Dean of the New School for Dance, Helena St. Rogers, portrayed by Charlayne Woodard, is a renowned dance instructor with an eye for emerging talent. After taking a special interest in Damon, Helena becomes a trusted adviser.
Woodard is a two-time Obie Award winner and a Tony® Award nominee. Broadway credits include the original company of Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Tony and Drama Desk nominations). Off-Broadway credits include: Hamlet, directed by Sam Gold; War, by Branden Jacobs- Jenkins; the revival of the Substance of Fire by Jon Robin Baitz; directed by Trip Cullman, The Witch of Edmonton directed by Jessie Berger (Obie Award); Suzan-Lori Parks’ In The Blood (Obie Award); Fabulation… by Lynn Nottage; Stunning by David Adjmi; Sorrows and Rejoicings by Athol Fugard (Audelco award); and the Caucasian Chalk Circle directed by George C. Wolfe.
Regional credits include Zealot by Theresa Rebeck at South Coast Rep; A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Chris Ashley, at The La Jolla Playhouse; "Katherine" in The Taming of the Shrew, directed by Rebecca Taichman at Shakespeare Theatre Company; Purgatorio by Ariel Dorfman at Seattle Repertory Theatre; The Good Person of Szechuan, directed by Lisa Peterson and Pretty Fire, directed by Michael Greif, both at The La Jolla Playhouse.
Woodard has written and performed four acclaimed solo plays: Pretty Fire, directed by Daniel Sullivan, (LA Drama Critics and NAACP Awards); Neat, directed by Daniel Sullivan, (Irving and Blanche Laurie Theatre Vision Award, Outer Critics Circle nomination); In Real Life directed by Daniel Sullivan (Audelco, Backstage West Garland and NAACP awards, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations); and, The Night Watcher, directed by Daniel Sullivan (LA Drama Critics and NAACP awards). Her multi-character play, Flight directed by Robert Egan, an adaptation of African and African-American folktales. Her 10-minute play, Phenom, premiered at La Jolla Playhouse's Without Walls Festival.
Film credits include M. Night Shyamalan’s upcoming film, Glass; Charles Murray’s Things Never Said; M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable; John Sayle’s Sunshine State; Nicholas Hytner's The Crucible; and John Schlesinger’s Eye For An Eye.
Television credits include the title role in the Showtime movie, Run For The Dream: The Gail Devers’ Story; Oprah Winfrey’s The Wedding, as well as recurring roles on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit; ER, Terminator: The Sarah Connors Chronicles, Chasing Life, The Leftovers and The Blacklist.
Woodard trained at Goodman School of Drama and is a lifetime member of The Actor’s Studio. She serves on the Dramatist Guild Council, The Council of Actors’ Equity Association, the Board of Directors at The La Jolla Playhouse; and, is a fellow of the Sundance Film and Theatre Labs, Ojai Playwrights Conference and the Marble House Project. She has also been invited to be a guest artist at the University of Southern California and CalArts.