SANDRA REAVES-PHILLIPS received a Drama League Recognition Award for Outstanding Performer in ROLLIN’ ON THE T.O.B.A. on Broadway was also an NAACP Image Award Nominee in California.
She was born in Mullins, South Carolina, labored in tobacco, cotton, migrant worker fields, fruit orchards with her grandmother, sang in the church choir, and then entered local talent contests when she arrived in Brooklyn, New York. Her success in singing paved the way to show business. As a result of performing in small clubs she landed contracts with several record companies Sue/Broadway, Epic/Okeh, Mainstream/Brown Dog and Canyon Records.
She attended the Al Fann Theatrical Ensemble, won her first starring role in off-Broadway musical LITTLE BIT, garnered critical and audience acclaim with a riveting portrayal of Mama Younger in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical RAISIN, recorded a cast album in Switzerland with Howard University cast and musicians . She also recorded and costarred in the original production of BLACK & BLUE in Paris at the Chatelet Theatre. Her appearances in other productions in North America include AMERICAN DREAMS at the Negro Ensemble Company, at the National Black Theater Festival she starred in SWEET MAMA STRINGBEAN as Ethel Waters, CHAMPEEN as Bessie Smith winning an Audelco Award Outstanding Female at New Federal Theater, starred in MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM at the Citadel Theatre in Canada and Pittsburgh Public Theatre productions, BEFORE IT HITS HOME at the Arena Stage a Helen Hayes Award Nominee, was leading lady in FURTHER MO’ at New York’s Village Gate and the national tours of ONE MO’ TIME, in pre-Broadway MISS MOFFAT with Bette Davis, costarred in DON’T PLAY US CHEAP by Melvin Van Peebles, and BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS w/Dottie West at Kenly Playhouse. She was a co-star in the original production of BLUES IN THE NIGHT, BASIN STREET, STOMPIN’ AT THE SAVOY, Scott Joplin’s TREEMONISHA, co-wrote script and songs for new musical OPENING NIGHT! Club appearances include Cotton Club, Supper Club, Village Gate, Hollywood Cinegrill, Dangerfield’s, Sweetwaters, Marian’s Jazz Room and Jaylins in Switzerland, Groschenoper in Germany, Meridien and Casino in France. Festival appearances include, Montreal Jazz Festival, International Jazz Festival of Bern, Switzerland, North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland, and the International Festival in Lyon, France. Ms. ReAves-Phillips made her Carnegie Hall debut in Cavalcade of Stars, performed in W.C. HANDY’S Anniversary Tribute at Lincoln Center and graced Brooklyn Academy of Music stages many times and was commissioned to perform a LOUIS ARMSTRONG and W.C. HANDY Concert.
She continues to tour in shows she created, LATE GREAT LADIES OF BLUES & JAZZ, BOLD & BRASSY BLUES, ME MYSELF & YOU and GLORY HALLELUJAH GOSPEL!
Ms. ReAves-Phillips’ film credits include ‘ROUND MIDNIGHT actress-singer featured as Buttercup an NAACP Image Award Nominee with Dexter Gordon and Herbie Hancock, LEAN ON ME with Morgan Freeman as Mrs. Powers and sang the title song. She’s featured on two television episodes of LAW and ORDER, acted in the recurring role of Esther on soap opera ANOTHER WORLD, HOMICIDE, COMEDY CENTRAL, seen with Michael J. Fox in CONCIERGE, sang country western and co-starred with Ann-Margret in the N.B.C. Movie of the Week FOLLOWING HER HEART. Radio and television audiences have heard her voice as the “Honey Suckle Rose” scat singer in the popular Entenmann’s Bakery commercial and a guest-star appearance on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion Show, Jerry Lewis Muscular Distrophy Telethon. She’s toured extensively in America and throughout Europe with her Gospel Concert, sang before an audience of 8000 in the televised CHRISTMAS AT THE VATICAN, shared a private audience with Pope John Paul II, produced CDs for each of her shows including A Tribute to “THE QUEEN OF GOSPEL…MAHALIA JACKSON”. She appeared as Mamma Zanni in Seattle and San Francisco’s TEATRO ZINZANNI was invited by the Honorable Willie Brown to sing at a private VIP Party for the President of China, was guest star with the late RAY CHARLES in concert at West Point Military Academy and State Theater in New Jersey. In her self-penned show LATE GREAT LADIES of BLUES & JAZZ won a Woodie Award for Best Independent Theatrical Production at St. Louis Black Repertory where she gave what is a definitive performance of Lena Younger in the Tony Award winning musical RAISIN receiving the Woodie Award for Best Female Lead, a Black Theater Network Excellence Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award from Tony Award winning Crossroads Theater where she also performed in the Broadway hit IT AIN’T NOTHIN BUT THE BLUES. She received numerous Recognition Awards and has a Keys to the City of Mullins, SC., her hometown and Oklahoma City.
1. Star of the National Tour of ONE MO TIME, FURTHER MO’ and RAISIN
2. Star and creator of the internationally acclaimed LATE GREAT LADIES OF BLUES & JAZZ celebrating 30+ years as the “longest running” one-woman show still touring
3. Guest star on numerous television shows including LAW AND ORDER , HOMICIDE, COMEDY CENTRAL, NBC MOVIE OF THE WEEK
4. Sang gospel in televised concert CHRISTMAS AT THE VATICAN for Pope John Paul II before an audience of over 8,000.
5. Co-starred and sang in acclaimed film ROUND MIDNIGHT w/Dexter Gordon and Herbie Hancock
6. Featured and sang title song in film LEAN ON ME w/Morgan Freeman
7. Acclaimed by Holland American Cruise Lines “Diva of the High Seas!”
8. Engagements at numerous International Festivals and Cabarets
9. Sang at Houston Astrodome, Wrigley Field and Oakland Park