Taylor with Sam Waterston in 2010
August 22, 1960 |
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
|Occupation||Playwright, Director, Actress|
Her earliest professional acting roles were two made-for-television films while she was studying at Southern Methodist University: 1980's Nurse and 1981's Crisis at Central High. In the latter movie, she was praised by critic John O'Connor of The New York Times for her portrayal of Minnijean Brown, a member of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African-American students who braved violence and armed guards to integrate Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Her first role to gain widespread attention was that of Mrs. Carter, the drug-addicted mother of a promising young female student, in the 1989 film Lean on Me. She became well-known to the television viewing public for her role as Lilly Harper on the early 1990s TV series I'll Fly Away. This role won her a Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a Television Drama and also an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series.
Since then she has had some critical success for various supporting roles in films, such as the Spike Lee film Clockers, Courage Under Fire, A Family Thing, The Negotiator, and for the films Losing Isaiah and Strange Justice — a Showtime original film in which she portrayed Anita Hill — and as the lead in the PBS telefilm Cora Unashamed, based on a Langston Hughes short story. She was a cast member for all four seasons of the CBS drama The Unit as Molly Blane, the tough-minded housewife who holds the women of "the Unit" together when their husbands are on covert assignments.
Taylor is also an accomplished stage actress, and was the first black woman to play Juliet in Romeo and Juliet on Broadway. Her other Broadway credits include Macbeth and As You Like It. She appeared in off-Broadway and regional productions of such plays as Jar The Floor, Machinal, The Illusion, A Map of the World, and The Tempest, for which she received a Drama League Award.
Taylor is a Distinguished Artistic Associate of Chicago's Goodman Theatre. Among her accomplishments, she has collaborated on and appeared in the play Millennium Mambo; has written A Night in Tunisia, which premiered during the 2000 Alabama Shakespeare Festival; curated Urban Zulu Mambo (an evening of plays by Adrienne Kennedy, Ntozake Shange, Suzan-Lori Parks and Kia Corthron); has won a best new play award from the American Critics' Association for Oo-Bla-Dee (a work about 1940s female jazz musicians).
She has written and directed the award-winning Crowns, which was first produced at the McCarter Theatre and at Second Stage Theatre in New York. Her play, Crowns, was produced in various locations, including the Meroney Theater in Salisbury, North Carolina with The Piedmont Players in May 2009; the Zach Theatre in Austin, Texas in September 2004, the Pasadena Playhouse in co-production with Ebony Repertory Theatre in July 2009; Syracuse Stage in Syracuse, New York; at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre in Storrs, Connecticut in May 2009 and at the Electric City Playhouse in Anderson, SC in May 2011.
She wrote and directed an adaptation of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull called Drowning Crow. She wrote and directed The Dreams of Sarah Breedlove, a dramatic rendering of the financial gains and emotional losses of African-American businesswoman Madam C.J. Walker, which received its world premiere production in 2004/05 at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Her other plays include Escape From Paradise, Watermelon Rinds, Inside the Belly of the Beast, Mudtracks Love Poem #97 and Love Poem #98.
Taylor's play "Magnolia" set during the beginning of desegregation in Atlanta in 1961 premiered at Chicago's Goodman Theatre in March 2009 directed by Anne Shapiro. It had its world premiere at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in March, 2009 after going through a workshop in 2008 at the National Playwrights' Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut. Taylor returned to the Goodman Theatre in January and February 2011 for the world premiere of her new play entitled The Trinity River Plays, a co-production with Dallas Theater Center, directed by Ethan McSweeny. The production is a trilogy composed of Jar Fly, Rain, and Ghoststory.
- "Black History Month: Local legends in music, theater, dance, and more", The Dallas Morning News, February 3, 2006
- John O'Connor. TV: Little Rock, 1957: 'Crisis at Central High', The New York Times (review), February 4, 1981
- Signature Theatre - stop.reset. page
- Goodman Theatre - Magnolia page
- O'Neill Theater Center website listing of productions by year and by program
- Playbill.com article on The Trinity River Plays
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMY6RS-v4ig Regina Taylor Ancestry Reveal
- Regina Taylor at the Internet Movie Database
- Regina Taylor at the Internet Broadway Database
- New Plays And Playwrights - Working in the Theatre Seminar video at American Theatre Wing.org, January 2004
- Regina Taylor bio at the American Theatre Wing website (2003)