Yeauxlanda Kay Welcomes You
Welcome to my first and only official website. Here you will find information about myself, my career, latest projects, upcoming events, and learn so much more about my work. I appreciate your interest and involvement in my professional endeavors, and invite you to explore my site for more.
YEAUXLANDA KAY (Playwright/Actor) aka YOLANDA K. WILKINSON has been dubbed " one of the country's most respected and talented spoken word artists” by Playbill, "charismatic and funny" by Dan Bacalzo of Theatremania and "Brilliant" by Inside New York. She appeared in the New York Neo-Futurists’ production of LOCKER #4173b, winner of the 2011 NYIT Award and called “smart” by The New York Times. She has performed
at The Public Theatre, Lincoln Center, Cherry Lane, Manhattan Theatre Club, Classical Theatre of Harlem, The National Black Theatre Festival 2001 & 2005, and The New Black Theatre Festival with Suzan Lori Parks and Lynn Nottage in 2010.She toured the nation with the poetry trio, The Morrigan in
2000 and 2001, was the 2001 VH-1 Slam Champion and 2002 MTVSlam Finalist. She is featured in Slamnation 2 and Busboys &
Poets in Washington D.C., reading excerpts from her book, "The Power of F*ck It". Her first solo play, Untitled & Unfinished, was last seen in
festivals all over the country, including The Downtown Urban Theater Festival, The Los Angeles Women's Theater Festival
and The ASPEN COMEDY FESTIVAL 2004. She aired on The Peabody Award-winning, Russell Simmons' HBO Def Poetry Jam, (seasons
3 & 4). She can be seen in the HBO film Undefeated directed by and starring John Leguizamo and What Goes Around, winner
of Best Urban Film in The NY Independent Film Festival 2004. She was in the workshop of The Black Mann Act: The Trial of
Jack Johnson by Gamal Chasten and directed by John Gould Rubin January 2011. She played the role of "Fee" in Mac Rogers' Sovereign, a part
of the Honeycomb Trilogy, a New York Times and Time Out NY Critic’s Pick and New York Times and Guardian's Best Theatre
of 2015. Her trilogy of one acts, Mythology, made its debut at the Nuyorican Theatre in January 2004 and then moved on to
a SMOKIN' WORD studio presentation at The Manhattan Theatre Club in February 2004. Commissioned by the Kerry Campaign,
she wrote Bushwackin’, which made its premiere in September 2004. She is a co-writer and artist in History of the Word
and Union Square Project, which opened during Crossroads Theater's 2004-2005 seasons and Genesis Playwrights'
Festival, respectively. She was one of eight hand-picked poet/actors to be in residence at Kennedy Center in July
2005. Her play Hue was accepted to the 2005 National Black Theatre Festival's Readers' Theatre. Her play Inheritance was
a part of Primary Stages' Playwright's Festival in 2009 and presented by Red Harlem Readers January 2011. The Story of
Ron & Thoto, a story told from the point of view of chimpanzees, was read at Primary Stages' ESPA Studios and
considered for a Sloane grant in 2011. She was a part of the 2013 Fire This Time Festival in Kevin R. Free's Crisis of the
Negro Intellectual. She has also been a New York Neo-Futurist since 2005, and can be seen in Too Much Light Makes The Baby
Go Blind, which was listed as one of Forbes' “Best Theatre of 2015: Broadway and Beyond”. She can also be heard as the
voice of "Sarai" in the podcast play, Acirfa by Aja Houston on Play x Play. And was a guest on John Fugelsang’s TELL ME
EVERYTHING on SiriusXM Insight. Her latest solo play BIBLE STUDY FOR HEATHENS (nominated for a NYIT award for Best Solo Performance)
ran at Judson Memorial Church where she was called “captivating” by New York Theatre Review and a “masterful storyteller” by
Theatre Is Easy.
She recently completed filming her reoccuring role as "Carmen" in the first season of EXTRA ROOM.
Some of my career
Poet- Russell Simmons' HBO Def Poetry Jam (seasons 3 & 4)
Peabody Award Season 4
Solo Performer - BIBLE STUDY FOR HEATHENS
I wrote and performed this solo play about my journey through 10 religions. It was nominated for a NYIT award for Best Solo Performance.
Solo Performer- UNTITLED&UNFINISHED [ASPEN COMEDY FESTIVAL]
My first solo play about my having to move nine times in my first eighteen months of living in NYC. I toured with this show to the Los Angeles Women's Festival.
Lysistrata- LYSISTRATA [Classical Theater Of Harlem]
Titania- Midsummer Night's Dream [Gaines Theater/Theater Of Virginia: Theatre for Young Audiences/Fools For Shakespeare] Helena - Midsummer Night's Dream [New Perspectives Theater
My favorite Shakespeare comedy. I have played Titania twice.
Fee- SOVEREIGN/The Honeycomb Trilogy
Tessa - The Unlikely Ascent Of Sybil Stevens
Actors' Fund Theater
NYC Fringe Audience Favorite
Carmen - EXTRA ROOM
Reoccuring character in the webseries EXTRA ROOM.
The Assassin- WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND
Urban Film Award
"Docent"- LOCKER 4173b
2011 NYIT Award winner
Finnie - The Beloved Dearly [Lincoln Center Institute]
Directed by Liz Swados for Lincoln Center's Educational wing
Salome - ALMELEM
NYC Fringe Favorite
Artist in Residence - Kennedy Center 2005
Poet - Page and Stage
Urbana Slam Team, Bar 13 Slam Team, VH-1 Grand Slam Champion, 60 Minutes Manhattan Slam Team feature, Wandering Uterus Tour/ The Morrigan
Shakespeare - Oxford Shakespeare/Fiona Shaw Shakepeare - Melinda Hall Acting Technique - John Gould Rubin Coaching - Susan Batson/Black Nexxus
BA Theatre Arts/Speech Communications Hampton University Gallatin School/NYU Creative Arts Team
Contact me for more information about my career and past experience.
BIBLE STUDY FOR HEATHENS
What the Critics Say
"BOTTOM LINE: A funny and politically pointed jab at the sexism, homophobia, and material indulgences of ten major religions.
As the audience enters New York City’s Judson Church—well-known as one of the City’s most progressive religious institutions—and climbs the stairs to The Loft, they are greeted by a robed monk (Connor Scully) who points them to a table. Small piles of sand cover the small slab. A few inches away cups of granules in a variety of colors sit in wait. As the barefoot monk invites the guests to add a personal flourish to the evolving mandala, some walk directly to their seats while others stop to contribute.
By the time actor Yolanda Wilkinson enters the room, many hands have added to the motif and as Gregorian chants fill the space the mood is reflective and serene. But it doesn’t last long.
“I have fantasized about killing people,” Wilkinson confesses as she stands before the assembled crowd in Bible Study for Heathens’ opening scene. She follows this with a hit list of sorts, naming ISIS, the Westboro Baptist Church, money-grubbing televangelists, and misogynist hatemongers as potential targets. Then, once the audience’s attention is captured, she continues, admitting that despite these dark impulses she also revels in the “beauty of what was and is.”
These dueling feelings are unsettling to Wilkinson. After all, she asks, can God be present in those who are hateful? Can a bigot embrace the divine?
They’re serious questions, but Wilkinson is a masterful storyteller and she weaves hilarious and incisive digs into the account of her personal exploration of 10 religions: Baptist, Catholic, non-denominational Christian, Hindu, Messianic Jewish, Presbyterian, Scientology, Transcendentalism, and Wicca, among them. As she describes her forays into each faith, puppets and images projected onto a screen are used to embellish the narration. In addition, audience members are periodically asked to sing, read, and partake in rituals. For her part, Wilkinson frequently walks among the spectators, making eye contact, shaking hands, and making this less a production to observe than an interactive experience.
What’s more, as you’d likely expect, despite its abundant humor, Bible Study for Heathens has more than a few intense moments. Indeed, when Wilkinson describes the pain of losing both parents within two months of one another, followed by her grandmother’s death several years later, it is not surprising to hear her admit that she “told God she hated Him.” Nonetheless, she came to understand that grief is as ephemeral as a sand mandala, and despite numerous encounters with charlatans and hustlers, at their core she discovered that all religions are the same. In fact, when the philosophies of the world’s major religions are parsed for their most essential tenets, the faithful do not need either a place to worship or a leader to guide their way. Instead, she explains, they need to follow one simple rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
(Bible Study for Heathens plays at The Loft at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, through May 26, 2016. The running time is 75 minutes with no intermission. Remaining performances will take place on May 19 20, 21, 22, 24 and 26 at 8; additional performances have been scheduled for 3 on the 21st and 22nd.Tickets are $18 and are available from the church box office or by going to nyneofuturists.org. For more information visit nyneofuturists.org.)" -Theater Is Easy
"Religion is one of those topics that is personally comforting but when discussed out loud in a group, it becomes a hot button topic. No matter the context, someone is going to feel something. And that's ever-present in the New York Neo-Futurists production of Yolanda K. Wilkinson's Bible Study for Heathens. The solo show is a guided meditation of one women's journey through religions and finding something or someone to believe in.
A solo show about faith in the 21st Century, Wilkinson takes the audience on a ride of her life as she instilled her knowledge without preaching. The monologue play follows Wilkinson at a young age to today as she tries out an assortment of Faith's during crucial checkpoints in her life. From Christianity to Born Again to Judaism, Wilkinson discovers at the base there is commonality but no matter what she learns her believes belong to her and solely her. Wilkinson is a spiritually grounded performer. She uses her experiences to bring out the best in her stage persona. She layers in sly cynicism that adds a needed aura of humor into the theme.
But as captivating a performer Wilkinson is, Bible Study for Heathens encountered some roadblocks. Finding the true intent of the piece was a bit blurry for Wilkinson and director Joey Rizzolo. But that may strictly be blamed on the structure of the piece in regards to venue. You could not ask for a more fitting venue for the show. The loft at Judson Memorial Church allowed Wilkinson's voice to echo as the arches of the church were lit. But because there are no true "house lights", the audience was in full glow. And without Establishing a safe space for the audience, there was an overall sense of discomfort in the room. Religion, even in this context, can make someone Uncomfortable and by forcing the audience to partake without an "invitation" can hurt the flow and momentum. It's a general woe of solo shows that just happened to be amplified in Bible Study for Heathens. From a directorial perspective, Rizzolo made the transitions clean and tried his best to utilize the various props into the beat shifts.
Even with the restrictions of space, Rizzolo and his team made some strong artistic choices. The projection design by Cara Francis was a clever mix of fun and evocative. They helped propel the story forward. Sans the house lights lighting from Sarah Livant, did a phenomenal exploring the different looks the space provided. From the black lampshade spots to highlighting the architecture of the space, Livant’s design was purposeful.
Bible Study for Heathens was an interesting story to say the least. Yolanda K. Wilkinson has offered an incredibly interesting theatrical presentation." -Theater In The Now
"Some people believe that theatre is a deeply religious experience. Others believe that the rituals of church are inherently theatrical. Occasionally, church and art blend together in new and captivating ways. Bible Study for Heathens, a charming new solo show performing at Judson Memorial Church Loft, does just that. Written and performed by Yolanda K. Wilkinson, she dramatizes her own personal experiences to investigate, and ultimately celebrate, the search for religion.
Much like a traditional Christian church service, audience members file in, are handed missals, and are invited to greet their neighbor. Wilkinson speaks to the audience directly from a pulpit, but her sermon is far from traditional. She declares that religion is “a societal function the way farts are a bodily function. Both should be done in private.” From the moment she speaks, she proves herself to be a captivating performer with a fascinating personal history. Her piece is framed around all ten (yes ten) of the different religions she has embraced: including Presbyterianism, Buddhism, Born Again, and even Scientology. Her observations range from sardonic and hilarious to deeply vulnerable. Regardless of religion, all of Bible Study for Heathens is tempered with imaginative theatricality.
Bible Study for Heathens is presented by the wildly creative New York Neo-Futurists; and their influence is very present in Wilkinson’s piece. In one moment, fabric cutouts of Adam and Eve underscore Wilkinson’s devastating revelation that, “Misogyny is the original sin.” In another, we screen a hilarious video of a sock puppet retelling of the tale of David and Goliath. And without ruining the surprise, the conceit used for Scientology is beyond clever. Dressed in Jesus robes, director Joey Rizzolo shepherds (literally and figuratively) the delightfully unpredictable staging. Rizzolo makes good use of the Judson Memorial Church’s balcony space, treating it like an eccentric black box. And although the venue adds site specific flare to Wilkinson’s text, the large empty space of the main level occasionally sucks energy away from the performance. This does a disservice to her: Wilkinson is strong enough that she could easily command an entire church congregation without losing the intimacy of her material.
Wilkinson’s parting words are beautifully moving, making a point that transcends religion. Regardless of your own personal spirituality, Bible Study for Heathens will change how you see the need for religion" -New York Theater Review
This was my solo show exploring the ten religions I practiced on my journey to find happiness and fulfillment.
A secularist's take on the Greatest Story Ever Told."The balance between the character’s individual faiths (or lack thereof) and their more earthly motivations– money, power, and prestige– is fascinating to watch unfold on stage, especially in the hands of Williams’ smart script and the cast of talented actors." -Lavender After Dark"Yeauxlanda Kay gave a strong performance, aided in no small part by the excellently nuanced character that Sean Williams has created." -Stage Buzz
The Unlikely Ascent Of Sybil Stevens
News & Reviews
"In fact, with the possible exception of opportunistic TV host Tessa MacKenzie (Yeauxlanda Kay playing a convincingly gross Oprah Winfrey knockoff), you get the feeling that everyone in this play is a nice person." - Theater Mania"Tessa MacKenzie was slicky played by Yeauxlanda Kay." - Stage Buzz
Friendly Neighborhood Deathtrap
What the Critics Say
Not a review but and article about me in Backstage.https://www.backstage.com/magazine/article/friendly-neighborhood-deathtrap-60628/
What I've Done
Guest on John Fugelsang's 'Tell Me Everything' on SiriusXM
The comedian who is the child of a priest and and nun wanted to hear from the woman who has been 10 religions.
The Honeycomb Trilogy
The Honeycomb Trilogy by Mac Rogers. A sci-fy thriller for the stage. This project holds a very special place in my heart. I couldn’t have worked with a better team, who provided me the support and guidance I needed to elevate my act. I was in the third play of the trilogy, SOVEREIGN. On the weekends we would perform the entire trilogy and we always had sold out audiences for the nine hour performances. Dean and Deluca even created a menu naming sandwiches and wraps after characters in the play. What an honor!
A NYC Fringe Audience Favorite
Russell Simmon's HBO Def Poetry Jam [Season IV appearance]
You can see my performance here.https://youtu.be/joQ9rv4Dy1A
EXITTHEAPPLE presents STORY episode 3 'MAMA"
watch me tell a wild NYC story here: