Woodie King, Jr.’s New Federal Theatre Celebrates LaTanya Richardson Jackson

Awards, Film, Performances, Photography, Theater

Acclaimed stage, film, and TV actress, LaTanya Richardson Jackson made her Broadway directorial debut of THE PIANO LESSON, August Wilson’s Pulitzer classic, starring her husband, Samuel L. Jackson this Fall. Due to popular the demand, The Piano Lesson has been extended through January 29. Click here for tickets.

LaTanya Richardson Jackson. Photo by Lia Chang

On Sunday, October 16, Woodie King’s New Federal Theatre hosted a celebration of LaTanya Richardson Jackson at the Edison Ballroom in New York.

Elizabeth Van Dyke, Woodie King, Jr. LaTanya Richardson Jackson. Photo by Lia Chang

Cheryl Wills emceed the festivities which featured cocktails, dinner, and performances by Debbi Blackwell-Cook, D.K. Dyson and Sheldon Steele.

Cheryl Wills, LaTanya Richardson Jackson. Photo by Lia Chang

Debbi Blackwell-Cook. Photo by Lia Chang

Debbi Blackwell-Cook. Photo by Lia Chang

D.K. Dyson. Photo by Lia Chang

D.K. Dyson. Photo by Lia Chang

Sheldon Steele, Debbi Blackwell-Cook, D.K. Dyson. Photo by Lia Chang

Sheldon Steele, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Debbi Blackwell-Cook, D.K. Dyson. Photo by Lia Chang

Family and friends from around the country who could not attend were represented in video shoutouts. Denise Burse, Kenny Leon, Elain Graham, Linda Herring, and Dean Irby paid tribute to LaTanya in person.

The Palmers. Photo by Lia Chang

Michael Schultz. Photo by Lia Chang

Rev. Akanke McLean-Nur. Photo by Lia Chang

Kenny Leon. Photo by Lia Chang

Denise Burse. Photo by Lia Chang

LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Denise Burse. Photo by Lia Chang

Elain Graham and Cheryl Wills. Photo by Lia Chang

LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Elain Graham.Photo by Lia Chang

Linda Herring. Photo by Lia Chang

Dean Irby. Photo by Lia Chang

Pearl Cleage created a brilliant poem to honor LaTanya, and the audience was spellbound by the recording of her masterful delivery.

Mayor Adams issued a Proclamation declaring October 16, 2022 as LaTanya Richardson Jackson Day. During her acceptance speech, LaTanya presented a generous donation from the Samuel L. & LaTanya R. Jackson Foundation to New Federal Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director, Elizabeth Van Dyke.

LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Elizabeth Van Dyke. Photo by Lia Chang

LaTanya Richardson Jackson and her daughter, Zoe Dove. Photo by Lia Chang

Elizabeth Van Dyke, LaTanya Richardson Jackson. Photo by Lia Chang

Elizabeth Van Dyke, LaTanya Richardson Jackson. Photo by Lia Chang

LaTanya Richardson Jackson. Photo by Lia Chang

Michelle M. Deal Winfield, Alia Jones-Harvey, Woodie King, Jr., LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Sade Lythcott. Photo by Lia Chang

MaameYaa Boafo, Denise Burse, Hannelore McDaniel, Selena Evans, Rae Ross, Lia Chang.

Kay Radtke, Elizabeth Van Dyke, June Ballinger, Diane Richards. Photo by Lia Chang

Stephen Byrd and Elizabeth Van Dyke. Photo by Lia Chang

Rome Neal, Jackie and Willie Carpenter. Photo by Lia Chang

Diane Stiles, Charles L. White, Ms. Chapman. Photo by Lia Chang

A guest, Richard Best, Susan Watson Turner and Woodie King, Jr. Photo by Lia Chang

Kermit Frazier and Carl Jaynes. Photo by Lia Chang

Marcia Pendleton. Photo by Lia Chang

MaameYaa Boafo and Cori Thomas. Photo by Lia Chang

Debbie Blackwell-Cook, Evelyn Nelson. Photo by Lia Chang

Selena Evans, Denise Burse and Elain Graham. Photo by Lia Chang

Stephen Byrd, Dennie McIntyre, Herman LeVern Jones, Michael Dinwiddie. Photo by Lia Chang

Deborah, Pat White and Annette Purnell. Photo by Lia Chang

A guest and Evelyn Collins. Photo by Lia Chang

D.K. Dyson. Photo by Lia Chang

Ajene Washington and Denise Burse. Photo by Lia Chang

Chloe LaBorde and Cynthia Kitt. Photo by Lia Chang

Cynthia Kitt and Lia Chang

Cori Thomas, Jeannie McKelvia and Allie Woods. Photo by Lia Chang

Jessica Kight, Hollis Heath, Denise Burse, MaameYaa Boafo, Hannelore McDaniel, Rae Ross, Selena Evans. Photo by Lia Chang

Marcia Pendleton, Stanley Wayne Matthis, Elain Graham, Elizabeth Van Dyke and Irene Gandy. Photo by Lia Chang

Kenny Leon and Elizabeth Van Dyke. Photo by Lia Chang

Carla Brothers and LaTanya Richardson Jackson. Photo by Lia Chang

Gayle Enlow, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, C. Frazier “Skip” Enlow. Photo by Lia Chang

Irene Gandy, Cheryl Wills. Photo by Lia Chang

Friends of LaTanya Richardson Jackson. Photo by Lia Chang

Woodie King, Jr. and Tiffany Ellis. Photo by Lia Chang

Denise Burse and Nora Cole. Photo by Lia Chang

Drue Williams and Lawrence Evans. Photo by Lia Chang

In 2014, Richardson Jackson received a Tony Award Best Actress nomination for her performance as “Lena Younger” in the Broadway revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. She also received the Distinguished Performance Drama League Award nomination. Most recently, Richardson Jackson and her husband, Samuel L. Jackson produced EPIX award nominated docu-series “Enslaved” via their production company UppiTV. In 2019, Richardson-Jackson starred on Broadway as “Calpurnia” in Aaron Sorkin’s critically acclaimed adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird, alongside Jeff Daniels, Celia Keenan-Bolger and Dakin Matthews, and directed by Bartlett Sher. In 2018, Richardson Jackson narrated the feature length documentary “Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart” on playwright Lorraine Hansberry, who penned the iconic A Raisin in the Sun. The world premiere took place at the Toronto International Film Festival and the documentary premiered on PBS’ “American Masters.” She also appeared in a recurring arc as Diane Pierce in Shondaland’s “Grey’s Anatomy” on ABC, as well as Mama Mabel in the Netflix Original Series “Luke Cage.” In 2016, Richardson Jackson starred in the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park’s production of Taming of the Shrew as “Baptista” under Phyllida Lloyd’s direction, in honor of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. She also starred in “Show Me a Hero,” HBO’s six-hour miniseries from “The Wire” co-creator David Simon and directed by Oscar winner Paul Haggis. For her performance, she received the NAACP Image Award Nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special. Richardson Jackson’s extensive theatre credits include Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Broadway), For Colored Girls…, Spell #7, Casanova, Unfinished Women (Public Theater), Stop Reset (Signature Theatre), and August Wilson’s Century Cycle (Kennedy Center), among others. In 2016, she was honored with the NAACP Theater Awards Trailblazer Award in recognition of her pioneering theatrical contributions. Richardson Jackson’s additional film and television credits include “Juanita,” “The Fighting Temptations,” “U.S. Marshals,” “Freedomland,” “Losing Isaiah,” “Mother and Child,” “Damages” and Sidney Lumet’s critically acclaimed “100 Centre Street.” Richardson Jackson has received numerous awards for her philanthropic work including The United Negro College Fund and the N.Y. Keeper of the Dream Award. This year she was honored by the Ladylike Foundation, which is a faith based non-profit organization whose purpose is to educate, empower and inspire young women living in underprivileged communities. In 2016, she and her husband Samuel L. Jackson were honored by the Children’s Defense Fund for their longstanding commitment to the organization and their “Leave No Child Behind” mission. Richardson and her husband Samuel L. Jackson established the Samuel L. & LaTanya R. Jackson Foundation to carry out their commitment to a range of philanthropic issues in the United States and Africa. A graduate of Spelman College, she has served on their Board of Trustees and presently serves on the Advisory Board of their Women’s Center. She serves on the advisory council of Atlanta’s True Colors Theatre, the Ebony Repertory Theatre of Los Angeles, and is currently a board member of the American Theatre Wing and the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. LaTanya Richardson Jackson and her husband Sam have one incredible, Emmy Nominated daughter, the beautiful Zoe Dove.

To learn more about New Federal Theatre (NFT) and their 2023 programs, click here.

Denise Burse and Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer, photo activist, documentarian and an Award winning filmmaker and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Lia is also the host and Executive Producer of BACKSTAGE PASS WITH LIA CHANG, an Arts and Entertainment and Lifestyle program that airs on Sundays at 6:30pm on FIOS 34, RCN 83, Spectrum 56/1996.

Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. Her short film, When the World Was Young garnered a 2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations.

She is the recipient of the 2022 Prospect Muse Award, 2000 OCA Chinese American Journalist Award, the 2001 AAJA National Award for New Media. Lia is an AAJA Executive Leadership Graduate (2000), a Western Knight Fellow at USC’s Annenberg College of Communications for Specialized Journalism on Entertainment Journalism in the Digital Age (2000), a National Press Photographers Association Visual Edge/Visual Journalism Fellow at the Poynter Institute for New Media (2001), a Scripps Howard New Media Fellow at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism (2002), and a National Tropical Botanical Garden Environmental Journalism Fellow (2003).

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