“It was an amazing night! It was amazing! It was an honor! It was thrilling. It was just…” Chad L. Coleman stops abruptly, then breaks into joyful laughter as he searches for the words to describe how it felt performing before President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Actor Chad L. Coleman is also making history. He shines brilliantly on Broadway in his dazzling and powerful portrayal of Herald Loomis, in the Lincoln Center/Bartlett Sher-directed production of “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” by the highly esteemed African-American playwright Wilson. Coleman’s consummate performance, executed with pure, incisive, balanced perfection, is matchless and triumphantly captures the spotlight in this month’s “Casting Pearls” series, which aims to acknowledge stage and screen talent of the highest caliber.

For Coleman, the dream began outside of New York City. “I’m a kid from Richmond, Virginia, that got into theater as a sophomore in high school,” he shares. Ever since then, Coleman found his “song,” one of the metaphors about finding one’s purpose in life that he plays out as Loomis in “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.” Coleman continues, “Yeah, I found it early and I have just wanted to sing; and me singing my song… I made it to Broadway.”

Coleman’s odyssey to Broadway was one of destiny in which August Wilson, through his cyclical body of work, played a major role. One of Coleman’s first stage productions was the mid-’90s off-Broadway New Federal Theatre production of “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” directed by the prolific Clinton Turner Davis, with me serving as casting director. Both Davis and I knew we had found a special gem in Coleman, who was instantly cast in the role of Jeremy Furlow.

Coleman would go on to do several other August Wilson plays, including the Signature Theatre’s Lortel Award-winning production of “Two Trains Running,” as well as the regional productions of “Radio Golf” and “Gem of the Ocean” (in rep/Alliance Theatre). In addition to “Joe Turner,” some of Coleman’s other theater credits include “Man in the Polyester Suit” (Playwrights Horizons), “Miss Evers’ Boys” (McGinn/Cazalle), “Othello” and “Tempest” (Shakespeare Theatre), “The Coming of the Hurricane” (Arena Stage), “Diggin’ Eleven”(Hartford),”An Introgression”(Mark Taper), as well as “The Exonerated” with Robin Williams, Brian Dennehy, Lynn Redgrave and Mia Farrow. A few of his screen credits include “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” “Life on Mars,” and the Peabody Award-winning HBO TV series “The Wire,” in which he plays the popular role of Dennis “Cutty” Wise. And so, it is with great pride, admiration and respect that I personally, in partnership with the New York Amsterdam News Centennial Anniversary Team, present this “Casting Pearls” award to Mr. Chad L. Coleman in honor of his spectacular role in “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.” Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! I prophesy that this is a star that will continue to rise to the highest heights and shine luminously amongst his generation.

To contact the “Casting Pearls” series team, please email us at:icdfilms@aol.com.