Skip to main content

Nelson, Novella 1939–

NELSON, Novella 1939

PERSONAL

Born December 17, 1939, in Brooklyn, NY; daughter of James Nelson and Evelyn Hines; children: Alesa Novella BlanchardNelson. Education: Attended Brooklyn College.

Addresses: Office DBA, 10 East 44th St., New York, NY 10012.

Career: Actress, director, producer, and singer. New York Shakespeare Festival, consultant, 197075; CAPS, consultant, 197276; Huanaan Festival, director; Sun-dance Theatre Program, director; member of Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, GA, Theatre Company of Boston, Boston, MA, Seattle Repertory and ACT, both Seattle, WA, Harlem Children's Theatre, and New Heritage Theatre; lecturer at Bennington, Goddard, State University of New York, Smithsonian Institute, Brooklyn College, American Mime Theatre, and American Academy of Dramatic Arts. "Creative Space," Argus School, founder. New York State Council of the Arts, theatre panelist.

Member: National Council of Negro Women, Delta Sigma Theta, DST Committee of Arts & Letters (member of board), Studio WIS (member of board).

Awards, Honors: Mary M. Bethune Lifetime Achievement Award, National Council of Negro Women; Image Award, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, for theatre work.

CREDITS

Film Appearances:

(Film debut) Jean Starret, An Unmarried Woman, Twentieth CenturyFox, 1977.

Carla Willis, The Seduction of Joe Tynan, Universal, 1978.

Lizzie, Sweet Ginger Brown, 1983.

Stephanie St. Clair, The Cotton Club, Orion, 1984.

Lizzy, the housekeeper, The Flamingo Kid, Twentieth CenturyFox, 1984.

Mattie, Orphans, 1987.

Yvonne Washington, Privilege, Zeitgeist Films, 1990.

Media jackal, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Warner Bros., 1990.

Marriage celebrant, Green Card, Buena Vista, 1990.

Olivia, Strictly Business, Warner Bros., 1991.

Mobu, Weekend at Bernie's II, Tri Star, 1993.

Frances, Dead Funny, APix Entertainment, 1994.

Mrs. Lemont, The Keeper, 1995.

Angela's aunt, Girl 6, Fox Searchlight Pictures, 1996.

White Lies, 1996.

Georgine, Manny & Lo, Sony Pictures Classics, 1996.

Angela, Mercy, Unapix Entertainment, 1996.

Botanica woman, The Devil's Advocate (also known as Im Auftrag des Teufels ), Warner Bros., 1997.

Rufus' shrink, 1999 (also known as Girls & Boys ), R.A.M.M. Entertainment, 1998.

Ambassador Alice Wills, A Perfect Murder, Warner Bros., 1998.

Carol, Judy Berlin, The Shooting Gallery, 1999.

The Gilded Six Bits (short), 2001.

Mrs. Tate, Antwone Fisher, Twentieth CenturyFox, 2002.

Moderator, Head of State, Dream Works Distribution LLC, 2003.

Aunt Mae, Conversations with Id, 2003.

Lee, Birth, Fine Line Features, 2004.

Clarabelle, Dear Wendy, 2004.

Aunt June, On the One, 2004.

Television Appearances; Series:

Judge Barbara "Fitzy" Fitzwater, One Life to Live, ABC, 1993.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Nellie Cole, Chiefs, CBS, 1983.

Pearl (195570), Mama Flora's Family, CBS, 1998.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Mrs. Thornton, A Doctor's Story, NBC, 1984.

Serena Cole, He's Fired, She's Hired, CBS, 1984.

Pearl, Kojak: The Price of Justice, CBS, 1987.

Mrs. Munson, The Littlest Victims, CBS, 1989.

Second Annie Lee Moss, Citizen Cohn, HBO, 1992.

Mrs. Chaney, Daybreak, HBO, 1993.

Rosetta Tyler, The Summer of Ben Tyler, CBS, 1996.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Voices & Visions (documentary), PBS, 1988.

Miss Queenesther, Harambee!, WNET (New York), 1996.

The Ark of the Spirit with Avery Brooks, TBS, 1996.

The Gilded Six Bits, Showtime, 2001.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

"The Line," The Equalizer, 1986.

Mrs. Webster, "Never My Love," A Man Called Hawk, ABC, 1989.

"Here's Why You Should Always Make Your Bed in the Morning," The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, Lifetime, 1989.

Judge Gloria Crutcher, "Out of the HalfLight," Law & Order, NBC, 1990.

Professor Cortez, "Olde Tyme Religion," New York Undercover, Fox, 1995.

Evelyn Gates, "New York News," New York News, CBS, 1995.

Mrs. Washington, "Humiliation," Law & Order, NBC, 1995.

Loretta Smith, "Plan B," Oz, HBO, 1997.

Malcolm's mother, "Capital Punishment," New York Undercover, Fox, 1998.

Madame Lordes, "Oh Come All Ye Faithful," Sex and the City, HBO, 1998.

Mrs. Mosley, "Sophomore Jinx," Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, NBC, 1999.

Isabelle, "Things Change," 100 Centre Street, Arts and Entertainment, 2001.

Sondra Richards, "In Confidence," Third Watch, NBC, 2003.

Nurse, "Once Bitten," Whoopi, NBC, 2003.

Also appeared as Aretha Jackson, Dellaventura, CBS.

Television Appearances; Other:

Appeared as Briana, UN, Briana; Mrs. Jones, Watch Your Mouth/Chicago Red; Harriet Tubman, You Are There; and in Camera Three, Soul, VD Blues, Women Alive, Inside Bed Stuy, and Like It Is.

Stage Appearances:

(Stage debut) Essie, To Follow the Phoenix, Schubert Theatre, Chicago, IL, 1961.

(New York debut) In White America, Circle in the Square Theatre, 19641965.

Understudy for Mrs. Dolly Gallagher Levi, Hello, Dolly!, St. James Theatre, New York City, c. 1964.

Madame Tongo, House of Flowers, Theatre de Lys, New York City, 1967.

Vandy, Horseman Pass By, Theatre de Lys, 1969.

Missy, Purlie, Broadway Theatre, New York City, 19701971.

Madame Tango, Les Femmes Noires, Joseph Papp Public Theatre, New York City, 1974.

Ftatateeta, Caesar and Cleopatra, Palace Theatre, New York City, 1977.

Understudy for Volumnia, Coriolanus, Delacorte Theatre, New York City, 1979.

Addie, The Little Foxes, Martin Beck Theatre, New York City, 1981, then (London debut) Victoria Palace, 1982.

Breaking the Prairie Wolf Code, American Place Theatre, New York City, 1985.

Mrs. Antrobus, The Skin of Our Teeth, CSC Theatre, New York City, 1986.

Division Street, McGinnCazale Theatre, New York City, 1987.

Storyteller, woman cook, mon oncle, and servant, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Joseph Papp Public Theater/Martinson Hall, New York City, 1990.

Steele, A Piece of My Heart, Union Square Theatre, New York City, 1991.

Standby for Dr. Bessie Delany, Having Our Say, Booth Theatre, New York City, 1995.

Gram, Digging Eleven, Hartford Stage Company, Hartford, CT, 1999.

Woman in brown, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf, American Place Theatre, 2000.

Priest, Oedipus the King, Hartford, CT, 2001.

Wounded woman, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, Pace University, New York City, 2002.

The Odyssey, Theatre at St. Clement's, New York City, 2002.

promises.com, CUNY Graduate Center, New York City, 2003.

Also appeared as Calpurnia, Julius Caesar, New York Public Theatre, New York City; Vicky, Passing Game, American Place Theatre; counselor, A Subject of Childhood; and in Trio, In New England Winter, South Pacific, Widows, Mecuba, and Ladies.

Stage Director:

Les Femmes Noires, Joseph Papp Public Theatre, New York City, 1974.

Directed Runners, Pilgrim Playhouse; Black Visions, New York Public Theatre, New York City; Sweet Talk, New York Shakespeare Festival; Nigger Nightmare, Manhattan Theatre Club, then New York Public Theatre; Where We At, Negro Ensemble Company, New York City; Perfection in Black, Negro Ensemble Company; Black Visions; Sister Sonjii; and Bailey's Cafe.

Stage Associate Director:

Mule Bone, Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York City, 1991.

Stage Producer:

Produced There's Still Free Music, Central Park, New York City; and Music and Poetry at Reno's.

Stage Consultant to Producer:

That Championship Season, Booth Theatre, New York City, 19721974.

The Au Pair Man, Vivian Beaumont Theatre, New York City, 19731974.

What the WineSellers Buy, Vivian Beaumont Theatre, 1974.

A Doll's House, Vivian Beaumont Theatre, 1975.

A Chorus Line, Shubert Theatre, New York City, 19751990.

RECORDINGS

Albums:

Recorded Novella Nelson.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Nelson, Novella 1939–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Jan. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Nelson, Novella 1939–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/nelson-novella-1939

"Nelson, Novella 1939–." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Retrieved January 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/nelson-novella-1939

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.