Tag Archives: For Colored Girls

Stepping into the limelight: TSU alum shares experience of performing on Broadway ‘For Colored Girls’

Matching hard work with faith was the recipe for success as TSU alum Kala Ross performed as an understudy in the 2022 Tony-nominated Broadway revival of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls.

The 2017 graduate said the experience was one to cherish forever.

“This was everything I’ve ever prayed for,” Ross said.

TSU alum Kala Ross moved to New York to pursue her dream as an actress and performed on Broadway as an understudy ‘For Colored Girls’.

After graduating from the University of Louisville with her masters, Ross began teaching theatre in Georgia. But she knew she was destined to fulfil her passion of becoming an actress. So she moved to New York and auditioned For Colored Girls.

Ross was anxious, but she was prepared after studying her lines, poems and dances as she hit the big stage at the Booth Theatre in May. Ross was an understudy for the character ‘Lady in Yellow.’

For Colored Girls was originally written in 1975 with a combination of spoken word, poetry, music and dance.

Ross described the overall experience as a full circle moment. “For Colored Girls was my final performance at TSU my senior year,” Ross said. “Years later, I am able to do the same production in the circumstances I have dreamed of – which is being on Broadway.”

Dr. Lawrence James, TSU theatre professor who directed the university’s For Colored Girls production during Ross’ senior year, said he wasn’t surprised to hear about his former student stepping into the limelight.  

“Kala is one of our prize graduates from TSU,” James said, noting that he always knew she was going to be successful.

Dr. Lawrence James, TSU theatre professor expresses his excitement for former student Kala Ross as she excels in her career.

James said that Ross was diligent and prepared herself well at TSU for the position she’s in now. He expressed how proud he was when receiving the call from Ross about the role on Broadway.

“The best is yet to come,” he said.

As the show came to an end on June 5, Ross will continue residing in New York to work and continue auditioning for other productions.

“You have to keep the bigger picture in front of your mind even when you can’t see which way you’re going,” Ross said, noting that the road to Broadway wasn’t easy.

Kala Ross attends the 2022 Tony Award show as the production For Colored Girls received seven Tony nominations. (Photo: Submitted)

“You have to believe in yourself so much that you’re willing to fail … that you’re willing to keep picking yourself back up all for your dream,” she said.

“You will see me in a future film. You will see me on TV. You will see me on Broadway again.”

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

About Tennessee State University Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Play ‘For Colored Girls,’ Women of Legend and Merit Awards highlight Women’s History Month at TSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has events planned this month that fittingly celebrate women and their impact on society.

The Women of Legend and Merit Awards, featuring actress/producer Vivica A. Fox as speaker and entertainer Angela Winbush, is scheduled for March 21, and the play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” is set for March 29-April 1.

wolm17_medFirst held in 2007, the WOLM awards is designed to bring awareness and raise funds in support of Tennessee State’s Women’s Center, which offers student-focused programming to empower individuals and student organizations.

The event also salutes women leaders in business and the community.

This year’s honorees are Dr. Stephanie Walker, Vanderbilt University/First lady Mt. Zion Baptist; Cheryl White Mason, Vanderbilt Law School; Teresa Phillips, TSU athletic director; Yvette Boyd, R.H. Boyd Publishing; and Vicki Yates; WTVF Nashville news anchor.

“The event seeks to expose the university’s female student population to positive role models, networking opportunities and resources to assist in their academic, personal and professional growth as women,” said Women’s Center coordinator Seanne Wilson.

forgirlsDr. Lawrence James, director of TSU’s version of the play “For Colored Girls,” said it’s similar to the original play that was written more than 40 years ago.

While he hopes that young women will be educated and empowered by the play’s message, he said it makes an “important statement in regard to issues related to all women.”

“The play deals with a number of subjects that are very relevant today: love relationships, abandonment, rape, abortion, sisterhood, among other issues,” said James, who is professor of theater and also theater coordinator.

Dr. Tracey Ford, vice president of student affairs at TSU, said she hopes there will be strong turnout for both events.

“This month we can pay homage to many of the unsung ‘sheroes,’” Ford said. “Events such as ‘For Colored Girls’ and the Women of Legend and Merit are celebratory and educational for the masses.”

The play will be in TSU’s Performing Arts Center Cox/Lewis Theater. Students with ID get in free; $10 for non-students.

For information about tickets and other questions about WOLM, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/womenscenter/legend.aspx.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.