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Danielle Brooks          

Singer and Actress; Known for Her TV Role in "Orange is the New Black" as well as on Broadway in "The Color Purple"

Danielle Brooks was born in Augusta, Georgia, and grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, in a Christian family; her father was a deacon and her mother a minister. She began acting at the age of six in a nativity play put on by her church. For her final two years of high school, she attended South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts & Humanities, a performing arts school. She studied drama at the Juilliard School and graduated in 2011.

After graduating from Juilliard, Brooks won roles in two theater productions: the Shakespeare Theatre Company's "Servant of Two Masters," and "Blacken the Bubble." She left both productions in 2013 to join the cast of the Netflix-produced television series, "Orange Is the New Black," a show about a women's prison, as Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson. Her character Taystee was originally intended to be featured in the show for only two episodes, but ended up being written into the rest of the first season. Taystee's on-screen best friend is played by Samira Wiley, with whom Brooks has been friends since they met while studying together at Juilliard. Brooks' performance in "Orange Is the New Black" has been praised by critics, with one writer from The Daily Beast calling her "the breakout actress of the show and one of the most refreshing and exciting new talents of 2013". Brooks was upgraded from a recurring cast member to a series regular for the show's second season.

In September 2013, Brooks was cast in a season 3 episode of the HBO series "Girls," where she played the first black woman on the show. In addition, it was announced in 2015 that Brooks would make her Broadway debut in the upcoming fall 2015 revival of "The Color Purple."


Danielle Brooks is the hardest-working woman in showbiz
When Danielle Brooks learned she’d been offered the role of Sofia in the Broadway revival of “The Color Purple,” she burst into tears. This was the show, after all, that made her want to be a performer. At Juilliard, she and her best friend memorized the score and performed it most nights in their dorm room.
George Takei, Danielle Brooks, Jessica Hecht & More Set for Theatre Forward's Annual Broadway Roundtable
George Takei, Danielle Brooks, Jessica Hecht & More Set for Theatre Forward's Annual Broadway Roundtable

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