Project Contributors

Contributors | Tuesday, April 27, 2021
Robert Barry Fleming

Fleming is the Executive Artistic Director of Actors Theatre of Louisville. Fleming previously served as Associate Artistic Director at Cleveland Play House and as Director of Artistic Programming at Arena Stage. World premieres commissioned, developed and championed during this tenure at Arena include the 2017 Best Musical Tony Award winner Dear Evan Hansen, Mary Kathryn Nagle’s Sovereignty, John Strand’s The Originalist, Katori Hall’s Blood Quilt, Karen Zacarías’s Destiny of Desire, and the 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner, Sweat, by Lynn Nottage. Fleming was an Associate Producer for the Off-Broadway premiere of The Two-Character Play by Tennessee Williams and was a tenured professor and Chair of the University of San Diego Theatre Arts and Performance Studies Department. His Actors Theatre Direct new media credits include COVID-Classics: One-Act Plays for the Age of Quarantine, Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End and Romeo & Juliet: Louisville 2020. Live event directing and choreography credits include Are You There? and Once On This Island (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Next to Normal (Tantrum Theater), The Royale and Between Riverside and Crazy (Cleveland Play House), Destiny of Desire (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), and Caroline, or Change (Tantrum Theater). Professional acting credits include stints on Broadway, OffBroadway, television (Emmy-winning Disney Channel series Adventures in Wonderland, Family Matters, The George Carlin Show) and in films (Academy Award-winning L.A. Confidential and Twilight of the Golds).


Nataki Garrett

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s sixth artistic director. Since her appointment in April of 2019, she has guided the organization through numerous transitions and crises, all while building toward a more sustainable producing and fundraising model. The COVID-19 pandemic forced OSF to close five productions only six days after opening, in what was supposed to be Garrett’s first full season as artistic director.


Jonathan McCrory

A two Obie Award-winning, Harlem-based artist who has served as Artistic Director at National Black Theatre since 2012 under the leadership of CEO, Sade Lythcott. He has directed numerous professional productions and concerts.  He has been acknowledged as an exceptional leader additionally through Craine’s New York Business 2020 Notable LGBTQ Leaders and Executives. In 2013, he was awarded the Emerging Producer Award by the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston Salem, North Carolina, and the Torch Bearer Award by theatrical legend Woodie King Jr. He is a founding member of the collaborative producing organizations Harlem9, Black Theatre Commons, The Jubilee, Next Generation National Network and The Movement Theatre Company. McCrory sits on the National Advisory Committee for Howlround.com and was a member of the original cohort for ArtEquity. A Washington, DC native, McCrory attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and New York University’s TISCH School of the Arts. To learn more, please visit www.jonathanmccrory.com.


Carl Sylvestre

Currently the Director of Development at Theatre Forward, a membership organization of 19 prominent regional theatres. Prior to joining Theatre Forward, Carl worked with numerous arts and social service nonprofits both in staff positions and in his consulting practice, including the Metropolitan Opera, St. Ann’s Warehouse, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York Theatre Workshop, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Carl has an M.B.A from the University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School, an M.A. in Theatre History from Hunter College and a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Culture from Columbia University. He has also served as a board member in a leadership capacity at three nonprofit organizations. He has lectured on Arts Management at Teachers College Columbia University, New York University, and Brooklyn College. In October 2017, he was awarded a New York City Council Award for his philanthropic and community services.


Contributors 4/9: A Must Hear Conversation with Wilmer Leon and Legendary Activist Ruby Sales

Ruby Nell Sales
Public Theologian, Historian, Activist, Social Critic, and Educator

Ruby Nell Sales looks at her work as a calling rather than a career. She answered the call to social justice as a teenager at Tuskegee Institute where she joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and worked on voter registration in Lowndes County, Alabama.

Sales received a B.A. degree from Manhattanville College and attended graduate school at Princeton University. Sales received a Masters of Divinity degree from the Episcopal Divinity School where she was an Absalom Jones Scholar. While there, she developed a reputation as a preacher and has preached at churches and cathedrals around the nation.  After divinity school, she founded and still directs a national nonprofit organization, the SpiritHouse Project.

As a social justice activist, Sales’ work is cited in several books, journal articles and films such as Taylor Branch’s At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years 1965-68; Broken Ground: A Film on Race Relations in the South; Dan Rather’s American Dream Segment; and Blood Brother: Jonathan Daniels and His Sacrifice for Civil Rights by Rich and Sandra Neil Wallace.   Sales was one of the founders of SAGE Magazine: A Scholarly Journal on Black Women.  As a social critic, Sales has published works in several journals, newspapers and magazines and is a frequent guest on Sirius XM Radio Inside the Issues with Dr. Wilmer Leon.  Sales was keynote speaker at a gathering of nationally renown theologians to discuss “Public Theology Reimagined” hosted by and later broadcast on the NPR program, On Being with Krista Tippett.


Wilmer J. Leon III, Ph.D.

Dr. Wilmer Leon is the author of Politics Another Perspective: Commentary and Analysis on Race, War, Ethics and the American Political Landscape in the Age of Obama. He is a Political Scientist whose primary areas of expertise are Black Politics, American Government, and Public Policy.  For 11 years Dr. Leon was a Lecturer in the Political Science Department at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He was also a contributing author to Democratic Destiny and the District of Columbia (Lexington Books, 2010).

Currently, Dr. Leon is a nationally broadcast radio talk show host on SiriusXM Satellite radio channel 126 and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Trice Edney News Wire. He is a regular contributor to TruthOut.org, Politics In Color.com, BlackStar News.com, Black Agenda Report, Black Politics on the Web, and over 200 newspapers and other web sites across the country.  He can also be seen as a regular contributor and analyst on international television news programs such as Press-TV and RT TV.