Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

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A native of Dallas, Texas, actress Regina Taylor earned praise early in her acting career for portraying Minnijean Brown, a member of the Little Rock Nine, in 1981’s “Crisis at Central High.” She gained the attention of mainstream audiences in 1989’s “Lean on Me,” in which she played an auspicious student’s drug-addicted mother.

For her role as Lilly Harper, the Black housekeeper on the early ’90s TV series, “I’ll Fly Away,” she received a Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a Television Drama—the first African American to do so—and also an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series. She was also the first African American to play the lead in a “Masterpiece Theatre” production on PBS, the Langston Hughes adaptation, “Cora Unashamed.”

Onstage, Taylor became the first Black woman to play Juliet in Romeo and Juliet on Broadway. She is also an accomplished playwright, serving as a writer-in-residence at the Signature Theatre and a Distinguished Artistic Associate of Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. She won a best new play award from the American Critics’ Association for her play about 1940s female jazz musicians, Oo-Bla-Dee, and earned four Helen Hayes Awards, including those for Best Direction and Best Regional Musical, for Crowns, a “play-with-gospel-music” based on the book of the same name of photographs by Michael Cunningham and journalist Craig Marberry. 

At the 2012 Chicago International Film Festival, Taylor interviewed Viola Davis, who was that year’s recipient of a Career Achievement Award at the festival’s Black Perspectives Tribute. She went on to portray Davis’ mother in the miniseries, “The First Lady,” in which the Oscar-winner portrayed Michelle Obama. Taylor recently received a Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series nomination from the Hollywood Critics Association for her guest appearance on “CSI: Vegas,” and hosted an acting studio master class this past May. 

For more info on Regina Taylor, visit her official site. You can find more information on Solo Flights and the full line-up of performances here.

By Dave Jenks

Dave Jenks is an American novelist and Veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Between those careers, he’s worked as a deckhand, commercial fisherman, divemaster, taxi driver, construction manager, and over the road truck driver, among many other things. He now lives on a sea island, in the South Carolina Lowcountry, with his wife and youngest daughter. They also have three grown children, five grand children, three dogs and a whole flock of parakeets. Stinnett grew up in Melbourne, Florida and has also lived in the Florida Keys, the Bahamas, and Cozumel, Mexico. His next dream is to one day visit and dive Cuba.