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
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 of America, Inc. She is also on the National Board 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 , her recent role as Cissy Houston in the Lifetime biopic, Whitney, as well as roles in blockbuster films such as How Stella Got Her Groove 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 Groove 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.