By Dale Ricardo Shields“There are so many unsung heroes who have the paved the way for so many of us to become the people we are today. They are the everyday people who inspire and empower us all. They are the people who may never win awards or receive any accolades, but they are the heroes that instill in each of us the power of possibilities.”
Hometown: Birmingham, Ala.
Current home: New York City
A sense of mission: Born in Birmingham in 1963, McMillan-McCall traces his inspiration back to that Civil Rights crucible. “My connection to the year of my birth and the events that occurred during that year have strongly guided my path and choices as an actor, artist, and activist,” he says. Similarly, Project1VOICE bears the imprint of its founding in 2008, in the midst of the unequally distributed financial crisis, as the company’s mission is to “bring awareness to the growing injustice in the arts community—an imbalance of power where certain narratives and creative talents are not valued as much as others, thus preventing them from fully realizing their potential.”
“Sometimes we bleed ourselves dry putting other people’s needs before our own. The times I have gotten in the most trouble are when I don’t put me first. This a-ha moment is finally sinking in for me in my 5th decade on the planet. Yes, It’s taken a while for me to accept this realization. Fortunately, there is no statute of limitations on learning or on those life-changing a-ha moments. The universe has continually conspired in a myriad of ways to unveil and reveal this valuable life lesson which I am now readily able to fully receive!”
Erich graduated from Ramsay High School and received his BFA from Birmingham-Southern College. His Broadway credits include the Who’s Tommy and Chicago. He was a part of the national tours of Dirty Dancin’, Ragtime, Sunset Boulevard, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Dreamgirls, and Jelly’s Last Jam. His television appearances include roles on 30 Rock, One Life to Live, All My Children, and Guiding Light. He has worked in editorial fashion at VOGUE, GQ, VANITY FAIR and GLAMOUR magazines.
Erich McMillan-McCall is founder/CEO of Project1VOICE (P1V) Incorporated. From as early as kindergarten creative expression has always been an integral part of his life. He grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and graduate from Birmingham-Southern College. He began his New York City career in editorial fashion.
Since 2009, he lead the not-for-profit service organization, P1V. Armed with nothing but a dream and tenacity, he formed the organization immediately after the devastating economic downturn. Under his leadership, P1V has beaten the odds and sustained itself. It has grown to include over 40 organization in its worldwide network including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC and the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta. P1V is committed to presenting programs and initiatives that promote and support the American theater. It has played a vital role in making theater accessible to communities, connecting with a widely diverse spectrum of artists, teens, and families through its robust educational initiatives and public programs which have prompted cross-cultural conversations for diverse audiences.
To date, P1V has presented staged readings of Trouble in Mind, The Amen Corner, A Soldier’s Play, Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, Home, and The Colored Museum, respectively.
The founding members of P1V are Gwen Gilliam, Erich McMillan-McCall, Marcia Pendelton, and Charles Randolph-Wright. Through its innovative programming P1V connects and reconnects communities, artists and arts patrons proving that when theatre is executed at its best, it successfully defines how and why we should care about each other and the world we live in. What began as a grassroots organization for survival for Black theater companies has now developed into an international initiative with an unwavering commitment to keeping all aspects of the American theater strong, vital, alive and most importantly funded.