AZO Cast Members & Creatives
Bridgette A. Wimberly
Bridgette Wimberly is an award winning poet, playwright, and librettist who has been commissioned and produced by a number of prominent theaters Off-Broadway and across the U. S. Among them are Hackney Empire-London, Opera Philadelphia, Apollo Theatre, Madison Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago (Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD); Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre, The Cherry Lane Theatre, St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre, and The Women’s Project (Saint Lucy’s Eyes, starring Ruby Dee, directed by Billie Allen); Kuntu Repertory Theatre (The Separation of Blood); New York’s Ensemble Studio Theatre, where she is a lifetime member (Rally, Modern Romance, Mail, Pluto, and a commissioned reading of The Separation of Blood with James Earl Jones, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Roger Robinson, Linda Powell and Olivia Ford); Cleveland Play House (Forest City), Manhattan Theater Club (The Mark), Karamu Theatre (From Breast Cancer to Broadway); and The Dance Theatre of Harlem (Cool).
Her celebrated plays have been published by Samuel French and included in the anthologies of “Cherry Lane Theatre Mentor Project, volume One” 2014; Smith and Kraus “Best 10 Minute Plays 2010” and “Best Plays by Women 2001”; and the Women’s Project and Productions “A Theatre for Women’s Voices” 2003. Her poems are published in six anthologies of poetry by the poetry group Cave Canem from 1999 to 2008. Her article, "The Bird in my hand: my journey to Charlie Parker" was published by The Guardian, June 2017. She has been on the Board of Directors at Cherry Lane Theatre, the longest running Off-Broadway Theatre, for ten years. She is a lifetime member of The Ensemble Studio Theatre, was a New York Foundation for the Arts Artspire Artist, and is a member of The Dramatists Guild.
Bridgette first play Saint Lucy’s Eyes starring Ruby Dee received three AUDELCO Awards, a Kesslering nomination for best new play, and a Lucille Lortel nomination for best actress. Originally part of Cherry Lane Theatre's Mentor Project, she was mentored by playwright Wendy Wasserstein. For Forest City, commissioned and produced by the Cleveland Play House, she received a Proclamation from the City of Cleveland honoring her for capturing part of the city’s history. The Separation of Blood, commissioned by The Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Science Foundation, production by Kuntu Repertory Theatre in 2007 received the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Public Health’s ‘Healthy Black Family Award’. On April 14, 2011, Tony Award winning actors James Earl Jones, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Roger Robinson with Linda Powell and Olivia Ford performed a reading of The Separation of Blood at The Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York as part of their First Light Festival. It was work shopped at Arena Stage (where Drew's 90+ year-old sisters attended), Cleveland Play House, Karamu House, and Saint Louis Black Repertory Theatre also presented readings of this play.
Bridgette received an Appreciation Award in 2009 from Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Going to the River. This award recognized her contribution, continued support and efforts to serve women playwrights. The River Crosses Rivers festival produced fourteen short plays including a new play by Ruby Dee. Bridgette’s short play Rally, part of this production, is published in “The Best 10 Minute Plays of 2010” by Smith and Kraus. Bridgette’s commissioned libretto Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD about Jazz giant Charlie Parker, Jr., for Opera Philadelphia had its World Premiere in June 2015 to critical acclaim starring world renowned tenor Lawrence Brownlee and soprano Angela Brown. It opened in New York, Chicago, Madison, and London thus far. A Radio broadcast of this opera can be heard at http://www.wqxr.org/#!/story/charlie-parkers-yardbird-apollo/
Bridgette was part of the 2006/08 Women’s Project Producers’ Lab; a member of Lincoln Center Theatre’s Directors Lab where she produced four satellite productions in collaboration with the Lab; Manhattan Theatre Club Fellow; Cherry Lane Theatre Mentor Project fellow with Wendy Wasserstein as her mentor; and a member of the poetry group Cave Canem. She is also the recipient of Fellowships/Awards from The New York Foundation for the Arts (Poetry), The New York Urban Arts Initiative, and the Harlem Arts Alliance.