Rashada Dawan

These are just a few words to describe the voice of this down-to-earth, triple threat performer.

Born and raised in the windy city of Chicago, IL, she started with her first ballet class at the notable Southside YMCA at four years old. Upon graduating from Beasley Academic Center, Rashada decided to leave her good friends and go on to Curie Metropolitan High School (which was then deemed as a performing arts high school), where she became the first female conductor for the Curie High School Gospel Choir.  In her senior year, she was bit by the “acting bug” and performed in her first leading role as Deena in the high school’s production of Dreamgirls. Little did she know, a few months shy of graduating from Florida A&M University, she would return to play the role of Deena again in college. While majoring in psychology with a theatre minor, Rashada served as lead vocalist of at least four bands including the innovative Concept Live, toured with the Tom Joyner’s Fantastic Voyage Cruise, sang in the FAMU Gospel Choir, joined Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and served on the University’s Royal Court as Senior Attendant all before graduating with her degree. After graduating from FAMU, Rashada returned home to look for work. She eventually got a call from her best friend to audition for a children’s show at Chicago’s eta Theatre. From there, she quickly got casted in productions with some of Chicago’s finest theatre companies including: Bailiwick Chicago, Chicago Shakes and the Black Ensemble Theatre.  By day, she worked in a mental health community center as a Training Director; by night, she was a star.

Rashada went on to receive her graduate degree in Human Performance and Training Consulting while starting her own production company to later showcase her two original pieces– Israel’s Daughter and For Colored Girls Who Dance Instead. After deciding to pursue acting full time, Miss Dawan received a Black Theatre Alliance Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Aida in Bailiwick Chicago’s Aida. After Aida closed, she and over 500 hopefuls auditioned for Disney’s The Lion King. After waiting for at least 5 hours as #407, Rashada auditioned and was asked to come back to read for the role of principal character “Shenzi.” 2 months later, she was asked to join the Lion King Las Vegas cast and eventually to join the Lion King Gazelle National Tour.

She is currently performing on various stages throughout the nation. Be sure to check the “Performances” section and stay tuned for a show near you!



Interested in reading more about me or catching an upcoming show? Check out the links below.

October 7, 2015

Roger and Chaz Ebert’s love story comes to life in The BlackWhite Love Play

Falling in love with someone outside your race could be challenging, especially during times of overt racial tensions and cultural differences. Yet the late Roger Ebert, a Caucasian …

October 5, 2015

The story of Roger Ebert through the prism of his wife, Chaz

Is it legitimate to tell a story of Roger Ebert — the late, great film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, the formidably intellectual populist and the way-ahead-of-the-curve adopter …

September 9, 2014

Disney’s THE LION KING Comes to Boston Opera House

The Boston engagement of Disney’s The Lion King. Boston’s most eagerly awaited stage production returns to the Boston Opera House stage runs today, September 9 to October 12 …

January 6, 2014

How I See It

Nicole Pryor interviews Rashada Dawan who currently plays the role of Shenzi in The Lion King on the US National Tour. The tour will be in Los Angeles until …

January 15, 2013

Interview With Rashada Dawan Of Austin’s Production Of The Lion King

With the premiere of “The Lion King” just around the corner, I had the opportunity to interview Rashada Dawan, who plays the chief hyena, Shenzi, in the Austin …

July 1, 2010

Rashada Dawan, Brandon Chandler, Adrianna Parson Are Triangle of Chicago Aida

The first Chicago revival of Tim Rice and Elton John’s Aida since the national tour played there begins July 1 in a production by Bailiwick Chicago.


Upcoming show calendar and a collection of excerpts from various performances throughout the years.

The Black White Love Play
now – Nov. 15th
The Black Ensemble Theater
4450 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640
*various times

The One That Got Away
November 15th
The Laugh Factory
3175 N. Broadway St, Chicago IL 60657
@7 pm

Ease On Down
December 6th
Victory Gardens Biograph Theater

2433 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
@7:30 pm

Rashada Dawan in Concert
Feb 2nd, 2016
Promontory Chicago
5311 S. Lake Park Ave West, Chicago, IL 60615
@6 pm

Guest Speaker
April 25th, 2016
Kennedy-King College
U-Building, Room U-151
11 am – 11:30 am

Rashada Dawan

Wicked City
October 6th-16th, 2016
Edge Theatre
5451 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60640
Get your tickets today!


Wicked CIty

The Second City e.t.c’s 40th Revue: A Red Line Runs Through It
October 20th, 2016 – January 1st, 2017
e.t.c. Theater
1608 N Wells St,
Chicago, IL 60614
Get your tickets today!

A Red Line Runs Through It

Nutcracker The Musical
November 11th – December 30, 2016
Marriott Theatre
10 Marriott Drive
Lincolnshire, IL 60069
Get your tickets now!

The Nutcracker



I appreciate your interest in me and my story. Please feel free to add me to your favorite social networks. If you’d like to discuss working together, please use the information below. I look forward to it!

Serious Inquiries Only

I’m available for speaking engagements, performances and shows worldwide. If you’re interested in booking me, or have inquiries regarding press or PR, please contact my team using the form below.

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Find Me In The Windy City

I’m based out of Chicago, Illinois…a city where I was born and raised. I’m available to travel for speaking engagements, performances and other booking. If you’re ever in the area, let’s grab some coffee.