2017 Rhode Island Pell Award Winner

Ricardo Pitts-Wiley

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Ricardo Pitts-Wiley is an actor, director, playwright and composer. He has performed major roles at noted theaters throughout the country including Trinity Repertory Company, Actor’s Shakespeare Project, Shakespeare and Company, The Old Globe Theater, San Diego Repertory, North Carolina Black Repertory, Rites and Reason, and Perishable Theater.

  He recently completed work on Academy Award winning director Kathryn Bigelow’s film about the 1967 riots in Detroit. He has also appeared in feature roles in House Sitter with Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn as well as episodes of The Brotherhood, Against the Law, Spencer for Hire and A Case of Deadly Force.

  In 2000 Ricardo Pitts-Wiley and his wife Bernadet formed Mixed Magic Theatre & Cultural Events, an acclaimed non-profit arts organization, dedicated to presenting a diversity of cultural and ethnic images and ideas on the stage.

  Pitts-Wiley has gained national and international acclaim for his page-to-stage adaptations of Moby Dick and Frankenstein. He has also done adaptations of Don Quixote, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, The Red Tent, and the poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar.

   In 2009, Pitts-Wiley was the Martin Luther King Visiting Scholar at MIT in Cambridge, MA. He is the author of four volumes of performance poetry, Reflections: Growing Up a Black Man in America, The Well of Woman, Night Voices and Man, Woman, Chaos. He also wrote seven songs for The Big Kitchen: A Counter Cultural Musical.

   Pitts-Wiley wrote the book and lyrics for the musicals A Kwanzaa Song, Celebrations: An African Odyssey, Sara’s Jukebox and The Spirit Warrior’s Dream, as well as five plays including Fate Comes Knocking, 35 Miles From Detroit, The Baghdad Production of Romeo and Juliet, Blackstone: The Making of America and The Basketball Warrior.

  In addition to teaching advanced and master acting classes offered through Mixed Magic Theatre. He has also, as an Artist-In-Residence or adjunct, directed and taught acting at colleges including MIT, The University of Southern California, The University of Rhode Island, Salve Regina University, Eastern Michigan University, Johnson & Wales University, Rhode Island College and Long Island University.  He lives in Rhode Island with his wife and family.