March 1, 2003
DGA Ethnic Diversity Steering Committee (EDSC) Co-chairs, Annette Powlis and Roni Wheeler, were part of a groundbreaking television production when Showtime at the Apollo aired on NBC, October 12, 2002. It was the first time that a nationally syndicated variety show placed African-American women in the roles of both director and head stage manager (DGA members Terri McCoy and Annette Powlis, respectively). Wheeler, Sonya Lawrence and Ron Milton also served as stage managers on the show.
"The DGA team, production staff and crew were integral to the success of the project. We couldn't have done it without them. I am proud to have been a part of television history," said McCoy.
Wheeler remarked, "This experience affords producers and directors the opportunity to see qualified African-Americans in a new way by shining a spotlight on the caliber of available talent when it comes to production."
Showtime at the Apollo was hosted by actress/comedian Mo'Nique and produced by Suzanne de Passe of de Passe Entertainment, Inc. It will be distributed by the Heritage Network, an ethnically diverse distribution company headed by Frank Mercado Valdez.
"We made a great team not because we are all African-American, but because we are all great at what we do," said Powlis. "The truth is that there was diversity on the entire production. Everywhere you looked — blacks, whites, Latinos, young and old, men and women, East Coast and West Coast, were working together to produce a whole show. It was wonderful."