Suzzanne is a patron of the arts and an advocate for teaching artistic expression in the educational system. As an artist/activist, her body of work displays her commitment to roles that fuse social action with art by challenging societal norms and heightening the audience’s consciousness about community and world issues. Although widely known as an actress, singer and producer, her everyday life is committed to using her gifts to empower the community.
She is a graduate of Illinois State University and a student in the Master’s Program in Jazz Vocals at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music. In the community, she is a lifetime member of Girl Scouts of America, The National Council of Negro Women, Sigma Alpha Lambda (a national leadership and honors organization), Jack and Jill. She is also an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc.
As an award-winning actress of screen and stage, her personal commitment to exploring characters seldom played by women of color has allowed her to create a canon of enigmatic and complex roles. Although she is widely known for her starring role in the long-running Warner Brothers television show The Parent’Hood and her roles in blockbuster films such as How Stella Got Her Grove Back, Jason’s Lyric, The Inkwell and School of Rock, she has an extensive career in theatre from Broadway and beyond. On Broadway, Suzzanne has starred in The Tap Dance Kid, It’s a Grand Night for Singing and The Threepenny Opera opposite legendary musician Sting. Other theatre credits include Shakespeare's Henry V, Kara Lee Corthron’s post-modern play, Julius by Design, Regina Taylor’s The Drowning Crow (Chicago’s Goodman Theater), Night in Tunisia, (George Street Playhouse), Crowns (Pasadena Playhouse) and Arthur Laurent’s, Hallelujah, Baby!, which Laurent re-wrote especially for her. She was also the first African-American to play the role of Dr. Bearing in the Pulitzer Prize winning play, Wit at the George Street Playhouse.
On television, Suzzanne had a recurring role in Mo'Nique’s comedy, The Parkers. She has also starred in a variety critically acclaimed shows such as: The Good Wife, NYPD Blue, Law and Order, Touched by an Angel, I’ll Fly Away and In the Shadow of Love. For her touching performance in the ABC made-for-television remake of the classic film Sounder, she was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.
As a singer, she is known for performances that blend spoken word with jazz styling and the results are sizzling! Suzzanne’s musical talents have enabled her to perform with Stanley Turrentine, Gene Harris, Jon Faddis, Kenney Burrell, Nate Adderley, Don Braden, and T.S. Monk.
As a producer, she has won several awards for her films The Last Weekend and Theresa Rebeck’s Love on the Rocks starring Julie White.
Suzzanne has been recognized for her outstanding work on stage and screen. For her performance in the film Tap alongside legends Sammy Davis, Jr. and Gregory Hines she won an NAACP Image Award. Her performance in How Stella Got Her Grove Back was applauded with a Black Oscar and she was awarded A Reel Award for her performance in Sounder. She can also be seen in the film Changing the Game, which was selected for the prestegious Cannes Film Festival.
She is also the recipient of The Mary Martin Prize for musical theater which is sponsored by the National Institute for Music Theater.