StageWalkers Productions was established as a way to not only draw youth to the theater but also to have them participate in the process. Russell and Katrina Andrews founded the company upon their arrival from New York in 1997. Their companies’ first venture was the west coast premier of a staged reading of August Wilson’s Jitney. The overwhelming success led to its mainstream production in New York City in which Russell played the role of Youngblood that went on to win numerous honors including, the NAACP Image, Off-Broadway’s Obie and London’s prestigious Laurence Olivier Award.
In 2004, the company’s first production was an outstanding revival of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Wilson’s first Broadway success that starred Russell Andrews, James Avery and Loretta Devine in the title role of Gertrude “Ma” Rainey. It received 5 Ovation Award nominations, winning for Best Set Design, along with 3 NAACP Theater Awards for Best Actor, Best Supporting and Best Director as well as winning 4 LA Weekly Theater Awards for Best Set, Director, Ensemble Performance and Best Revival. The fall of 2006 saw Russell and Katrina produce a star-studded, standing room only, extended revival of Jitney. That production received overwhelming critical and audience response, along with 4 LA Weekly nominations, winning for Best Director and most recently 6 LA Ovation Award nominations with wins for Best Ensemble and Best Play.
While still pursuing their goal of outreach to the community and its youth, along with raising their two beautiful children, Katrina and Russell’s individual skills have been in demand. As an actor, Russell has been called upon to co-star in a number of memorable film and television projects. And this year Katrina, a feature writer for LA Parent Magazine, wrote her first book, “Cool! You’re Pregnant! The Handbook for the Busy Woman.” Her latest endeavor includes the creation of an Environmental Fundraising Company called Earth Totes with her business partner, Sheryl Steinman.