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Actor, Writer, Director Regina Taylor to Discuss Life in TV and Film

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October 13, 2009 | by Wendy Leopold
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Regina Taylor -- best known to television audiences for her starring role in the critically acclaimed series "I'll Fly Away" and the first African-American woman to play Juliet in "Romeo and Juliet" on Broadway -- will discuss her work in TV, theatre and film Wednesday, Nov. 18, at Northwestern University.

Taylor, who also is an accomplished playwright, is the 2009 Hope Abelson Artist-in- Residence at Northwestern's School of Communication. The free and public program, titled "An Evening with Regina Taylor," will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Annie May Swift Auditorium, 1920 Campus Drive, Evanston campus.

Taylor received numerous honors for her role in "I'll Fly Away" as a black housekeeper during the early years of the civil rights movement. They include a Golden Globe, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Award and two Emmy Award nominations. Among her stage credits are "As You Like It," "Macbeth," "Machinal," "A Map of The World" and "Jar the Floor."

Taylor starred in the CBS hit drama "The Unit," and took home the 2008 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama for her work on that show. She played Anita Hill in the made-for-TV movie "Strange Justice," a protective mother who puts a drug dealer in his place in Spike Lee's film "Clockers" and a reluctant parent in "Lean on Me," her big-screen debut.

Taylor also starred in the Masterpiece Theatre production of "Cora Unashamed," based on a Langston Hughes' story. She won an American Critics' Association's best new play award for her drama "Oo-Bla-Dee." Her highly acclaimed play "Crowns" was the most performed musical in the country in 2006.

Tony Award-winning Northwestern Associate Professor Anna Shapiro directed the premiere of Taylor's play "Magnolia" at the Goodman Theatre. At the Goodman, where Taylor is a member and artistic associate, she directed a production of "The Dreams of Sarah Breedlove," about African-American millionaire and entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker.

The Abelson program began in 1990 with a gift from Broadway producer Hope Altman Abelson, who studied theatre at Northwestern. The first Abelson Artist was opera and theatre director Peter Sellars. Subsequent Abelson artists include playwright Tony Kushner, actor/director Brian Bedford and actors Cherry Jones, Meryl Streep and Bill Irwin.

The Abelson Artist-in-Residence Program provides resources to sponsor one or more annual visits by major artists in the performing arts who share their expertise with Northwestern students and the community at large.

For more about "An Evening with Regina Taylor," call (847) 467-1335 or visit http://www.communication.northwestern.edu/news/abelson.php.