Written by | Ray Cornelius

They say lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place; but for stage and television actor Tory Kittles, it has!  Kittles has been fortunate enough to have two back to back projects in Atlanta with two theater greats, Phylicia Rashad and Kenny Leon.

The first time was working with both actors on the Lifetime movie remake of Steel Magnolias, airing this fall.  Then Kittles received a call from Leon to come back to Atlanta to play Dr. John Prentice in his stage version of the classic film, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.  Once again, Kittles would work with Rashad, who plays his mother in the show.

Call it luck!  However, Kittles sees it as a blessing and is enjoying every minute of it.

RC caught up with the CSI: NY actor in between his afternoon workout and play rehearsal to chat about his string of good fortune and what’s new on the horizon.

RC: It’s very rare that an actor gets to work with two legends the way that you have. What has that experience been like?

TK:  It’s been terrific!  This is my second time working with Kenny and Phylicia within the past few months and it’s been terrific.  Phylicia and I have gotten a chance to work more closely during the play because she plays my mother.  We actually had three weeks to rehearse for the show and you really get to know a person within that time.  Kenny and I have a very easy working relationship because he’s a great communicator and he’s very thorough and knows what he wants.  I think we have a similar sensibility since we are both from Florida.  Plus I’m working with an amazing cast.

RC: What do you enjoy better, stage or film?

TK:  You know, that’s a classic question I get and it really depends.  I’m all about the theater because that’s what I’m doing right now.  But film is what I love as well as television.  It’s just a different way of expressing yourself but I don’t particularly love one more than the other.

RC: Who would you like to work with in the future?

TK:  I would love to work with Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep.  I would also love to work with Viola Davis again.  I just think she is such a phenomenal actor.  I would love to work with directors Christopher Nolan and Martin Scorsese.  They’re two directors whose work I admire.

RC: Let’s talk about your current film project…

TK:  As soon as we close Guess Who Coming to Dinner, I will fly to Shreveport, Louisiana to work with director Antoine Fuqua on a film called Olympus Has Fallen.  It’s a thriller that also stars Angela Bassett, Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, and Dylan McDermott.  The film doesn’t come out until 2014.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner  plays through this weekend Sunday, July 29 at the Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State.  Ticket information is available at www.truecolorstheatre.org