Shervelle Bergholz is a writer, actor, dancer and director. She has been in theater for many years first, in Alabama, and then, here in Hawaii. She began performing in the Anniston Community Theater more than 20 years ago and, since then, her love for the performing arts has increased tremendously.
Shervelle began by performing In The Anniston Community Theatre in Anniston, Alabama. She starred in plays such as “Everyman” and “Talking With…” , both directed by Margaret Ayers. In addition to theatre, Shervelle is an avid ballroom dancer. She has been dancing for many years with Il Divino Ritmo with her instructors, Lucas Jaime and Yanna Samkova. Shervelle has competed in many local ballroom competitions including the Hawaii Star Ball and the Aloha Ball. She competes in International Latin Ballroom which includes the Cha-cha, Rumba, Jive, Paso Doble and Samba. She also performs Smooth and Standard Ballroom which includes the Waltz, the Foxtrot, Tango, Viennese Waltz and Quickstep.
She moved to Hawaii and focused on her family; however, she felt something was missing. After a sizable hiatus, she began to study acting again. She received coaching from renown Acting Coach and SAG Member Wayne Ward. This coaching led to Shervelle being hired on numerous TV programs around the state including ‘Hawaii 5-0’, and feature films such as ‘Godzilla’ and ‘Snatched’. Shervelle has also starred in several independent projects including ‘Poutage’ directed by Aleeka Kay Morgan and an infomercial for The Queen’s Medical Center.
Shervelle auditioned for and was cast in ‘The Colored Museum,’ directed by Jeanne Wynn Herring. It was during this period she was reminded that she loved theater and being on stage.
She was cast in a staged reading of “Flyin’ West”, again directed by Jeanne Wynn Herring for 1Voice1Play1Day, a non-profit organization that celebrates Juneteenth by having African American theaters perform the same play, on the same day.
Being on the stage was exhilarating and encouraged Shervelle to audition for more plays. Among many other local theatrical productions, she also performed in “Ragtime” at Diamondhead Theatre and “Intimate Apparel” for Evolve Theater.
Though Shervelle loved being on stage, she also volunteered to help out her friends behind the scenes by acting as Stage Manager and running the box office. All of this gave Shervelle the opportunity to learn how the theater works and only grew her love for the art.
Shervelle began to notice that African American artists were rarely featured as there were rarely any plays that required an African American cast. Additionally, if an African American cast was called for, many directors simply chose another person of another race to play that part. She took note.
Meanwhile, she continued to hone her skills in theater by directing. The first play she directed was, 'Flyin’ West' by Pearl Cleage for Evolve Theater. Shervelle enjoyed directing so much that she looked for ways to direct more plays. Sadly, as with many other productions, the pandemic Covid 19 stalled theater performances for a while. During this time Shervelle, being keenly aware of the lack of opportunities for African American talent in theater in Hawai’i started to think of ways that African American art and talent in performing arts could be highlighted and showcased here on the islands. In answer, Shervelle formed the company, WoW Productions in August 2020. Her vision for this company included being able to produce and perform plays specifically for African Americans by ensuring they would feature African American talent. Shervelle believes strongly that there is a strong, thriving cadre of African American talent on the island despite the current paradigm that suggests otherwise.
Through WoW Productions plays have been produced that feature all African American casts. In 2021, WoW Productions produced the Juneteenth Celebration for Manoa Valley Theatre which featured African dancers, drummers, and poets. During this celebration, African American vendors sold their art and wares that were a homage to African heritage and culture which is so prevalent on this island. In addition to the celebration, she wrote and produced the play for the Juneteenth celebration, ‘And, Still I Rise - The Journey from Struggle to Triumph.’ In that production she also sang and danced.
In December 2021 she produced ‘It’s a Wonderful Life - A Live Radio Play’ by Joe Landry which featured an all African-American cast.
2022 promises to be an exciting year for Shervelle and WoW Productions as she seeks to feature more plays that highlight the African American talent that thrives on this island to include ‘Flyin’ West’ 2.0 Reboot,' ‘Ain’t Misbehavin,' and ‘American Son.’
Shervelle feels that African Americans must be given the voice to tell their own stories in their own unique way. She is quoted: “Our stories are rich with tragedy and triumph, struggle and strength, rich with love and joy and must be told in our own voice.” To ensure that our rich history is shared, Shervelle makes a commitment to our community to always provide a voice to tell our stories. It is a necessary vision.