Richard Lawson and Tina Knowles Lawson Launch Grand Opening Weekend for WACO Theater With Art Exhibit, Screening & Live Stage Reading

Richard Lawson & Tina Knowles Lawson

Richard Lawson and Tina Knowles Lawson pulled back the curtains on WACO (Where Art Can Occur) Theater with a series of art-filled events held Friday, Nov. 3 and-Sunday, Nov. 5. Friday, Nov. 3 kicked off the weekend with an art exhibition featuring work from the late Masterclass teacher and director Milton Katselas. Screenings of King of Stage: The Woodie King Jr. Story and live stage reading of The Talented Tenth were held Saturday and Sunday evening. The lineup of grand opening events demonstrated the Lawson’s commitment to artistry, creativity and most importantly, providing a place for actors to celebrate their own talent. Following a successful fundraiser of the WACO Wearable Art Gala last spring, the Lawson’s opened the doors on their state of the art facility to serve the Los Angeles Community.

The kick-off celebration was attended by Kelly Rowland, Angie Beyince, Bianca Lawson, Malcolm David Kelley, Laz Alonso, Algee Smith, Tyler James Williams, Sugar Ray Leonard, Glynn and Jo-Ann Turman, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Jason Dirden, Shane Johnson, Tammy Townsend, Bill Bellamy, Danielle Moné Truitt and Senator Ben Allen. Guests strolled through the lobby and gallery taking in several prized pieces from Milton Katselas’ collection. After viewing the collection, attendees were warmly greeted by the Lawson’s, followed by a brief program thanking guests for their support.

The Lawson’s enlisted the support of their closest friends for Saturday and Sunday’s events. Both days included a screening of King of Stage: The Woodie King Jr. Story followed by an award presentation to Black Theater pioneer, Woodie King, Jr and successful playwright Richard Wesley. Saturday and Sunday evening events concluded with a live stage reading of The Talented Tenth by Richard Wesley and featured an all-star cast, including Richard Lawson, Glynn Turman, Nicole Ari Parker, Bill Bellamy, Jason Dirden, Sean Patrick Thomas, Nija Okoro and Vanessa Williams. Daughter Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Shawn Carter were on hand to support Tina and Richard Lawson. Additional attendees included Earvin “Magic” and Cookie Johnson, Lela Rochon, Boris Kodjoe, Malinda Williams and James Pickens Jr.

Sponsors included Cantu, ICM, BET and the film DetroitThe launch simultaneously showcased WACO Theater Center’s community mentorship programs, which include Tina’ s Angels and Richard’s Warriors which focus on the education and empowerment of teenage girls and boys; and, the Mobile Theater, which will take theater, music and visual arts to communities around the greater Los Angeles Area. WACO Theater also houses Richard Lawson Studio (RLS).

WACO THEATER CENTER The WACO Theater Center is dedicated to the empowerment of artists within a diversified pool of LA communities. Its founders’ mission is to create a space Where Art Can Occur. WACO Theater Center, where artists and non-artists alike will be taught to develop their true purpose and awaken their own individual power source which fuels their art.

For more information on classes and upcoming productions, visit and follow @WacoTheater on Instagram & Facebook, @waco_theater on Twitter.

Source: WACO Theater Center

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  • Erica Tucker