A classically trained actor, Chicago native Charles Allen-Anderson is known for bringing a wide range of characters to life on the stage and screen. Since 1977, he has showcased his talent and passion for the craft in lead roles for theatrical productions from around the globe such as Woza Albert and Death of a Black Man. He has also been featured in numerous movies and television shows like Hart to Hart, Terror in the Shadows, The Mad Messiah and Transplant, and Two Idiots in Hollywood. Charles is currently starring in Fish Eye, a soon-to-be- released film from breakout director Colin Parker.
Not one to limit himself to a “type”, Charles has transformed into characters ranging from a caring nurse, to an investigative reporter, to a vicious gangster, earning him a reputation as a consummate professional with impressive chameleon abilities. Diligent preparation, and the willingness to lose himself in order to find the person he is playing, is a substantial part of his acting methodology.
Raised in the cotton fields of Mound Bayou, Mississippi by a mother who instilled the importance of a strong work ethic, Charles believes in leading with your best. This devotion to excellence shaped him into a voracious, lifelong learner committed to advanced training. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from DePaul University, he immediately started his journey into the world of professional acting at LaMont Zeno Community Theater in Chicago. Charles was then accepted into the prestigious Ensemble Studio Theatre in Los Angeles, where he spent the next ten years developing his skills and talents as an actor, producer and writer. He returned to school in 2007 to earn his Master of Arts in Psychology from Antioch University and, in 2016, completed the 16-week Psychological Gesture workshop at the Michael Chekhov Acting Studio in Chicago.
Charles also taps into his spirituality to support his creativity. He is a 2010 alumni of the University of Southern California’s Passing The Mantle Clergy and Lay Leadership Institute. In 2012, he took a year-long pilgrimage to Ghana to connect with his ancestry and further prepare to work as an artist on a worldwide stage.
A true virtuoso, Charles has also produced plays, concerts and events. His stage credits include: Yerma; Grasshoppers; Colors: An Anthem to Cultural Friendship (featuring Broadway star William Marshall); Heritage: A Tribute to Mothers on Mothers' Day, featuring Ester Rolle from Good Times, Broadway star Rosalind Cash from A Raisin In The Sun, and Antonio Fargas from Starsky and Hutch. His first gospel concert, “Through The Eyes of The Heart,” featured the Agape International Choir and the Pentecostal Community Choir, and was hosted by actor-turned-pastor, Clifton Davis. He has also co-produced galas for the Pan African Film Festival and Laemmle's Sunset 5 Theater Complex in Hollywood.
Bringing value to the community is another of Charles’ lifelong passions. As a board member and Chair of the Minorities Committee for Ensemble Studio Theatre, Charles worked tirelessly to create opportunities for other actors of color. He has served as a counselor for single mothers, a juvenile probation officer and job developer for ex-offenders returning home from prison, and is also a dedicated advocate for greater access to mental health services for those living in depressed communities.
When asked what excites him most about his work, Charles says “As an actor, when I am given the opportunity to touch the hearts, minds and spirits of an audience in a memorable, positive way, it excites me! It is my hope that my artistry not only entertains; but encourages, strengthens, and inspires others to go after their dreams.