Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Denise Burse as Claretha Jenkins in House of Payne’s “Payneful Visit”

Photo by Lia Chang

Photo by Lia Chang

Denise Burse is most familiar to television audiences as Claretha Jenkins on Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, the 2011 NAACP Award recipient for Outstanding Comedy Series. In the current season of House of Payne, Claretha reveals she has leukemia.

Ms. Burse can be seen in Bruce Beresford’s Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding, a new film starring Jane Fonda, Elizabeth Olsen, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Catherine Keener, Chase Crawford and Kyle MacLachlan, scheduled for release this year.

Production still of Charles Randolph Wright's Preaching to the Choir (l-r) Kia (Janine Green), Miss Nettie (Eartha Kitt), Butter (Roger Robinson), Willie (Jonathan Lopez), Sister Marcie (Denise Burse), Sister Emma (Adriane Lenox) Photo by Robert Barocci/Preaching to the Choir

Production still of Charles Randolph Wright’s Preaching to the Choir (l-r) Kia (Janine Green), Miss Nettie (Eartha Kitt), Butter (Roger Robinson), Willie (Jonathan Lopez), Sister Marcie (Denise Burse), Sister Emma (Adriane Lenox) Photo by Robert Barocci/Preaching to the Choir

Her favorite film roles include her co-starring turns as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s mother opposite Howard Rollins in The Boy King (WSB); as Buster Marshall, Thurgood Marshall’s wife in Simple Justice (PBS American Experience); as Sister Marcie in Preaching to the Choir, directed by Charles Randolph Wright, as Sergeant Martin in A Time to Triumph (CBS) starring Patty Duke; and as Eleanor Clark in Resting Place (CBS, Hallmark Hall of Fame), starring John Lithgow and Morgan Freeman. Other film and TV credits include the BET/STARZ movie Funny Valentines, with Alfre Woodard and Loretta Devine, Angel, Basquiat, The Juror, Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Third Watch, 100 Centre Street, The Sopranos, The Cosby Show, New York Undercover and One Life to Live.

Denise Burse as Harriet Tubman in Harriet's Return. Photo by Lia Chang

Denise Burse as Harriet Tubman in Harriet’s Return. Photo by Lia Chang

Ms. Burse appeared on Broadway in Wendy Wasserstein’s An American Daughter, directed by Daniel Sullivan. Her Off-Broadway credits include Eisa Davis’ Angela’s Mixtape (Ohio Theatre), Don Juan of Seville (Classical Stage Company), Ground People (American Place Theatre), Harriet’s Return (Cherry Lane Theatre), Hannah Davis (Negro Ensemble Company) and Bill Harris’ Robert Johnson: Trick the Devil (New Federal Theatre). Her regional credits include Pearl Cleage’s Flyin’ West with Ruby Dee at The Kennedy Center; Charles Randolph Wright’s Blue (Cincinnati Playhouse, Geva); Miss Evers’ Boys (Illusion Theater); African Company Presents Richard III (Cleveland Playhouse); Fences (CENTERSTAGE); The Piano Lesson (Seattle Repertory Theatre, director Lloyd Richards) and James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner (True Colors Theatre Company/Alliance Theatre). Helmer Kenny Leon has directed her in August Wilson’s Fences (Alliance Theatre), Radio Golf (CENTERSTAGE, Mark Taper Forum, Seattle Repertory Theatre), The Piano Lesson and Seven Guitars (Alliance Theatre). Ms. Burse garnered a Theatre World Award for her Off-Broadway debut in Ground People and an AUDELCO Award for Robert Johnson: Trick The Devil.

(l-r) Denise Burse, Navaina Rhodes, Margo Moorer and Chandra Currelley in True Colors Theatre's production of The Amen Corner by James Baldwin at The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. Photo by Tom Meyer

(l-r) Denise Burse, Navaina Rhodes, Margo Moorer and Chandra Currelley in True Colors Theatre’s production of The Amen Corner by James Baldwin at The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. Photo by Tom Meyer

A native of Atlanta, Ms. Burse honed her craft performing at the Just Us Theatre, The Alliance Theatre and The Atlanta Children’s Theater.

Here is the link – http://wp.me/pla1d-3hJ – to post this article on Facebook.

On October 16, 2005, fourteen days after American playwright August Wilson's death, the theatre was renamed in his honor. (l-r) August Wilson's niece Kimberly Ellis with Radio Golf castmembers Denise Burse, John Earl Jelks and Anthony Chisholm in front of the August Wilson Theatre on October 16, 2005. Photos by Lia Chang

On October 16, 2005, fourteen days after American playwright August Wilson’s death, the theatre was renamed in his honor. (l-r) August Wilson’s niece Kimberly Ellis with Radio Golf castmembers Denise Burse, John Earl Jelks and Anthony Chisholm in front of the August Wilson Theatre on October 16, 2005. Photos by Lia Chang

Related articles:
Wikipedia List of Tyler Perry’s House of Payne Episodes
Other Articles by this Author:
Denise Burse, Harriett D. Foy, Lynda Gravatt, Nikiya Mathis, Dennis Parlato, Saycon Sengbloh and Tracie Thoms in Marcus Gardley’s The House That Will Not Stand in 2012 Powerhouse Theater Season, July 20-22, 2012
Slideshow – On October 16, 2005, The Virginia Theatre was renamed the August Wilson Theatre
Peter Jay Fernandez in Theatre for a New Audience’s Macbeth at The Duke through April 22
Denise Burse & Peter Jay Fernandez Featured in INTAR Reading of Andrew Dolan’s The Many Mistresses of Martin Luther King
Multimedia: The 52nd Street Project Benefit Photos: Michael Cerveris, James Monroe Inglehart, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Matthew Morrison, Greg Naughton and Kelli O’Hara
Michael Cerveris, Matthew Morrison & Kelli O’Hara sing for 52nd Street Project’s Benefit
Multimedia: Zooman and The Sign Opening Night Party
Denise Burse, Rocky Carroll, Anthony Chisholm, John Earl Jelks and James A. Williams in Radio Golf by August Wilson at The Pearlstone Theater in Baltimore
Marva Hicks and the Columbus Jazz Orchestra light up the Southern Theatre with a “A Night at the Apollo”
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.

Lia Chang, Peter Jay Fernandez, Denise Burse and Marva Hicks after the concert presentation of Pat Holley's Me and Caesar Lee at The Triad Theatre in New York on April 3, 2011.

Lia Chang, Peter Jay Fernandez, Denise Burse and Marva Hicks after the concert presentation of Pat Holley’s Me and Caesar Lee at The Triad Theatre in New York on April 3, 2011.

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.

As a photographer and videographer, Lia collaborates with artists, organizations and companies in establishing their documentary photo archive and social media presence. She has been documenting her colleagues and contemporaries in the arts, fashion and journalism since making her stage debut as Liat in the National Tour of South Pacific, with Robert Goulet and Barbara Eden. Lia currently plays Nurse Lia on “One Life to Live”. She has appeared in Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and “New York Undercover”.

Selections of Lia’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space are now in the newly created LIA CHANG THEATER PHOTOGRAPHY PORTFOLIO in the ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTION housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection.

Lia’s portraits and performance photos have appeared in Vanity Fair, Gourmet, German Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, TV Guide, Daily Variety, Interior Design, American Theatre, Broadwayworld.com, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle, Timeout.com, Villagevoice.com, Playbill.com, Theatermania.com, thelmagazine.com, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post. A former syndicated arts and entertainment columnist for KYODO News, Lia is the New York Bureau Chief for AsianConnections.com. She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog.

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This entry was posted on April 6, 2011 by in African American Artists, Entertainment, Film, New York, Television, Theater and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .