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Cantrella Canady

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Cantrella Canady is one of the best young actors in Southwest Florida today. She appears regularly in productions at Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts, Laboratory Theater of Florida, Cultural Park Theatre, The Naples Players and Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. 

Among her impressive credits are roles as Tonya in August Wilson’s King Hedley II, Donna in Engagement Rules, the runaway wife in August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, street urchin Crystal in Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre’s production of Little Shop of Horrors (for which NBC2’s Dave Elias said she “[carried] the group with her amazing vocal range), an adult woman in Florida Rep Conservancy’s Spring Awakening, Gulf Coast Symphony’s production of Showboat at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, Lala Lamazing Grace in George Wolfe’s edgy The Colored Museum, Ruth Younger in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun (for which she received a Broadway World Best Actress nomination), Ruby in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars, Ma Rainey in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Lady Fidget in The Country Wife, Claudia in The Bluest Eye, Quincy/Bart Simpson in Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play and Lady in Green in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.

Cantrella’s other acting credits include Eternal Flame, Junk in the Trunk and Lemon Twist in Lab Theater’s inaugural Festival of Tens (2019), Andorra (the Innkeeper), Madagascar: A Musical Adventure (for Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre), Sister Act: The Musical (for The Naples Players), Sister Act: The Musical (for Cultural Park Theatre), Mabel in The Pajama Game (for Cultural Park), Deborah Lake Fortson’s Body & Sold (for Lab Theater) and The Rauschenberg Project Play (also for Lab Theater). For her portrayal of lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act, Canady won a 2018 Cultural Park Marquee Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical and also received a Broadway World Best Actress nomination.

A graduate of the Alliance for the Arts’ inaugural 9-week CHANGE acting course, Canady finds staged readings useful for expanding and honing her formidable acting skills. She read the part of Mary in A Day of Absence for Florida Rep, Inez Jessie in Soulforce at Florida Gulf Coast University, Smoke during Florida Repertory Theatre’s PlayLab staged reading, and more recently, Routine at The Naples Players (January 28, 2018) and Julie at Lab Theater (February 12, 2018). During the COVID-19 pandemic shut-down, she appeared as June in SoDis Theater’s virtual reading of Rachel Lynett’s Good Bad People and Victoria in Phil Dawkins’ Charm, along with two of Broadway Palm’s virtual cabarets.

Setting her sights on directing, Cantrella served as Assistant Director to Rachael Endrizzi in Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance’s production of Baskerville: A Sherlock Holms Mystery.

Cantrella also currently co-hosts Divine Destiny Radio Talk Show and is a member of the Gospel Jams Radio Show, Jam Crew. Canady also appeared in Angela Pierre and the Motown 4 at Cultural Park Theater in Cape Coral and hosted the “As Small as a Mustard Seed: Planting as We Grow” Benefit Dinner at The New Beginnings of SWFL. She also understudied for the role of Silvia in Cultural Park Theater’s production of All Shook Up.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication (with a minor in theater) from Florida Gulf Coast University.

When she isn’t on stage bringing characters to life, Cantrella enjoys her free time by listening to all genres of music, attending live theatrical performances, spending time with her family, and traveling at any opportunity she gets.

April 27, 2019; revised June 13, 2020.

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