Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus
Kenny Leon (Director) is a Tony Award winning Broadway and film director. His Broadway credits include the 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun (Tony Award Winner for Best Direction of a Play and Best Revival), The Mountaintop starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, Stick Fly produced by Alicia Keys, August Wilson’s Fences (which garnered ten Tony nominations and won three Tony Awards including Best Revival), the 2004 revival of A Raisin in the Sun with Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs, Gem of the Ocean, Radio Golfand the 2014 premiere of Holler If Ya Hear Me, a new musical inspired by the lyrics of Tupac Shakur. Leon’s recent film work includes “In My Dreams” for Hallmark Hall of Fame, “The Watsons go to Birmingham” for Walden Media and Hallmark, and the Sony and Lifetime TV adaptation of “Steel Magnolias”. Leon was awarded the 2010 Julia Hansen Award for Excellence in Directing by the Drama League of New York..
Kenny Leon | Founder & Artistic Director
Kenny Leon (Director) is a Tony Award winning Broadway and film director. His Broadway credits include the 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun (Tony Award Winner for Best Direction of a Play and Best Revival), The Mountaintop starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, Stick Fly produced by Alicia Keys, August Wilson’s Fences (which garnered ten Tony nominations and won three Tony Awards including Best Revival), the 2004 revival of A Raisin in the Sun with Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs, Gem of the Ocean, Radio Golf and the 2014 premiere of Holler If Ya Hear Me, a new musical inspired by the lyrics of Tupac Shakur. Leon’s recent film work includes “In My Dreams” for Hallmark Hall of Fame, “The Watsons go to Birmingham” for Walden Media and Hallmark, and the Sony and Lifetime TV adaptation of “Steel Magnolias”. Leon was awarded the 2010 Julia Hansen Award for Excellence in Directing by the Drama League of New York.
Prior to co-founding True Colors Theatre Company, he served 11 years as Artistic Director of The Alliance Theatre, where he produced the premieres of Disney’s Elaborate Lives: The Legend of Aida, Pearl Cleage’s Blues for an Alabama Sky and Alfred Uhry’s The Last Night of Ballyhoo. Other directorial credits include Toni Morrison’s opera Margaret Garner, the world premiere of Flashdance: The Musical, and the complete August Wilson Century Cycle at the Kennedy Center. He has directed extensively throughout the US, including Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, Boston’s Huntington Theatre, Baltimore’s Center Stage, Los Angeles’ Center Theatre Group and New York’s Public Theatre. Mr. Leon is an alumnus of Clark Atlanta University.
In Loving Memory. We will always remember Jane. We are all blessed that she launched True Colors with her longtime friend and colleague, Kenny Leon. Her dream was a theater that looks like the world, and her best and favorite work was making people bigger and things work better. We continue to work to make these dreams come true and make Jane proud.
Jane received an MA in Theatre Education and an MFA in Directing from Illinois State University where she studied in a class of aspiring actors and directors, which included John Malkovitch, Laurie Metcalf, Gary Sinese, and Terry Kinny
Jane Bishop | Co-Founder
In Loving Memory we will always remember Jane. We are all blessed that she launched True Colors with her longtime friend and colleague, Kenny Leon. Her dream was a theater that looks like the world, and her best and favorite work is making people bigger and things work better. We continue to work to make these dreams come true and make Jane proud.
Jane received an MA in Theatre Education and an MFA in Directing from Illinois State University where she studied in a class of aspiring actors and directors, which included John Malkovitch, Laurie Metcalf, Gary Sinese, and Terry Kinny.
During her career in theater, she was a teacher, director, stage manager, production manager, general manager, and managing director. Among the theatres and projects where she served as production manager were Just Us Theatre, Imaginary Theatre, Company Showcase Cabaret, Theater of the Stars, and Atlanta Writers in Concert, all in Atlanta and The San Jose Repertory Company in California. For seven years she was production manager of the Arts Festival of Atlanta and two years was co-producing director. She was production manager for First Night Atlanta, the New Year’s Eve celebration in Midtown Atlanta. Jane served as project manager for a variety of national and international events such as the 1996 Olympics’ Victory Ceremonies and The Coca-Cola Centennial Celebration. She was the Alliance Theater’s project manager for Elaborate Lives: The Story of Aida, an Alliance/Disney co-production of a new musical by Elton John and Tim Rice.
For nine years Jane served as General Manager of the Alliance Theatre where she worked with Managing Director Edith Love and Artistic Director Kenny Leon. It was during this time that she and Edith initiated a team leadership approach to the earned and contributed revenue aspects of the theatre, which resulted in a staff process of articulating values inherent in the Alliance.
In 1999, Jane became Managing Director of the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia. She directed the areas of finance, administration, production, marketing, and the newly renovated 450-seat theatre. Her goal there was to create a stable, experienced, and inspired staff and advance the artistic vision of the Prince.
She taught stage management at Georgia State University and theatre administration at La Grange College and consulted with Dallas Theater Center, Indiana Repertory Theatre, and the National Black Arts Festival.
Jamil Jude | Artistic Director
Jamil is a highly accomplished director, producer, playwright and dramaturg focusing on bringing socially relevant art to the community. Jamil is the Co-Founder of The New Griots Festival, which is dedicated to celebrating, advocating, and advancing the careers of emerging Black artists in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area in Minnesota. Prior to joining the staff at True Colors, Jamil served as the Artistic Programming Associate at Park Square Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Jamil was a participant in the Mellon Foundation funded Leadership U, One-on-One theatre residency program and previously served as the National New Play Network (NNPN) Producer in Residence at Minneapolis’ Mixed Blood Theatre Company for three seasons. He remains an Affiliated Artist with NNPN. Before joining the staff at Mixed Blood, Jamil served as a New Play Producing Fellow at Arena Stage in Washington, DC and co-founded a culturally relevant theatre company, Colored People’s Theatre.
Mr. Jude has lead productions for Olney and Forum Theatre in Washington D.C.; Curious Theatre in Denver, Colorado; Park Square Theatre, History Theatre, Freshwater, Theatre in the Round, Stages Theatre Company, Daleko Arts and Lakeshore Players in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro. Jamil has also taught and directed at Augsburg College and the University of Minnesota.
As a playwright, Jamil was the 2013/14 Jerome Many Voices Mentee at The Playwrights’ Center, where he continues the role of affiliated writer. He has been commissioned and produced by CLIMB Theatre and D.C. Black Theatre Festival.
The Recipient of the Leadership U Andrew W. Mellon/TCG (2015), Management Fellowship Nautilus Music Theater (2014/15), SDCF Observership Member (2014/15), SPARK Leadership Program Finalist (2014), Jerome Foundation Many Voices Mentorship (2013/14), National New Play Network Producer Residency (2011/12; 2012/13). Allen Lee Hughes Fellowship at Arena Stage (2009/10; 2010/11). Jamil received his Bachelors of Arts from Colgate University.
Chandra Stephens-Albright | Managing Director
Chandra Stephens-Albright is the Managing Director of Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company, where she co-leads the theatre with Artistic Director Kenny Leon. She is accountable for the Company’s operational excellence and financial sustainability. Her scope includes patron experience, fund development, ticket sales and marketing, and audience development via productions and educational programming. Prior to joining True Colors in 2017, Chandra served as Executive Director at C5 Georgia.
Chandra joined the nonprofit sector in 2016, following a successful 22-year career at The Coca-Cola Company, where she directed productive teams, tackled tough challenges, and led strategic initiatives that drove positive business results.
An active community leader, Chandra currently serves on the boards of Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company, the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership and The Alliance Theatre. She is a past board member of the Emory Alumni Board, the Emory Annual Giving Board, the Emory College Alumni Board, Girls Inc. of Greater Atlanta, and the Multi-Cultural Foodservice and Hospitality Alliance.
Chandra is a member of the Leadership Atlanta Class of 2005. A native Atlantan, Chandra graduated from Emory University with Chemistry degree. She was a Consortium for Graduate Studies in Management Fellow at the The Olin School of Business in St. Louis, Missouri, where she earned her MBA. She is married to Warren Albright.
Contact Info: 404-532-1901 (ext. 206)
LaTeshia Ellerson | Development Director
LaTeshia Ellerson joined Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company in 2007 as Development Associate and was promoted to Director of Development in 2013. In this position, she develops, oversees and implements the strategic fundraising plan for individual donors, corporations and foundations. LaTeshia was a participant in the 2014-15 SPARK Leadership Program, funded by American Express, The Joyce Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group.
In 2015 LaTeshia was chosen as one of twenty theatre practitioners to watch in American Theatre Magazine’s People to Watch. LaTeshia began her career as a development professional at United Way of Metropolitan Chicago. LaTeshia also serves as teaching artist for the National August Wilson Monologue Competition. LaTeshia holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago and Masters of Science in Urban Policy Studies/Nonprofit Leadership from Georgia State University in Atlanta.
Director of Education
Nikki Toombs | Director of Education
Nikki Toombs is a married mother of four, who hails from the “Magic City” of Birmingham, Alabama. She has been acting, or shall we say “entertaining” since the ripe age of eight. From singing “Hawaiian Rainbows” in the school recital to producing her own stage plays such as Lemons, this versatile virtuoso has captivated the hearts of many. Her quick wit, jovial sentiments and stern façade have made her a local favorite both on and off the stage. This 14 year educator has quite a range in her resume of instruction. She has taught her students everything from conjugating verbs to constructing sets. This unrelenting commitment to providing quality instruction warranted her Teacher of the Year honors in both the Gwinnett County( Meadowcreek High School) and Birmingham City School(Speech Arts ) systems. In 2015 she received STAR TEACHER; which recognizes teachers who have made the most profound impact on a student’s educational career. Additional honors in education are GCAE Inspiring Leader in the Arts Award, Atlanta Toyota’s Inspiring Teacher, Miraculous Mustang Achievement Award and multiple local school superlatives. Nikki was the “proud” director of the award winning Meadowcreek Mustang Players organization; directing over 30 plays during her 7 year tenure.
This theater arts director extends her expertise beyond the four walls of the traditional classroom. She is the founder of the Pink Pearls Project; a nonprofit which targets middle school at -risk girls and uses the arts modalities to educate, expose and entertain. She facilitated the STAR Quality acting camps for both East Metro Health and MHS Community school summer camps, and served as acting instructor for the TCP Sugarloaf Acting Academy. Nikki has also been commissioned to conduct acting workshops and seminars throughout the city. In 2006, she established Toombstone Productions, LLC. Her desire was to provide meaningful theatre that not only entertained, but was also impactful.
Nikki has also performed in various theatres in both Georgia and Alabama. She was cast in Iron Moon (Aurora Theatre/RTC,) 365 Days of Plays (Relativity Theatre Concern) Settling Sophia (Southwest Arts Center) For Colored Girls…(Dawson Theatre) and My Children My Africa(Birmingham Rep Theatre) She is a proud graduate of Alabama A & M University and has a master’s in arts-integrated curriculum from Lesley University.
Director of Marketing
Shana Bagley | Director of Marketing
Shana Bagley is the Marketing Director of True Colors Theatre Company. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership with a focus on nonprofit leadership from Mercer University. She found her passion for nonprofit during her time with C5 Georgia, a youth leadership organization whose mission is to inspire high-potential youth from risk-filled environments to pursue personal success and to become role-models for others. While at C5 Georgia, Shana developed and executed a strategic marketing plan, growing their online presence and engaging stakeholders through meaningful communication. Over the course of six years, Shana worked to maximize the impact that C5 Georgia program had on the students as well as to optimize the value C5 Georgia students created in the world.
Shana is an proponent of continued professional development and serves on the board of Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Atlanta, where she works toward advancing the careers of young professionals in metro-Atlanta through networking and professional development opportunities. Shana is member of Georgia Center for Nonprofit’s High Potential Diverse Leaders 2015 cohort, as well as the Association of Fundraising Professionals Diversity Fellows 2016 cohort.
Shana is a native metro-Atlanta, an alumnus of Emory University, and currently lives in College Park with her husband and two daughters.
Lisa L. Watson | Production Manager
Lisa L. Watson an Atlanta native, received her undergraduate degree from Clark Atlanta University and went on to pursue graduate studies at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in Scenic Design. While in NY she worked with the Negro Ensemble Company, New Federal Theatre, Crossroads Theatre and Diane McIntyre’s Sounds in Motions among others. Returning to Atlanta in 1992 she joined Jomandi Productions as Production Manager, a position she held for 10 years.
Most recent projects – “90 Years-Birthday Celebration for Dr. Joseph E. Lowery” , “MLK – A Monumental Life” for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity for the unveiling of the King Memorial in Washington DC with Creative Eye Productions and “A Bluesman in the Life of the Mind” celebrating the retirement of Cornel West from Princeton University at the McCarter Theatre.
Kristen Parker | Marketing Manager
Kristen Parker is True Colors Theatre’s Marketing Manager. Originally from Alabama, Kristen received a Communication Arts degree in theatre at the University of North Alabama. Upon graduating, she left to pursue acting and management work in New York City. While in New York she was fortunate to intern and work on multiple On and Off-Broadway productions as well as hold a 7-year career in finance with Lincoln Center Theatre. After 12 years in the city, she found her way back south to Atlanta where she joined the Alliance Theatre’s off-site season as assistant house manager for two years. Kristen enjoys reading, athletics, and writing, where she also excels.
Erika Heard Robinson
Erika Heard-Robinson | Education Assistant/Coordinator
Erika is a devoted mother of two teenagers. She is a native of Gadsden, Alabama. She holds a Master’s Degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders from Alabama A&M University, however, Erika has always had a love for the arts. While working as a Communication Specialist in the public schools, she incorporated many of her natural born acting techniques into helping students increase their expressive communication skills.
Throughout her life, she has soared and achieved many of her goals. In 2013, Erika established Akire Communications. She has written, directed and acted in stage plays such as MICHELLE, IT’S NOT MY CALL and I’M NOT GIVING MY BLACK BACK to name a few. She also wrote, cast and produced the YouTube Web Series entitled THE BATTLES TV SHOW. Erika also is the author of the book ROOM 516—When Life Deals You a Raw Hand. She has worked with many playwrights, directors and actors/actresses on various stages. Erika has also served as production assistant on many theatre and film sets and currently enjoys her job as Educational Assistant/Coordinator here at True Colors Theatre Company which she absolutely adores!
Kaya Camp | Education Intern
School: Howard University
School Year: Senior
Major: Jazz Voice
Why did you choose True Colors? The question isn’t necessarily “why” I chose True Colors Theatre Company. The question here is when did I choose True Colors Theatre Company. When I witnessed the diversity along with the influence of embodying your identity/culture I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. True Colors single handily masters the art from of ‘storytelling’ by simply displaying truth as well as solidarity. True Colors Theatre Company withholds a level of rectitude and reassurance that all cultural backgrounds have a voice. Interning with True Colors will not only enhance my knowledge theatrically but internally as well. I aspire to teach and create my own environment for artists to freely embody their artistry allowing them to fully live under the imaginary circumstances. I intend to embed that there is no standard, you are the standard.
Jared Truss | Education Intern
School: Morehouse College
Why did you choose True Colors? I've been going to productions by True Colors since I was a young child, and I've always had a passion for theatre. I appreciate how the company has highlighted black storytellers and furthered narratives that are not often represented. After becoming a theatre and performance major at Morehouse College I felt there was no better place to further my education and experience in theatre than True Colors Theatre Company. From this experience I hope to gain a better understanding of how a professional production is able to go from the page to the stage. Everybody here at True Colors has been welcoming, and I'm more than thankful for my experience.
Keara Jones | Marketing and Box Office Intern
School: Clark Atlanta University
School Year: Senior
Major: Theatre Arts
Why did you choose True Colors? I decided to intern at Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre because I stand behind the mission of True Colors to ‘celebrate the rich tradition of black storytellers.’ I wanted to be a part of an organization & family that would help me cultivate into a professional artist while also promoting diversity in the arts. I’m grateful to serve on this cohort and cannot wait to gain so much knowledge.
Lakita Smith | Education Intern
School: Florida A&M University
Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Theatre
Why did you choose True Colors? I chose Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company because of its drive to tell the stories of minorities in this country. Growing up, my mom always told my sister and I that we are beautiful. That instilled me to never be ashamed of what I am, who I am, and
what I can accomplish. Storytelling through performing arts is something I’ve always been very passionate about. I know working with the departments of True Colors Theatre Company with this passion and the mindset my mom instilled within me will not only further my appreciation for every individual role to bring the production to life, but allow me to grow as an artist and a human being.
Maria Todd | Development and Management Intern
School: Berklee College of Music
Year: Master’s Degree Program
Major: Music Business
Why did you choose True Colors? My ultimate career goal is to be the producer and artistic director of a musical theatre company. I want to learn all that goes into puttin on a theatrical production, especially the business side of things. I chose True Colors Theatre COmpany because ever since I was little and first introduced to the company, I was drawn into the culture and professionalism of all those involved. I love the company’s mission to “celebrate the rich tradition of black storytelling while giving voice to bold artists of all cultures.” I beleive that in a world that has a tendency to believe anythign “black” is wrong and unacceptable, it’s important now more than ever to produce creative works that celebrate and promote Black culture in a positive light not only to educate society as a whole, but also to instill a sense of cultural pride for the next generation.