CAST BIOS

DARNELL ABRAHAM
Currently, Darnell is playing George Washington in "HAMILTON" on the “And Peggy” Tour in San Francisco. Darnell’s professional performance background spans musical theater, soul music, R&B, and opera. As a result, he has been recognized by audiences and critics alike for his versatility in the theater and on the concert stage. Darnell is a recipient of the Berkshire Theatre Critics Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical and an Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) nomination for Best Actor. Other honorable nominations include BroadwayWorld Regional Awards for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor in a Musical. Some credits include: "The Color Purple" revival 1st National Broadway Tour (Adam and u/s Mister), "Ragtime" (Coalhouse), "Next to Normal" (Dr. Fine/Dr. Madden), and "I Dream" (MLK Jr.). In addition to his theatrical engagements, Darnell is a featured solo artist on Bandai Namco’s "Tekken 7", which has sold over 4 million copies worldwide since its release. Moreover, he has collaborated with Grammy© and Emmy award-winning artists in the studio and on the concert stage.

JESSICA COKER
Jessica’s Theatre credits include "Urinetown" (Penelope Pennywise), "The Little Mermaid" (Ursula - TBA award winner). At Berkeley Playhouse "Smokey Joe’s Cafe" (BJ) and "In the Heights" (Abuela - TBA award winner) with Broadway by the Bay. "Lizzie" (Emma Borden), "Little Shop of Horrors" (Audrey II), "Carrie the Musical" (Miss Gardner), "Jerry Springer the Opera" (Shawntel) with Ray of Light Theatre. "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" (Betty - TBA award winner) with OMG "I love that show!" Jessica is a founding member of B.O.O.B.S. and The Coker Sisters and was named the 2015 SF Best New Cabaret Artist.

DAVID HERNANDEZ
David Hernandez gained national attention with his powerful voice and affable personality as an American Idol finalist.He began acting and singing at age six, starring in musicals and performing with various theatre companies throughout Arizona. As a teenager David began writing original music and recording his material. 

A Phoenix native, Hernandez recently moved to Hollywood where he is writing new songs, working in the recording studio producing his newest music, and pursuing his passion for acting. He has already completed his first feature film as the lead in the movie Synthetic Truth.In addition to American Idol, David has showcased his talents on The Ellen Show, The Today Show, MTV’s TRL, EXTRA, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Teen Choice Awards, TV Guides’ Sexiest Stars 2008, Idol Tonight, Idol Gives Back and FOX-TV. A once-in-a-lifetime invitation came to David when he was asked to sing at the Inaugural Kick-Off Celebration ball for President Barack Obama. He was honored to share the stage with Jamie Foxx, John Legend and Maroon 5, along with event hosts Jessica Alba and legendary TV producer, Norman Lear. Scottsdale, Arizona’s most exclusive restaurant/show club, Barcelona, was David’s performance home for nearly a year, performing three nights a week with his band Generation. Featured several times on FOX-TV, David’s high energy stage presence and flawless vocal delivery kept the club packed every night. 

During holiday season 2008 and 2009, David traveled throughout the US, singing for over 250,000 fans, as the star of a twenty-four city tour entitled Idols at Christmas. Las Vegas was home for David over the July 4th weekend 2009, where he headlined three sold out shows in the showroom at the South Point Casino in Las Vegas. Vegas called again when he was asked to be the featured performer in a major Las Vegas Casino’s showroom for their 2010 New Year’s Eve Show. David recently starred in the national & international-tour of Ballroom With A Twist, which is a spinoff of TV’s hit show Dancing with the Stars. It’s directed and choreographed by Dancing with the Stars’ own Louis van Amstel. This show was a non stop music and dance extravaganza. And if that wasn’t enough to keep David busy, he also performed in Motown Memories, Jersey Rocks and the Celebrate Motown tour David just released his debut video (and single) for the song “Beautiful”. The video was directed by Printz Board (producer of the Black Eyed Peas). David counts Stevie Wonder, Ne-yo, Donnie Hathaway, Alicia Keys, Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson and David Foster among his musical influences.

SONY HOLLAND
Sony got her start by busking at San Francisco’s famed Fisherman's Wharf and has gone on to perform in top jazz clubs and festivals throughout the United States. She has opened for George Benson, fronted Big Bands, sung the National Anthem for both the Giants and Dodgers and toured extensively in Asia. Sony held a long running gig in the posh Ritz-Carlton in downtown San Francisco. For the past year Sony has been based in Denver, where she performed over the summer at the Denver Performing Arts Complex and at the landmark Renaissance Hotel. She is thrilled to be in San Francisco for the REAF Christmas Show and plans to stay in town to record a new CD in 2020.Happy Holidays!

STEVE KNILL
Steve Knill is an American vocalist, musician and producer located in San Francisco. He performs at multiple venues across the U.S. and globally. Steve has a strong Internet presence and following through live streaming Apps such as Live.me, YouTube, Facebook Live, etc. A dynamic vocalist, Steve’s music includes a mixture of soul, rock, hip-hop, and pop with songs such as This is Why I Love You and The Lion Sleeps Tonight which have gone viral. On the production side of things, Steve has produced, written and provided vocals for 50+ artists and has collaborated with artists from such as Trap House, J Slugg, Soccradz the Don…and that’s’ just naming a few. More recently he has produced and performed live with Isaiah Acosta and Trap House the song Hate is For the Weak which has been aired on CNN, BBC News, People Magazine totaling over 200 million views online.

KIM NALLEY
Awarded "Most Influential African American in the Bay Area" in 2005 and "Best Jazz Group" in 2013, vocalist Kim Nalley has been called "legendary" and  a"San Francisco institution.” Visually, Kim Nalley exudes the aura of a diva from a bygone era. Vocally, she has pipes to burn packing a 3 1/2 octave range that can go from operatic to gritty blues on a dime, projection that can whisper a ballad yet is capable of filling a room with no microphone, and the ability to scat blistering solos without ever losing the crowd's interest or the intense swing. She has been compared to all the greats, but in the end, it's Kim Nalley and no one else - an unforced instrument with clarity and jazzy musicality, effortlessly delivered, and a sense of humor to boot. With an international reputation as one of world's best jazz & blues vocalists, she has graced concert halls from Moscow to Lincoln Center and festivals from Umbria Jazz to Monterey Jazz. She had a solid background in classical music before switching to Jazz for the freedom it provided.  A true Renaissance woman, Kim Nalley has been a featured writer for JazzWest and SF Chronicle's City Brights, shortlisted for a Grammy nomination, a produced playwright, and the former jazz club owner of Jazz at Pearl’s. She is a Ph.D. candidate in history at UC Berkeley, and an avid Lindy Hop & blues dancer. She was shortlisted by Downbeat Critics Poll in 2017 as a "Rising Star" (Deserving Wider Recognition) and all of her albums have charted on Jazz Week. Nalley's many philanthropic endeavors include founding the Kim Nalley Black Youth Jazz Scholarship. She has collaborated and performed with artists such as Rhoda Scott, Terri Lynn Carrington, Angela Davis, David "Fathead" Newman, Houston Person, James Williams, Branford Marsalis, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony.

SHAWN RYAN
MAC Award Winner Shawn Ryan's star continues to ascend in the worlds of TV, Film, and Cabaret. Having played the Cannes Film Festival May 2015 with his Directorial Debut. "Charlie," Shawn's latest film can be seen at festivals all over the world. Along with his Award-Winning Performance as the title character in "Charlie," Shawn has been seen on NBC's "America's Got Talent," and numerous TV appearances on "Bones,' "The Mentalist," "Life," "One Night Stand Up," and "Women's Murder Club" where he landed the role of Karen Adams, a transgendered Drag King with narcolepsy, all thanks to Jane Lynch turning down the role. (You can't make this stuff up) "His hilarious romp through tinseltown with song and story will have busting at the seams and standing in the aisles begging for more!"

SHERYL LEE RALPH
Sheryl Lee Ralph continues to blaze a trail in the entertainment industry. She is most recently starred on CBS's new hit show "FAM" and has just launched a brand-new podcast called "Diva Defined," where she talks to other powerful women who are making moves in their various career paths. Sheryl and her guests are inspiring women and men each week alike with this incredible new project. Ms. Ralph began her career on the Broadway stage and was nominated in 1982 for a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Deena Jones in "Dreamgirls." In 1984, Ralph released her only album "In the Evening," where the title track hit #6 on the Billboard charts the same year. In 1988, she starred in the Disney movie "Oliver & Company" providing the voice for the character, Rita. Her first film leading role was in a film called "Piece of the Action" that also starred Syndey Poitier, Bill Cosby, and Barbara Hanley. She then starred as Denzel Washington’s wife in "The Mighty Quinn." In 1992, she starred as Robert De Niro’s mistress in "Mistress." During the 1990s she also had roles in "The Flintstones," "Deterrence" and "Unconditional Love." Among Sheryl's numerous television credits; she is known for playing Ginger St. James on "It’s a Living," Etienne Toussaint-Bouvier on "Designing Women," and later Dee Mitchell on "Moesha" (for which she was voted one of TV's Favorite Moms) as well as the supervillainous Cheetah in "Justice League" and "Justice League Unlimited." She also appeared on the Showtime series, "Barbershop" as the popular, post-operative transsexual, Claire. Ralph produces an annual benefit concert, "Divas Simply Singing," which raises awareness for AIDS and HIV. This year will mark the 29th year of the event. Her love for spreading AIDS and HIV education touches the lives of many, year in and year out. This year’s benefit was held on December 1, 2019 at the Taglyan Cultural Center in Hollywood. Ralph’s 2002 project, "Baby of the Family," concerns a young child who is born with a caul over her head; enabling her to see ghosts and the future. Ralph has been featured with her children, Etienne and Ivy Coco (named for Sheryl's mother Ivy Ralph) on shows like MTV’s "My Super Sweet 16," BET’s "Baldwin Hills" and "Clean House." In July 2004, Ralph was inducted as an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. at the 47th National Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. In May 2008, Ralph was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Tougaloo College after giving the commencement address. On June 16, 2009, Ralph joined the cast of the Broadway-bound musical "The First Wives Club" as Elyse. She replaced Adriane Lenox, who withdrew from the show due to health concerns. Sheryl then went on to become the very first African-American female to play the role of Madame Morrible in the Broadway musical, "Wicked" in 2017 Be sure to tune in to see her recurring on the reboot of "McGyver" as Mama Colton and keep an eye out for her in the new Universal Pictures film from Will Packer, called "The Photograph" where she'll be seen alongside Issa Rae.

LISA VROMAN
From Broadway to classics, on stage and in concert, Lisa Vroman has established herself as one of America's most versatile voices. She starred on Broadway, Los Angeles and San Francisco as Christine Daaé in "The Phantom of the Opera" and garnered theater critics’ awards for her portrayal. Her Broadway debut was in "Aspects of Love" and she was the first to play both Fantine and Cosette in "Les Misérables."
She has starred in major productions as Marian Paroo in "The Music Man," Lili Vanessi in "Kiss Me Kate," Birdie in "Regina," Josephine in "HMS Pinafore," Anna 1 in "The Seven Deadly Sins," Rosalinde in "Die Fledermaus," Laurey in "Oklahoma," Anna Leonowens in "The King and I," Mary Turner in "Of Thee I Sing" and Rosabella in "The Most Happy Fella." Lisa appeared on PBS as Johanna in the Emmy Award winning production of "Sweeney Todd" and was featured in the London Royal Gala, "Hey! Mr. Producer.' She has played, sang and danced opposite Dick Van Dyke as 'Mary Poppins" at the Hollywood Bowl Disney’s 75th, and played the role of Maria Callas in Terence McNally’s award winning play, "Master Class." Lisa is a frequent guest with symphonies including San Francisco, Nashville, Philadelphia, Dallas, Utah, St. Louis, Houston, Pacific, Atlanta, Hong Kong, Cleveland, National, Florida, Cleveland, BBC Concert Orchestra, Boston Pops, Philly Pops, and the New York Pops. She is a graduate of the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam (BM, Hon. Dr. of Music, Minerva Award), Carnegie-Mellon University (MFA), and is a George London Competition winner. Lisa has become an active mentor and sought-after clinician with many colleges and universities across the country and around the world. She has acted as a judge in both the Lotte Lenya Competition for the Kurt Weill Foundation and UCLA’s Walter Jurmann Competition, and regularly performs Weill’s music with symphonies throughout the country. Recent performances have included concerts with the famed Gewandhaus Orchester in Leipzig, and appearing with The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus celebrating their 40th anniversary season in the premiere Unbreakable by composer Andrew Lippa.

CHRISTOPHER HENRY YOUNG
Christopher Henry Young, currently featured as a Swing in the San Francisco production of Hamilton, is a Pennsylvania native best known for his work on Broadway in A Bronx Tale. Other Regional credits The Wiz, Guys and Dolls, The Winter’s Tale, Head Over Heels, Sweat (Oregon Shakespeare Festival). NYC Workshops: Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations.


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