November 1998

Dwight E. Woods

Musician & Theatrical Director

Dwight E. Woods

For the past 25 years, the musical and theatrical brilliance of Dwight E. Woods has been recognized in South Carolina and throughout the United States. Once described by Jacques D’Ambrose, the founder of the National Dance Institute, as “a national treasure,” Woods is the director of the Phillis Wheatley Repertory Theater for Youth in Greenville, South Carolina. A versatile composer and producer of musicals and music, Woods’ compositions and theatrical productions are designed to be both entertaining and inspirational. He has written for both musical productions and gospel albums. His primary focus is to make a difference in the lives of people. This philosophy can be directly linked to his upbringing in Birmingham, Alabama. The tenth of eleven children of a Baptist minister and a homemaker, Woods learned from his parents that hard work and educational excellence are the keys to success. His parents admonished all their children to give something back to their communities. As a teenager, Woods was an active participant in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1983, Woods started summer workshops at the Phillis Wheatley Community Center. Two years later, he began the development of a full-fledged musical theater program. He identified and nurtured the talents of aspiring young actors and musicians. This is the only youth repertory company in South Carolina to perform statewide and nationally, appearing before audiences from New York to Alabama. Some of the original musical productions which Woods has developed and directed with the repertory theater are Til Victory Is Won, Mary Had A Baby, and A Night of Stars and Dreams. Among his most highly acclaimed musicals is Don’t Give Up On Your Dream, a two act anti-drug musical, which has played to packed houses in South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and New York. The musical and a documentary based on it have been adapted and telecast in South Carolina by SCETV. Audiences have marveled at productions such as Have We Lost The Feeling’, which played in upstate South Carolina for two years, Where Everybody Is Somebody, developed by Woods for the 1984 James Cleveland National Music Workshop of America at Atlanta’s Fox Theater, and Let The People Rejoice, which was performed by the nationally known Florida Mass Choir. Woods is also an ardent supporter of many community causes. Through his humanitarian organization, Second Chance, he quietly gives moral and financial support to selected South Carolina prison inmates who are seeking positive changes in their lives. He has served on the Greenville County Schools’ Fine Arts Center Advisory Board and the South Carolina Arts Commission Minority Arts Advisory Board. He is a 1988 recipient of the WYFF Television sponsored Jefferson Award, a 1990 recipient of the SCEA Walker E. Solomon Certificate of Award, and a winner of the 1991 South Carolina Black Male Showcase USA Top Achiever and Talent Award. Through his extensive theatrical and musical ventures, Woods has helped hundreds of young people to realize their dreams.