Proud Guyanese-American and Brooklyn native, Dawnn Lewis, best known for her strong and compassionate character Jaleesa Vinson in the hugely-popular 90s sitcom, A Different World, and for her current co-starring role in the HULU reboot of the Veronica Mars series has returned to Broadway as Zelma Bullock, Tina Turner’s mother in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.
Dawnn grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant and Flatbush sections of Brooklyn and is excited about returning to Broadway, spending more time with family and friends, and working on her nonprofit organization, A New Day Foundation.
“I am thrilled to return to Broadway to pay homage to Tina Turner,” said Grammy Award-winning singer and multiple BMI and ASCAP Award-winning, Dawnn Lewis. “Ms. Turner was very much involved in the development of this project, and I am grateful to be able to share some of her life and to work with such an amazing cast of professionals.”
Dawnn’s parents, who grew up in Georgetown, Guyana, has been featured on the cover of Caribbean Heritage Magazine and was previously profiled on Guyanese Girls Rock. On a visit to Guyana with her mother two years ago, she was touched by the sight of St. George’s Cathedral, where her parents married in 1954. St. George’s Cathedral is said to be the tallest wooden structure in the world.
“It was wonderful to see where my parents grew up and to see where they began their lives,” said Dawnn. “It was as if I had gone back in time looking at this the beautiful structure, and it helped me appreciate my parents’ love for ‘back home.’” While in New York, Ms. Lewis will also work to increase awareness about another of her passions—A New Day Foundation—a non-profit organization she founded three years ago that provides financial and programmatic support to empower and educate underserved youth across the country and abroad.
“A New Day Foundation represents an opportunity for young people to be motivated and empowered in all aspects of life,” said Dawnn “We teach them about personal and professional growth, help them to become financially astute, provide a safe space for mentoring and to have difficult conversations while providing them with scholarships, computers, and tangible tools to pursue higher education opportunities.”
With several decades of philanthropic work under her belt, Dawnn, who recently received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Next Dimension University in California plans to replicate her West Coast programming activities in New York City and the surrounding areas.
In addition to co-starring in the Veronica Mars series, Dawnn is also starring in the NETFLIX series Where in the World is Carmen San Diego! and the upcoming CBS animated series STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS.
Dawnn is the President & CEO of Morning Jewel Inc. – a multi-platform production company of film, television, animation, music/music publishing projects. She is also the Founder & CEO of the A New Day Foundation – a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, that provides financial & programmatic support to underprivileged youth and grassroots community organizations. She is an: NAACP Image Award, Trumpet Award, Grammy Award-winning singer, multiple ASCAP & BMI Award-winning songwriter, film, television & stage actor, and a series TV creator/producer. She is currently co-starring with Kristen Bell in the highly anticipated reboot of “Veronica Mars” as The Chief in “Where in the World is Carmen San Diego” reboot, and recently seen recurring on three hit series: “This is Us!,” “Major Crimes” and “iZombie” or heard in: “The Simpsons,” “Futurama” and “Doc McStuffins.” Dawnn starred in two recently released award winning feature films: Revival, written & produced by acclaimed actor Harry Lennix featuring an all-star cast, and Be The Light written and directed by “iZombie” star Malcolm Goodwin. For 5.5 years, Dawnn starred as one of the original cast members of the groundbreaking TV Series “A Different World” (also composer of shows theme song) and “I’m Gonna Git U Sucka!” Stage credits include: The Wiz (Encore City Center), Intimate Apparel, Sister Act: The Musical (orig cast), The Marriage (NAACP Image award – Best Actress), How To Succeed In Business . . . (with Matthew Broderick & Megan Mullally). www.DAWNNLEWIS.com
Tina: The Tina Turner Musical opens November 7 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.