A native of New Orleans, Jackie Alexander is an award winning actor, writer, producer, director, former Artistic Director of The Billie Holiday Theatre in New York, and current Artistic Director of The North Carolina Black Repertory Theatre, 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. Blackfilm.com sponsored a national tour of the film that included screenings at the Director’s Guild of America in Los Angeles, the Museum of Modern Art in Chicago, the French Embassy in Washington D.C., and the Walter Reade Theatre at Lincoln Center in New York. 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. The book was acquired by publishing veteran, Diane Gedymin, who also acquired the #1 New York Times best sellers Measure of a Man by Sidney Poitier, and The Rapture of Canaan by Sheri Reynolds; both Oprah Book Club selections. Gedymin described Our Daily Bread as “moving and evocative,” and stated that, “it is important to get Our Daily Bread into the hands of readers who will be enriched by Alexander’s unique perspective.”
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 Jelly’s Last Jam by George Wolfe (New Orleans’ Big Easy Award Winner for Best Musical 2017), Lemon Meringue Façade by Ted Lange, Losing The Light, The Waiting Room by Tony Nominee Samm-Art Williams, The Resurrection of Alice, Finding Home, Fati’s Last Dance, Video Direction for the World Premiere of Judi Ann Mason’s multi-media play Storm Stories—True Stories From Hurricane Katrina, and World Premieres of The Sting of White Roses by Angelica Cheri, Maid’s Door by Cheryl L. Davis (Seven AUDELCO awards including Best Play), Plenty of Time by John Shévin Foster, and Matisse’s Self Portrait by Obie award winner Charles Mee. Jackie’s direction of Plenty of Time, Maid’s Door, and The Sting of White Roses were honored with productions at the 2005, 2015, & 2017 National Black Theatre Festivals (NBTF), while his plays The High Priestess of Dark Alley and The Legend of Buster Neal received that distinction in 2009 and 2011. In 2019 Jackie produced, and once again directed, George Wolfe’s Jelly’s Last Jam as the festival’s opening night production, where it would go on to become the highest grossing show in NBTF’s history.
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 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.
As a producer, Jackie has brought fifteen world premieres to the stage. 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. The Black Theatre Network (BTN) honored Jackie with its 2018 Presidential Pathfinder Award, which is presented to an artist or an institution that illuminates a path to innovations and new concepts in Black Theatre. In February 2019, Jackie was honored by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper for his theatrical contributions to the state.