As a writer, performer, and New Yorker, Daniel “Koa” Beatty, is used to hearing the adjectives extraordinary consummate professional describe his career both on stage and in print during the past decade. Beatty recently completed a series of one-man performances EMERGENCY– a play at the Crossroads Theater in New Brunswick. Beatty has garnered numerous awards, including an Obie award for writing and five NAACP Theater Awards. 

For Beatty, performing 40 characters cogently and with depth during a performance is not difficult, especially when he can relate and personally identify with various aspects of his portrayals. EMERGENCY is the story about the arrival of a slave ship at the Statue of Liberty. The surprise and unceremonious arrival of the vessel plummets the Big Apple into a state of chaos and turmoil. Beatty’s portrayal of the characters is riveting. For example, he depicts a queen, a homeless man, a scientist, a Republican, and a young homeboy from the ‘hood.

“I don’t have a favorite character, I like all of them,” Beatty said during a recent interview with NJUrban News. Perhaps Beatty’s extreme versatility as an actor comes from years of experience as a performer in a multitude of venues across the globe. He portrayed literary icon Paul Robeson in the play Tallest Tree in the Forest. He was a co-writer and featured performer along with Loretta Devine and Omari Hardwick in the film Chapter & Verse in 2011; and completed a documentary about the impact of mass incarceration on children and families. Beatty is the child of an incarcerated parent, and a lot of his professional work and community activism on both local and national levels tends to highlight issues regarding incarceration. “It’s an issue that has unfairly impacted communites of color for decades,” he said. “It’s a topic I will always be outspoken and vocal about.”

Finally, Beatty recently completed a pilot script for an upcoming cable television series called Sag Harbor for HBO Max. The series is based on two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Colson Whitehead’s novel of the same name and will explore the Black rich and occasionally infamous lives at the Black oasis hot spot–Sag Harbor, Long Island. Academy Award-nominated actor Laurence Fishburne is among the team of executive producers of the series. Sag Harbor is slated to air early next year.

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