Thursday, October 1, 2020

Black Woman Director Makes History With Film and Stage Play

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Nationwide --  Marishka S. Phillips wears many hats, the actor/ writer/ director/ producer/ coach has maintained a pace that would exhaust the average individual. In recent years, she has focused her attention on developing her directorial skills. Her first film projects, Melinda the Movie, an award-winning short, which she wrote and produced, starring Tony Award-winners LaChanze (Broadway’s The Color PurpleSummerIf/Then), and Lillias White (Fela!, Chicago), made the festival rounds (2017-2018), picking up a number of awards, and is now available on Vimeo (

Last year, Ms. Phillips directed the Audelco nominated, one-woman stage production of Down to Eartha, written and starring Dierdra McDowell. The play pays homage to the multifaceted entertainer/activist, Eartha Kitt, and was in residency at the Dwyer Cultural Center in Harlem until COVID shut the city down. This project too will be on Vimeo in November 2020 and is currently available for pre-order (

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Now that New York is slowly reopening for business, Ms. Phillips is set for her next directorial project a live, three-camera taping of Carlos Jeromes’ short play, Counting Pedestals for the legendary Negro Ensemble Company, a place that has given many Black creatives an opportunity to hone their craft, in front and behind the curtains. The production will be staged, performed, and filmed at the Bessie and Obie Award-winning Dixon Place incubator space, in October.

As Marishka S. Phillips builds her directorial resume, she continues to be much in demand as an acting coach/mentor, by a long and growing list of established and up-and-coming actors that include multi-award-winning actress Kerry Washington (Little Fires Everywhere, Scandal, American Son on Broadway); NAACP Image Award Nominee, Nicole Beharie (Miss Juneteenth, Sleepy Hollow, Shame); Reiko Aylesworth (24 the series, You’ve Got Mail); Tasha Smith (Empire, Star); Elisabeth Röhm (Jane the Virgin, The Oath), just to name a few.

Her abilities as a coach and mentor, to connect empathetically with her actors, have led to the creation of The Empath Method, a unique coaching technique that relies on Ms. Phillip's innate ability to tap into her individual student’s mental and emotional sensibilities. This technique also allows her to guide students more effectively, preparing them as complete performers by improving their ability to inhabit a role, not simply play it. The result – her list of students has grown exponentially over the past few years, keeping her busier than ever.

A woman of many talents, Ms. Phillips began her career in show business as an actor/singer/dancer on Broadway in the musical, Uptown: It’s Hot directed by the legendary Maurice Hines. She also appeared on stage in Bubblin’ Brown SugarFAME: The MusicalThe Wiz, and The Me Nobody Knows; made numerous television and film appearances, and toured with music giants CeCe Winans and P. Diddy Combs. She continues to exercise her acting chops – most recently on the indie film, LOLA, written and directed by Antoine Allen.

Click for tickets to view Melinda the Movie and for advance purchases for Down to Eartha.

Follow Marishka Phillips on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, IMDB or visit her website at

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Posted by community events coordinator, Nzinga Lonstein Austin, is a prolific blogger who writes on the entertainment industry and issues for people with developmental and physical challenges.

She is presently in high school looking to have a career in video, film, and media. You can see more of her entertainment writing on Lonstein Movies.

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