BLACK HISTORY-JANEECE FREEMAN
JANEECE FREEMAN, a young lady who was able to follow her dream, became an actor, educator, mentor, and director who grew up in Lansing, MI, and is a graduate of Waverly High School and University of Michigan (Musical Theater, Voice Performance and Music Education), Directing Credits include: Everything Is Fine Until It’s Not, which debuted at New York’s Fringe Festival to rave reviews, was a sold-out run, and the fastest selling show in NY’s Festival history, the next year it had another sold out run Off-Broadway; A Night in New A Orleans (the story of Louis Armstrong), which premiered to critical acclaim at New Jersey Performing Arts Center and toured regionally; A Portrait of Ray, a musical about the legendary Ray Charles which she wrote and directed which had it’s Off Broadway debut in 2016 at Symphony Space, and was presented at Symphony Hall as part of the 2016 Newark 350 Celebration. Other directing credits include: Oklahoma, Hairspray, West Side Story, The Wiz, Godspell, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Aida, Annie, Into the Woods, Tarzan, Seussical, Music Man, and Once on This Island.
As an actor Janeece was involved in various plays and musical both on and off Broadway, and also worked in television for a period of time. She is now paying it forward and is the founder and Artistic Director of Vanguard Theater Company—a 501(c)3 not-for-profit producing original, collaborative and re-imagined works of theater that transform actor’s and audience’s experiences, perceptions and stereotypes. Vanguard is dedicated to D.R.E.A.M. which stands for diversity, reciprocity, education, awareness and mentorship and is committed to imaginative, non-traditional and multicultural casting and professional artistic mentorship. Vanguard’s lead sponsor is no other than—TeeRico by Lin Manuel, the creator of Hamilton and In the Heights. Under Janeece’s leadership, Vanguard has created programs such as Broadway Buddy, a program that each year pairs 25 up and coming Broadway artists with 25 Broadway artists from productions such as Hamilton, Frozen, Dear Evan Hansen, The Color Purple as well as a Summerstock Sleepaway camp each summer for artists age 12-18 who are headed toward a career in the Musical Theater industry. In addition to educational programming, Vanguard’s Main Stage productions all feature Broadway artists working alongside professional artists in-training in the spirit of Mentorship. Several of Vanguard’s productions have premiered Off-Broadway to critical acclaim.
Janeece is in residence at New Jersey Performing Arts Center where she is a leader in the Musical Theater Department, and has worked with Musical Director Ray Chew (American Idol) and Musical Director Seth Rudetsky ) (Seth’s Big Fat Broadway). Through a partnership with the Johnny Mercer Foundation and NJPAC, Writing program that takes place in Urban Neighborhoods throughout New Jersey. She is also an active member of Midtown Direct Repertory Theater and is currently a Masters Candidate at Westminster Choir College. Janeece uses her vocal expertise to run a private vocal studio in the town South Orange, NJ where she resides with her family. Janeece and her husband Dwayne Clark met on Broadway and have been inseparable ever since. He has appeared in nearly a dozen Broadway shows including—The Color Purple, Tarzan, Spiderman, Rent, etc. they are the parents of two lovely children - Jada (9) and D.J. (6). They travel back to E. Lansing as often as they can to visit their proud parents who are Myron and Delores Freeman.