Panel: Black Imagination

Zhailon Levingston leads an open conversation focusing on radical imagination with 3 dynamic artists about the ways in which they are visioning their work in the future without the white gaze.


October 28 @ 5PM

Zhailon Levingston is a Louisiana raised storyteller director and activist. He is a Board Member and Creative Director for the Broadway Advocacy Coalition, where he co created and teaches the Theatre of Change course at Columbia University. He is a Music Mentor Fellow and has done work with Idina Menzel’s A Broader Way Foundation. Directing credits include: “Neptune” at Dixon Place and The Brooklyn Museum, “The Years that Went Wrong” at The Lark and MCC. “The Exonerated” at Columbia Law School. “Chariot Part 2” at SoHo Rep for The Movement Theatre Company. “Mother of Pearl” at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center. He is the Associate Director “Primer for a Failed Super Power” with Tony Award winner Rachel Chavkin and “Runaways” at The Public with Sam Pinkleton. Most recently he directed “Chicken and Biscuits” at Queens Theatre. Zhailon is the Resident Director at “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” on Broadway.

Jonathan McCrory is a two time Obie Award-winning, Craine’s New York Business 2020 Notable LGBTQ Leader. As a Harlem-based artist, he served as Artistic Director at National Black Theatre since 2012 under the leadership of CEO, Sade Lythcott. As Artistic Director (Creative Duala), he is the creative heart of the institution helping to select, develop and manage acclaimed programs and productions, such as The Peculiar Patriot and Kill Move Paradise. His creative force also helped the theatre expand its reach with the creation of the National Black Theatre of Sweden. As a director, he has helmed numerous productions including Dead and Breathing, HandsUp, and Blacken The Bubble and devised works like Hope Speaks, Evoking Him: Baldwin and Emergence: A Communion (based on adrienne marie brown’s book Emergent Strategy). A Washington, DC native, McCrory attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts and earned his BFA from New York University Tisch School of the Arts.

Tracey Conyer Lee was selected for the inaugural cohort of American Theatre Group’s PlayLab 2020-2021, dedicated to BIPoC and LGBTQ+ playwrights, moderated by Pandora Scooter. A recent I AM SOUL Playwright Fellow with National Black Theatre and playwright for Harlem9’s tenth annual “48 Hours In…Harlem” series, Ms. Lee has been a finalist for the 2018 Princess Grace Award, the 2016 Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award and Live & In Color’s 2018 Bingham Theatre Camp (with composer Nehemiah Luckett). Her NBT commissioned Retreat will be workshopped as an audio drama Nov 19-22, 2020. Ms. Lee’s work has been produced at Redtwist Theatre (Chicago), in the New York International Fringe Festival, the Women’s Voices Festival with Ally Theatre Company (DC), The Fire This Time festival of short plays (Boston & NYC) and has received development through The Fire This Time Festival, Urban Stages, Boomerang Theatre Company, National Black Theatre, JAG Productions/JAGfest 3.0 (VT), Redtwist and Congo Square Theatres in Chicago.

Ms. Lee’s extensive performance life is highlighted by her role as Billie Holiday in five productions of Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar & Grill. Recent onstage: Clairee in Steel Magnolias & Ida in Into the Breeches (Alabama Shakespeare Festival); Tanya Starr in On the Grounds Of Belonging (World Premiere-Long Wharf Theatre); Cynthia in Sweat (Pittsburgh Public Theatre). 75+ other productions: Original off-Broadway, Carbonell, NAACP & Barrymore Award winning roles, Yale Rep, Baltimore Centerstage, Denver Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville, St. Louis Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse, Westport Playhouse, more. Onscreen: She has appeared on Hulu, ABC, NBC, CBS. Ms. Lee is the co-founder of Be Ready. which teaches (for free) the professional presence and content creation skills she offers in the corporate world to Black youth embarking on their college or professional careers. She lives in Inwood with her partner, Damon, who wants a dog (side eye). For more:

BIKO EISEN-MARTIN The Public Theater: HVSF, 59E59, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Longwharf Theatre, Studio Theatre, The Folger, Denver Center, CrossroadsTheatre Co., Arden Theatre Co. , Syracuse Stage, Cleveland Play House, CATF, Gulfshore Playhouse, Olney Theatre , Marin Theatre Co., Chautauqua, Pioneer Theatre, Colorado Shakes, TheatreWorks, Campo Santo. Film/TV: Buck (Sundance), Finding Frida (upcoming), “Dietland” (AMC). BA/MAT: Brown; MFA: NTC., @saybiko