Danielle Moné Truitt was a prominent member of B Street Theatre’s acting company in the early 2000’s. Since her departure to Los Angeles, she’s had a prolific career which has included a starring role in the BET series Rebel. Artistic Associate Sean Patrick Nill met with the actress to talk about her early days with B Street Theatre, her time in LA, and her return to the B Street Theatre stage as Jo in The Legend of Georgia McBride.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Sacramento, CA!
How’d you find theatre?
My first experience with theatre was in 6th grade when I played Belle in Beauty and the Beast. We just lip synced to the movie soundtrack, but it was a full on production and was a lot of fun. I didn’t do a play again until my senior year in high school, but I have to say I officially caught the theatre bug at CSU Sacramento. I took a theatre class just for fun and my professor encouraged me to make theatre my major. The rest is history!
When did you first hear about B Street Theatre?
I first heard about the B Street Theatre in 2005. One night I was driving home, and my phone rang. When I answered it, a guy named Buck Busfield was on the other line and he asked me to come audition for one of their productions. I had never heard of or been to B Street Theatre before then.
Did that phone conversation lead to your first job at B Street Theatre?
It did! Buck said that a guy named Anthony D’Juan had recommended me. So I went in, I met Buck, and I did a monologue that I’m sure was pretty terrible. But Buck thought I was charming and offered me the role. I became equity and shortly after that he made me a Company Member.
What were those initial years at B Street like?
My first play at B Street Theatre was The Beggars’ Strike in the Family Series. It was fun and a great learning experience for me. I knew nothing about professional theatre. I also immediately felt like a part of the family. I knew the B Street would be a place that I could grow as an actor and where I could do great creative work and make relationships that would last for a lifetime.
When and why did you decide to move to LA?
It was always a goal of mine to move a pursue my career in an environment where there were many opportunities, but I just hadn’t made a decision on when or where. Since I started acting “late,” I felt like I was still learning. After working at B Street, I started doing theatre at all of the Equity theaters in town. I ended up doing A Raisin in the Sun in 2005 at Sacramento Theatre Company, and an agent from L.A came to see their client in the show. Afterwards, he invited me to LA for a meeting. He didn’t end up signing me but it sparked the thought that maybe if I moved to LA, I could have a shot at a career in TV and Film. Plus a sistah wasn’t getting any younger, okay?! So, I made the leap. No job, no agent, no manager. I had about three months of rent (I thought $3,500 would last me at least six months but I had no idea how expensive living in LA LA Land would be). It was probably the bravest thing I did at that time in my life, and definitely the best decision I ever made.
How has your life been since making that big leap?
Well I moved out there to become a “famous actress” and little did I know that the attempt would take a lifetime. In the meantime, I married the man of my dreams and became a mommy, which is the most incredible role I will ever play in my life. I have two amazing sons.
Moving to LA to be an actress has given me a whole entire grown up life. I had to challenge myself creatively. I created and produced my own one woman play, 3 Black Girl Blues, with the help of my now long time friend Anthony D’Juan. I created a solo concert entitled Overnight Success. One thing I learned about navigating the industry is that you cannot wait around for people to give you opportunities. You have to define who you are as an artist and remain true to that. Over time, I got a great agent, and then managers and then a couple of more agents. I helped create the first African American Princess, Princess Tiana in The Princess and the Frog by performing her body movements and facial expressions for Disney Animation. I booked a guest spot on an ABC show and another role on a FOX show.
And then a couple of years ago, I was given the amazing opportunity to star in my own TV show on BET called Rebel, and work with the legendary John Singleton and acting greats like Giancarlo Esposito and Mykelti Williamson. Now I am signed with one of the top three agents in the industry and getting opportunities to audition for some incredible projects.
So, I’m still on the journey and I’m grateful for every triumph. I also have a life that is committed to serving others through me and my husband’s ministry, The Livingroom, plus other community events I’ve created and organized such as More Than a Hashtag and Be Eternal: The Thriving Artist.
Why was this the right time to return to B Street Theatre?
Honestly, I have wanted to come back to do a show at the B Street for some time but it just didn’t work with my shooting schedule. Luckily, during the holidays, things are slow in L.A. Everyone is getting ready for the holidays. Plus, this is such a fun piece of theatre! I’m really glad to be a part of it.
What has it been like to be in The Legend of Georgia McBride?
It’s been a blast! I love working with Jerry Montoya. He has so much fun and is so passionate about creating real moments for us actors on stage. It’s also been pretty cool being the only girl in the cast. Watching Cameron (Folmar), Kevin (Kantor), and Jon (Kovach) strutting around in heels while I’m in a pair of flats is awesome.
Why is this a good show for people to see?
It celebrates inclusion. It celebrates life and new and wonderful discoveries. This world is big enough for all of us… and we all have a place in it.
Come see Danielle in The Legend of Georgia McBride, previewing all this week and opening on Friday November 9. Tickets are available online.