A native of New Orleans, Jackie Alexander is an award-winning actor, writer, producer, director, former Artistic Director of The Billie Holiday Theatre, and current Artistic Director of The North Carolina Black Repertory Company, producers of The National Black Theatre Festival. His debut feature film Joy, on which he served as actor, writer, and director was awarded Best Feature Film by the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. The film also earned Best Actor and Best Screenplay honors for Jackie on the festival circuit. Jackie’s debut novel, Our Daily Bread, was published by Turner Publishing in the fall of 2012.
After a sixteen-year relationship working as an actor, writer, director, and producer with The Billie Holiday Theatre in New York, Jackie was named Artistic Director of the theatre in 2013. As Artistic Director, he oversaw a redesign of the theatre’s website, expanded programming to include a reading series, developmental workshops, film screenings, and topical community discussion panels, and launched new fundraising initiatives like the Back the Billie campaign and a 2014 cultivation event that attracted high profile guests such as filmmaker Malcolm Lee, actors Wendell Pierce and Michael Potts, and Publicist Terri Williams. Publicity from this event substantially raised BHT’s profile to kick-off the 2014-2015 season, resulting in coverage by the New York Times and other NY media, partnerships with The Brooklyn Historical Society and BRIC Media Arts, and attendance by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray at BHT’s 2015 production of Brothers from the Bottom. During Jackie’s two-year tenure as Artistic Director, BHT was awarded a prestigious Mellon Grant, the first private funding awarded to the theatre in over thirty years and nominated for an astounding seventeen AUDELCO awards for excellence in Black Theatre; taking home the top prize nine times.
In in first season as Artistic Director of The North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NC Black Rep), Jackie established partnerships on productions with the Wake Forest Baptist Sticht Center on Aging, Susan G. Komen, N.W., The North Carolina ALS Association, and the Winston Salem Symphony. Additional partnerships with The Gantt Center for African-American Culture in Charlotte and An Appalachian Festival in Boone allowed NC Black Rep to expand its artistic footprint in North Carolina with productions in both cities. During the 2017 National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF), NC Black Rep’s signature event, Jackie directed two productions, Angelica Cheri’s The Sting of White Roses and Cheryl Davis’ Maid’s Door and produced a city-wide Health Fair focusing on disparities within the African American Community. His inaugural Artistic Director Meet and Greet at NBTF 2017 connected festival playwrights and directors with producers from across the country, including Broadway producers Stephen Byrd, Alia Jones-Harvey, and Ron Simmons.
Stage directing credits include the World Premieres of his critically acclaimed plays Brothers from the Bottom, The High Priestess of Dark Alley, The Legend of Buster Neal, The Right Reverend Dupree in Exile, The Desire, and Birthright. Additional directing credits include the New Orleans premiere of Jelly’s Last Jam (Five Big Easy Awards including Best Musical), Lemon Meringue Façade by Ted Lange, Losing The Light, The Waiting Room by Tony Nominee Samm-Art Williams, The Resurrection of Alice, and world premieres of Finding Home, Fati’s Last Dance, Maid’s Door (Seven AUDELCO awards including Best Drama), Plenty of Time, The Sting of White Rose, Storm Stories—True Stories From Hurricane Katrina, and Matisse’s Self Portrait by OBIE winner Charles Mee. Jackie’s direction of Plenty of Time and Maid’s Door was honored with productions at the 2005 & 2015 National Black Theatre Festivals, while his plays The High Priestess of Dark Alley and The Legend of Buster Neal received that distinction in 2009 and 2011.
A short list of stage acting credits include: Plenty of Time, Acted Within Proper Departmental Procedure, Losing The Light, Imperfection Flawed, The Death of Bessie Smith, Romance, Revolution, & War, Tell Pharaoh, The Authors Voice, which he produced on Theatre Row, and the originating role of “Prophet Solomon Jones” in Raisin’ Hell, a musical premiere by Motown Legend William “Smokey” Robinson. Jackie has also been featured on two recordings Spoken Melodies and the critically and socially acclaimed The Price of Freedom-The Amadou Project, both produced by the late jazz great Weldon Irvine.
The OBIE and AUDELCO award-winning Billie Holiday Theatre in New York devoted its entire 2010-2011 season to Jackie’s work; commissioning him to write three new plays and making him the only playwright in the storied history of the theatre to receive that honor.