Spotlight Series: Meet Writer / Producer / Actor Mykell Barlow From the L.A. Premiere of “Dessa Rose”


Shari Barrett

Shari Barrett

Registered Critic, Writer, Publicist



This Spotlight shines on writer/producer and actor Mykell Barlow, who I first saw onstage in the Los Angeles premiere of "Dessa Rose" at the Chromolume Theatre. His next big production is his wedding planned for 6/13/2020, which he hopes can go on as planned.


Shari Barrett (SB):  What would you like readers to know about your theatrical background?

Mykell Barlow (Mykell): I have been obsessed with the theatre since I was 9 when my aunt wrote a Christmas play and we performed it in my Grandmother's living room. When I got to high school, I threw myself into performing with drama club, marching band, choir... you name it and I was doing it. Even my English presentations always had lots of dramatic flair.

In my first semi-professional theatre production, I played a tap dancing thug in 42nd Street.” I eventually scored one of my dream leading roles as Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. This led to a series of events that brought me to Los Angeles where I threw myself into the Hollywood Fringe Festival scene. I did a few shows including We are One by Christian Jaeger.

"Dessa Rose" cast (Front l-r Abby Carlson, Mykell Barlow, and Shaunte Massard. Back l-r Kymberly Stewart, Bradley Turner, Ambrey Benson, and Ken Purnell)

Since I've been in LA, I have been lucky enough to play a lead role in the Los Angeles premiere of Dessa Rose at the Chromolume Theatre and understudy in Dream Girls at the Cupcake Theatre.

(SB): I am sharing my Broadway World review of Dessa Rose which is the first time I saw Mykell onstage! The outstanding ensemble cast made this musical a favorite of mine in 2018.

(SB): What production(s) were you involved with when word went out you needed to immediately postpone/cancel the show?

Mykell Barlow as Joseph in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"

(Mykell): I was helping a friend get their first Hollywood Fringe Festival show up and running.  I have also been involved in helping another friend develop a stage musical to pitch to investors. Thankfully we were able to do a few showcases for them before the shutdown came. The biggest production I have been gearing up for is my wedding to my fiancé Justin Patten which is scheduled for June 13th in Downtown LA.

(SB): Congratulations! No doubt it will also be a very dramatic event for the two of you and those lucky enough to attend, which I hope can happen as planned. With the Hollywood Fringe Festival postponed until October 2020, are plans in place to present that production at that time?

Mykell Barlow and fiancé Justin Patten

(Mykell): Since the Fringe Festival has been postponed until October, I am not sure if the show will continue with everyone involved possibly having other commitments in place at that time. We just have to wait and see. In regards to my wedding, Justin and I are hopeful that we won't need to push our wedding date, especially since there are a lot of moving parts with a production like this. So of course, we are keeping an eye on things and will make adjustments accordingly. My hope is that it will go ahead as planned and it will be a great celebration for everyone itching to get out and party after an extended time stuck inside.

(SB):  Have any other future productions on your schedule been affected by the shutdown?

(Mykell): I recently joined Actors Equity and have been excited to audition for some Equity shows. Now they have all be postponed, so I guess I will continue honing my audition skills during this time while I'm stuck at home.

(SB): How are you keeping the Arts alive while at home by using social media or other online sites?

Mykell Barlow as Joseph in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"

(Mykell): I have been digging through my video archives and posting clips from past shows on my twitter and instagram which has been a fun trip down memory lane and a great way to reconnect with old cast mates. I have also been writing online articles for AfterBuzz TV to help maintain a constant flow of entertainment content.

To all my fellow members of the L.A. Theatre Community: I know this time of uncertainty can be unnerving but don't stop creating. Never stop creating. Write, sing, dance, put on a costume and perform a one man show - and record it for the world to see. During moments like this, we need the light that only the Arts can provide. And for all our sakes, please stay inside!


This article first appeared on Broadway World.


Shari Barrett
Shari Barrett, a Los Angeles native, has been active in the theater world since the age of six - acting, singing, and dancing her way across the boards all over town. After teaching in local secondary schools, working in marketing for several studios, writing, directing, producing, and performing in productions for several non-profit theaters, Shari now dedicates her time and focuses her skills as an independent publicist to "get the word out" about smaller theaters throughout the Los Angeles area.

As a founding member of the LA Stage Alliance Leadership Council Task Force, she and reps from theaters throughout the city worked together to articulate a vision for the theatre community of Greater Los Angeles.

Shari has received recognition from the City of Los Angeles for her dedication of heart and hand to the needs of friends, neighbors and fellow members of society for her devotion of service to the people of Los Angeles, and is honored to serve the theatre world in her hometown.

Currently she is the Publicist and a member of the Kentwood Players at the Westchester Playhouse.