Les Amis de Beauford Delaney is supporting the completion of


the first full-length documentary about Beauford.

Join us in making this video tribute to Beauford a reality!



Saturday, September 21, 2019

Amazing Grace Is Yellow - The Cast

The play entitled Amazing Grace Is Yellow is the latest of an increasing number of projects and programs in the U.S. and France being organized to honor and extend Beauford's legacy. It will bring his life to the stage in three acts that follow him from Knoxville to Paris.

Playwright Silver Wainhouse asked award-winning writer Jake Lamar, a long-term Paris expat, to review the script and offer constructive criticism. Lamar’s response was as follows:

Congratulations on a beautiful and deeply moving work! I really have no critique to offer. I just can't wait to see actors bring this to life!

Because Lamar had his play, Brothers in Exile, read at a Paris theater a few years ago, and because he recently had a 10-part radio drama called Viper's Dream recorded for French radio, I asked him to help us identify professional performers who might be willing to participate in a reading of the play as a prelude to a full stage production. He came back with two recommendations - Patrick Rameau and Vanessa Dolmen. Dolmen generously shared the names of other actors who she thought would be good for the project.

As a result, the cast of Amazing Grace Is Yellow consists of professional actors and actresses who are active in stage and screen productions in France. Some are native Francophones with an excellent command of English. All were excited to learn about Delaney’s life and work and expressed bewilderment and frustration that they had never heard of him prior to becoming a part of the project.

The main characters in the play are Beauford; his mother, Delia; and his dear friend and mentee, James Baldwin. Eleven additional characters, real and fictional, round out the list of characters. For the reading, most of the performers will take on multiple roles.

The Cast and Director Silver Wainhouse
Front row: Audrey Mikondo, Silver Wainhouse, Edouard Chény
Back Row: JaQuincy Atkins, Vanessa Dolman, Patrick Rameau
© Silver Wainhouse

Patrick Rameau has been selected to portray Beauford. A professional actor for stage, screen, and television, his work has been seen all over the world. He is also a playwright - his work entitled ROSARIES has been produced Off Broadway. His latest film script, The Fall, is currently in pre-production phase. Patrick is especially proud of his school, Actor without Borders, which opens in Paris this fall with the first rehearsal workshop of Othello.

Patrick Rameau
© Entrée to Black Paris

Vanessa Dolmen will portray a fictional character who Beauford meets on the train to Boston and the Harlem landlady who robbed Beauford of his possessions and money on his first day in New York City. She recently finished a run in the Paris musical production Maya, Une Voix about the late, great Maya Angelou. After obtaining a master's degree in English, Vanessa briefly imagined herself as an English teacher but her true calling got in the way! She has performed in the award-winning short film Barbara, several feature films, and several radio dramas, including Jake Lamar's Viper's Dream.

Vanessa Dolmen
© Entrée to Black Paris

Audrey Mikondo, also from the cast of Maya, Une Voix, will read the roles of Mrs. Sparrow, a black society matron who introduced Beauford to many prominent African Americans in pre-Depression Boston, and Delia Delaney, Beauford's mother. Audrey is a French actress who worked in communications before deciding to pursue acting. She studied theater in English and in French at Cours Florent, culminating with several performances at the Théatre des Bouffes du Nord in Pais. She recently co-created Cygnet Theatre, an English-speaking theater company that will present its third production, Much Ado about Nothing, at the end of the month at the beautiful Jardin des Arènes de Montmartre in Paris.

Audrey Mikondo
© Entrée to Black Paris

Edouard Chény will recreate James (Jimmy) Baldwin and will also read the roles of a man at the New York boarding house and a fictional character that Beauford converses with in a Paris café. As an artist, he is always looking to get involved in inspiring projects. His goal as an actor is to serve great stories and impact people on a big scale. He says that faith, authenticity and love are the words he tries to live by every single day.

Edouard Chény
© Entrée to Black Paris

JaQuincy Atkins will portray a fictional character whom Beauford meets on the train to Boston (this character and the one portrayed by Vanessa Dolmen are husband and wife). Additionally, he will portray as another fictional character that Beauford meets in a Paris café and a patient at Sainte-Anne's Hospital, where Beauford spent the last four years of his life. He is a graceful presence embodying light shining outward. Those who surround him can feel his warm, humble spirit and bright smile. With the gift of creativity, he strives to remind those with passions to express love and humility.

JaQuincy Atkins
© Entrée to Black Paris

Chény and Atkins model as well as act. Hailing from Los Angeles, Atkins is the only U.S.-born actor in the group.

Inspired by playwright Wainhouse's opening exercise during the first rehearsal, which required everyone to give a brief introduction of themselves and state a single word that described their feelings about participating in the reading, a bond quickly formed among the actors.

Playwright Silver Wainhouse
© Entrée to Black Paris

Emotions ran high several times as the story unfolded and the actors settled into their parts. If the energy generated during the rehearsal is any indication, the reading at Columbia Global Centers | Paris at Reid Hall will be ELECTRIFYING!

To see photos of the rehearsal, click HERE.

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