Name: Tonya Pinkins
Education: Carnegie Mellon, Columbia College Chicago, California Western School of Law, Los Angeles Community College Film certificate
Favorite Credits: Tonya Pinkins Rap Roast (Diss) Challenge, Caroline or Change, Play On, “Gotham.”
Why theater?: It's like church; sacred, holy. People come into a dark room, share in a ritual that is emotional and has the ability to transport them as well as transform their lives.
Tell us about “Visionary Voices” and the one-act Exit: An Illusion: American Bard is a wonderful inclusive theater company. Visionary Voices is a celebration of writers and directors who are not represented to the extent of their contributions. Exit, is a ghost story, a mystery a cautionary tale. I love thrillers. It was the perfect fit for me, allowing me to exercise my commitment to inclusiveness in casting.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: Political theater. I'm exhausting by what I call theater of Ennui. Theater that says nothing is about nothing and is just a mirror for audiences to celebrate their uninteresting lives. Ava DuVernay, George C Wolfe, Kerry James Marshall, Brandon Jacobs Jenkins, Bridget Carpenter, Zanele, Eve Enger, Robin D.G. Kelly, and Kimberlé Crenshaw.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Gosh, I've worked with most of the people I admire; Lynn Nottage, Geoffry Wright, Viola Davis, Shonda Rimes, Brian Grazer, and more with Ava DuVernay, and George C Wolfe, and Bridget Carpenter, and Brandon Jacobs Jenkins.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: The Humans, The Oregon Production of Sweat, Hamilton, The Color Purple 2016.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Thandi Newton; "RELENTLESS"
If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Nicholas Nickleby
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Travel and chocolate
If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: Running a small country
What’s up next?: My short film “What Came After” will be at Film festivals in Newark, Philadelphia, Queens and Manhattan in March, “Scandal” in February, “The Strain,” and I'm writing and directing more.