Having made an indelible mark on stage, television, and video games, Merle Dandridge continues to shine on the small screen, starring in Oprah Winfrey Network’s hit series “Greenleaf” which is set to return for its third season for a two night premiere on August 28th and 29th. She previously starred in FX’s “Sons of Anarchy,” CW’s “Starcrossed,” and NBC’s “The Night Shift.”
Born in Japan, raised in Nebraska, and schooled in Chicago at Roosevelt University, Dandridge began her acting career with leading roles on Broadway in Spamalot (Lady of the Lake), Rent (Joanne), Aida (Aida), Tarzan (Kala) and Jesus Christ Superstar (Soul Girl, Disciple). Currently, she plays the role of Papa Ge, the sly demon of death, in the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of Ahrens and Flaherty’s “Once On This Island.” Dandridge is the first woman to ever to play this role, completely reinventing the character with her fearless portrayal. She has toured the U.S. and Europe six times and has been featured in several regional theatre productions (including multiple stints at The Geffen and Pasadena Playhouse). She has also performed at The Hollywood Bowl and at Royal Albert Hall in London.
Dandridge has voiced several videogame characters and worked alongside Neil Druckmann in “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End” and starred as Marlene in “The Last Of Us.” She has also voiced various characters in “Dota 2,” Alyx Vance in “Half-Life 2,” and Katherine Collins in the Award-winning independent video game “Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture” for which she won the 2016 BAFTA for “Best Performer.”
In her Nebraska hometown, Merle has been inducted into the Hall of Fame where she spends time giving workshops, speeches, performances, and participating in projects to raise arts awareness for the school district she grew up in. In Los Angeles, where she currently resides, she serves on the Board of Directors of The Geffen Playhouse and lends her voice and support to Harvest Home LA which provides housing and holistic support to homeless pregnant women.