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Keynote Speaker

Ruben Santiago-Hudson

Ruben Santiago-Hudson is a Tony Award-winning actor, an accomplished writer/director with three Obie awards. In addition to an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination he received numerous accolades for his screenplay of HBO’s Lackawanna Blues. Most recently he received a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director Of A Play for his Tony Award winning revival of August Wilson’s JITNEY. Which also garnered Outer Critics Circle, Drama League and NY Drama Critic Circle awards along with 6 Tony Award nominations. Ruben received the 2013 Lucille Lortel and Obie Award for Best Direction of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, and in 2016 an Obie Award for Special Citations: Collaboration of the play Skeleton Crew with playwright Dominique Morriseau. Ruben recently stared in BET series The Quad and made his television directorial debut. He recurs in Showtime’s hit series Billions opposite Damian Lewis and also on OWN’s new David Makes Man alongside Phylicia Rashad.

Ruben made his Broadway acting debut in Jelly’s Last Jam, opposite Gregory Hines. He originated the role of Canewell in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars, which earned him several awards including Broadways most prestigious award, the Antoinette Perry (Tony) Award for Featured Actor in a Play. Other Broadway credits include Lydia Diamond’s Stickfly produced by Alecia Keys and August Wilson’s Gem Of The Ocean.


Santiago-Hudson co-starred for three seasons as NYPD Captain Roy Montgomery on the hit ABC series, Castle. Ruben starred in AMC’s gritty crime drama Low Winter Sun based on the 2006 British mini-series. His screenplay debut Lackawanna Blues for HBO, received the Humanitas Prize, a Christopher Award, National Board of Review Honors, a NAACP Image Award; and Emmy, Golden Globe and WGA nominations. Under the artistic leadership of George C. Wolfe, the Public Theater/NY Shakespeare Festival originally commissioned Lackawanna Blues as a solo performance piece. Santiago-Hudson performed the play bringing to life over two dozen characters garnering his first OBIE award. Working with the Public Theatre again in the summer of 2010, Santiago-Hudson starred as King Leontes in Shakespeare in the Park’s production of A Winter’s Tale. This past summer Ruben directed Othello at The Delacorte Theater for the NY Shakespeare Festival.

On film Santiago-Hudson starred opposite Denzel Washington and Russell Crow in American Gangster, opposite Halle Berry in Their Eyes Were Watching God, Samuel L. Jackson in Shaft, Al Pacino in Devil’s Advocate, and John Travolta in Domestic Disturbance. On television he portrayed famed chemist Dr. Percy Julian in Forgotten Genius and starred opposite Gregory Hines in The Red Sneakers. Ruben’s other feature films and mini-series include Selma, American Tragedy with Christopher Plummer, Solomon and Sheba with Jimmy Smits and Halle Berry — the first time a biblical movie starred actors of color, and opposite Christopher Reeve in Rear Window. Other TV credits include a series regular role on Michael Hayes, and TNT’s Public Morals recurring roles on The West Wing, Law & Order and numerous guest star appearances incl. ABC’s political drama Designated Survivor

This season, Ruben directed Dominique Morriseau’s Paradise Blue at The Signature Theater off-broadway,. He also helmed the world premiere of Paradise Blue for The Williamstown Theater Festival. Other select Theater credits include Cabin In The Sky for ENCORES! at NY City Center and his own Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine for The Two

River Theater Company, Naomi Wallace’s Things Of Dry Hours at the NY Theater Workshop, The Happiest Song Plays Last at Second Stage Theater, August Wilson’s Seven Guitars, Leslie Lee’s The First Breeze of Summer and Athol Fugards My Children! My Africa! all for The Signature Theater Company, where Santiago-Hudson held the position of Associate Artist.

August Wilson’s American Century Cycle was recorded at The Green Space NYC in September of 2013. Ruben served as Artistic Director of dramatic readings of all 10 plays for live audiences which aired on NY Public Radio. He directed Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Jitney and The Piano Lesson and performed in Fences and Seven Guitars in that series.

Santiago-Hudson received honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees from Buffalo State College in 2006 and from Wayne State University in 2015. He also holds a Master of Fine Arts from Wayne State University and an honorary Master’s from A.C.T. in San Francisco, a Bachelor of Arts from Binghamton University. Other Awards and honors include Dramalogue, Clarence Derwent, Glen G. Bartle Award from SUNY Binghamton, Distinguished Alumni Award from Wayne State University, five Audelco Awards, Black Filmmaker’s Award, a Helen Hayes Award, a N.A.M.I.C. Award, and an HBO Comedy Arts Festival Theater Award. Santiago-Hudson received a NAACP Lifetime Achievement Theatre Award at the Los Angeles NAACP Theatre Awards in August 2009.

In 2014 The Ruben Santiago-Hudson Fine Arts Learning Center opened in his hometown of Lackawanna, NY. Ruben is the driving force of this dream project which teaches young people the transformative power of the arts.

Feature Speakers

Stephen M. Henderson


Constanza Romero

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Kathryn Bostic

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Considered among the celebrated interpreters of playwright August Wilson’s work, Stephen served as associate artistic director for Ruben Santiago Hudson in the historic audio recordings of Wilson’s American Century Cycle.  In the fall of 2013 all ten of the plays were recorded and live streamed throughout the cyber world from WNYC/NPR’s Greene Space in Manhattan.  In 2010 Henderson received a Tony nomination and the Richard Seff Award for his performance as Bono in the Broadway revival of FENCES with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis.  He received a Virtuoso Award from the International Santa Barbara Film Festival in 2016 for his performance in the Paramount feature film of FENCES directed by Mr. Washington.  In 2007 he was cast in two productions of Signature Theatre’s critically acclaimed Wilson season, and in three productions of Kenny Leon’s historic Century Cycle Readings at Kennedy Center in 2008.  Stephen participated in the naming ceremony of the August Wilson Theater in 2005; the same stage where he made his 2001 Broadway debut as Stool Pigeon in Mr. Wilson’s King Hedley II when it was The Virginia Theatre.  Stephen also played Slow Drag in the 2003 Broadway revival of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom with Charles S. Dutton and Whoopi Goldberg.  In an eloquent obituary for Mr. Wilson, Michael Feingold of the Village Voice wrote,

“To think of the great characters and scenes in August’s plays is to think of an epic parade of great African American actors who have seized their moment to make theater history: James Earl Jones and Mary Alice in Fences, Charles S. Dutton in Ma Rainey and The Piano Lesson, S. Epatha Merkerson confronting him in the latter, Roscoe Lee Browne sagely ironic in Two Trains Running, Stephen McKinley Henderson oozing malice in Jitney, Ruben Santiago-Hudson and Lisa Gay Hamilton glaring a skyful of weaponry at each other in Gem of the Ocean.”

During its off-Broadway run in 2000, Jitney garnered Drama Desk, Obie, and Audelco awards for each actor as members of the outstanding ensemble of the New York season.   In Los Angeles, Mr. Henderson won the NAACP Theatre Award and a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for his performance as Turnbo.  Jitney’s production history from 1996-2002 culminated in an Olivier Award for its run at the National Theatre of Great Britain.

Constanza Romero has served as the literary executor of the estate of August Wilson since 2005. Countless works by the playwright, her late husband, have been produced nationally and abroad under Romero’s leadership. In 2016, August Wilson was the most produced playwright in the country.

As a producer, Romero helmed the Manhattan Theater Club’s Broadway production of JITNEY, in 2017, and Broadway’s FENCES, in 2010. Both won Tony Awards for Best Revival. With the release of Wilson’s FENCES as a major motion picture in 2017, Romero served as a key participant speaker with the film’s promotional screening tour and facilitated conversations about Mr Wilson with stars Viola Davis and Denzel Washington.

Ms. Romero’s costume for the character Aunt Ester in GEM OF THE OCEAN can be viewed along with other Wilson memorabilia at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. In another important step toward building and protecting August Wilson’s literary legacy, Romero has finished collecting the materials for August Wilson’s archives for future residence in a research library.

As a costume designer, Ms. Romero’s Broadway credits include THE MOUNTAIN TOP, FENCES (Tony Nomination), GEM OF THE OCEAN (Tony Nomination), SEVEN GUITARS, and THE PIANO LESSON.

Romero resides in Seattle with her daughter Azula Romero Wilson, finding time to practice her other passion, creating poster art for theaters and other non profit organizations.

Composer and artist Kathryn Bostic is known for her work on award-winning films, TV and live theater. She is a recipient of numerous fellowships and awards including the prestigious Sundance Institute Time Warner Fellowship, Sundance Fellowship for Feature Film Scoring, Sundance/Skywalker Documentary Film Scoring, BMI Conducting Fellowship, and Best Music in Film by the African American Film Critics Association. Her scores can be heard in several films by award winning directors including Ava DuVernay, Justin Simien, Sam Pollard, Stanley Nelson and Kirsten Johnson. In 2016 she became the first female African-American score composer in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Bostic has written for Broadway, most notably collaborating with the award-winning playwright August Wilson on “Gem of the Ocean” and various productions of his last play “Radio Golf” as well as the Mark Taper production of “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” directed by Phylicia Rashad. Because of her collaboration with Mr. Wilson, Bostic was asked to score the PBS American Masters program “August Wilson – The Ground on Which I Stand.” Reflecting on Mr. Wilson’s career, this documentary inspired her to write“The August Wilson Symphony” and song “State of Grace”, which received a world premiere in January 2018 by the Grammy award winning Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra helmed by Grammy award winning conductor and composer Lucas Richman who was instrumental launching the premiere.

In addition to her work with August Wilson, Bostic’s work on Broadway includes “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” with Robin Williams, by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph. Her score of music and ambient textures in “Bengal Tiger” garnered a Drama Desk win in the Sound Design category for this collaboration. She has been nominated for several additional awards including the Ovation Award, NAACP Theater Award, and a Drama Desk nominee for “Outstanding Music in a Play.”

As a vocalist and artist Bostic has toured and recorded with several renowned artists including Nas, Ryuchi Sakamoto, and Dave Byrne. She has also performed at various festivals and clubs including The Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Ronnie Scott’s, The Pori Jazz Festival, Cape May Jazz Festival, Birdland (NYC), Catalina’s (Los Angeles.)

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