mary Poppins), West Side Story (Maria) in her hometown before coming to Nashville to attend TSU. Ashley is excited to be cast in The Wiz as several characters and understudy for Dorothy. She would like to thank her newfound friends, cast-mates, the entire production team, Dr. Fields, Tim Larson, and Prof. William Crimm.
AJ D. Harris (Tornado/Crow/Kalidah/1st EC Citizen/Monkey)
This is AJ’s first show with Circle Players and it certainly will not the last. AJ has performed in Legally Blonde and wrote a show called Identity Powers, Trojan Women. He has also written and directed Dibs, a dramedy based on two best friends. AJ likes hugs and donuts and they would be highly appreciated. Sincerely, Thor Odinson.
Chakara Vinson (Tornado/Poppy/4th EC Citizen/Winkie)
Chakara was born in Pontiac, Michigan, and is a graduate of Tennessee State University with a degree in Radio & Television. She has worked on several films including The Body Sculptor with Terry Kiser; TV shows including: Nashville, Still the King, Master of None; commercials for Hughes & Coleman and Smirnoff; and music videos for artists such as Rae Lynn, Love & Theft, and Cole Swindle. Chakara is a server at her parent's restaurant The Garden Brunch Cafe which has been featured on the local TV show Tennessee Crossroads. Chakara enjoys producing and hosting live events around Nashville and has successfully hosted more than 14 live since 2012. She also currently hosts a late night talk show for Channel 19 called Late Night with Marlie! This is her first stage production in 10 years and she is very excited to be part of Circle Players The Wiz!
Claire Estes (Tornado/EC Citizen/Winkie)
Claire attends Austin Peay State University as a dance major. This is her first performance with the Circle Players. She has performed in many dance concerts at Austin Peay, including the 8th, 9th and 10th annual dance concerts. Claire was also dance captain in the 2016 production of Footloose. She has danced for the Austin Peay Chamber Singers for the song Balleilakka. She is thrilled to be performing with this fantastic cast and crew!
Elise Stein (Tornado/Winkie/Poppy/EC Citizen)
Elise is so excited to make her first appearance on the Circle Player's stage with such an amazing cast. She is a freshmen at MTSU, studying Public Relations in the recording industry. Elise has competed in the Miss Tennessee Teen USA where she placed in the top 5. She would like to give a big thanks to the producer, directors, and choreographer for their hard work in putting the show together. Elise would also like to thank Circle Players for giving her an opportunity to be part of this wonderful cast.
Evan Acklin (Tornado/Crow/Kalidah/2nd Citizen/Monkey)
Evan is delighted to return to the stage after a four-year hiatus in Circle Players’ THE WIZ. During that time, Evan obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Fisk University, where he spent three years singing with the world-renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers® as a 2nd Tenor in the ensemble. Previously, Evan has been involved in many stage productions, including Song and Dance (ETA Creative Arts Foundation), A Brand New Day (Kingdom Performing Arts Academy), Dwyane Wade’s Chicago’s Got Talent: Talent Show (The Wade Foundation) to name a few. Evan will make his television debut as a lead actor on a new television series scheduled to air on TV ONE during the summer of 2017. In the future, Evan plans to make his stamp in the music and acting world.
Lakendra Moore (Tornado/Poppy/3rd EC Citizen/Winkie)
LaKendra enjoys singing, expressive dancing, dressing in costume and acting. She has been performing since age 3 and has acting credits that include a commercial for Dave Ramsey, a children’s television show with Mother Goose Club Playhouse Productions, Circle Players’ productions of Ragtime, Children of Eden and Disney's The Little Mermaid. On weekends, Lakendra enjoys serving as co- captain of her church praise team, assisting with choreography, helping younger dancers and preforming. When not performing, she devotes time to her friends and family like any normal teenager. LaKendra continues to thrive in performing arts and has no plans of stopping.
Marquize Hill (Tornado/Crow/Kalidah/EC Citizen/Monkey)
Marquize is a graduating senior at Austin Peay State University, where he is earning a Bachelors of Arts degree in Theatre and Dance and a minor in Mathematics. Marquize has been in productions of Anything Goes and Footloose. In the future, Marquize aspires to become a professional dancer and preform on Broadway. This is his first performance with Circle Players and he is overjoyed to portray many different characters in The Wiz. .
Miracle Ham (4th Munchkin/1st Mouse/EC Citizen/Winkie
Miracle is elated to be part of the cast of The Wiz. Originally from Chicago, IL, Miracle moved to the Nashville area to attend college and to pursue her dreams of performing in the arts. She has a BS in Business Administration and Music and an MBA in Music Business. Miracle first appeared in the musical The Amen Corner and later performed in the stage plays The Hallelujah Girl and Kitchen Kurls. She was able to delve back into acting in Circle Players’ production of Jesus Christ Superstar. When not acting, Miracle enjoys singing, dancing, sketching, and playing the piano. She hopes to one day be a successful recording artist as well as appear in prominent roles on Broadway. She is extremely grateful for another opportunity to showcase one of her many talents.
Patricia Peoples (Tornado/Poppy/EC Citzen/Monkey)
This is Patricia's first Circle Players production and she is thrilled to be part of the ensemble in one of her favorite musicals of all time! As a native of Cleveland, Ohio, Patricia started studying dance at the age of 10. She received most of her experience and training while attending Cleveland School of the Arts, Ohio University and traveling to different cities for intensive training programs as a dance major. Her credits include: Carmen Jones, Black Nativity, Once on This Island and most recently Centralia. She also choreographed West Side Story and The Wizard of Oz in 2011. When Patricia is not dancing or choreographing she is devoting most of her time and efforts to her 7th grade students at LaVergne Middle School.
Shaylyn Rice (3rd Munchkin/Poppy/EC Citizen/Winkie)
Shaylyn is thrilled to join the cast of The Wiz! She is a native of Birmingham, AL, and currently attends Tennessee State University as a theatre major. Shaylyn has previously performed in Circle Players’ Dreamgirls and with other companies’ productions of A Woman Called Truth as Sojourner Truth and The Color Purple. Shaylyn is grateful for the support of her family and friends and for this opportunity to perform with a great cast. She looks forward to where acting will take her in the near future and believes with God all things are possible.
Sydni Daniels (5th Munchkin/EC Citizen/Winkie)
Sydni is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, and is currently a freshman at Tennessee State University majoring in Theatre. “I am just a dreamer who's speaking their truth. My resume is not complete, but rather it has just begun. I am now allowing God to guide my steps into my destiny.”
Tyler Samuel (1st Munchkin/2nd Mouse/EC Citizen/Winkie)
Tyler has a degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Evansville (2014) and is a graduate of East Literature Magnet School. She has sung the roles of Adele in Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, Konigin die Nacht in Mozart’s Magic Flute and Rosina in Rossini’s Barber of Seville. Tyler is a regular in the Nashville theater scene as well and has performed in Circle Players’ productions of Fame Forever (Georgia Washington), Aida (Mereb) and Ragtime. Other credits include Memphis the Musical with Street Theater Company and most recently in the role of Miss Dorothy in the Larry Keeton Theater production of Thoroughly Modern Millie, which has garnered a nomination for “Best Featured Actress in a Musical” by the 2016 Broadway World Nashville Awards. As a rising solo artist, Tyler performs for special events and wedding ceremonies throughout the Nashville area. She is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity and serves on the board of Choral Arts Link, Inc., which features programs like the MET Singers, of which she is an alumnus. Tyler is also an advocate for the deaf-blind community for persons like herself who experience the complexities that people with disabilities encounter. She is thrilled to be a part of another stellar Circle Players’ production and would like to thank her family and friends for their continued support.
Venita Williams (6th Munchkin/EC Citizen/Winkie)
Venita is a Nashville native attending Tennessee State University as a music major. She studies vocally with Patrick Daily. Previous credits include TSU’s productions of West Side Story. Venita is happy to perform in her first production with Circle Players and have the wonderful experience of work with such a talented cast