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VPA Week - Artist biographies


Roland Buck III
Recently featured as one of PEOPLE Magazine's Ones to Watch, Roland Buck III is best known to audiences for his recurring role as medical resident "Dr. Noah Sexton" on NBC's critically acclaimed drama series "Chicago Med," which is heading into its fourth season.

This spring, Roland starred alongside Adam Sandler and Chris Rock in the Netflix comedy feature THE WEEK OF. Directed by Robert Smigel, and written by both himself and Sandler, the film follows a wildly comedic portrait of two extended families meeting for an unforgettable family wedding.

In November of 2017, he completed a starring turn as "SPC Rafael Martin" for National Geographic's award nominated mini-series "The Long Road Home." The story, based on the book by ABC News reporter Martha Raddatz, relives the heroic fight for survival during the Iraq War when the 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood was ferociously ambushed on April 4, 2004, in Sadr City, Baghdad - a day that "came to be known as 'Black Sunday.'

Roland additionally appeared in the film "Sleight," which bowed at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. His theatre credits include starring roles in the Los Angeles productions of In the Blood, Getting Married and Arabian Nights.

Born in Chicago, Roland additionally spent time growing up in Dallas before moving to Los Angeles. He fell in love with acting as a teenager and eventually went on to pursue a degree at the prestigious USC School of Dramatic Arts.

@rolandbuckiii

Eileen Morris
Eileen J. Morris, is a director, actress and educator. She worked closely with the founder of The Ensemble Theatre, George W. Hawkins, from 1982 until his death in 1990. As artistic director, she has produced over 78 productions, which include four world premieres and 57 regional premieres. Under her artistic leadership, The Ensemble Theatre received the 2013 Best Season Theatre Award from the Houston Press. In 2007, The Ensemble Theatre was named Best Theatre by the Houston Press and 2007 Best Showcase for African American Actors by the Ultimate Section of the Houston Chronicle. The Ensemble Theatre also presented two out of the 10 best plays named by the Houston Chronicle as the Best of Houston Theatre 2008.

Some of her Ensemble Theatre directing credits include What I Learned In Paris, Women In The Pit, Immediate Family, By The Way Meet Vera Stark, The Old Settler, Race, Broke-ology, The Nacirema Society (Giorgee Award winner for Best Production in 2013) King Hedley II, Cuttin’ Up, Lotto: Experience the Dream, Jitney, The Waiting Room, Stick Fly (named one of the top 2010 plays– Houston Chronicle), American Menu (2010 Giorgee Award winner for Best Ensemble and named one of the top 2010 plays - Houston Chronicle), Seven Guitars (Named one of the top 2009 plays - Houston Chronicle) The Man Who Saved New Orleans, Radio Golf, Ashes to Africa, Christmas is Comin’ Uptown, Sty of the Blind Pig (Giorgee Award winner for Best Production in 2008) and Blue. Her strong Pittsburgh ties are directing at New Horizon Theatre The Meeting, Do Lord Remember Me, Nothin’ But the Blues, Hi Hat Hattie, I Gotcha: The Joe Tex Story (winner of the 2010 African American Council on the Arts Award) and at a few others such as Pittsburgh Playwright’s Theatre - Radio Golf, King Hedley II, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences, Liftin’, and Flyin’ West at Kuntu Repertory Theatre.

Her artistic journey with the Alley Theatre includes directing it’s touring production of I, Barbara Jordan for three years and performing in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, A Christmas Carol (for three years) and understudying several productions. She was featured in the Women In Theatre Magazine (December 2011 Issue), a conversationalist with Table Talk through the University of Houston’s 2011 Women’s Studies Department, and honored at the National Black Theatre Festival with the Larry Leon Hamlin Producer Award. She received the 2012 Missouri City Chapter of Links Inc. Our Choice Award. She is a board member, secretary and Cultural Arts Committee Chair of the Midtown Management District and a board member of the national organization, The Black Theatre Network. She is the only woman in the country that has directed eight of the August Wilson Ten Play Cycle. @tet_houston

Shannon Emerick
Shannon Emerick was born and reared in Dallas, Texas and holds a B.A. from Yale University. She is Director of Marketing and Communications at Main Street Theater in Houston, TX. Ms. Emerick has appeared at theaters across the country. Off-Broadway credits include Lauren Gunderson's Parts They Call Deep, Lucy Alibar's Gorgeous Raptors, Julia Jarcho's Nurser, and Caroline McGraw's Trade in the Young Playwrights Festival, 2001 and 2002 at the Cherry Lane Theatre. She also starred opposite Jim Parsons in The Pitchfork Disney at Stages Repertory Theatre in Texas, opposite Danny Pino in Hamlet in Florida, and in the first U.S. production of Tom Stoppard's trilogy The Coast of Utopia outside of Lincoln Center produced at Main Street Theater, also in Texas. Other New York credits include Target Margin Theater (Valkyrie), PS-NBC/78th Street Theatre Lab (Gemini, directed by David Kennedy), HERE (The Cherry Orchard), Kings County Shakespeare (Hamley), Expanded Arts (Oedipus Rex), American Globe Theatre (A Young Lady of Property), The Heritage Theatre (Ivanov), and more. Additional regional theater credits include: Texas: --Main Street Theater: The Real Thing, Richard III with Prague Shakespeare Co., Arcadia (twice, once as Thomasina, once as Hannah), Design for Living, Wondergirl (World Premiere, by Rutherord Cravens), The Member of the Wedding, An Ideal Husband, The Miser and more; --Stages Repertory Theatre: The Mineola Twins (title roles) --Classical Theatre Company: Candida (title role) Maine: --The Public Theatre (Proof Moonshine) Tennessee: --Clarence Brown Theatre (Arcadia, directed by David Kennedy) Illinois: --Apollo Professional Theatre (The Glass Menagerie).

Ms. Emerick has extensive anime voiceover credits including The Little Busters, Agame Ga Kill, Infinite Stratos, Clannad, Hello Kitty, Gantz, Book of Bantorra, Gatchaman Crowds, Phi Brain: Puzzle of God, The Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok, and many more. @mst_houston

John-Michael Manley
John-Michael Manley graduated from Sam Houston State University with a BFA in Drama. Mr. Manley has produced and directed many plays and musicals. Some of his directing credits include: Native Son, The Boys Next Door, Oedipus the King, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Insanity of Mary Girard, Guys and Dolls, Fame, Anything Goes, Godspell, I Just Wanna Tell Somebody, Romeo and Juliet, Little Shop of Horrors, Baby with the Bath Water, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Piano Lesson, and many others. Mr. Manley works as a theatre consultant, specializing in theatrical productions, and he serves as a board member for the Encore Theatre Houston. He is also an adjudicator for the U.I.L One-Act Play contest s in Texas. Mr. Manley is one of the founders of New Era Theatre. His theatre motto is, “Let the part play you.”

@jm.manley @neweratheatrehtx

Steve Scott
Steven J. Scott is an actor, teacher, performance coach and director. He was born and reared in Port Arthur Texas, where he graduated from Lincoln High School and then received his college education at Prairie View A&M University. In college while majoring in Performing Arts, he was also an active member of the award winning and well recognized college theatre company The Charles Gilpin Players. His major and training focus included acting, directing, musical theatre, and stage management.

With consistent work and dedication, Mr. Scott has become an accomplished stage and film actor. He has performed in dozens of plays and musicals in some the most notable theatre houses all over the country, and has worked on camera for film companies like DREAMWORKS, VH1, HBO, ABC, Disney and Starz. His dedication to the craft has earned him several awards including, “Best Actor in a Drama” (Ensemble Theatre of Houston), “Best Actor” (The Kennedy Center of Performing Arts), “Best Supporting Actor” (Houston Press).

Mr. Scott is currently the Studio Director of Inspire Talent in Denver, Colorado. Inspire Talent is one of the leading talent scouting companies in the country. He is also the Head Acting Coach for The Industry Network in Los Angeles. IN is fast becoming the industry's leading Talent Event which promotes and showcases emerging actors, models, and singers to the industry’s leading agents, managers, and casting directors.

His directing credits include, Color Me Dark: The Dairy of Nellie Lee Love and the Great Migration, Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, Wiley and The Hairy Man, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Gospel at Colonus, Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope, and August Wilson: A Tribute. He is the former Director of Education of Express Children’s Theatre of Houston, and former Head of the Film Acting Program at John Robert Powers-Acting-Modeling-Life in Houston, Texas.

Mr. Scott is a member SAG-AFTRA. His film and television credits include Urban Shakedown, The Wannabes (Starz Kids and Family Network), Hollywood Heights (Nick@Nite), 90210 (CBS), Real Steel (DreamWorks), Witchcraft 13 (Upstart Films), and The Way She Moves (VH1).

@stevenjscottjr @inspiretalentllc

Brandi Nicole Payne
Brandi Nicole Payne is an actor, writer and artivist who splits her time between Atlanta and Los Angeles. Muted, a short film about media discrepancy when a child of color goes missing, which she wrote, produced and starred in alongside Chandra Wilson (Grey's Anatomy) and Malcolm-Jamal Warner (Major Crimes), was acquired by HBO and selected for the Ryan Murphy Half Initiative Program. As one of three filmmakers chosen for the inaugural Emergence Program (a camera and equipment grant for female filmmakers), Brandi recently made her directorial debut with her short film ALOHA, which was crowdfunded on Seed & Spark and supported by a grant from Grant Larson Productions. Most recently she completed the HBO Access Writing Fellowship and was featured on CW's Dynasty. She can next be seen as the lead in the indie feature The Mentor.

@creativelyb

Dianne Jemison Pollard
Dr. Dianne Jemison Pollard is an award winning university Stage Director who has directed over 50 productions from Greek and Shakespeare to Contemporary Theatre, Musicals and Children’s Theatre. She has written 18 religious pageants that have been produced around the globe. She founded the Children’s Theatre Camp at TSU.

She earned the BA degree in Speech and Drama from Fisk University, the MA degree in Communications-Theatre from the University of Wisconsin, the MFA degree in Directing from the Catholic University and the Ed. D degree in Counseling from Texas Southern University. Her dissertation was titled, “Using Music to Help Improve Social Skills Development in Children Diagnosed with Autism in America.”

She has two children, Attorney Edward Pollard and Celestine Pollard.

Jessica Rodríguez
Jessica Rodríguez is a certified makeup artist that has been doing makeup for over 10- years. She is a full-time freelancer in the Greater Houston Area certified with Mario Dedivanovic and airbrush makeup. She is passionate about keeping up with new techniques and materials used for a variety of occasions. She offers makeup sessions for any type of event such as proms, weddings, birthday parties, commercial shoots, and theatre productions. Within the past 5 years she has had the opportunity to travel with multiple Houston theatre companies providing characters with unique makeup effects.