“My Own Directions: A Black Man’s Journey in the American Theater” tells the story of Sheldon Epps and his life in the theater. The memoir recounts Epps’ directing career on Broadway and how he became Artistic Director at the renowned Pasadena Playhouse.
Epps has directed major productions like the three-time Tony-nominated Duke Ellington musical “Play On!” and the musical revue “Blues in The Night.” Aside from his Broadways productions, Epps has directed productions across America and in London as well as established himself in Television where he directed episodes of “The Upshaws,” “Family Reunion,” “Frasier,” “Friends,” “The George Lopez Show,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Hannah Montana,” “Instant Mom,” “Evening Shade,” “Sister, Sister,” and many others.
He was also producer and director for “Girlfriends,” over the course of five seasons. Epps’ list of directing credits at the Pasadena Playhouse is vast and his work as Art Director at the Playhouse spans two decades (1997-2017). He is widely credited with the rejuvenation and rebirth of the famous theater company, which was also one of the whitest in the beginning of Epps’ career.
“Working on this memoir has been a reflective journey that has brought back vivid images of moments in my long and blessed career,” said Sheldon Epps in a press release statement. “It has also been a reminder of the many challenges that have resulted from being ‘chased by race’ personally and professionally. These are still extant issues in the American Theater that need and require continuing exposure and conversation. I hope that this book contributes to the ongoing evolution of the theater industry. I look forward to having readers join me on this journey through my life and career.”
While Epps received many awards, notable honors include the NAACP Community Service Award and the prestigious James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award for what he did during his tenure at The Playhouse.
He taught acting, directing and theater management at Yale School of Drama, USC, UCLA, University of San Diego, Occidental College, and Cal State LA among others. Epps was also honored in receiving the Alumni Achievement Award from his alma mater Carnegie-Mellon University.
Epps currently works as Senior Artistic Advisor at Ford’s Theater in Washington. Epps is also the director of the upcoming BET+ movie “Chrismas Party Crashers,” premiering Nov. 17.
For more information, visit mcfarlandbooks.com.