Meet The Ensemble

Ensemble Artistic Associates

The Ensemble

Our ensemble consists of an extremely talented diverse group of artist who represent the artistic excellence of the company.
  • Aimee K. Bryant
    Aimee K. Bryant
    I love Congo Square Theatre because it is the mountaintop upon which I can stand and be free within myself.  Plus, Congo Square is comprised of the baddest muzza fuzzas you will ever see on any stage anywhere. If I didn't love Congo Square I couldn't love myself.
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  • Daniel Bryant
    Daniel Bryant
    I love Congo Square because I never have to question the intention or integrity of the art.
    Daniel Bryant is an ensemble member and has served as Artistic Director for the past 4 years.  He was recently a featured director in HOLIDAZE @ Step Up Productions directing Nambi Kelly's For My Brothers. Prior to that, he produced the citywide event Mosley on the Square Festival and directed the Chicago premiere of Walter Mosley's The Fall of Heaven as well as the award-winning Brothers of the Dust by new voice, Darren Canady Other producing credits include: The Colored Museum, The Nativity and Congo Square's multi-faceted celebration of art, Festival on the Square.  Daniel also enjoys a healthy freelance acting and voiceover career and is an associate artist at Chicago Dramatists, where he's acted and directed for their Saturday Series as well as their showcase of new work. When he's not acting, directing or producing theater, Daniel is teaching it to youth as a teaching artist.
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  • Tracey Bonner
    Tracey Bonner
    I love Congo Square Theatre Company because I can be a part of an Ensemble of artists who have shared cultural experiences.  Additionally, I enjoy the opportunity to work in an environment that reflects the essence of who I am as an African American Artist.  Being a part of such an extremely talented, inspiring, and innovative Ensemble of Actors motivates me to perform and collaborate at the highest level.  CST has enriched my life and has provided a platform to continue to grow!!!
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  • Ronald Conner
    Ronald Conner
    I love Congo Square because of the respect for and knowledge of the craft.
     The first Congo Square production I saw was Seven Guitars.  I remember feeling like "finally, someone sees August Wilson, how I see it."  I believe that not only our knowledge but our execution sets us apart from other African-American theatres.  Congo Square transcends the label of a great black theatre.  As an actor I love stepping on stage with my fellow ensemble members. C2!!
    Ronald Conner is a St. Louis native currently residing with his beautiful wife and 2 kids in Chicago. Ron is a proud Congo Square ensemble member. King Hedley II marks Conner's 8th play in August Wilson's 10 play cycle. Other Wilson Credits include Gem of the Ocean (Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati), Joe Turner's Come and Gone and Ma Rainey 's Black Bottom (St. Louis Black Rep) Seven Guitars (Court Theatre), Fences (New Harmony Theatre), Two Trains Running (Geva Theatre of Rochester) , and he's brought the character of Boy Willie to life in three separate productions of The Piano Lesson.  Portland Stage Company in Maine, The St. Louis Black Rep, and finally The Court Theatre where Mr Conner received the 2009 Black Theatre Alliance Award for Best Lead Actor. Ron's most notable television and film credits are The Coors Light NFL Campaign 2007-2010, and The Dark Knight. 
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  • Aaron Todd Douglas
    Aaron Todd Douglas
    Congo Square is my artistic home.  The synergy we created during Piano Lesson, our 1st production, birthed our identity and it is what I aspire to every time I work on a project.
    Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Aaron Todd Douglas earned his MFA from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and is a theatre faculty member at Northwestern University. He is a theatre practitioner who acts, directs, and teaches, and is a proud member of AEA and SAG/AFTRA. He is a founding ensemble member of Congo Square Theatre Company, where his acting credits include their multiple Jeff Award winning production of Seven Guitars, Boy Willie in their inaugural production of The Piano Lesson, Before it Hits Home, Spunk, and Ali. He originated the role of Flip in the world premiere of Stick Fly by Lydia Diamond (the play was later produced on Broadway) and performed in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at The Goodman Theatre as part of the August Wilson Celebration commemorating the Goodman’s historic completion of Wilson’s Century Cycle.

    Other Chicago credits include: Tree and Wheatley (Victory Gardens Theatre), Wait Until Dark (Court Theatre), Journal of Ordinary Thought (Chicago Theater Company), Iphigenia 2.0 (Next Theatre), Fortunes of the Moor (ETA), The State of Mississippi v. Emmet Till (Pegasus Players), Julius Caesar (Chicago Shakespeare) and Perfect Mendacity (Steppenwolf).

    Directing projects include: Radio Golf (Raven Theatre), The Nativity (Congo Square/The Goodman), 12 Angry Men (Raven Theatre, Jeff Award Best Ensemble, nomination Best Director), Smash Hit by Steve Broadnax (Cultural Conversations Festival), Pill Hill (Black Theatre Alliance Award – Best Director, Best Production ETA Creative Arts), Talented Tenth (Black Theatre Alliance Award – Best Production), African Company Presents Richard III (Congo Square Theatre Company).

    Aaron Todd recently appeared onstage in Measure for Measure at The Goodman Theatre, and will direct Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize winning play Ruined at Eclipse Theatre Co. in 2014.
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  • Ann Douglas Joseph
    Ann Joseph-Douglas
    I love Congo Square because its home!
    Ann is founding ensemble member of Congo Square Theatre Company and as such served the company in many capacities. She designed and implemented the company’s education and outreach program, Ensemble in Action in 2005, which has provided arts education programming to nearly 1000 Chicago Public High School students annually. From 2000 to 2005 Ann served as Congo Square’s Director of Development. Prior to Congo Square, Ann worked as the Director of Education for the Edgewater Community Council where she designed and implemented a fine arts after-school and summer program for low-income students living in the Edgewater neighborhood. In 2008 Ann founded MoJo Performance Solutions a company that designs customized professional development workshops for corporations and small businesses, and provides theatre education and professional development workshops to the Chicago Public Schools.

    Ann is also an accomplished actor having worked extensively throughout the Chicago area. For Congo Square Ann appeared in “ The Piano Lesson”, “Playboy of the West Indies”, “From the Mississippi Delta”, “Stick Fly”, “Seven Guitars”, and “Elmina’s Kitchen”. For the Steppenwolf Theatre Ann has appeared in “I never Sang for My Father”, and “Time of Your Life”, and at Victory Gardens Theatre Ann has appeared in “Living Green”, “Wheatley” and “Class Dismissed”. Most recently Ann appeared in The Goodman Theatres production of “A Christmas Carol” in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Regionally Ann has also worked for Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Madison Repertory Theatre and American Players Theatre. Ann has received several nominations for her work including six Black Theatre Alliance nominations for Best Actress in a leading role and two nominations from the African American Arts Alliance.
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    Allen Gilmore
    When I was approached to be an artistic associate of Congo, I was surprised and thrilled because I had always been rejected by the black theater after years of trying to 'get in.' But working more closely and regularly with the ensemble members, I came to love and respect each individual. Congo is made up of people who are smart, talented, determined, funny, and multi-faceted problem solvers. Seeing firsthand the commitment and unbending will of the members deepened my love of the organization.
    I am the oldest member of Congo Square, but one of its newest ensemble members. Before coming to Chicago and Congo Square, I lived for 23 years in New York City, where I trained under Stella Adler thru New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. After 2 years, I transferred to the Juilliard School and graduated there four years later with a BFA in theater. I began working in the classical theater in the New York area and around the country until I moved to Los Angeles to pursue more lucrative work in television and film. I soon realized, however, that those were not my mediums, and I selected Chicago as my home base on the merit that it is the greatest theater community in the nation. Soon after moving here, I found Congo and it found me. Congo opened the door for me to work in the black theater where I had been shunned since my career began. My greatest theater experience in Chicago remains Congo Square's production of JOE TURNER'S COME AND GONE by August Wilson, directed by Congo Square founding member Derrick Sanders. I have also had the pleasure of playing the title role of CYRANO and the lead role of Hamm in ENDGAME, and the title role of SIZWE in SIZWE BANZI IS DEAD, all at Court Theater. My first show with Congo Square was THE AFRICAN COMPANY PRESENTS RICHARD THE THIRD by Carlyle Brown, directed by ensemble member Aaron Todd Douglas. I was in the original New York production of that play and was honored to return to it with Congo Square. That play remains the greatest personal literary influence of my career.
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  • Anthony Irons
    Anthony Irons
    Why do I love Congo Square? Congo Square Theatre is Daring and Inventive. The Company consistently presents people of Color in the most Beautiful, the most Provocative and oftentimes the most Unexpected stories. We are a "road less travelled" Company whose art continues to point to bold new horizons.
    Anthony is a Congo Square ensemble member.  Performance credits include King of Coons (BTAA and African-American Arts Alliance Award), The African Company Presents Richard III, Top Dog/Underdog, Elmina's Kitchen, Brothers of the Dust and Fall of Heaven (African American Arts Alliance Award) and King Hedley II, which was Anthony's debut in an August Wilson play.    If anyone told him the debut role would be Stool Pigeon, he would have told them, "Quit smoking."  
    Directing credits include: The Colored Museum (Congo Square), In Livid Color and Barack-O-lypse Now (Second City's Outreach & Diversity).
    He's always excited to share the stage with fellow Congo Square ensemble members. Anthony's debut music album, "After the Fires" is now available on major online music stores - Please check it out!
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  • Javon Johnson
    Javon Johnson
    I love Congo Square because it is a mirror of my own greatness and allows me to see myself.
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  • Bakesta KIng
    Bakesta KIng
    Why I love Congo? We are a family. Not only amongst our ensemble but we invite everyone into our family. When you come into the fold of Congo Square, you are Home. I fell in love with the ups and downs, the in and outs.  Because like all families, trials make us stronger and remind us of how much tenacity it takes to be excellent. Our patrons feel that same love at each and every show because its genuine. I can proudly say I have an artistic home filled with people who love this as much as I do!
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  • TaRon+Headshot.jpg
    TaRon Patton
    “I love Congo Square because we are destined for greatness, and we will leave behind a legacy of that greatness!”
    TaRon made her directing debut Bulrusher (Congo Square Theatre Company)  and also directed Katori Hall’s World Premiere of Saturday Night/Sunday Morning for Steppenwolf.
    Acting credits include: By The Way…Meet Vera Stark (Goodman Theater); Hot L Baltimore at (Steppenwolf); the Chicago and New York adaptation of Toni Morrison's novel The Bluest Eye (Steppenwolf); St James Infirmary (Congo Square Theatre Company), Black Nativity and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Goodman Theater). Television credits: A Different World and the Emmy award winning CBS After-School special What About Your Friends. Film credits: Of Boys and Men and Stitches. Television credits: Chicago PD and Chicago Fire.
    TaRon received her MFA in Acting from UCLA.
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  • Ericka Ratcliff
    Ericka Ratcliff
    Congo Square is my artistic home. The extant connection to my roots, community and creative voice is why I come home again and again.
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  • Samuel G. Roberson, Jr.
    Samuel G. Roberson, Jr.
    There's no place like home.  A place where I am held responsible, asked to contribute and have family to hold me up.  There is nothing like being surrounded by the talents of this Ensemble who push me to reach excellence everyday!
    Samuel G. Roberson, Jr. is very proud graduate of Howard University’s Theatre of Fine Arts.  Sam’s Chicago Stage credits include: Samuel J and K (Steppenwolf Theatre), Civil War Christmas (Northlight Theatre), The Colored Museum and Sanctified (Congo Square Theatre Company), Living Green  and The Lost Boys of Sudan (Victory Gardens Theatre) and The Ballad of Emmett Till  (Goodman Theatre).  Roberson has also been seen on the stage at Penumbra Theatre, The Children’s Theatre Company, The Pillsbury House Theatre, Illusion Theater, Imagination Stage, Source Theatre and The Studio Theatre.  Sam is also President and Founder of, Make Me A Match Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving the lives of patients with blood related diseases. His first play, Same Difference, was produced as a co-production between the Illusion Theater and Pillsbury House Theatre.  His second play And they said I wouldn’t make it . . . A Story of Hope was workshoped in the Illusion Theater’s Fresh Ink series in 2008 and has since been performed at numerous conferences and stages around the country. Conceive, believe, achieve!!!
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  • Alexis J. Rogers
    Alexis J. Rogers
    This company is comprised of some of the most talented, passionate, real, raw, bold, innovative, brilliant minds I've ever had the pleasure of knowing and/or sharing the stage with. I can always trust that each and every member of this company will bring their A-game, give nothing less than their very best and leave their hearts on the stage. I love the creative charge that is always presented to me to raise the bar and break barriers. I am always in awe of my comrads' respect for this craft.
    Alexis J. Rogers is a native of Chicago, IL. She obtained her BFA at Howard University with a concentration in musical theatre. She has worked all over the greater Chicago area with various theatre company's including, Congo Square, Court, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Chicago Children's Theatre, The Goodman, Black Ensemble Theater, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Marriott Lincolnshire, Paramount, Porchlight Music Theatre, Theatre At The Center, Writer's Theatre, MPAACT and eta Creative Arts Foundation. Ms. Rogers' regional credits include New Theatre Restaurant, The Kennedy Center, The Barn Theatre and Shakespeare Theatre (DC). A few of her major roles include, Billie Holiday (Lady Day At Emerson's Bar And Grill), Bess (Porgy and Bess), Sarah (Ragtime), Lou Bessie (The Old Settler) and Gabriel (The Nativity). Ms. Rogers has been nominated for several awards and most recently won a BTAA for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her role of Billie Holiday in Lady Day At Emerson's Bar And Grill; a role which has garnered her a Jeff award.
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  • Monifa Sims
    Monifa Sims
    I love what Congo Square represents, not only for me, but to the theatre community in Chicago.  I love that Congo Square is my creative home where I can have the freedom to try, the courage to fail and the opportunity to grow.  I love what Congo Square can represent to the future theatre community, not just in Chicago, but of the world.  It's a constant reminder what I am capable of...
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  • Will Sims II
    Will Sims II
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  • Derrick Sanders
    Derrick Sanders
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Artistic Associates

  • Kelvin Roston, Jr.
    Kelvin Roston, Jr.
    Kelvin Roston, Jr. was last seen with Congo in their 2014 production of A Nativity Story: More than a Miracle in the role of the angel Gabriel. Prior to that he was seen in the 2012 production of Congo Square’s The Nativity at Kennedy King College as Jacob, the father of Joseph. Other Chicago credits include: Jackie Wilson in The Jackie Wilson Story (Joseph Jefferson Award nominee, Black Theater Alliance Award winner, Black Excellence Award winner, Black Ensemble Theater), Rent (Paramount Theatre), Crowns (Goodman Theatre), Detroit ’67 (Northlight Theatre), Seven Guitars, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Porgy and Bess (Court Theater), The Old Settler (Writers’ Theater), Pill Hill (BTAA winner, eta Creative Arts Foundation) and others.  International and regional credits include: Death and the King’s Horseman, Othello, Guys and Dolls, Before it Hits Home, Caroline of Change (The Black Rep), The Last Days of Judas…(Hot City Theatre Co.), Beowulf (Metro Theatre Co.), Dreamgirls as James “Thunder” Early (Orb Theater [Tokyo, Japan], Festival Hall [Osaka, Japan], MSMT [Brunswick, ME], Fulton Theater [Lancaster, PA], Marriott Lincoln [Chicago, IL].  Kelvin is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

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    Jaret Landon
    Jaret Landon is a composer/arranger, vocalist, and educator. He’s composed and arranged music for film, musicals, and recorded albums. Theatre credits include: A Nativity Story: More than a Miracle, The Nativity and Sanctified (Congo Square Theatre), Eye of the Storm and Clara (Open Door Theatre), Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill and Ain’t Misbehavin' (Porchlight Music Theatre), The Gospel of Lovingkindness (Victory Gardens Theatre) Crowns
    (Goodman Theatre) Black Odyssey (Denver Theatre Center.) Presently, he is working on First Wives Club: The Musical, which opens on Broadway - Fall 2015.

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    Shanésia Davis
    Shanésia Davis enjoys a career in stage, television and film. Recently, she performed in the highly acclaimed production of Native Son at the Court Theatre co-produced by American Blues Theatre. Prior productions include Immediate Family directed by Phylicia Rashad at The Goodman Theatre and co-produced with the About Face Theatre, where she will revive her role of “Evy” in the west coast premiere at the Mark Taper Forum. She has graced regional stages throughout the country including San Diego Rep, Center Stage Baltimore, Kansas City Rep, Penumbra and South Coast Rep, where she garnered an NAACP Image Award nod for Intimate Apparel.   She has received several Jeff award nominations including Best Actress for her role in Watermelon Rinds.  She was the recipient of the Black Theatre Alliance Award and Excellence in the Arts Award as Best Actress in Congo Square Theatre’s production of Brothers of the Dust.

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    Edgar Sanchez
    Edgar Sanchez’s Chicago credits include: Native Son and Water by the Spoonful (Court Theatre), The Wheel (Steppenwolf), Romeo And Juliet and Twelfth Night (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), This is Our Youth (Sankofa Theatre Company), The Ghost Is Here (Vitalist), Fever Chart (Eclipse), Brothers of the Dust (Congo Square), Sinbad: The Untold Story (Adventure Stage), 1001 (Collaboraction), Red Noses-Remount (Strawdog), Welcome To Arroyo’s (American Theatre Company), Wilson Wants It All (The House) Regional Credits include the title role in Hamlet (The Gable Stage); Twelfth Night, Richard III, Troilus and Cressida, and The Admirable Crichton (American Players Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, and The Comedy of Errors (The Oregon Shakespeare Festival). Major TV credits include: Sense 8th.

  • Velma Austin
    Velma Austin
    Velma Austin is very happy and excited to be part of the Marian Anderson Story.  Recently, Velma appeared on the TV series Chicago Story.   Velma last stage appearance was in Brother’s of the Dusk at the Congo Square Theater. Chicago Theatre credits include, The Goodman, Victory Garden’s Bio Theater and The Steppenwolf.  Some of her productions include Intimate Apparel, Denmark, Joe Turner’s Come And Gone, God’s Trombones, Un-Spoken Prayers, Bourbon At The Boarder, Waiting To Be Invited, The Sovereign State of Boogedy, The Sutherland, and Root Causes. Velma’s awards include a Jeff Award for Best Actress in a Revue of The Colored Museum; A Woodie Award for Outstanding Supporting Access in Screened In Porch; Black Theatre Alliance award for best Actress in Intermit Apparel; and most recently, she was nominated for a Special Recognition Outstanding Award for your performance in Court Martial at Fort Devens. Velma made her film debut in Losing Isaiah with Halle Berry and Jessica Lange followed by Light It Up with Usher and Vanessa Williams.      

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    Andrei Onegin
    Andrei is an award winning set designer with almost 35 years in theater, covering more than 120 productions, and has worked for such legendary companies as Moscow Art Theater, Kabuki and Comédie-Française. He received his MFA in 1992 from The Moscow Art Theater School with a concentration on set design, engineering and production.  Andrei has been successfully designing and fabricating as a general contractor, developer, scene shop foreman and project manager in the Chicagoland since 1998. With Congo Square Theatre Company, Andrei has created design for The Colored Museum, The Nativity, Brothers of the Dust, Bulrusher, The Fall of Heaven, King Hedley II and the upcoming 2015 production of Twisted Melodies. Andrei has been nominated and has won multiple awards for his set design with Congo Square, including: 2011 BTA Award nominee for Best Set Design for Brothers of the Dust; 2013 & 2014 Equity Wing Jeff Award nominee for Best Midsize Set Design for Bulrusher; 2013-2014 Black Excellence Award winner for Outstanding Technical Support for Bulrusher, 2013 BTA Award winner for Best Set Design for Bulrusher; 2014 BTA Award and Black Excellence winner for King Hedley II; 2014 Jeff Award nominee for King Hedley II. Andrei is also the 2014 Non-Equity Wing Jeff Award RECIPIENT for best set design, as well as the 2013 and 2014 Black Excellence Award RECIPIENT for Outstanding technical support (set).