A Gift of Love with Adam L. McKnight

Hertz Stage
approximately 75 minutes with no intermission.
Recommended for audiences ages 10 and up.

By and Starring Adam L. McKnight
Directed by Patdro Harris

Spend an evening with acclaimed musician Adam L. McKnight on a musical journey through uplifting original songs, R&B classics, and holiday favorites. Drawing from his experiences as a back-up vocalist and studio musician for the likes of Elton John, CeeLo Green, Train, Stevie Wonder, B.B. King, Diana Ross, Gloria Estefan, Bonnie Raitt, Zac Brown Band, and many more, Adam is an entertainer and storyteller who puts his heart and soul into every song he performs. From R&B to Gospel to Pop, Adam will delight audiences with a selection of hits for all musical tastes.

Hertz Stage

Hertz Stage view during The Whipping Man

The Alliance Theatre's Hertz Stage is a modern, 200-seat Black Box theatre. This versatile facility accommodates a number of distinct stage layouts.

More About This Venue

Woodruff Arts Center Parking Garage

Parking is available for $10-$15 in the Woodruff Arts Center Parking Garage, located on Arts Center Way between 15th & 16th Street
Arts Center Transit Station
Atlanta, GA 30309

Arts Center MARTA Station

Woodruff Arts Center

1280 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30309

Cast

Maria Howell (Guest Artist) began her career as an actor in 1985, as the choir soloist, in the iconic Oscar-nominated movie The Color Purple. She has appeared in hit TV shows such as “Army Wives” and "Devious Maids” (Lifetime), “Revolution” (NBC), “Criminal Minds” (CBS), "Saints & Sinners" and “Sacrifice” (BET), “The Resident” (FOX). Additional film credits include Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Hidden Figures. She also stars alongside famed actor/singer Keith David in the award-winning short film Bewildered and on the new Hallmark Mahogany movie To Her, With Love. As a song stylist in her own right, Maria has shared the musical stage with such legendary artists as Ronnie Laws, George Benson, Ray Charles, Earl Klugh, and Miss Nancy Wilson. As a voiceover artist, Maria lends her voice to numerous TV and radio commercials, video games, audiobook and documentary narrations, as well as animation, most notably as a recurring character on Ellen Degeneres’ “Little Ellen” on HBO Max. She serves on the Advisory Board of SWM (www.studentswithoutmothers.org), BOD for Tosco Music (www.toscomusic.org), and also serves as a member of the faculty at Davidson Day School, teaching middle school chorus. www.mariahowell.com Facebook - MariaHowellFanPage Instagram & Twitter - @MariaSingsActs 

Maria Howell
Maria Howell
Guest Artist  / DEC 21–23

Maria Howell (Guest Artist) began her career as an actor in 1985, as the choir soloist, in the iconic Oscar-nominated movie The Color Purple. She has appeared in hit TV shows such as “Army Wives” and "Devious Maids” (Lifetime), “Revolution” (NBC), “Criminal Minds” (CBS), "Saints & Sinners" and “Sacrifice” (BET), “The Resident” (FOX). Additional film credits include Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Hidden Figures. She also stars alongside famed actor/singer Keith David in the award-winning short film Bewildered and on the new Hallmark Mahogany movie To Her, With Love. As a song stylist in her own right, Maria has shared the musical stage with such legendary artists as Ronnie Laws, George Benson, Ray Charles, Earl Klugh, and Miss Nancy Wilson. As a voiceover artist, Maria lends her voice to numerous TV and radio commercials, video games, audiobook and documentary narrations, as well as animation, most notably as a recurring character on Ellen Degeneres’ “Little Ellen” on HBO Max. She serves on the Advisory Board of SWM (www.studentswithoutmothers.org), BOD for Tosco Music (www.toscomusic.org), and also serves as a member of the faculty at Davidson Day School, teaching middle school chorus. www.mariahowell.com Facebook - MariaHowellFanPage Instagram & Twitter - @MariaSingsActs 

Karan Kendrick (Guest Artist) Hailed for her powerfully nuanced portrayal of Minnie McMillian in the blockbuster Just Mercy, Karan Kendrick is among the artistic elite. Credits range from The Hunger Games (LionsGate), Hidden Figures (20th Century Fox) and dramas like The Hate U Give (20th Century Fox), to Television like “All American: Homecoming” and “Grey's Anatomy” (ABC) and Regional Theatre (Arena Stage, Hartford Stage, Goodman Theatre, Alliance Theatre). Recent credits include Laura Steinel's 2019 feature comedy Fam-i-l-y (Naegle Ink), season four of CW’s “The Originals,” and “Greenleaf” on OWN. In addition to her work as an actor, Karan has served tirelessly for the past decade to provide students with an opportunity to build character, discipline, and an eternal passion for the arts. As Co-Founder of The Kendrick Academy in 2010, Karan taught students drama, dance and music while simultaneously pursuing her acting career. Expanding from her hometown of Fort Valley, GA, The Kendrick Academy is now a fully virtual academy offering weekly online classes in Acting and Screenwriting to students across the country. (www.TheKendrickAcademy.com)   

Karan Kendrick
Karan Kendrick
Guest Artist  / DEC 7–10

Karan Kendrick (Guest Artist) Hailed for her powerfully nuanced portrayal of Minnie McMillian in the blockbuster Just Mercy, Karan Kendrick is among the artistic elite. Credits range from The Hunger Games (LionsGate), Hidden Figures (20th Century Fox) and dramas like The Hate U Give (20th Century Fox), to Television like “All American: Homecoming” and “Grey's Anatomy” (ABC) and Regional Theatre (Arena Stage, Hartford Stage, Goodman Theatre, Alliance Theatre). Recent credits include Laura Steinel's 2019 feature comedy Fam-i-l-y (Naegle Ink), season four of CW’s “The Originals,” and “Greenleaf” on OWN. In addition to her work as an actor, Karan has served tirelessly for the past decade to provide students with an opportunity to build character, discipline, and an eternal passion for the arts. As Co-Founder of The Kendrick Academy in 2010, Karan taught students drama, dance and music while simultaneously pursuing her acting career. Expanding from her hometown of Fort Valley, GA, The Kendrick Academy is now a fully virtual academy offering weekly online classes in Acting and Screenwriting to students across the country. (www.TheKendrickAcademy.com)   

Adam L. McKnight (Self/Author) Performing all styles of music, from R&B to Gospel, Pop and even Opera, Adam amazes and astounds audiences with his natural ability to sing. Adam has settled in comfortably as not just a singer, but also an entertainer, putting his heart and soul into every song he sings and enjoying the experience. He and his gospel choir, Voice of Atlanta, were recently selected to record two songs and appear in the upcoming MGM/Orion movie, Till. The legendary Whoopi Goldberg is executive producer and stars as Emmett Till’s grandmother, in this long-awaited film, shot here in Atlanta. As a testament to Adam’s musical ability and vocal talents, he had the extreme pleasure of arranging background vocals & recording with the legendary Sir Elton John, on music for the Broadway musical Lestat, and for his critically acclaimed CD, “Peachtree Road.” In addition, Adam, along with members of Voice of Atlanta, completed a yearlong tour with Sir Elton nationally and internationally, including performances at Madison Square Garden for Katrina victims’ relief, and Live 8 in London. An additional milestone in Adam’s career was his appearance with Voice of Atlanta in the 2019 Super Bowl half-time show with Maroon 5. Today, Adam continues to arrange music to inspire and entertain audiences across the spectrum. www.adammcknight.com 

 

Adam L. McKnight
Adam L. McKnight
Author / Lead Performer

Adam L. McKnight (Self/Author) Performing all styles of music, from R&B to Gospel, Pop and even Opera, Adam amazes and astounds audiences with his natural ability to sing. Adam has settled in comfortably as not just a singer, but also an entertainer, putting his heart and soul into every song he sings and enjoying the experience. He and his gospel choir, Voice of Atlanta, were recently selected to record two songs and appear in the upcoming MGM/Orion movie, Till. The legendary Whoopi Goldberg is executive producer and stars as Emmett Till’s grandmother, in this long-awaited film, shot here in Atlanta. As a testament to Adam’s musical ability and vocal talents, he had the extreme pleasure of arranging background vocals & recording with the legendary Sir Elton John, on music for the Broadway musical Lestat, and for his critically acclaimed CD, “Peachtree Road.” In addition, Adam, along with members of Voice of Atlanta, completed a yearlong tour with Sir Elton nationally and internationally, including performances at Madison Square Garden for Katrina victims’ relief, and Live 8 in London. An additional milestone in Adam’s career was his appearance with Voice of Atlanta in the 2019 Super Bowl half-time show with Maroon 5. Today, Adam continues to arrange music to inspire and entertain audiences across the spectrum. www.adammcknight.com 

 

Myra Walker is elated to join the cast of Gift of Love with Adam L. McKnight. She is a musician and producer whose work can be found in motion pictures, television, soundtracks, and live performances. A few of her credits include the motion pictures The Hate U Give (Fox 2000), Madea's Witness Protection (Tyler Perry Studios), “Ozark” Netflix, "Genius: Aretha” (National Geographic Television), and, most recently, The Devil Wears Prada (the musical by Sir Elton John). Myra is grateful for the continued support of family and friends. Find her on social media: @iammyrawalker. 

Myra Walker
Myra Walker
Guest Artist  / DEC 13–18

Myra Walker is elated to join the cast of Gift of Love with Adam L. McKnight. She is a musician and producer whose work can be found in motion pictures, television, soundtracks, and live performances. A few of her credits include the motion pictures The Hate U Give (Fox 2000), Madea's Witness Protection (Tyler Perry Studios), “Ozark” Netflix, "Genius: Aretha” (National Geographic Television), and, most recently, The Devil Wears Prada (the musical by Sir Elton John). Myra is grateful for the continued support of family and friends. Find her on social media: @iammyrawalker. 

Director

 

Patdro Harris (Director) is an award-winning director, Broadway choreographer, and writer. At the Alliance:  Anasethe African Spider-ManThe Boys from Syracuse, and Seven Guitars. He was the choreographer for Stevie Wonder’s world tour. He has worked in film, television, and historical documentaries. Patdro holds to his credit the top theater award in Atlanta, “The Suzi Bass Award,” for the third time. 

Patdro Harris
Patdro Harris
Director

 

Patdro Harris (Director) is an award-winning director, Broadway choreographer, and writer. At the Alliance:  Anasethe African Spider-ManThe Boys from Syracuse, and Seven Guitars. He was the choreographer for Stevie Wonder’s world tour. He has worked in film, television, and historical documentaries. Patdro holds to his credit the top theater award in Atlanta, “The Suzi Bass Award,” for the third time. 

Creative

Kat Conley
Kat Conley
Set Designer
Jeremiah Davison
Jeremiah Davison
Associate Sound Designer

William Green (Music Orchestrator/Arranger) is an extraordinary musical artist that captures and expresses the sentiments of a generation. He is continuously expanding his horizons to make an impact on society by creating a union between music and life. Through his music, he has allowed different genres of contemporary jazz, rhythm and blues, pop and gospel to integrate into a new and unique form. In 2018, in celebration of 40 years in the music industry and a 'thank you' to his fans and newcomers, the legendary jazz icon recently held a special 40th anniversary celebration at City Winery Atlanta and performed before a sold-out crowd. A full-time musician, composer, songwriter and producer, Green is passionate about his piano, and he puts his heart and soul into his performances.  He delivers funky, upbeat, soulful and contemporary jazz sounds, and exudes unforgettable stage appeal and showmanship. He possesses one of those rare, “instant classic” voices – forceful, yet gentle. Green's music is beautiful, lyrically refreshing, vocally and melodically unique, timeless, rich and jazzy. His four albums, possessed an exceptionally well-composed body of original songs, written and produced by Green. He released his fourth album on July 11, 2018 and is currently working on his fifth album and will release it in early 2020. “I pride myself on creating timeless music that can be shared with the world for a lifetime,” says Green. “It's important to me to create timeless music because of recognizing the lack of musical integrity that now exists in the music industry.” He has written and produced for numerous artists. Green has showcased his charismatic charm and keyboard mastery with audiences around the world (Japan, Europe, Africa), while performing nationally with acclaimed artists such as Boney James, Tom Brown, Earl Klugh, Roy Ayers, Mindi Abair, Peabo Bryson, Cameo, Valerie Simpson, Kenny Lattimore, Melba Moore, Jennifer Holiday, Jean Carne, the sons of Otis Redding (military tour), BB King All-Star Band, and Curtis Mayfield. He also had the privilege of appearing with Susan Tedeschi and as the opening act for the Rolling Stones, Spyro Gyra, and The Yellow Jackets. Green was selected as one of the performing artists at the 2010 Atlanta Jazz Festival. In addition, he was co-host of the 2010 Atlanta Jazz Festival Session. 

William Green
William Green
Music Orchestrator / Arranger

William Green (Music Orchestrator/Arranger) is an extraordinary musical artist that captures and expresses the sentiments of a generation. He is continuously expanding his horizons to make an impact on society by creating a union between music and life. Through his music, he has allowed different genres of contemporary jazz, rhythm and blues, pop and gospel to integrate into a new and unique form. In 2018, in celebration of 40 years in the music industry and a 'thank you' to his fans and newcomers, the legendary jazz icon recently held a special 40th anniversary celebration at City Winery Atlanta and performed before a sold-out crowd. A full-time musician, composer, songwriter and producer, Green is passionate about his piano, and he puts his heart and soul into his performances.  He delivers funky, upbeat, soulful and contemporary jazz sounds, and exudes unforgettable stage appeal and showmanship. He possesses one of those rare, “instant classic” voices – forceful, yet gentle. Green's music is beautiful, lyrically refreshing, vocally and melodically unique, timeless, rich and jazzy. His four albums, possessed an exceptionally well-composed body of original songs, written and produced by Green. He released his fourth album on July 11, 2018 and is currently working on his fifth album and will release it in early 2020. “I pride myself on creating timeless music that can be shared with the world for a lifetime,” says Green. “It's important to me to create timeless music because of recognizing the lack of musical integrity that now exists in the music industry.” He has written and produced for numerous artists. Green has showcased his charismatic charm and keyboard mastery with audiences around the world (Japan, Europe, Africa), while performing nationally with acclaimed artists such as Boney James, Tom Brown, Earl Klugh, Roy Ayers, Mindi Abair, Peabo Bryson, Cameo, Valerie Simpson, Kenny Lattimore, Melba Moore, Jennifer Holiday, Jean Carne, the sons of Otis Redding (military tour), BB King All-Star Band, and Curtis Mayfield. He also had the privilege of appearing with Susan Tedeschi and as the opening act for the Rolling Stones, Spyro Gyra, and The Yellow Jackets. Green was selected as one of the performing artists at the 2010 Atlanta Jazz Festival. In addition, he was co-host of the 2010 Atlanta Jazz Festival Session. 

 

Hidenori Nakajo (Sound Designer) [he/him] is a New York-based sound designer, mixer and engineer. Design: Dodi & Diana (Colt Coeur), OCTET by Dave Malloy (Berkeley Rep), Other World (Delaware Theater Company), Hold These Truths (People’s Light), Autumn Royal (Irish Rep, Drama Desk nom.), Moby Dick (A.R.T., Elliot Norton Award), Guys & Dolls (Guthrie Theatre), OCTET by Dave Malloy (Signature NYC, Obie Award Special Citation, Drama Desk nom., Lucille Lortel nom., and Henry Hewes Design Awards nom). Associate design: The Kite Runner (Broadway), The Front Page (Broadway), Darlin’ Cory (Alliance Theatre), Benny & Joon (Old Globe). Other Broadway assistant design: The Lightning Thief, Be More Chill, Allegiance, and Gigi. His career expanded as a translator/coordinator for visiting Japanese theatre companies, such as One Green Bottle by Noda Map (La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club), and several other productions for the Lincoln Center Festival 2015-17. UPCOMING: mɔːnɪŋ by Gelsey Bell (HERE Arts Center, NYC) 

Hidenori Nakajo
Hidenori Nakajo
Sound Designer

 

Hidenori Nakajo (Sound Designer) [he/him] is a New York-based sound designer, mixer and engineer. Design: Dodi & Diana (Colt Coeur), OCTET by Dave Malloy (Berkeley Rep), Other World (Delaware Theater Company), Hold These Truths (People’s Light), Autumn Royal (Irish Rep, Drama Desk nom.), Moby Dick (A.R.T., Elliot Norton Award), Guys & Dolls (Guthrie Theatre), OCTET by Dave Malloy (Signature NYC, Obie Award Special Citation, Drama Desk nom., Lucille Lortel nom., and Henry Hewes Design Awards nom). Associate design: The Kite Runner (Broadway), The Front Page (Broadway), Darlin’ Cory (Alliance Theatre), Benny & Joon (Old Globe). Other Broadway assistant design: The Lightning Thief, Be More Chill, Allegiance, and Gigi. His career expanded as a translator/coordinator for visiting Japanese theatre companies, such as One Green Bottle by Noda Map (La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club), and several other productions for the Lincoln Center Festival 2015-17. UPCOMING: mɔːnɪŋ by Gelsey Bell (HERE Arts Center, NYC) 

Jasmine Williams (Lighting Design) is an Atlanta-based Artist and Lighting Designer for theater, music, dance, opera, and immersive experiences. After a significant time spent as a Stage Manager, Jasmine transitioned to Lighting and Costume Design. As a Lighting Designer, Jasmine has worked with Flint Repertory Theater, Passage Theater, No Dream Deferred’s debut production of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s In The Red and Brown Water and Tulane University’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She has also worked with the New Orleans Ballet Association, The Nola Project, and Summer Lyric Theatre at Tulane. She received her Design MFA from Tulane University in 2020, and her BA from Albany State University in 2016. Jasmine continues to collaborate with theaters, companies, directors, choreographers, and visual artists across New Orleans, and plans to build a new network in Atlanta. Jasmine appreciates her mentorship with John “Ray” Proctor and Kathy Perkins and would like to thank her family, mentors, and friends, for their love, patience, and support. 

Jasmine Williams
Jasmine Williams
Lighting Design

Jasmine Williams (Lighting Design) is an Atlanta-based Artist and Lighting Designer for theater, music, dance, opera, and immersive experiences. After a significant time spent as a Stage Manager, Jasmine transitioned to Lighting and Costume Design. As a Lighting Designer, Jasmine has worked with Flint Repertory Theater, Passage Theater, No Dream Deferred’s debut production of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s In The Red and Brown Water and Tulane University’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She has also worked with the New Orleans Ballet Association, The Nola Project, and Summer Lyric Theatre at Tulane. She received her Design MFA from Tulane University in 2020, and her BA from Albany State University in 2016. Jasmine continues to collaborate with theaters, companies, directors, choreographers, and visual artists across New Orleans, and plans to build a new network in Atlanta. Jasmine appreciates her mentorship with John “Ray” Proctor and Kathy Perkins and would like to thank her family, mentors, and friends, for their love, patience, and support. 

Musicians

Desiré Gaston (Backup Singer) [she/her] is thrilled to join the cast of Gift of Love at the Alliance Theatre! Favorite credits include Whitney Houston in Whitney: A Moment in Time (NSU Theatre Co.), Darlene in The Color Purple (ASU Theatre), and Elle in The Forbidden Tour (International tour with Todrick Hall). She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance from Alabama State University. Desiré is excited to have her Alliance Theatre debut this season, and would love to thank her friends and family for always supporting her! 

Desiré Gaston
Desiré Gaston
Backup Singer

Desiré Gaston (Backup Singer) [she/her] is thrilled to join the cast of Gift of Love at the Alliance Theatre! Favorite credits include Whitney Houston in Whitney: A Moment in Time (NSU Theatre Co.), Darlene in The Color Purple (ASU Theatre), and Elle in The Forbidden Tour (International tour with Todrick Hall). She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Performance from Alabama State University. Desiré is excited to have her Alliance Theatre debut this season, and would love to thank her friends and family for always supporting her! 

Cole Hansberry
Cole Hansberry
Backup Singer

Producer

Kay Nilest
Kay Nilest
Co Line Producer
Amanda Watkins
Amanda Watkins
Co Line Producer

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