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(Donald Fitzdarryl) Namaste. Donald is very excited to be a part of this production. And to work alongside these other great artists. This Chicago native has been singing and acting throughout Chicago for over 10 years. He also in the 90s was a recording and House music artist for R- Tyme music company. Donald has a strong church background. Singing multiple church and community choirs over the years. He was last seen in an ETA creative arts foundation production (Eye of the storm) portraying civil rights activist. Bayard Rustin. For which he Won the 2018 Black theater alliance award for. Best leading actor in a Musical. Special thanks to Derek McPhatter and the BTBB team. Also. Otherworld theater company. And His family and friends for their love and support over the years. God Bless.


Jasmine Marie Jones (Lady Ace)

Jasmine is new to Chicago by way of Denver, Co. and is very excited to be a part of her first production with Otherworld Theatre! She was most recently seen as Vibrata in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. She would like to thank her wonderful parents, siblings, and close friends for their constant support. As well as her boyfriend Glenn for giving her the push to follow her dreams. Other credits include Ronnette (Little Shop of Horrors) Ragtime (Ensemble), Dreamgirls (Ensemble), A song for Coretta (Keisha Cameron), Raisin in the Sun (Beneatha).

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Bernell Lassai III - Born and raised in Chicago, IL. Bernell is delighted to be making his debut with Otherworld Theatre in “Bring The Beat Back”. His most recent credits include “The Producers” at The Paramount Theatre. “Curve of Departure” at Northlight Theatre. “Memphis”, “Merrily We Roll Along”, and “Billy Elliot” at Porchlight Music Theatre. Giggle, Giggle, Quack at Lifeline Theatre; Regional Credits include: Smokey Joe’s Cafe, and Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at The Little Theatre On The Square; A Christmas Carol at Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre; Antony & Cleopatra at Shakespeare Festival St. Louis; Bigfork Summer Playhouse; Hope Summer Repertory Theatre. Bernell is a graduate of The Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University.

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DANN R. LYNCH (Studness)

Dann R. Lynch (they/them) is originally from across the lake (AKA Michigan). Dann is a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago. They are inspired by nuanced, thoughtful theatre. They firmly believe in the metamorphic power of art, as a force for change. When not in a theatre Dann can be found writing, participating and filming Live-Action Role-Play (LARP) across the world. They are, in fact, a grade-A certified nerd, and quite proud of it.

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Tia Pinson is a Flint, MI native who continues to pursue her need to create, inspire and encourage through teaching, playing, and sharing. She hopes to provide an outlet of creative expression and development to community youth while exploring the multitudes of storytelling devices. Tia graduated from Western Michigan University with a BFA in Music Theatre Performance. Within her time in Chicago, she has worked with several companies including Emerald City Theatre, Filament Theatre and The House Theatre of Chicago.

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Donovan Session feels so blessed to a part of a part of Bring the Beat Back Team! Previous credits include Redtwist Theatre’s “Surely Goodness and Mercy” and “Six Degrees of Separation”. Brown Paper Box Company’s “Everybody”, Red Theatre’s “Non-Player Character” and Playground Theatre’s hilarious production of “Queer Eye: The Musical Parody.” He gives thanks to God for his blessings. He is a Redtwist Theatre company member.


ALEXIS WARD (Baroness)

Alexis Ward (The Baroness) is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Helmerich School of Drama. Her most recent credits include Hopelessly Devoted with Piven Theatre Workshop, Richard III and The Revolutionists with Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park, We Are Proud to Present…and Shakespeare’s Other Women with the University of Oklahoma. This is her second Chicago production.

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Christopher Burris (Director)

Christopher Burris is an artist who resides in Brooklyn. After working with the off-Broadway Company TBTB for several years, in 2018 Christopher directed the first off-Broadway revival of A.R. Gurney's THE FOURTH WALL, as well as MEASURE FOR MEASURE for the NYU graduate acting program.. He received a 2017 Drama League Artist Residency with Derek Lee McPhatter's BRING THE BEAT BACK. In 2016 Christopher directed THE BROTHERS SIZE at Luna Stage, which received five Broadway World Award nominations, including Best Play and Best Director. New works directing credits include the world premiere of GEESE at The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, and WHEN WE WAKE UP DEAD at Brooklyn College. He was assistant director for MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN at CSC, and the groundbreaking TYSON VS. ALI at 3LD. Currently he is an adjunct professor at Pace University, where he recently directed a production of DARK OF THE MOON. Acting credits include television, stage, commercials, independent film, and a host of voice-overs. Christopher’s photography has been featured in American Theatre Magazine, and the cover for Ladybrille, August 2017. SDC Associate Member. Social media: @misterburris

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Darling Shear (Choreographer)

Darling is a Chicago native but has roots in Atlanta where Darling started dance training. Darling attended North Springs Charter School of the performing arts where Darling was trained in ballet, modern, jazz, and African. Darling began dancing professionally right out of high school and in that time worked with many great choreographers. The highlights were working with Bubba Carr, choreography/artistic director to Cher for 12 year and counting; Rhonda Henriksen, soloist with Hubbard Street and Twyla Tharp; Tracy Vogt, former Philadanco dancer and soloist; Hinton Battle, the Original Scarecrow from the Broadway production of The Wiz; and Lauri Stallings, former Hubbard Street and River North soloist and founder/artistic director of gloATL. Darling moved back to Chicago in 2011 to start Suna Dance, a collaborative artist group, and had the first performance in November of 2011. As a freelance dancer/choreographer in the city Darlin has worked with Erin Kilmurray's The Fly Honeys of The Inconvenience, Body Cartography of Minneapolis, Links Hall, Victoria Bradford, Chicago AIDS Foundation, Chances Dances, no small plan productions, Slo’Mo, the Public Hotel, Soho House Chicago, The Arts Club, Steppenwolf Theatre, Growing Power Inc., EXPO Chicago, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, DePaul Museum, Diana Quinones Rivera, University of Chicago, Jamila Woods, Alexa Græ, University of Illinois at Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Black Sex Matters, Chicago Film Archive, Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, Salonathon, and OTV | Open Television..

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Derek Lee McPhatter (Writer)

Derek Lee McPhatter is committed to new work that engages diverse communities, emphasizing narratives at the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality and technology.

Recent plays include: This App is Not the Business, a corporate America cyberspace dramedy. Derek recently completed a Tutterow Fellowship at Chicago Dramatists where he developed Real Talk with Auntie B, a satire on American ambition in the age of social media. He is a 2016-2018 I AM SOUL Resident Playwright at The National Black Theatre (Harlem) which presented Serious Adverse Effects, his new play on technologies of healing. 2019 is Derek’s third season with the Lyric Opera of Chicago where he served as librettist for the 2019 EmpowerYouth! Project. Publications include Otherwise Oblivion, a featured play in the 2016 afro-futurism volume of Obsidian - Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora.

Derek is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Morehouse College and a Master of Arts in Humanities from New York University. He is originally from Pickerington, Ohio and splits his time between Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.

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Music by ALEXA GRÆ, Avery R. Young, DJ Alinka, ManchildBlack, Germono Toussaint and Derek Lee McPhatter

Additional Beats by Futurehood and DJ Shango

Stage Manager and Projectionist -Tiffany Keane Schaefer

Bring the Beat Back has been developed with support from Andre Alexander Lancaster's Freedom Train Productions, Earthseed Visions, Hi-ARTS, JACK, DCASE, The Drama League of New York, and the Polyphone Music Festival at the University of the Arts.