WHO WE ARE
MEET THE TEAM
Black Theatre Coalition was founded by T. Oliver Reid and Warren Adams during the Summer of 2019. They identified the disparity between the growing inclusivity onstage, versus the almost non-existence of Black professionals off stage. They invited their colleague, Reggie Van Lee, to join them as Co-Founder in their march towards dismantling the systemically racist and biased ideology in the theatrical job space. Black Theatre Coalition officially filed as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) in June of 2020.
T. OLIVER REID (Co-Founder & Artistic Director) has spent the past 20 years working on Broadway shows, (Hadestown; Once On This Island; Sunset Boulevard; After Midnight; Sister Act; Mary Poppins; The Wedding Singer; Chicago; La Cage Aux Folles; Never Gonna Dance; Thoroughly Modern Millie; Follies; Kiss Me, Kate), which have amassed more than 20 Tony Awards from the American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards.
WARREN ADAMS (Co-Founder & Artistic Director) is a South African-born artist living in New York City. He was recently commissioned to write the book for the PETER TOSH musical. He is the Writer/Director of the upcoming new musical Trial and the Choreographer of the Bebe Winans Broadway-bound musical Born for This. In 2019, he was appointed to the Tony Nominating Committee. Other notable awards include the Tony Award for Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Co-Producer). He won the NAACP and the Fred Astaire Awards for his choreographic work on Motown. He was selected as the first Mandela Sainsbury Scholar (South Africa to London) and the first Rudolf Nureyev Award winner in Europe. Past Projects include: Motown the Musical (Broadway, US Tours, West End). Adams has served as an Adjunct Professor at both Princeton University and NYU in the drama departments. He co-founded VisaPaq with Sharona D’Ornellas, a portfolio company that has successfully obtained over 300 working visas for international immigrant artists wanting to work in the USA. He is currently writing a new show for HBO Max and Directing a new upcoming Musical.
Sophia Garner, Director of Development is a fundraising and development strategist, who is passionately committed to supporting communities through the work of excellent nonprofit organizations. With a background in the arts, Sophia brings nearly 15 years of leadership, fundraising, grant writing, program development, management, and strategic planning experience to her clients and organizations.
She has served as a fundraising and capital campaign consultant to numerous organizations, including Pipeline Theatre Company, the wild project, National Black Theatre, Gateway Arch Park Foundation, the Salvation Army Midland Division, HavenHouse St. Louis, and ABC to CEO.
She also served as a Major Gifts/Individual Giving Officer at Roundabout Theatre Company (NYC) and as Project Director at the Center for Arts in Education at Boston Arts Academy (Boston, MA) where she managed the National Teaching Artist Fellowship program, providing $100K+ in grants annually to arts educators across the country to support their practice.
She has served as a Grants Panelist for Brooklyn Arts Council and the Missouri Arts Council, and completed Focus St. Louis’s Coro Women in Leadership program. Sophia has an M.F.A. in Performing Arts Management from City University of New York (CUNY)—Brooklyn College (Graduate Dean’s List); a B.S. in Theatre and Communications from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL); and is a graduate of New World School of the Arts High School (Miami, FL). She is the military spouse to Quincy, an accomplished Air Force musician and finance director, and has two amazing and wonderful young children, Ellington and Simone.
TOM ANDRÉ BARDWELL (Program Director) is a performance artist and arts administrator known for facilitation, people and culture management, budget operations, and copywriting.
His creative leadership style inspires teams to produce and develop transformative programs and projects while prioritizing financial health, clear communications and cultural responsiveness.
He is a member of the 2022-2023 cohort of artEquity’s BIPOC Leadership Circle; Hue, a social impact, tech-enabled community platform; and Public Art Exchange (PAX), an open and transparent network for the Public Art field. Prior to this, he served as an advisor to ARTS at King Street Station, a cultural hub that highlights communities of color and honors indigenous origins.
Tom André played “Daddy” in Thomas F. DeFrantz’s production of Queer Theory! A Musical Travesty! He also wrote and starred in the choreo-play Declaration at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. His stunning performances as Miss Nicholle Pride in 2007’s “Mangos with Chili,” the multi-genre touring production of Queer and Trans People of Color artists across North America and Canada, led to a nine-year residency at Jacque’s Cabaret for the legendary drag revue, “Perestroika: Hosted by Katya.”
His administrative background includes contributions to the work at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Cascade Public Media, ACT Theatre, School’s Out Washington, and the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth.
Tom André earned an M.A. in Theater Education from Emerson College, and B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology from Hiram College.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
REGGIE VAN LEE (Board Chair, Co-Founder) is an Executive Partner and Managing Director at the global consulting firm AlixPartners and a Senior Advisor at the private equity firm the Carlyle Group. He was formerly a Partner and Chief Transformation Officer at Carlyle and was also a member of Carlyle’s Operating Committee.
Prior to Carlyle, Reggie spent 32 years at the global technology and management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, where, before retiring as Executive Vice President and Senior Partner, he led numerous business units across multiple industries and was Managing Partner of Booz Allen’s NY office. Prior to Booz Allen, he served as a research engineer with Exxon’s production research company.
Reggie is a co-founder and board chair of the Black Theatre Coalition and a member of the board of directors of Fortitude Re, Gallup Inc, Deep Labs (where he serves as board chair), OmniSpeech (where he serves as non Executive Chair), the Women’s Venture Capital Fund II, National CARES Mentoring Movement (where he serves as board chair), John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (appointed by President Barack Obama), Blair House Foundation, the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts (where he serves as board chair) and the Studio Museum in Harlem. He also serves as the Chair of the Washington DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (appointed by Mayor Muriel Bowser). He formerly served as board chair of Washington Performing Arts, board chair of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, board chair of the Evidence Dance Company and as board vice chair of the Washington Ballet. He was named one of the top 25 consultants in the world by Consulting Magazine, selected as a Washington Minority Business Leader by the Washington Business Journal, selected as one of New York’s finest Philanthropists and named Black Engineer of the Year by Black Engineer magazine. He holds both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from MIT and an MBA from Harvard University.
NAILA MCKENZIE is Director, Inclusion Strategy, Business Affairs & Legal Counsel, serving as in-house counsel for the Disney Theatrical Group’s Broadway, domestic and international live stage play business while also supporting diversity, equity and inclusion efforts throughout the business. Naila is also an active member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of The Broadway League and founded Disney Theatrical Group’s first employee resource group, Ensemble, in 2018.
AALIYTHA STEVENS is the Founder of Ashé Collective, a consulting firm specializing in Audience Development and Operational Strategy. She serves as the Chief Strategy Officer at Art House, and the Director of Strategic Planning and Cultural Affairs at Houses on the Moon Theater Company. Additionally, she is the Co-founder of Building Community, a values-driven Multimedia Communications company dedicated to being architects of transformation and collective prosperity.
Prior to these ventures, Aaliytha served as the Chief Operating Officer at Spotco, a global theatrical design and advertising agency, where she worked for 21 years.
Aaliytha is passionate about philanthropic giving so she founded Essential Development Group Inc, a not-for-profit focused on community development activities and uplifting youth. As such, she developed the Bedford to Broadway program in collaboration with LIU Brooklyn’s Liberty Partnership. She also dedicates time to developing fair workplace practices, and equity and diversity throughout the Broadway industry (and beyond). Aaliytha is a trendsetter and cultural shaper, improving statistics from the root up. As such, she is on the boards of the Black Theatre Coalition (BTC) and the New Heritage Theatre Group. She’s a member of the advisory council of National Black Theatre’s (NBT) Catalyst Seeding Permanence, and The Theatre Leadership Project (TTLP). She co-chairs the Multicultural Task Force at the Broadway League while sitting on their EDI and Business Development Committees. Proudly, she is a member of the Broadway Women’s Alliance (BWA) and Women of Color in the Arts (WOCA).
As BTC grows its network of Black theatre professionals be sure to follow us on all our channels for the most up to date information, news and announcements.
Engage in the Conversation
Discover opporunities to become a partner, advocate or mentor, and join the BTC Network of Black Theatre Professionals.