S. Denise O'Neal
Founding Executive Director/Playwright
Named a recipient of the Mary McCloud Bethune Award (National Council of Negro Women, 2015) and one of the “100 Creatives” of 2014 by the Houston Press, Ms. O'Neal has been a writer, director, and producer for over twenty years and has most recently become a published playwright. She is the Executive Director of Shabach Enterprise, a non-profit theater company based in Houston, TX. Her critically acclaimed productions include Ms. Lily's Groove, Just A Few Feet Away, Bagel Anyone? Fly In The Windshield (Broadway World's “Editor's Pick for Best New Play”, 2013) Seeing Green and In One Breath. In 2013, she founded the national play festival, Fade To Black, celebrating the new works of Black playwrights, which is the first of its kind for Houston, TX. She is currently a member of the Dramatist Guild, a former board member of Scriptwriters/Houston, and is very active in the Houston theatre community.
Yvonne J Phillips-Dupree
Board President Emeritus
A recent retiree, proudly devoted 36 years to the students in the Houston Independent School District. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of California at Los Angeles. She taught theatre arts at Ross Sterling Senior High for 20 years, and her plays advanced to the University Interscholastic League’s One Act Play Competition five times. She has directed professionally at both the Encore and the Ensemble Theaters in Houston, Texas. Plays that she has directed include:
Of Mice and Men,
Ceremonies in Dark Old Men,
To Be Young Gifted and Black,
All My Sons,
and a host of others.
Jabari Collins is currently serving his 10th year as technical director for G. W. Carver High Magnet, and the award-winning Panther Players troupe #6753. He was selected as the Texas Educator's Theatre Association 2021 Secondary Teacher of the Year. He was awarded the coveted title of Carver High School’s 2015 Teacher of the Year & was a district secondary teacher of the Year finalist. Jabari is the proud parent of Cameron Lee Collins and a veteran of the United States Army where he served for nine months in Balad, Iraq. Jabari received his bachelor's of art and his Master's in Education Administration degree from Prairie View A&M University. Jabari worked closely under the tutelage of the legendary Professor C. Lee. Turner, where he met his co-worker Roshunda Jones. During his limited free time, you can catch Mr. Collins working as an actor/technician, also serving as an independent scenic contractor, and collaborating with numerous organizations within the Houston area. He often works for IATSE Local 51 and is a technician with Generations AV He is the board secretary for Shabach Enterprise and Production manager/technical director for "Fade to Black", the first playwright festival for African American playwrights in Houston. His directorial & choreographic credits include Jelly’s Last Jam, Once On This Island, Ghost, Hairspray, Memphis, In the Heights, Color Purple, Little Shop of Horrors, Porgy, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, The Me Nobody Knows, Thoughts of a Colored Man, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, The Face of Emmett Till, & To Be Young Gifted & Black, Carmen jones, Sister Act, The Diviners, Holy Ghost, & Dreamgirls to name a few. He is a certified UIL contest manager, uil technical adjudicator, and member of USITT, and serves as house manager/ adjudicator for Texas Thespians.
Trey Morgan Lewis
Graphic Arts Director/Artist
Trey Morgan Lewis is a proud Houstonian with a strong presence in the Houston Theatre Community, where he has dedicated over ten years of his life. Throughout his journey in the community, Trey has taken on various roles, from being a founding executive director to serving as an usher. However, his deepest passion lies in the art of performing on stage.
Currently, Trey Morgan holds the esteemed position of Co. Theatre Director at Ross Shaw Sterling Aviation Early College, which proudly houses the renowned Ross Shaw Sterling Players Troupe# 10941. He follows in the footsteps of the great directors who have come before him, such as Yvonne Phillips Dupree and Evette Masson-Furguson.
Trey's theatrical career boasts an impressive array of notable performance credits. Audiences have witnessed his exceptional talent in productions such as "Sister Act" and "The Wiz" at TUTS (Theatre Under The Stars), "Godspell" at MVE (Moore Vision Entertainment), "Dog Act" at Main Street Theater, "Passing Strange" at BTC (Bayou Theatre Company/The Sankofa Collective), and "The Color Purple" at Carver Theatre. He has worked with great artists such as Tony Award Nominated Director Robert O'Hara, Tony Award Winning Educator Roshunda Jones-Koumba, Theatre Under the Stars Artistic Director Dan Knechtges, the late R&B and Broadway Legend Mrs. Marva Hicks, and many other phenomenal artists.
With every performance, Trey Morgan Lewis strives to bring captivating stories to life on stage. He appreciates and values the support given to The Arts, recognizing its importance in enriching society.
VP of Marketing
Dabrina Sandifer lives on the purpose of serving historically excluded populations through avenues including the arts & nonprofit leadership. Her educational background includes HSPVA, University of Houston-Central, and Rice University. She’s the Founding Executive Artistic Director & Programming Manager for Esurient Arts providing entertainment for private & corporate events, curation, production of live performances, and more. Esurient Arts has an upcoming National Endowment for the Arts funded collaboration with Mildred’s Umbrella slated to premiere in May 2021. Ms. Sandifer is also the producer/broadcaster for Dark Mondays on Mondays at 4:30 pm (CST) on www.allrealradio.com. She wants to encourage all to "Live on purpose and your purpose will live on.” For business inquiries, please contact Esurient Arts at email@example.com.
Errol Anthony Wilks
VP of Development
Errol Anthony Wilks is a native of Clarendon, Jamaica who makes his home in Houston, Texas. His directing credits include Drums Of Sweet Water, Long Time Since Yesterday, The Island, The Sirens, Indigo Blues, Topdog/Underdog, Once In A Wifetime, Widowed, The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot, and Spirits Of The Mississippi River. Errol Anthony is a Producing Partner and Co-Founder of the production company, Hawk in Flight Spin23 Entertainment. Along with his partners Timothy Eric, Don Robey, and Corey Shields have produced three feature films as well as the award-winning, film short The Insured. A graduate of Texas Southern University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre/Cinema, Errol Anthony is a proud veteran of the US NAVY.
Board Member At Large
Andrea Adams Jones is a long time supporter of the Theater and Fine Arts. For the past several years she has been a board member of Shabach Enterprises which sponsors the Fade to Black Play Festival, which is Houston’s only short play festival to provide a platform exclusively for African American playwrights; Fade To Black Reading Series and Fade to Black Monologue Series. She serves as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Fade To Black Play Festival. Andrea is a long time volunteer for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo where she serves on the Rodeo Merchandise Committee. She is also a member of Women of Wine (WOW) which was founded by women who work in the wine industry and which supports the Houston Area Women’s Center. She is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Andrea was formerly an English teacher in the Houston Independent School District. Andrea has recently retired from Exxon Mobil Corporation where she was a paralegal in the Litigation Section of the Law Department.
Board Member At Large
Ezekiel has been involved in the element of theatre for more than 35 years, acting, teaching, coaching, and directing. Ezekiel graduated from the High School for Performing Arts in Houston and received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Prairie View A&M University in Theatre and Counseling and a Master of Arts in Theatre from Texas A&M University-Commerce. He studied abroad at Williams University with The Williamstown Theatre Festival and Yale University School of Drama. Ezekiel received several accolades in theatre from acting to directing to producing. Among the honors Ezekiel was the winner of the Prestigious Irene Ryan award (ACTF) National Regional Winner (the Oscars on the collegiate level), along with this award, he has been in several publications of Who’s Who. He has been a guest director for several productions in and out of the state of Texas. Ezekiel has been an Adjunct Theatre Professor at Texas Southern University and is currently an Adjunct at Blinn College. Ezekiel has been involved with the Fade To Black Play Festival for the past 5 years and loved every bit of it. Ezekiel has conducted workshops and judges in and out of the state of Texas. As founder and Artistic Director of Utake -1. He continues to strive to “create worlds that no one knew existed”.
Board Member At Large
I am Francine Melton Bryant, a board member of Fade to Black. Currently I work as a Program Coordinator for the VAST Academy at Houston Community College SW/Stafford campus, where I help young adults with special needs get ready for the work world. Formerly, I worked for Houston I.S.D. where I served as an Educational Diagnostician, Speech Therapist, Sp. Ed. Coordinator, Registrar and Special Education Teacher for 35 years.
As a Sp. Ed. Teacher, I wrote two plays during Black History month for my kids, because they did not try out for the regular school plays. One of those students went on to become a local entertainer in Houston. I assisted Thomas Meloncon in several of his early productions while working in HISD.
Upon retirement I volunteered at the Adult Reading Center in Pearland, Texas where I taught international students to read and speak English. I ended up working there for five years, but I only wanted to volunteer.
In high school and college, I continued my dance and drama endeavors by acting and dancing in several productions. Oh, did I mention that Ruth Denney was my drama teacher at the Alley Theatre and at Lamar High School.
I am a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
I genuinely have a passion for theatre and that lead me to the Fade to Black Festivals, where I began to volunteer in various capacities. As we begin a new season, I plan to continue to support the many aspects of Fade to Black.
CLARA J. VEAL, Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) served in the United States Army Reserve for thirty years. She is also retired from the federal government after thirty-three years. Her current avocation is an entrepreneur with interest in a tax preparation and accounting company.
She served as a volunteer on a committee for the Texas State Bar of Lawyer Discipline that reviews complaints filed against lawyers. Currently, she volunteers with the National Women of Achievement, Shabach Enterprise, and Her Voice.
She attended Dotson Elementary School, Attucks Jr. High School and graduated from Worthing Senior High School. She also received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in Accounting from Texas Southern University. Her graduate education includes a Graduate Certificate in Accounting and Business Management from Southern New Hamshire University.
She is married to Mark A. Veal and has two daughters, Cheherazade (George) and Christine. The joy of her life are her grandchildren, Joshua and Clarissa. She is a member of the South Union Church of Christ where she is a member and teacher. Additonally, she is a golder member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Lea Jones (Director, Executive Producer, Co-Founder of MorningStar Media Group, LLC,
Fade to Black Executive Board member and Secretary) is a graduate of Texas Southern
University with a BS degree in Environmental Health, Associate degree in Nursing from
Houston Community, and attended Houston Community College Film School. She has been
involved with the Christian theater circuit since 1998 as a writer and director. Film Directing
Credits include Circadian Rhythm (Finalist at Gulf Coast Film and Video Festival 2015). Film
Producing Credits include: Dreamland Murders; winner of (6) Awards for Best of Film and
Silver REMI Award at the 2015 World Fest Houston Film Festival, and We’re All Made of Stars,
Platinum Remi at the 2017 World Fest Houston Film Festival. Commercial Directing Credit
includes a national political commercial for 2020 independent presidential candidate Jade
Simmons. Theater Directing Credits include Emancipation at the Atlanta Black Theater Festival
2013, and Fade to Black Festival 2019 for Dazed and Stunned by Renee Nixon. Theater
producing credits include Emancipation 2008 & 2013, Liberators: An American Musical,
Houston Workshop 2017 and the Chicago Musical Festival 2018.
“I thank God for the opportunity to use my gift to inspire and impact others, to my family for
their love and support, our cast & crew for their commitment, and my church, Word of
Restoration International Church, for always challenging me to grow and strive for excellence.”