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Monica Calhoun, as Ocean
Monica Calhoun is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native who began her professional acting career at the age of 14. On stage and screen, she has worked with and learned from with some of the industry’s most talented performers garnering the respect of many entertainers.
Her film credits include The Best Man, Park Day, The Players Club, Sister Act II :Back in the Habit, Love and Basketball, Jack the Bear, The Salon, Justice, Gang of Roses, Love Chronicles, Pandora’s Box, Civil Brand, Final Breakdown, and Faux Pas.
On television, she appeared in numerous made-for-TV films including, The Jacksons: An American Dream, The Ditch Digger’s Daughters, Rebound: The Legend of Earl ‘The Goat’ Manigault, The Ernest Green Story, Intimate Betrayal, Nature Boy, CBS School Break Specials (What About Your Friends, Different Worlds: A Story of Interracial Love, 15 and Getting Straight), She Stood Alone, Heart and Soul, Out of Rosenheim, and Children of the Night.
A television favorite, Calhoun has appeared as a special guest on Cold Case Files, Everybody Hates Chris, Grey’s Anatomy, Strong Medicine, NYPD Blue, Malcolm & Eddie, the Jamie Foxx Show, the Wayans Bros Show, A Different World and Bagdad Cafe.
Recognized for her outstanding achievement as an actress, Calhoun was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for her role in the CBS School Break Special Different Worlds: A Story of Interracial Love, and an NAACP Image Award for Best Actress in the feature film The Best Man. Calhoun in the recipient of the Best Actress Award for the feature film Pandora’s Box at the 2002 American Black Film Festival.
Valery Ortiz, as Lupe
Valery Ortiz starred as “Madison Duarte” on the original teen drama South of Nowhere on The N, the nighttime network for teens. The N, which is now Teen Nick, is a programming arm of MTV Networks and is currently available in 43 million households via cable, digital cable and satellite television. In addition, she has had guest star appearances in ABC’s acclaimed series, What About Brian? as “Roxanne,” CBS series Cold Case as “Marisol”, and most recently she played “Kelli” on Teen Nicks first scripted series, Gigantic.
On the big screen, Valery appeared opposite Alyson Hannigan, Carmen Electra and Jennifer Coolidge as “Jello” (a spoof of Jennifer Lopez’ role in The Wedding Planner) in Twentieth Century Fox’s Date Movie, which opened #1 at the US box office and topped the DVD sales charts.
Janice Lynde, as Peggy
Born in Houston, Tex. and raised in Lake Charles, La., Janice’s arrival into show business came at an early age as a child prodigy concert pianist. Her picture appeared on Life Magazine for winning (in the same year) the prestigious Van Cliburn Piano Competition, and the talent competition in the Miss Teenage America Contest. She then opened for Vladimir Horovitz, (the Russian-American classical pianist, at Carnegie Hall. Later a Metropolitan Opera Scholarship brought her to New York, where she was accepted by the famed Actor’s Studio. In the same year, she made her European Operatic debut, at La Scala, in La Boheme. Other stage highlights include starring in Broadway’s Butterflies Are Free, Applause, Nine, and Pippin, directed by the legendary Bob Fosse. Fosse also directed her night club act. Lynde won Off-Broadway’s Obie Awards for her work in the Joe Papp’s productions of Sambo and Picnic. She originated the lead role of Carnelle in The Miss Fire Cracker Contest, receiving the Drama Critics Circle Award (Best Actress), and 5 Dramalogue Awards for Best Actress.
Her eclectic career led to her return to the operatic stage for San Francisco Opera’s premier production of The Merry Widow, starring Frederica von Stade and Rodney Gilfrey, which aired on PBS’ Great Performances.
A sampling of her film work consists of Garry Marshall’s Pretty Woman, Missing Pieces, as well as, Sundance favorite The Marriage Undone. Janice returned to her love of physical comedy in 2 Dudes & A Dream, soon to be released, and Father Vs. Son. In Letter To Dad, she earned the Cannes Film Festival Palm D’Or Award as best Supporting Actress.
When TV initially beckoned Ms. Lynde, she joined the original cast of popular drama, The Young And The Restless. Her portrayal of Leslie Brooks, (the tortured concert pianist), garnered her first Emmy Award, as well as four consecutive wins as The Most Popular Female Star in TV’s Annual Readers’ Poll. Her second Emmy Nomination came on One Life To Live. Other credits include Oscar’s younger, girlfriend on The Odd Couple, Quincy, Who’s The Boss, Sledgehammer, and Night Court, (for which she received The American Comedy Award). Other screen roles span such shows as: CSI, Cold Case, Boston Legal, Nothing Sacred, Touched By An Angel, The Office, Resurrection Blvd. Janice is renowned for creating the unforgettable character of Loretta Smith Sibley, opposite James Cromwell, on HBO’s Emmy winning series, Six Feet Under.
Janice’s best-selling book, 10 Minutes To The Audition, won rave reviews from the New York Times, and received a 5 Star Rating from Amazon.com.
Billy Dee Williams, as Uncle Bo
Billy Dee Williams grew up in the Harlem section of New York City in a family that nurtured artistic expression in all forms. At his mother’s urging, at the young age of seven, Billy Dee made his acting debut on Broadway in a Kurt Weill production called the Firebrand of Florence, starring Lotte Lenya. Billy attended public school including the High School of Music and Art. He was awarded the prestigious Hallgarten Award Scholarship to attend the National Academy of Fine Arts and Design.
Billy has acted in over 100 films, and is immediately recognized for his significant role as the dashingly handsome Lando Calrission in the Star Wars epics The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Billy has received critical acclaim for his portrayal as the elegant romantic lead in both Lady Sings the Blues and Mahogany, with Diana Ross. He has played pivotal roles in Nighthawks, Batman and the historically based story Bingo Long Travelling All-Stars & Motor Kings. His acting talent enriched the comedy Lady’s Man as well as the compelling drama The Visit where the Independent Spirit Awards acknowledged Billy’s superb performance as Best Supporting Actor.
Billy is recognized for his outstanding performances on Broadway in A Taste of Honey with Joan Plowright and Angela Lansbury, Fences and as Martin Luther King in I Had A Dream. He has also played in The Exonerated, Maintenance Man, and If These Hips Could Talk. Nominated for an Emmy for his memorable work in the made-for-television film, Brian’s Song, he has created roles for numerous television series including Dynasty, The Jefferson’s, Gideon’s Crossing, The Hurley’s, Half and Half, Street Time, Scrub, and That 70s Show.
Billy, distinguished by his natural charismatic and urbane charm, became the perfect choice to be the spokesperson for Colt 45′s satirically entertaining commercials, making Billy known as the smooth “Colt 45 Guy”, and for Avon to develop a new fragrance in his name, UNDENIABLE by Billy Dee Williams. He continues to be the commercial spokesperson for ATT and Colt 45. Billy is a return guest on comedic episodes on the Jimmy Kimmel show.
Versatile and multi-talented, Billy has written three novels, Psi/Net and Just In Time co-authored with Rob MacGregor, published by Tom Doherty Associates and a romance novel, Twilight co-authored with Elizabeth Atkins Bowman. Like his paintings, Billy’s accomplishments transcend artistic and cultural boundaries; in recognition he has been honored with many awards including the Diversity Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Prism Award and the NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award.
Richard Roundtree, as Lou Bailey
With consistency being the benchmark for stardom in Hollywood, Richard Roundtree has proven his star power in every sense of the word. As a leading actor for over the last thirty years, he has established himself as a constant force in the entertainment industry.
Discovering that he enjoyed the spotlight while on a football scholarship at Southern Illinois University, Richard signed with Johnson Publications to model in their annual Ebony Fashion Fair, touring 79 cities in 90 days. Roundtree then returned to New York, his home state, began acting lessons and later became a member of New York’s acclaimed Negro Ensemble Company. A succession of Off-Broadway roles resulted in his starring role as Jack Johnson in The Great White Hope.
Richard initially received international fame when Gordon Parks chose him to star as John Shaft, private detective and supercop hero in the feature film Shaft. That role catapulted Roundtree into the world arena as one of the hottest new actors on the scene. He continued the franchise with Shaft’s Big Score, Shaft In Africa, and the television series, Shaft.
But Roundtree was just beginning to stretch his talents as a movie star. He quickly moved on to star with some of Hollywood’s most well-known actors, including Clint Eastwood, Robert Shaw, Peter O’Toole, Richard Harris, David Niven, Tony Curtis and Laurence Olivier, naming just a few.
Richard’s television credits have included series regular roles on 413 Hope Street where he garnered an NAACP Image Award nomination for Best Leading Actor in a Series, and Buddies with Dave Chappelle for ABC. Other movies for television include the top rated Having Our Say portraying Booker T. Washington, Christmas In Connecticut directed for Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Starz production of Joe And Max and Hallmark Channel’s production of Ladies Of The House. Starring opposite Pam Grier. He has recurred on the ABC smash hit series Desperate Housewives and Heroes. Richard is the recipient of a Peabody Award for his narration on the PBS documentary The Rise And Fall Of Jim Crow.
Leon, as Mike
Leon, multi-talented performer, continues to please his fans and sway newcomers with his memorable performances as an actor and singer. Recently named by AOL Black Voices as one of the 30 the Sexiest Actors of All Time. In 2008, Leon had fans and critics buzzing with his provocative turn in 20th Century’s Fox much talked about thriller ‘COVER” directed by Bill Duke (“Cover” was released in theaters 2/22/08 with the DVD release 5/20/08), a national touring schedule for the Je’Caryous Johnson’s play “3 Ways to Get a Husband,” currently airing on BET as the premiere show case movie. In December, 2009 starred in the indie comedy “The Brooklyn Heist” directed by Jullian Kiel). Leon also stars in Robert Townsend’s award wining web series “Diary of A Single Mom” currently shooting it’s 3rd season on PIC.TV. In 2007, Leon received an International Reggae and World Music Award nomination for his band Leon & The Peoples debut CD “The Road Less Traveled” and completed a 36 city US tour with Reggae super stars Beres Hammond & Marcia Griffiths” on the “For The Love Of It Tour”. Leon is currently on Beres Hammond’s “sold out” 201O “For The Love Of It 2010” North American tour. Leon & The Peoples headlined The 25th Annual Aids Walk NYC Concert in Central Park, May 16th, 2010.
Leon co-starred in the murder mystery “Cover” which includes Vivica A. Fox, Louis Gossett Jr., Paula, Jai Parker, and Anjenue Ellis in a compelling story. The prime suspect, a church-going home-maker sees her life unravel as she learns of her husband’s duplicitous years. Leon plays Ryan Chambers, another character who does not appear to be what he seems in social circles. “Cover” reveals a shocking story that will rock the very foundation of our culture. Ron Brewington, Radio One/XM Radio reviewed the murder mystery “Cover”, “It was an interesting film. It was a very positive film. also a wonderful ensemble cast. It was real strong and real, real-time message, something that needs to be talked about. And for it to be Leon, he is the perfect actor for that role.” The storyline offers a controversial theme and surprises to the audience and deals with the spread of HIV/AIDS virus in the African-American community. Leon shares, “We talk about how devastating the disease is in Africa, but we haven’t really dealt with it in the U.S. and I believe that’s why this film is so important. We need to talk more and do what we can to protect our sisters who unknowingly contract this disease in addition to the traumatic effects on each member of the family.”
Je’Caryous Johnson’s “3 Ways to Get a Husband” also co-stars Billy Dee Williams, Shirley Murdock and Lenny Williams. Leon, “I was very happy my character was a soldier coming back from Iraq because I don’t see us, people of color, represented in military story lines like this. And when men and women who’ve served see me come out in my uniform, they later say to me that it makes them feel proud.”
Last year Leon starred in “The Brooklyn Heist” with Danny Matherson (The 70’s Show) and is a comedy set in Brooklyn, NY about three separate groups of robbers unknowingly brake into a neighborhood pawn shop at the same time. Leon plays Ronald, a hip hop wanna be who kidnaps then adopts an 8yr. old white girl. http://www.thebrooklynheist.com
Leon is currently co-staring along with Monica Calhoun, Richard Roundtree, Billy Dee Williams & Valarie Ortiz in new series from Robert Townsend, “Diary Of A Single Mom”. A ground breaking web series, WINNER of the 2010 Best Web Series Award. chronicles the life struggles of three single mothers for PIC.TV. http://www.Pic.tv/singlemom
Born in Manhattan, raised in Bronx & Mt. Vernon, New York, his early years were filled with music of his father singing Nat King Cole or Motown songs, but a special cord was struck inside him when he first heard Bob Marley’s “Natty Dread” album coming out of the neighbor’s window. Close friends introduced him to Rastafarian culture and he has found it his home ground to return to again and again. Leon might not have dreamt about being a film or TV star because his passion was basketball early on, which earned him a scholarship to Loyola in Los Angeles, CA where one day on campus, he was asked to perform in a film, which began a long career that has led to a impressive list of credits in film, television and stage performances. A drama major and former student of well known Uta Hagan’s HB Studios in New York.
Many fans first were wowed by his appearance in Madonna’s video “Like a Prayer,” but more and more fans flocked to the theatres to see him in Disney’s blockbuster hit “Cool Runnings”. He soon graced many excellent storylines such as “Above the Rim,” “Cliffhanger,” “Waiting to Exhale,” HBO’s “Oz,” and “Crossing Jordan.” During 2004 – 2005, Leon crossed the country while packing houses performing in the theatrical version of New York Times best-selling novel “Friends and Lovers” where he sang the feature cut from the CD “Road Less Traveled” titled “Will You Be My Wife.” Leon had made his film singing debut playing a reggae singer in “The Price of Kissing,” in which he produced and starred in and sang a memorable rendition of “Daddy’s Home.” He proceeded to further his musical roles in the dramas like Robert Townsend’s “The Five Heartbeats,” and true life dramas,“ The Temptations,” as David Ruffin and the authorized biography of “Little Richard” as Little Richard himself both earning him NAACP Best Actor nominations. Leon was also in Merchant Ivory’s “Side Streets” and Miramax’s “Buffalo Soldiers” and his memorable cameo role in Michael Mann’s “Ali.” Leon continued attracting fans when he hosted and produced BET’s “L-Bow Room.”
Leon balances his array of talent between all mediums, but it is evident that his love for Reggae is seen when he performs with his band “Leon and The Peoples.” Leon says “I was always more comfortable with that style because of the sultriness of the style. It incorporates soul, gospel, rock, dance … everything which I love… it made me want to sing.” The “Young Lions,” the first musical group Leon performed with, opened the door to his live musical performances, but once he started singing original tunes, he knew where he wanted to go, which led to the formation of “Leon & The Peoples.” “We play Reggae Soul Music, says Leon. In 2007, they completed their first North American tour with reggae greats Beres Hammond and Marcia Griffiths with many sold-out dates as part of the “For the Love of It Tour”. “Leon & The Peoples” has also headlined AIDS WALK in NYC (2005-2010), NYC Summer Stage, New Orleans International Music & Arts Festival, and Atlanta’s 2010 National Blacks Arts Festival amongst others. The band has been featured on BET’s very popular 106 & Park. Leon’s attraction brings out the best in everyone as audiences enjoy him in his various performances whether it’s live on stage, in a role on the big screen, small screen or performing at a club.
Nieko Mann, as Trina
Born in Austin, Texas, Nieko Mann developed a love for the camera at an earlier age. For three seasons Nieko portrayed the sassy, tell it like it is Noannie Williams of the critically acclaimed NBC series, Friday Night Lights. From acclaimed writers/directors Peter Berg and Brian Grazer, the series is based around a small Texas town where High School Football is more than just a sport; it’s a way of life. Nieko’s character, the mouthy younger sister to Brian “Smash” Williams, played by Gaius Charles. The show boasts an all-star cast headed by Kyle Chandler, who portrays the newly appointed head coach to the Dylan Panthers High School Football team. Additional television guest roles include CSI: Miami and Lie to Me.
Logan Grove, as JJ
Logan Grove is a native of Palmer, Alaska, who fell into acting at the age of six. His sister was invited to attend the annual Actors, Models and Talent Competition and Logan was subsequently entered as well. Showing promise by winning several categories at the annual Actors, Models, and Talent Competition, his family moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting as a career for him. Logan’s appearances include lead and guest starring roles in Suite Life of Zack and Cody, CSI: Miami, ER, Medium, and Untold Stories Of The Er,
Zach Callison, as Ian
Zach Callison hails from St. Louis, Missouri. His all American look and vivid personality have earned him a number of roles. He began acting at the age of seven and has worked on a number of projects. He began in theater in adaptations of Music Man, All My Sons and Macbeth. He also used his musical talents in the Wizard of Oz, and Oliver and Peter Pan at the historic St. Louis Muny. He then discovered his love of film when he played the role of Dominic in Kingshighway, directed by Clayne Crawford. Zach’s second film credit was for Will Ferrell’s “Land of the Lost”. Zach can currently be seen on the popular game show “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader”. He also added a number of voiceover roles to his credits for studios/companies such as Warner Bros., Catroon Network, BBC London, and Focus on the Family.
Some of Zach’s many hobbies include his love of baseball, reading, drawing, video games, parkour/martial arts and all things medieval and magical.
Jonathan Biggs, as Sam
A veteran of film and television despite his young age of fourteen, Jonathan Biggs hails originally from West Palm Beach, Florida and now resides in Atlanta, Georgia where he makes his mark on the world not only in acting, singing and dancing but also as a motivational speaker for children and young adults.
Jonathan started his career doing commercials and later compiled several film credits which include the Wool Cap with William H. Macy, Bolden!, and The Great Observer. He has also guest starred on many primetime and cable hits shows including, The Mentalist, Girlfriends, Unfabulous, Chocolate News, and Cartoon Friday for the Cartoon Network. Jonathan has had the opportunity to work on two videos, Side By Side by Three-six Mafia, and The Rainbow by Vickie Winans.
When Jonathan isn’t acting, this R&B singer gives back to the community. One of his passions is being the CEO of his non-profit organization; Jazz’s Friends Foundation, Inc. His mission and goal is to promote the value of self-worth and how investing in oneself with inspiration of music will produce a responsible and productive citizen of our society. In his spare time, Jonathan enjoys playing baseball, swimming, fishing, Arts and Crafts and considers himself an avid video game player.
China Anderson, as Sophie
China Anderson began her career in entertainment at the age of four by going on her very first audition in which she booked the feature film Idlewild with the musical group Outkast. Less than a year later, she appeared in the #1 Box Office Movie Madea’s Family Reunion directed by Tyler Perry. In 2007 she starred in Eddie Murphy’s feature film Norbit and stars the upcoming film Krews.
Anderson’s next projects include the feature film Monster Mutt slated for release in 2010, a guest starring role on NBC Television’s hit series Heroes, and a featured voice in Steven Spielberg’s Alien Invasion pilot.
On television, Anderson appeared on ABC’s television sitcom Carpoolers which debuted in 2008. She is featured in Keke Palmers music video All My Girlz and commercials and print ads for Wells Fargo, Walmart, McDonald’s, Travelers Insurance, AT&T, Macy’s and UCLA Children’s Center.
On stage, Anderson appeared in the cast of a 2009 production of Fences written by Pulitzer Prize Winning Playwright August Wilson and directed by Eileen Mack Knight.
Prior to earning her feature film roles, China was crowned Division Winner for ages three to four in the Hawaiian Tropic Model Search runway competition. She is currently a cheerleader where she competed and took 1st Place Division Winner for Young Champions Cheer America. In addition to entertaining, some of her favorite things to do are reading, bowling, going to movies, shopping and doing gymnastics.
Ava Marie, as Kayla
Ava Marie is a seven-year-old actress whose first acting opportunity came with Robert Townsend’s Diary of a Single Mom, where she landed the role of Kayla, the daughter of main character Ocean, played by actress Monica Calhoun. Since then, she has appeared in commercials and can be seen in the upcoming Nickelodeon television show, VicTORIous, which debuts in March 2010.
Ava Marie is also an excellent, gifted student. She has many other interests and hobbies, including dancing, singing, bowling, and drawing.
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