Introducing Artists in Action on July 7  

Join us LIVE on Tuesday, July 7 at 7 p.m. (CDT) on Skylight's Facebook and YouTube pages for the launch of our new Skylight Social series, Artists in Action. Co-hosted by Christie Chiles Twillie, frequent Music Director at Skylight, and Michael Unger, Skylight Music Theatre Artistic Director, this ongoing series features interviews with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) artists, directors, and creatives sharing insights about the arts, social justice, and equality. Our first guests are stage, TV, and film actor Chiké Johnson; director, educator and performer Sheri Williams Pannell; and director and stage and film actor Malkia Stampley.

Meet the Artists

Chiké Johnson’s Broadway credits: A Time To Kill and Manhattan Theatre Club’s Wit. Off-Broadway: Run Boy Run, In Old Age, Lost In The Stars, and Ruined. Regional: A Raisin in the Sun and King Lear at Milwaukee Rep, The Unmentionables at Yale Repertory Theatre; Topdog/Underdog at Renaissance Theaterworks; Home at In Tandem Theatre; Master Harold and the Boys at Milwaukee Chamber Theatre; and Smoldering Fires at First Stage Children’s Theater. Film: Friends with Benefits, Sleepwalk with Me, and The Machinist. TV: Law & Order, Girls, Veep, and Prison Break.

Sheri Williams Pannell is a Milwaukee hometown talent who has often performed and directed at Skylight. Sheri is a stage director, playwright and artistic director at Bronzeville Arts Ensemble; artistic associate at First Stage; stage director/teaching artist at Black Arts MKE; and co-director of the drama ministry at Calvary Baptist Church. The City of Milwaukee honored Pannell as an “Artist of the Year.” Pannell is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Peck School of the Arts. She is a graduate of Spelman College with an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Malkia Stampley is an actor, director and producer born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, receiving her training from Marquette University, Skylight Music Theatre and Milwaukee Rep. In 2013, she co-founded Bronzeville Arts Ensemble in Milwaukee where she served as Artistic Director for three years. As a TV and film actor, Malkia has appeared on Showtime (Work in Progress, Shameless, The Chi), NBC (Chicago Med, Chicago PD), HBO (Native Son), Fox (Empire), and Netflix (Beats), among others. She is also an emerging film director and producer. Malkia enjoys voiceover acting and hosts a channel, "Malkia Talks," on YouTube.

Co-host Christie Chiles Twillie is a pianist, music director, and sound designer. At Skylight: Five Guys Named Moe (2019 Footlights Winner for Best Musical Direction for a Professional Production), Newsies, and The Gospel at Colonus. Regional: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, The Last Five Years, and Sweeney Todd. 2018 Broadway World Finalist for Best Music Direction (Big Fish). Compositional: BTAA nomination - Best Music Direction (Yellowman), A Raisin in the Sun (Invictus Theatre), In The Red & Brown Water (Northwestern), short film THE PANDEMIC. Christie’s Bachelor and Masters studies were in Piano Performance at West Virginia University.

Co-host Michael Unger (Skylight Music Theatre Artistic Director) is also the Producing Artistic Director of NewArts in Newtown, CT, started with a local father in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy. For NewArts he has directed a dozen musicals involving 600 local children. He was Associate Artistic Director of Off-Broadway’s York Theatre. Michael has directed benefit concerts for the Sandy Hook and Parkland communities. World premieres: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Caligula, and A ROCKIN’ Midsummer Night’s Dream (featured in the award-winning film “Midsummer in Newtown”). Other credits: McCarter, 59E59, Paramount, Signature, Cape Playhouse, Deaf West, and the MUNY.

Skylight is working to address critical issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. We unequivocally support social justice and Black Lives Matter. We mourn the toll caused by decades of systemic racism, hatred and violence. We stand together with our community of Skylight artists and  fellow arts organizations to embrace diversity. We commit to use our art form to tell stories that increase understanding, empathy and peace. In a world torn apart on so many levels, we must do all we can, in whatever ways we can, to make the world a better, more empathetic, and more accepting place.

Catch up with Skylight Social

Watch the previous live video chats with Artistic Director Michael Unger and special guests here

Follow us on Social Media