Denise Burse Guest Stars on “Greenleaf”

Denise Burse. Photo by Lia Chang
Denise Burse. Photo by Lia Chang

Denise Burse has landed a role on “Greenleaf,” one of her favorite shows, fresh from appearing in the acclaimed “San Junipero” episode of Netflix’s sci-fi anthology series Black Mirror,  which she shot on location in London and Capetown.

The “House of Payne” actress will play Kevin’s mother, Ethlin Satterlee, in the season 2, episode 3 entitled, “A Mother’s Love,” which airs tonight at 10 p.m. on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

Created and executive produced by Emmy-nominated Craig Wright and executive producers Clement Virgo and Oprah Winfrey, “Greenleaf” also stars Merle Dandridge (“The Night Shift”), Lynn Whitfield (“The Josephine Baker Story”) and Keith David (“Community”), Lamman Rucker (“Why Did I Get Married?”), Deborah Joy Winans (“Whitney”), Kim Hawthorne (“Switched at Birth”), Tye White (“The People Vs. O.J. Simpson”), GregAlan Williams (“The Accountant”), Desiree Ross (“Falling Skies”), Lovie Simone and Jason Dirden. “Greenleaf” is produced for OWN by Lionsgate in association with Harpo Films and Pine City.

The cast of "Greenleaf". Photo courtesy of (Facebook/Greenleaf OWN)
The cast of “Greenleaf”. Photo courtesy of (Facebook/Greenleaf OWN)

Fans will recall that Kevin Satterlee (Tye White), the son-in-law of the bishop of Greenleaf World Ministries, a fictional megachurch based in Memphis where intrigues, such as police brutality, political corruption, and sexual abuse are as real as it gets, has revealed to his wife Charity Greenleaf-Satterlee (played by Deborah Jo Winans), the baby of the family and minister of music, that he is struggling with the issue of homosexuality.

Charity Greenleaf Satterlee (Deborah Joy Winans) has yet to accept the fact that her husband Kevin (Tye White) is gay. (Facebook/Greenleaf OWN)
Charity Greenleaf Satterlee (Deborah Joy Winans) has yet to accept the fact that her husband Kevin (Tye White) is gay.
(Facebook/Greenleaf OWN)

Lia: How were you cast for “Greenleaf”?
Denise: I did a self tape audition for “Greenleaf”‘s episode 2 of the second season directed by Charles Randolph-Wright. It was his recommendation that the producers consider me for the role of Kevin’s mom in the 3rd episode.

Charles Randolph-Wright, Denise Burse and Peter Jay Fernandez at the opening night of of "Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)" by Suzan-Lori Parks at The Public Theater in November 2014. Photo by Lia Chang
Charles Randolph-Wright, Denise Burse and Peter Jay Fernandez at the opening night of of “Father Comes Home From the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)” by Suzan-Lori Parks at The Public Theater in November 2014. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: Did you watch the show before?
Denise: I was a fan of “Greenleaf” before I worked on the show. I watched it from the very first episode.

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Lia: How would you describe her?
Denise: She’s a hard working, kind woman with intense motherly discernment, and deep faith. She has a deep sense of right and wrong. And lives a quiet, unpretentious life.

Denise Burse and Keith David. Photo by Lia Chang
Denise Burse and Keith David. Photo by Lia Chang

Lia: What other projects have you worked on with the other actors in your scene?
Denise: Keith David and I did a production of Black Nativity in New York directed by the late James Stovall. Lynn Whitfield and I workshopped a film script that Charles Randolph-Wright directed. Lamman Rucker and I met in New York in the late nineties and we worked at the same time in Atlanta on the Tyler Perry shows “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns.” The other cast members in my scenes I met for the first time during the shoot.

Annabel Davis as Elder Yorkie and Denise Burse as Elder Kelly in the "San Junipero" episode of "Black Mirror".
Annabel Davis as Elder Yorkie and Denise Burse as Elder Kelly in the “San Junipero” episode of “Black Mirror”.

Lia: What did you think of your episode of “Black Mirror” and the response to it where you played Elder Kelly, the elder version of Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s character?
Denise: I was very proud of the “Black Mirror” episode “San Junipero”. Our episode was written and produced by Charlie Brooker the creator of the “Black Mirror” series. It was very exciting to be on the set with the mastermind behind a show that has been so well received from fans across the country, but this episode has been submitted in film festivals around the globe and received critical acclaim as a stand alone story. It was an honor to be a member of such stellar cast and crew. We owe a great deal of the positive outcome of the episode to our director Owen Harris.

Collider.com: ‘Black Mirror’: Charlie Brooker and Gugu Mbatha-Raw Talk “San Junipero” in Our Spoiler Interview

Lia: Last fall you appeared in Seattle Rep’s production of A Raisin in the Sun. Had you done the show before?
Denise: I was offered a part in a Raisin twice before this production. The first time was to play Beneatha. The second time was to play Ruth. The third time was the charm, when I was offered the role of Lena Younger, in a production directed by Timothy McCuen Piggee at Seattle Rep.

Claudine Mboligikpelani Nako (Beneatha Younger), Mia Ellis (Ruth Younger), Denise Burse (Lena Younger), Catalino Manalang (Travis Younger), Richard Prioleau (Walter Lee) in A Raisin in the Sun at Seattle Repertory Theatre. Photo credit: Alan Alabastro
Claudine Mboligikpelani Nako (Beneatha Younger), Mia Ellis (Ruth Younger), Denise Burse (Lena Younger), Catalino Manalang (Travis Younger), Richard Prioleau (Walter Lee) in A Raisin in the Sun at Seattle Repertory Theatre. Photo credit: Alan Alabastro

Lia: How was A Raisin in the Sun received?
Denise: A Raisin in the Sun was extremely well received with standing ovations most nights.

BWW Review: Classic RAISIN IN THE SUN at Rep Spotlights How Far We Haven’t Come

Tune in to OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network at 10:00 p.m. for “A Mother’s Love” tonight.

Ms. Burse can be seen in Tim Blake Nelson’s Anesthesia and Bruce Beresford’s Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding opposite Jane Fonda. Her favorite film roles include her co-starring turns as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s mother opposite Howard Rollins in The Boy King (WSB); as Buster Marshall, Thurgood Marshall’s wife in Simple Justice (PBS American Experience); as Sister Marcie in Preaching to the Choir, directed by Charles Randolph Wright, as Sergeant Martin in A Time to Triumph (CBS) starring Patty Duke; and as Eleanor Clark in Resting Place (CBS, Hallmark Hall of Fame), starring John Lithgow and Morgan Freeman. Other film and TV credits include the BET/STARZ movie Funny Valentines, with Alfre Woodard and Loretta Devine, Angel, Basquiat, The Juror, Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Third Watch, 100 Centre Street, The Sopranos, The Cosby Show, New York Undercover and One Life to Live.

Ms. Burse appeared on Broadway in Wendy Wasserstein’s An American Daughter, directed by Daniel Sullivan. Her Off-Broadway credits include Eisa Davis’ Angela’s Mixtape (Ohio Theatre), Don Juan of Seville (Classical Stage Company), Ground People (American Place Theatre), Harriet’s Return (Cherry Lane Theatre), Hannah Davis (Negro Ensemble Company) and Bill Harris’ Robert Johnson: Trick the Devil (New Federal Theatre). Her regional credits include Marcus Gardley’s dance of the holy ghosts with Michael Genet (CENTERSTAGE); Pearl Cleage’s Flyin’ West with Ruby Dee at The Kennedy Center; Charles Randolph Wright’s Blue (Cincinnati Playhouse, Geva); Miss Evers’ Boys (Illusion Theater); African Company Presents Richard III (Cleveland Playhouse); Fences (CENTERSTAGE); The Piano Lesson (Seattle Repertory Theatre, director Lloyd Richards) and James Baldwin’s The Amen Corner (True Colors Theatre Company/Alliance Theatre). Helmer Kenny Leon has directed her in August Wilson’s Fences (Alliance Theatre), Radio Golf (CENTERSTAGE, Mark Taper Forum, Seattle Repertory Theatre), The Piano Lesson and Seven Guitars (Alliance Theatre). Ms. Burse garnered a Theatre World Award for her Off-Broadway debut in Ground People and an AUDELCO Award for Robert Johnson: Trick The Devil.

A native of Atlanta, Ms. Burse honed her craft performing at the Just Us Theatre, The Alliance Theatre and The Atlanta Children’s Theater.

Ms. Burse is repped by Brett Adams Ltd. Artists’ Agency.

The first of eight episodes of the new season debuted on March 15th. The remaining eight episodes of the series’ second season will air in summer 2017. “Greenleaf” premiered last June as the #1 series debut in OWN history and was 2016’s #1 new cable series for women, averaging over three million viewers in Live+3 in its first season. http://www.greenleafown.tv/.

Q & A: Denise Burse talks ‘Anesthesia’, Netflix’s ‘Black Mirror’, and ‘Brownsville Song (B-Side for Tray)’

Denise Burse as Claretha Jenkins in House of Payne’s “Payneful Visit” 

Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits
Lia Chang_photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers,  musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com

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