In the aftermath of 1963’s 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, Nina Simone rocked the nation with “Four Women,” her tribute in song to the four little girls lost in the tragedy. Powerful anthems such as “Mississippi Goddam,” “Old Jim Crow,” and “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” followed, fueling the Civil Rights movement and transforming her public persona from songstress to activist. Celebrate Ms. Simone’s lasting legacy in this provocative and personal musical journey.

at Northlight Theatre
9501 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, IL 60077

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Melanie Brezill

Sweet Thing

Chicago credits include the one-woman show The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights at Writers’ Theatre; Aida at Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace; Caroline, or Change (Jeff nomination) at Court Theatre; Yeast Nation (the triumph of life) at American Theater Company; Living Green at Victory Gardens Theater; High School Musical at Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire; Once on This Island (Black Theater Alliance Award for Best Actress in a Musical) at Porchlight Music Theatre and Seussical! and Willy Wonka at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. She most recently appeared in The Book of Mormon on Broadway, and was in the national tour of Mamma Mia!. She was recently nominated for a 3Arts Artists Award for her work in Chicago theater. Ms. Brezill is a graduate of Northwestern University.

Sydney Charles

Nina Simone

This Jeff-Nominated and Actress was most recently seen in Octagon!, the critically-acclaimed PROWESS (Jackalope Theatre), and The Fly Honey Show (The Inconvenience). She also lives in the world of musical theater, where she was featured in Bells are Ringing (Porchlight Musical Theater) and Myths and Hymns (BoHo Ensemble Theater). It was a great honor for her to portray “Sarah” in Ragtime (Big Noise Theater) and the titular character in Dessa Rose (Bailiwick Chicago). Other credits include: The Color Purple (Mercury Theater), Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Theo-Ubique), Cats (Theo-Ubique), Hairspray, and Nunsense. Sydney is represented by Stewart Talent.

Deanna Reed-Foster


Deanna Reed-Foster is an Emmy Award winning actress who has been performing on stage and on screen for many years. Deanna can be seen in the newly released movie Southside With You and in a recurring role on NBC’s Chicago Fire. Deanna just finished a feature film with the Oscar nominated director, Richard Linklater entitled Last Flag Flying and will also be seen on NBC’s Chicago PD this season. In 2008 she was blessed to win a Midwest Emmy Award for her work in Fresh From Julianne’s Garden; A Legacy In Bronze with CANTV. She has performed in Chicago and abroad with various theater companies and productions. Such as; The Colored Museum (Pulse Theater Chicago), Even Longer and Farther Away (The New Colony), Marvin’s Room (Shattered Globe), All Shook Up (Theater At The Center), Heatwave (Steppenwolf Garage Rep), Mill Fire (Shattered Globe), Marvelous Marvellettes (Black Ensemble Theater) and Fabulation (Eclipse Theater).

Ariel Richardson


Ariel received her BFA-Acting from Oklahoma City University. Her recent credits include An Octoroon (Definition Theatre); Twelfth Night (Montana Shakespeare); and Shaken (Route 66 Theatre). Ariel currently plays Terry on Showtime’s The Chi. She is represented by Stewart Talent.

Production Team

Christina Ham


Christina Ham’s plays have been developed and produced both nationally and internationally with the Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, Center Theater Group, The Guthrie Theater, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Goodman Theatre, Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Tony Award winning producer Arielle Tepper Madover off-Broadway at Theater Row, and the Tokyo International Arts Festival among many others. Christina is a two-time recipient of a McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting and a Jerome Fellowship from the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, the Marianne Murphy Women & Philanthropy Award in Playwriting, a MacDowell Colony Artist Residency, and a previous nominee for Center Theater Group’s Richard E. Sherwood Award for Distinguished Emerging Theater Artist. She has received commissions from the Kennedy Center, The Guthrie Theater, and Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, among many others. Her plays are published by Dramatic Publishing, Heinemann, PlayScripts, Inc., Smith and Kraus, and Oberon Books. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California and holds an MFA in Playwriting from The UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television where she was a Graduate Opportunity Fellow.

Kenneth L. Roberson


Kenneth L. Roberson is a director, choreographer, teacher, performer and writer whose Broadway credits include: Avenue Q Tony Award For Best Musical.; All Shook Up, The Palace Theater; Purlie (Encores!), City Center; Freak, Court Theater.; Off Broadway: A Boy and His Soul, The Vineyard; Jazz a La Carte (as director and choreographer) and Harlem Song at the World Famous Apollo Theater. Regional theatre credits include, as director: Frog Kiss (world premier Virginia Stage.) Ethel (also a world premier) Walnut Street Theatre and Alabama Shakespeare Festival; Crowns, Lady Day at the Emerson Bar and Grill and Ain’t Misbehavin’, all at the Arena Stage in Washington D.C.; Once on This Island, Baltimore Center Stage.

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