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Rajané Katurah Brown: A Rising Star's Journey from Spelman to Center Stage

November 2023

Spelman alumna Rajané Katurah BrownSpelman College alumna Rajané Katurah Brown, C'2017, embodies the essence of determination, talent and faith. Her journey from a young performer with a dream to a seasoned artist gracing the stages of Broadway and beyond is a testament to her unwavering commitment to the arts and her extraordinary talent.

Born to loving parents Rashid and Keneé, Brown's journey into the world of performing began at an early age. Raised in the Pentecostal Church, her late grandfather, Bishop Kenneth H. Moales Sr., recognized her potential and helped her conquer stage fright by having her master "sermonic solos" before he preached. This experience exposed her to the miracle of music and set her on a path to greatness.

Brown says on her website that her mother played a pivotal role in nurturing her love for performing. Frequent trips to New York City for auditions, shows and commercials laid the foundation for her future success. At the tender age of nine, she won a radio competition that catapulted her to the legendary Apollo Theater. After five consecutive victories, she was crowned "The Star of Tomorrow" in 2005, a remarkable achievement at just ten years old.

Soaking up the Spotlight

Rajané Katurah Brown2

Her childhood memories are adorned with performances at renowned venues like Madison Square Garden and singing alongside acclaimed artists like Tamia and Ne-Yo. Her journey even included being a featured vocalist in the "Closer to Free" campaign for the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven.

But it was her role as "Dorothy" in The Wiz at Playhouse on the Green in Bridgeport, Connecticut, that ignited her passion for theater. What began as an audition for a munchkin role soon transformed into a life-changing opportunity. Brown realized that the stage was where she felt most free, and her journey into the world of theater began.

The Road to Spelman College

A decade later, she embarked on her educational journey at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, earning a B.A. in Drama with a minor in Spanish. Despite the absence of a musical theatre program at the college, Brown became a core member of the Spelman College Glee Club. Her international studies in Málaga, Spain and London, England, at the British American Drama Academy further enriched her artistic growth.

"At Spelman, I found a place where I felt seen, challenged and valued as a young Black woman," said Brown. 

Upon graduating from Spelman with Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors, Brown ventured to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she became a performing apprentice at the Children's Theatre Company. This transformative year honed her skills and resilience, enabling her to perform in countless shows. A standout moment was her appearance in a co-production of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, marking her first out-of-town contract with CTC and the Old Globe in San Diego.

Her career continued to flourish with performances on various Twin Cities stages, including The Guthrie Theatre, Ten Thousand Things, Ordway Center of Performing Arts, Penumbra Theatre Company, Park Square Theatre, and Pillsbury House Theatre. In 2019, the MN Star Tribune recognized her as an "Artist Primed for Greatness." Subsequently, she was named the newest Acting Company Member at the Children's Theatre Company. Her shining moment before the pandemic was her company member debut as "Cinderella" in the production of Cinderella at CTC.

In the summer of 2022, Brown realized two of her bucket list dreams: recording a cast album for "Thunder Knockin' On the Door" with Ten Thousand Things and moving to New York. She joined the Broadway Inspirational Voices, a community of Broadway artists dedicated to changing lives through the power of music and service.

Chasing Dreams. Accomplishing Goals. Living Life.

Spelman Alumna Rajané Katurah Brown     As she continues to chase her dreams, Brown recently starred as "Belle" in Disney's Beauty and the Beast at the Ordway Theatre, a production hailed as the "#1 Show in the Twin Cities in 2022" by the Star Tribune. Brown is currently portraying Swing during the 1st National Tour of MJ! Broadway: MJ the Musical. -- a multiple Tony Award-winning production.

Brown's journey is a remarkable testament to the power of faith, unwavering work ethic, and relentless pursuit of one's dreams.

Everywhere she goes Brown quotes, "Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."- Matthew 17:20

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