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The Chi

Behzad Dabu on That One Audition with Alyshia Ochse

Behzad Dabu

Behzad Dabu 1920 960 Alyshia Ochse

Behzad Dabu is an actor, writer, and producer. He grew up in Syracuse, NY and got his BFA in Acting from Columbia College Chicago. With a passion for working with playwrights and new play development, he originated the role of ‘Amit’ in “Samsara” at Victory Gardens Theatre, for which he was nominated for a Jeff Award – Best Actor. He also originated the role of ‘Abe’ in the Pulitzer Prize-winning and Tony-nominated play, “Disgraced” which he performed at American Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Berkeley Repertory, Seattle Repertory, and the Mark Taper Forum at Center Theatre Group.

On screen, you can see him as ‘Simon Drake’ on How To Get Away With Murder on ABC,  as ‘Amir’ on the Showtime series The Chi, on Disney’s The Lion Guard, and many more. Behzad is the Director of Acting for the HillmanGrad Mentorship Lab, an instructor at The Last Acting Studio, and an adjunct professor in the theatre department at Columbia College Chicago where he leads their Semester in LA program.

Behzad strives to be a strong advocate for social justice and equality, particularly in regards to representation in the arts and media; and is a founding member of The Chicago Inclusion Project, which seeks to level the playing field and provide resources in the arts for people of color, women, LGBTQ, and people with disabilities.


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EPISODE CREDITS:
  • WRITER: Erin McCluskey
  • WEBSITE & GRAPHICS: Chase Jennings
  • ASSISTANT: Elle Powell
  • SOCIAL OUTREACH: Alara Ceri

012 Yolonda Ross on That One Audition with Alyshia Ochse

Yolonda Ross

Yolonda Ross 1920 960 Alyshia Ochse

Grace of Intuition

Yolonda Ross can currently be seen reprising her role as the no-nonsense single mother ‘Jada’ in the fourth season of Showtime’s acclaimed series, The Chi. The show was created by Emmy award winner Lena Waithe that explores the interconnectedness of a neighborhood community of characters on the South Side of Chicago, featuring current storylines that range from defunding the police to her character’s fight against breast cancer.

An independent film darling, Yolonda made her feature film debut in the award-winning independent film Stranger Inside in 2001. Yolonda went on to win an IFP Gotham Award for Best Breakthrough Performance for the role, as well as received her first Film Independent Spirit Award nomination in the category of Best Debut Performance. In 2014, her work in the John Sayles film Go For Sisters garnered her a second Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

She appeared in Denzel Washington’s award-winning feature Antwone Fisher, as well as the independent films Yelling To the Sky opposite Zoe Kravitz, Woody Allen’s Whatever Works, Lila and Eve starring Viola Davis and Jennifer Lopez, Whitney directed by Angela Bassett for the Lifetime Movie Network, Annie Silverstein’s Bull, Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There, Ana Lily Amirpour’s Bad Batch, Nuotama Bodomo’s Afronauts, and Elegance Bratton’s award-winning short film Walk For Me, in which Yolonda starred and produced.

Yolonda has also portrayed recurring characters on several high-profile series including, Ms. Green in the Baz Luhrmann Netflix series The Get Down, Claudia on ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder, and her role as documentarian Dana Lyndsey on HBO’s Treme. Additional television credits include guest starring roles on Law and Order, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, 24, and Chicago PD. She was featured in the PBS American Masters documentary How it Feels To Be Free, about Trailblazing African American Women Entertainers.

Yolonda made her directorial debut with the 10-minute hybrid short film/music video Breaking Night, about a young girl taking control of her destiny. The short film officially became the music video for the famed Manfred Mann song, “Blinded By the Light,” and was in rotation on VH-1 Classics.

Most recently she performed in David Mamet’s newest play Four American Women during the pandemic. The two have developed a mutual admiration of each other’s work which inspired him to write for Yolonda the roles of Nora in the hit show The Unit, and Kelly in the biopic Phil Spector for HBO.

As a writer and director, Yolonda is currently developing her feature debut, Scenes From Our Marriage, along with other film and television projects.


Resources

LINKS:
QUOTES:

“I am placed here for a reason. I am placed her for Black women.”

“I use music for everything. I understood emotion through music so dialogue kind of became lyrics to me. I used my repertoire of music to understand how to evoke emotion.”

“I will ask other actors about scents because there’s a certain memory you get when you smell people. If we start working together I will ask them what they like so I can wear it for them.”


Credits:

  • WRITER: Juan Francisco Villa
  • SOUND DESIGN: Zachary Jameson
  • WEBSITE & GRAPHICS: Chase Jennings
  • ASSISTANT: Elle Powell
  • SOCIAL OUTREACH: Bebe Katsenes

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ALYSHIA OCHSE

Los Angeles-based actress, bestselling author, host of That One Audition podcast, entrepreneur, & mother.

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