Last modified: Wednesday, April 2, 2003
Meet the cast of "The Gospel at Colonus"
NOTE: A.K. Murtadha has the lead role in Indiana University's production of The Gospel at Colonus. Meet him and the rest of the cast.
A.K. Murtadha (Preacher Oedipus) is a senior theatre major from Washington, D.C. He has appeared as Othello in an independent IU production, and as Floyd in Seven Guitars with the Phoenix Players. He appeared on stage with Amiri Baraka, and with Ntozke Shange at the National Black Theatre Festival.
Alphonso Cherry (Singing Oedipus) is a graduate student from Aulander, N.C., majoring in vocal performance. He has appeared as Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro, the Vicar in Albert Herring and the postman in The Scarf. He received the A. J. Fletcher Scholarship to study at the North Carolina School of the Arts. He spent last summer studying in Italy.
Brandi Vardiman (Antigone) is a senior from Indianapolis. She has appeared with the group God's Progress as the opening act for Ray Charles. She has performed in The Middle Passage and Stoops with the Asante Children's Theatre and 1 More River 2 Cross with the Groups Theatre Project.
Redgina Norris (Ismene) is a junior from South Bend, Ind. She has recorded with the Faith and Virtue Chorale and has also sung with the Clay High School Concert Choir and the Called Chorale.
Sonelius Kendrick-Smith (Pastor Thesus) is vice president and portfolio manager for Deutsche Asset Management (Deutshe Bank) in New York and is happy to be back at IU, where his love for music and theatre was born. He recently appeared in Viva La Diva at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall. He has been seen in productions of Sunday in the Park with George, A Chorus Line and The Pirates of Penzance. He now studies voice with Richard Gerrin in New York.
Quincy Roberts (Creon) is a graduate student in vocal performance from Dallas. He has appeared as Crespe in Tales of Hoffman, Kesal in The Bartered Bride and Sparafucile in Rigoletto, all with the IU Opera Theater.
Torall Morris (Choragos) is a sophomore from Elkhart, Ind. He appeared in many plays while in high school.
James Bigsbee (Polyneices)
Chauncey Duff (The Balladeer #1) is a senior from Indianapolis majoring in ethnomusicology and folklore. He has sung in both high school and professional choirs in Indianapolis.
Pete King (Balladeer #2) is a senior from Springville, Ind., majoring in contemporary Christian music leadership. He has directed Kids in Christ children's choir of the Bedford First Assembly of God. Currently, he is a member of the adult worship team for the Second and Main First Pentecostal Church of God.
Alexis Joi Carter (Ismene Soloist) is a freshman from Gary, Ind., majoring in radiology. She won the Miss Black and Gold Pageant at IU. She was an ISSMA first place in solo for four years, and recently sang at the famed Apollo Theatre in New York.
Members of Soul-ACE ( The Choragos Quintet) are Richardo Wallace, Mike Molohon, Eric Johnson, Kellen Able, Pete King and Chauncey Duff.
Members of The 4th Dimension (The Oedipus Quintet) are J.C. Parmley, Geoffrey Coyle, Bennie Richmond, Duane Ingram, Andy Oakden and Dustin Podgorski.
Members of Sojourner (The Ismene Singers) are Alexis Joi Carter, Ashley Griffin, Samillia Woods, Jeri Austin, Marie Woods and Tamara Jordan.
Members of God's Progress (The Ismene Singers #2 ) are Kyra Willingham, Sara Etherington, Redgina Norris, Temica Moore, Torall Morris and Dustin Podgorski.
Charles E. Sykes (producer) has been the director of IU's African American Arts Institute since 1991. With extensive experience as a music educator, conductor, performer and arts administrator, he serves as an adjunct professor in IU's Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. An established authority on the Detroit era of Motown Record Corp., he developed and teaches a course on the subject.
Charlston Deno Sanders (music director) is a graduate student in jazz studies. He is an accomplished drummer, having played with some of the greatest names in contemporary jazz such as David Baker, James Moody and Dominic Spera. He is minister of music at Freedom Temple Church of God In Christ.
Robin Macheel (assistant music director) is a junior from Beaver Dam, Wis. He has been the accompanist and arranger for The Singing Hoosiers and is currently the accompanist for the African American Choral Ensemble. He assisted Mumford in reconstructing the score of The Gospel at Colonus. He is an active composer/performer in the IU School of Music where he studies composition, conducting, piano and viola.
Toni M. Robinson (stage manager) is a first-year graduate student from Louisville, Ky. This is her first stage-managing position.
Michael Bridavsky (sound engineer), recently appointed technical supervisor of the African American Arts Institute, has worked with the institute's African American Dance Company, Soul Revue and African American Choral Ensemble for more than three years as a technician and part-time supervisor. The AAAI's technical/sound crew consists of Bridavsky and six other engineers, and it is responsible for the technical execution of performances by all three AAAI performing groups all year in all parts of Indiana and neighboring states.
Steve Solie (set and light designer) has provided lighting design and technical direction to the African American Arts Institute for the African American Dance Company since 1987, for the African American Choral Ensemble since 1991 and for Soul Review from 1991-97 for their concerts at the IU Auditorium, the Creative Arts Auditorium and the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. He also works with other campus and community groups including the IU Student Foundation's production of IU Sing for the last 19 years, HPER Dance and the Bloomington Pops Orchestra. He has been employed by IU Radio and Television Services (WTIU) since 1978. He began as the staging and lighting director and in 1990 became the production manager. He received a bachelor of arts degree from IU with a concentration in lighting and scenic design.
David Higgins (scenic designer) is a native of Bloomington. As a professor of scenic design and master scenic artist at the IU School of Music Opera Theater, he has designed sets and costumes for over 200 opera and ballet productions including many world and American collegiate premieres such as The Ghosts of Versailles, The Devils of Loudon, The Mask of the Red Death and Nixon in China. With over 25 individual Nutcracker Ballet designs in his repertoire, his sets and costumes for this ballet can be seen in current productions around the world. He studied with the late C. Mario Cristini, internationally renowned Italian set designer and professor in the IU School of Music. Famous for his Italianate painting style, Higgins was mentioned in Opera News Magazine as one of the best American scenic painters today. He has designed productions around the world including in Canada, Italy, Korea, Iceland, Puerto Rico, Brazil and England. His most recent designs include new productions of Macbeth and The Merry Widow for Imagem Data Productions in Brazil and Sven-David Sandstrom's Jeppe for the IU Opera Theater.
Amy Wickstrom (costume assistant) is an anthropology major from Bloomington. Her love of fabrics, colors, costumes and original designs prepared her to be involved in costume construction. She has worked in the costume construction department of the IU Opera Theater. She currently works in the Ballet Department of the IU School of Music and wishes to use costuming as an expression of the beauty of diversity of beliefs and cultures.