Cleavant Derricks

Cleavant Derricks starred as Joe in Waitress the Musical at the Ogunquit Playhouse, Maine in 2024.

Cleavant started his career as a gospel songwriter, before moving to New York City and studying acting. He starred as James ‘Thunder’ Early in Dreamgirls, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical.

In addition, Cleavant has guest starred on many critically acclaimed and Emmy award winning series such as “Roseanne,” “A Different World,” “LA Law,” “Moonlighting,” “Spencer For Hire,” “Miami Vice,” “Something Wilder,” “The Equalizer”, “Private Eye,” “Sibs,” “Touched By An Angel,” “Charmed,” “The Practice,” and “The Bernie Mac Show.”

Selected Previous Credits


  • Wicked
  • Big Deal
  • Brooklyn
  • Dreamgirls
  • Your Arms Too Short to Box With God
  • Hair
  • But Never Jam Today


  • Romance in Hard Times
  • The Full Monty, Tour


  • Moscow on the Hudson
  • The Slugger’s Wife
  • Offbeat
  • Carnival of Souls
  • Bluffing It
  • World Traveler
NameCleavant Derricks Jr.
Born15 May 1953
FromKnoxville, Tennessee
TrainedUrban Arts Theatre
Joe Ogunquit Playhouse