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Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Susie Butler – (Ma Rainey)

Ms. Butler is a 30-year “triple threat” theater veteran, a four-octave singer, and an accomplished
actor and dancer. Born in Montgomery, Alabama during the Civil Rights era, she  was raised in
Wichita, Kansas in a military family with a strong connection to the Baptist Church.  She went
from  singing at church to performing jazz at the University of Alabama as a Drama major. On
stage she has been in several plays at the Burial Clay Theatre (including
On Being Hit with
Danny Glover), and at Berkeley Stage Company, Black Rep Theatre, and Marin Theatre
Group. Ms. Butler is well-known for her production of
Susie Butler Sings the Sarah Vaughan
.  She has performed in night clubs throughout the Bay Area and the nation.  Now she
returns to her first love, the theater.
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Geoffrey Grier – (Sylvester, Slow Drag)

Geoffrey played Hambone in MET's 2015 production of August Wilson's Two Trains Running,
and Harmond Wilks in
Radio Golf, so his third role at MET.   Geoffrey is Artistic Director of SF
Recovery Theater.  Hecomes to the stage with a wealth of talent and experience as a musician,
comedian and actor. This includes fifteen  years traveling worldwide as a martial arts performer.
Brandon Hall – (Policeman, Sturdyvant)

Brandon hails from Newton, Kansas. He is  a US Marine Corps veteran with a BFA in  
Photography from the School of Visual Arts. He studied Meisner at the Studio of Jim Jarrett
and Melissa Thompson Esaia, completing the two year program in summer of 2018.  He is
happy to join MET’s August in August yearly mission.
Gift Harris – (Slow Drag)

Last year Gift was Roosevelt Hicks in MET’s production of August Wilson’s Radio Golf.  He
has acted with the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre and Marin Theater Company. Additional August
Wilson credits include
Fences at the Egypt Theater and Jitney with the African American
Shakespeare Company.  He thanks God for the support of his wife Candy, his mother and his
Sharon Hill – (Dussie Mae)

Sharon was born in Brooklyn, the fourth child of six children.  Her family moved out West and
she graduated from Woodrow Wilson High in San Francisco and earned an associates degree
from City College. Theater has not been a major part of her life, but she began loving it when
she fell in love with MET veteran Vernon Medearis. She spends time with  grandchildren, and
supports the talent of her honey, she lovingly calls “Doug”.
Kyla Kinner – (Dussie Mae)

Kyla’s actor training was at ACT’s Young Conservatory.  She has performed in a music video
and in
Rise and Shine, a short film produced by Lull Mengesha, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is
her first try at live theater and she appreciates  the chance to grow as an actor and work with a
wonderful, loving team of veteran performers.
Alex Loi – (Sylvester, Irvin)

This is Alex’s first production with MET.  After a year of training at ACT, he joined
Geoffrey Grier’s SF Recovery Theater for the role of Lex in
Reflections in Black.  Acting
represents a true broadening of Alex’s interests, having graduated from UC Santa Cruz
with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management.
Joseph Walters – (Sturdyvant)

Joe Walters trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and at the Sanford Meisner
Studio in San Francisco.  He has been in
The Eighteen Billion Dollar Prize at the Phoenix
Theater and as Nat Miller in the Douglas Morrison Production of
Ah Wilderness in Hayward.  
He has also done commercials and background work for Netflix and Hulu productions.
Ricard Wenzel – (Irvin)

Richard  is a Bay Area actor/singer and Custom Made Theatre member, where he co-starred as
Julius Becker in a BATCC Award nominated production of
Prelude to A Kiss and as Satan in
The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.  He is happy to return to MET in this August Wilson play in
tribute to The Mother of the Blues.
Ernest White II – (Toledo)

Ernest is a storyteller, explorer and Producer/Host of a travel docu-series, Fly Brother
premiering next January on PBS.  He writes fiction and non-fiction and his travel essays have
been featured in
USA Today, National Geographic, and Traveler’s Brazil.   He is senior editor
Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel. This is his first time onstage, but hopefully
not his last.
Dylan Terrill – (Policeman)

Dylan is delighted to be making his debut with MET. This is Dylan’s first theater production.
Dylan has appeared in multiple short films, most recently as the lead role in
First Touch. He
has shot national commercials for TRX and Mercedes Benz, as well as numerous regional
commercials. Dylan is currently training at The American Conservatory Theater.
Vernon Medearis – (Cutler)

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is Vernon’s sixth August Wilson play at MET where he played Solly
Two Kings in
Gem of the Ocean, Harold Loomis, in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Turnbo in
Jitney and West in Two Trains Running.. At the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre he played Bono in
August Wilson's
Fences and Soaphead Church in The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.