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True Colors increases Jasmine Guy’s role behind the scenes

By Howard Pousner

In addition to acting and directing for Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company, Jasmine Guy has been named producing director of the Atlanta troupe.

“We are fortunate to provide an artistic home for one of America’s great artists,” Leon said in a written announcement issued Monday. “We are looking forward to adding Jasmine’s collaborative nature, intellect, and vision to the True Colors team and we are sure that she will contribute to True Colors’ core values of boldness, respect, abundance and laughter.”

In recent months Leon, whose Broadway revival of August Wilson’s “Fences” won a Tony this year, has talked about seeking a successor as artistic director. With his services in high demand on Broadway, in regional theater and in Hollywood, Leon said he never intended to be artistic director of True Colors for life, though he would always remain involved with the company.

But on Tuesday, he said the hiring of Guy as managing director did not constitute an audition for the artistic director’s role.

“We just want her to have an artistic home, and she is a welcomed addition to the artistic team, joining [associate artistic director] Todd Kreidler and myself,” Leon said. “She also will spend a fair amount of time with the development department. I think together we make the institution stronger.”

During True Colors’ 2010-11 season, Guy will be featured in the regional premiere of Nathan Louis Jackson’s comic drama, “Broke-ology,” directed by Leon, direct George C. Wolfe’s “The Colored Museum,” and will star in Sam Shepard’s ”Fool for Love.”

Guy has starred on Broadway (”Chicago,” “Grease,” “The Wiz”; on screen (”Harlem Nights,” “School Daze”; and on TV (”A Different World,” “Drop Dead Diva”). This summer, she directed the world premiere of “I Dream,” Douglas Tappin’s rhythm-and-blues opera on the life of Martin Luther King Jr.,  at the Alliance Theatre.

True Colors’ 2010-11 season kicks off Sept. 28 with the world premiere of David Bell’s “Gut Bucket Blues – The Legendary Bessie Smith” at Balzer Theatre at Herren’s downtown.

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