Jimmy Baldwin and I after I directed his The Amen Corner at Center Stage, Baltimore, MD. Circa 1981. We worked on his last play, The Welcome Table, here the States and in the South of France until his death in 1987. Two readings and one workshop resulted, at my apt in Philly (Jimmy was present), at the University of the Arts, (Philly) and at Lincoln Center in NYC. After that, at least one full production including in London.
Working with James Baldwin on the final draft of his last play, The Welcome Table, at my apartment in Philly, circa 1986. I’m close to the record albums, Jimmy is next to me, and brilliant actress Millicent Sparks is to Jimmy’s left. Other cast members were local actors and students from UArts’ BFA acting program which I started in 1983.
“I visited Jimmy here in the mid-’80s when we were working on his last play, “The Welcome Table.” From here we watched New Year’s fireworks over Nice and the Mediterranean, drank champagne, and drew set designs for the play on paper napkins. It’s hard to believe that this culturally rich and beautiful welcoming villa will no longer exist. My memories of being and creating with Jimmy in this place will last forever.
This photo: a rehearsal of James Baldwin’s “The Welcome Table“, October 1990. Left to right: Walter Dallas, Anita Davenport, Raymond Thomas, Laura Jones.
Walter Dallas November 1, 2013, · Edited · Walter Dallas with South African playwright Athol Fugard. My next directing project: Fugard’s “Boesman and Lena” presented by the Black Theatre Troupe, Phoenix, AZ, in association with Arizona State University’s School of Theatre, Film, and Dance, February 7-16, 2014. — with Athol Fugard at McCarter Theatre, Princeton, NJ.
There are so many stories to share about brother Walter Dallas and I imagine I will as this week unfolds.
One, in particular, I remember on a road trip from LA on Highway 1 in California after giving New Mexico a thought it was decided my family and I that we would travel to San Francisco instead. We stopped at Moonstone beach where the surfers would gather in the morning with their boards to surf the morning waves, we stopped at Big Sur a suggested stop to see some of the world’s tallest tree’s. One anticipated stop for me was Monterey California, I really wanted to stop there so I could finally see the Monterey Fairground where the Monterey Pop Festival of 1967 Summer of Love took place. A festival featuring Otis Redding, Mama’s and the Papa’s, Lou Rawls, Jefferson Airplane, and Jimi Hendrix.
After visiting the Fairground and stepping onto that historic stage we were hungry. Looking for a good restaurant we stumbled upon an antique shop and a bookstore. I remember I had on a Freedom Theatre t-shirt and as I stepped to the register to purchase my book the young caucasian woman at the counter pointed to my t-shirt and said: “Walter Dallas, I know him he’s a great man I remember him from the Philadelphia School of the Arts he was the Dean of the Drama School there, oh wow she said, you know him”. Yes, I said he just directed me in a production of Spunk by George C Wolfe for the Philadelphia Drama Guild at the Annenberg Center at the University of Pennsylvania. She went on “Oh I learned so much from him please say hi for me if you see him again soon”. She gave us directions to Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey but once we got there for lunch, it didn’t open until 5:00 pm for dinner. We got back in the car and after stopping briefly at one of the beaches along the way finally made it to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.
Wow, I thought Walter Dallas has made a tremendous impact on the lives of many. Next up in the winter of the following year Walter cast me as Sterling in Two Trains Running at the Drama Guild, it was my first August Wilson play.
The photo below is of Walter Dallas and Denzel Washington, while in Philadelphia cast in the ensemble of the play Spunk. Walter shared with the cast that he also would be working with Denzel who was in town featured in the film Philadelphia with Tom Hanks and yes I was able to share that story from a summer in Monterey 1992.
Jerome Preston Bates (Actor)
Denzel Washington and Walter Dallas
The Cast of “Eyes of The American” by Samm-Art Williams at Negro Ensemble Company, NYC, 1985. Douglas Turner Ward, Artistic Director. Glynn Turman, Graham Brown Seret Scott, Samm-Art Wiliams, directed by Walter Dallas. I learned so much about directing from Graham in this production. He was so gifted, generous, and pure genius! A million thanks to Douglas Turner Ward!
Elain Graham and Walter Dallas. Working on a new play, The Rabbit Foot by Leslie Lee, with actress Elain Graham, at Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute in Utah. Circa 1988. — (Sundance Utah).
The “Rabbit Foot by Leslie Lee directed by Walter Dallas. (with) Ruben Santiago-Hudson (ctr) – (The Annenberg Center in Philly. In the photo is Denise Burse Fernandez and Irma Campbell and Philly musicians Taj and Arthur.) The cast also included Frances Foster, Willie Woods, Elain Graham, and Michael Beach
[ The blessing that is Walter Dallas touched each of us in a wonderful way.
Well done, now take your rest, King. ]
– Ruben Santiago-Hudson – Director and Actor
Walter Dallas and Clarice Taylor
S. Epatha Merkerson after a performance of Come Back, Little Sheba on Broadway. (2009)
Walter Dallas and Lynn Thigpen (Actress)
Reunion: Walter and Pearl Cleage (Playwright)
Walter Dallas directed Pearl’s brilliant “Blues For An Alabama Sky” at African Continuum (2011)
Walter Dallas with Alice Walker, opening night of my production of The Bluest Eye in San Francisco
Micki Grant and Walter Dallas
Walter Dallas and Louis Gossett, Jr
Walter Dallas, Louis Gossett, and TCG President Teresa Eyring celebrate the Negro Ensemble Company’s fifty’s Anniversary Gala at Emory University, Atlanta. (2017)
Walter Dallas, Indira Etwaroo and Richard Wesley
The cast of AUTUMN with some really cool people: Kenny Leon, Colvin Grannum, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Walter Dallas… yours truly. They are beautiful. Incredible show! — with Michael Chenevert, Pauletta Washington, Colvin W. Grannum, Kenny Leon, Jerome Preston Bates, Walter Dallas, LeKethia Dalcoe, Count Stovall, Terria Joseph, Brent Langdon, Nicole Yvonne Duncan-Smith, Richard Wesley and Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company.
THE CAST OF AUTUMN. – VOTE (2016) Dorian Missick, Pauletta Washington, Jerome Preston Bates, Count Stovall, LeKethia Dalcoe, Walter Dallas, Terria Joseph, Brent Langdon, Norman Small, and Indira Etwaroo.
VIV AWARDS (Audelco)
Dale Shields, Karen Baxter, Phylicia Rashad, Jeffery V. Thompson, George Faison, and Walter Dallas – Symphony Space. NYC. VIV Awards.
Kim Sullivan, Eden Sanaa Duncan Smith and Walter Dallas in New York, New York. (2016) VIV Awards.
Count Stovall and Walter Dallas in New York, New York. VIV Awards.
Arden Theatre Company Follow Joilet Harris, Cathy Pullen, Walter Dallas, Hether Smith, and Marty Tuzman.
Freddie Hendricks, Paul Siler, Barbara Silzle, and Michael Mario Good at SW Atlanta Arts Center.
Today we saw the powerfully moving and imaginative “The Widow LINCOLN,” by James Still, at Ford’s Theatre, Washington, DC. (Left to right) the one and only grill master/chef Paul Siler, the fantastically, multifaceted Lynda Gravatt (Mammy Sally), the fiercely talented specialist in Afro-Cuban dance, Angela Ingram, the ever-amazing Caroline Clay (Elizabeth Keckley), and our new friend and Village member, Chanel Crump. A wonderful afternoon of theatre and fellowship! — with Lynda Gravett, Angela Ingram, and Caroline Stefanie Clay.
Walter Dallas and Patti LaBelle.
Harold Perrineau and Walter Dallas
“With my buddy John Carlos in Oakland, CA, 1974. He was the bronze-medal winner in the 200 meters at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico. He and Tommy Smith created quite a stir when they raised their fists in a Black power salute and went shoeless wearing black socks (representing Black poverty) while accepting their awards.
Walter Dallas and Malik Yoba (Abdul-Malik Kashie “Malik” Yoba)
Walter Dallas with Pulitzer Prizewinner Charles Fuller and Douglas Turner Ward, Founder of the Negro Ensemble Theatre Company, NYC. (2009)
Walter Dallas with Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Fuller
Robert Hooks, Douglas Turner Ward, Pearl Cleage, Walter Dallas, and Louis Gossett Jr. at a gathering of Negro Ensemble Company members at Emory University in Atlanta in October, as part of TCG’s Legacy Leaders of Color Video Project. (Photo by Oz Roberts)
ARCHIVIST, HISTORIAN, and ARTiST
Dale Shields is a professor of theatre, director, and actor (Broadway, Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway, and Regional).
The 2017 winner of The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award®, 2017 and 2015 Tony® award nominee for the Excellence in Theatre Education Award, and the winner of the 2017 AUDELCO/"VIV" Special Achievement Award. On the web, he is the archivist and historian of Iforcolor.org and Black Theatre/African American Voices [Facebook] (theatre, music, and art). He has taught classes and workshops at SUNY Potsdam, Susquehanna University, Denison University, Randolph-Macon College, Macalester College, The College of Wooster, Ohio University, Wayne State University, and the Joseph Papp Public Theatre (New York Shakespeare Festival).
B.F.A. and M.F.A. degree from Ohio University.