Interview by Keith Waits
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Alonzo Ramont is owner and Artistic Director of Redline Performing Arts and the Executive Pastor of All Nations Worship Assembly Louisville. As a theatre educator Ramont’s experience includes being Assistant Director of Early Childhood Education at the Jewish Community Center of Louisville, Artistic Director at SC Theatre, and New Albany Riverstage Productions. As an actor he was most recently seen as Beast in Beauty and the Beast at Centerstage of Louisville where he also directed Dreamgirls in September 2019. He also directed the January 2020 production of Choir Boy at Pandora Productions.
1. What shows were you doing/about to do the stay-at-home order?
Redline Performing Arts, my theatre company was gearing up for its new season, which included a Godspell Concert, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Tribute to Black Broadway, and a Last Five Years Concert, featuring five men and five women. All of those shows were scheduled for April-June. With that said, we will wait and see what the future holds!
2. Have you been able to go virtual with Redline Performing Arts?
In some ways. We’ve continued training and coaching, and we’re also working on a virtual cabaret.
3. You work as an actor, director, and teacher. How do you rank their importance in your life?
I consider myself a teaching director. I am obsessed with growth. There is no better feeling than seeing people of all ages, experience levels and backgrounds, grow as a performer. So, if given the choice, I choose to be a producer and director. However, my first love was performing. If the role is right, I’m there!
4. How would you characterize the impact of Black theatre artists in Louisville right now?
This is a loaded question. I am a fan of history. I will rummage through photo albums, books, etc to learn about and honor history. The impact of people of color is far-reaching at the moment. With that said, I am grateful to the generations of performers and creatives before us. A few names that have personally affected my life are, Gayle King, Corwyn Hodge, Troy Bell, and the late great Tony Owens. It’s important to me the young artists sit under the learning tree of those who came before us to avoid becoming applied and privileged. Long story short, I’m very proud of the current landscape of the local theatre scene and having been someone who has been very vocal over the last 15 years, it means that much more, even though it’s cost me work, rubbed people in authority the wrong way and being labeled as “difficult “. No, I want the people of color to be treated and paid the same as everyone else.
5. What is the radio show you are preparing to launch on WVEZ 106.5?
Yes! I’m so excited to host Creative Conversations on 106.5 Forward Radio. This will be a talk show that gives me the opportunity to sit down with local and national creatives to talk about their work and why creativity an essential part of life! I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. We should be launching in late May-early June! You can also listen at forwardradio.org!
6. What has been your favorite show to work on as an actor?
Tough question. Some people may not know that I love character roles. Something I can really sink my teeth into. Jean Valjean (Les Miserables) is a very special role to me, but I think I’ll say Papa GE (Once on This Island), I’ve been able to do the role twice and loved to see my own growth between the first and second times. There are several roles, I’d like to revisit as a more mature and seasoned performer.
7. What shows are on your bucket lists as a director?
I’ve been fortunate to direct many shows I’ve wanted to direct. However, The Wiz, Sister Act, Dogfight, Children of Eden, Sunday in the Park with George, The Color Purple, Showboat, 42nd Street and I could keep going!
8. Have you worked anywhere else besides Louisville?
Yes. Mostly the Louisville though be I’m a homebody!
9. How is working in Louisville different?
I love having a home. I never loved the idea of constantly being on the road or leaving in a studio apartment.
10. What has been your quarantine playlist?
Good question. I finally started listening to Six The Musical, Aida has been playing recently as well as many podcasts. I listen to two or three a day.
11. What book is on your bedside table now?
Just finished Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger, Under the Black Hat by Jim Ross and Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. I’m starting The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek and Dare to Lead by Brene Brown.
12. What is the first thing you will do when you can come out of quarantine?
I can’t lie, I’m an introverted extrovert so some days I’m enjoying this time. But I’m ready to rehearse for a show again!
Keith Waits is a native of Louisville who works at Louisville Visual Art during the days, including being the host of LVA’s Artebella On The Radio on WXOX 97.1 FM / ARTxFM.com, but spends most of his evenings indulging his taste for theatre, music and visual arts. His work has appeared in LEO Weekly, Pure Uncut Candy, TheatreLouisville, and Louisville Mojo. He is now Managing Editor for Arts-Louisville.com.