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 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, was 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 recent 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.