Tonya Pinkins Named Fordham Theatre Program's New Denzel Washington Chair | Playbill

Education News Tonya Pinkins Named Fordham Theatre Program's New Denzel Washington Chair

The Tony winner will become an integral part of the program, leading workshops and teaching a course entitled Creating a Character.

Tonya Pinkins James Alexander

Tony winner Tonya Pinkins has been named the next Denzel Washington Chair in Theatre at Fordham College at Lincoln Center, part of Fordham University.

Beginning this fall, the stage and screen star will become an integral part of the college's theatre program, attending and offering feedback for student performances and leading workshops on building resilience, learning through failure, and taking creative risks. Pinkins will also teach a course in her discipline, Creating a Character, where students will develop the skills necessary to breathe life and imagination into their performances.

“We are so honored and excited to have the incomparable visionary artist Tonya Pinkins at Fordham Theatre. Her presence will have a transformational impact on the program and within Fordham University,” says May Adrales, director of the Fordham Theatre program.

“I am looking forward to learning how my work and experience can be of service to the architects of the future of the arts in our world,” adds Pinkins.

Pinkins is the 13th chair holder; the position was established in 2011 by alum and Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington. Past chairs include Regina Taylor, Kenny Leon, and, most recently, Mimi Lien.

Pinkins won the 1992 Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her work in Jelly's Last Jam and was also Tony-nominated for her performances in Caroline, or Change and Play On!. She has also earned Clarence Derwent, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, Lucille Lortel, Obie, and AUDELCO awards.

In addition to her work as an actor, Pinkins is also a filmmaker: Her debut feature film, Red Pill, was named an official selection at the 2021 Pan African Film Festival, won the Best Black Lives Matter Feature and Best First Feature at the Mykonos International Film Festival, and is nominated for festival awards worldwide. As an author, she has written two books, Get Over Yourself! How to Drop the Drama and Claim the Life You Deserve (Hachette Books, 2006) and Red Pill Unmasked: A Movie Making Memoir (Red Pill Movie 2020 LLC).

Also a longtime educator, Pinkins has taught at institutions across the world, including America University in Beirut, Old Globe London, the National Theater, Yale, ACT, UT Austin, Rutgers, UCSD, USD, University of Louisville, City College in New York, and New York University.

Look Back at the Original Broadway Production of Caroline, or Change

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