CYNTHIA ERIVO is a Tony, Emmy, and Grammy Award-winning actress who burst onto West End and Broadway stages in The Color Purple and has taken the big screen by storm.
In 2019, Erivo will star in Kasi Lemmons’ Harriet, where she will bring the legacy of Harriet Tubman to the big screen to tell the story of how she helped free hundreds of slaves from the South after escaping slavery herself in 1849. Focus Features will premiere the film at the Toronto International Film Festival, followed by a November 1, 2019 theatrical release.
Upcoming, Erivo will star alongside Daisy Ridley and David Oyelowo in the highly anticipated sci-fi thriller, Chaos Walking, from director Doug Liman. She will also star in John Ridley’s Needle in a Timestack alongside Orlando Bloom, Freida Pinto, and Leslie Odom Jr. In addition, Erivo is set to executive produce and star in Warner Brothers’ musical take on the American folk tale of Rip Van Winkle.
On the television side, Erivo recently wrapped production on her first television project, HBO series The Outsider, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. Erivo stars alongside Ben Mendelsohn as Holly Gibney in the series, which follows an unorthodox investigator and a seasoned cop investigating a gruesome murder of a local boy.
Continuing to push the boundaries of her versatile career, Erivo stars in John Cameron Mitchell’s music-driven podcast anthology, Anthem: Homunculus, which combines music, drama and theater to create a dense and masterful musical journey, in the style of a radio play, produced by Topic.
Erivo also leads the voice cast and co-produced the QCode scripted thriller podcast, Carrier. Erivo stars as a long-haul truck driver who, during her all-night trip across rural America, discovers she’s transporting a trailer with disturbing, mysterious contents. The podcast premiered on July 1.
In 2018, Erivo made her film debut in Drew Goddard’s Bad Times at the El Royale, which is set in the 1960s in a dilapidated hotel in the Lake Tahoe region of California. 20th Century Fox released the film on October 12, which also stars Jeff Bridges, Chris Hemsworth, and Jon Hamm, among others.
Erivo also starred as ‘Belle’ in Steve McQueen’s drama, Widows, opposite Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, and Elizabeth Debicki. Set in contemporary Chicago, amidst a time of turmoil, the film follows four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms. 20th Century Fox released the film on November 16 following a successful premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.
Erivo rounded out the year with a 2019 BAFTA EE Rising Star Award nomination for her exceptional work in film and on stage.
Erivo made her Broadway debut reprising her starring role as ‘Celie’ in the critically acclaimed revival of The Color Purple. She first played the role in 2013 at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory, earning rave reviews and an Evening Standard Theatre Award nomination for Best Musical Performance and a WhatsOnStage Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical.
Her performance on Broadway earned her several awards, including the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical, a Grammy award as a principal soloist on original cast recording of The Color Purple (Best Musical Theater Album), a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Musical Performance in a Daytime Program, the Drama Desk Award, Theatre World, and Outer Critics Circle Awards.
In spring 2015, Erivo appeared as ‘Puck’ in the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Nick Bagnall.
In fall 2014, she returned to her classical roots in the Donmar Warehouse’s acclaimed all-female production of Henry IV, opposite Dame Harriet Walter, directed by Phyllida Lloyd. In summer 2014, she played the lead in the European premiere of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty musical, Dessa Rose, at Trafalgar Studios.
Erivo’s additional theatre credits include the Perfect Pitch musical, Lift, directed by Steven Paling; Kneehigh Theatre’s production of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg at the Gielgud Theatre; the starring role of ‘Deloris Van Cartier’ in the UK tour of Jerry Zaks’ production of Sister Act; Harry Hill and Simon Cowell’s critically acclaimed musical, I Can’t Sing, at the London Palladium in the West End; Simon Stephens’ Marine Parade, which premiered at the 2010 Brighton Festival, John Adams’ experimental song play, I Was Looking at the Ceiling and Then I Saw The Sky, at Theatre Royal Stratford East; and Dominic Hill’s The Three Musketeers and The Princess of Spain at Traverse, Belgrade and English Touring theatres.
In addition to her stage career, Cynthia is an accomplished songwriter, having written the song, Fly Before You Fall, for the 2014 feature film Beyond the Lights. In March 2015, she made her solo concert debut with the show entitled Hear My Soul at Kings Place in London.
In September 2016, Erivo starred as ‘Cathy’ alongside Joshua Henry in a one-night benefit concert performance of Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years, with proceeds going to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
In February 2017, Erivo performed alongside John Legend at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards. She also performed at the Governors Ball, the official post-Oscars celebration, on February 26, 2017 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom in Los Angeles.
A UK native, Erivo graduated from the famed Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in 2010
Photo credit: John Russo