Marlandus Goodloe is a husband, father of two, banker, writer, director, dancer, actor; basically a jack of all trades, Marlandus Goodloe is a man of many titles. But Marlandus now has a new title to add to his collection, black business owner. Along with his business partner, Marlandus started his own black-owned theater production company in fall of 2020. I followed Marlandus along on what a typical day in the behind the scenes process of putting together a production play looks like; meeting with investors, cost and production, auditions, and everything else that involves running a successful play. I also sat down with Marlandus for an in-depth one-on-one interview, where we talked more about black theater, it’s history, impact, legacy, and why Marlandus decided now to launch his own theater company during the time of a pandemic.
Marlandus K. Goodloe was born Nov 25, 1984, in Tuscumbia, AL. The son of a single mother, from a very young age Marlandus had always had a strong interest in the arts. Marlandus credits his first church play as the catalyst that pushed him into the career of theater arts.
“I’ve always had this fasciation with it, I grew up to people like — Michael Jackson and Prince, I listen to a lot of music growing up and study a lot of theater”
Since his high school days, Marlandus has done various main stage shows and dancing competitions. He won many different awards throughout his high years for acting and dancing, awards such as best supporting actor and all star cast in his junior year. Marlandus would go on to pursued theater arts in college, earning a B.A. in Theater Arts at the University of Alabama. At the university he continued to act in main stage plays, and was featured in: Jesus Christ Superstar, Black Nativity, and Africa to America.
After finishing college, Marlandus hit the job market landing a job as a personal banker for a national banking company. His love for the arts never left him, and in fall 2020 Marlandus decided to launch his own theater production company that showcases African American culture and history, and focuses mainly on historical black plays.
“A lot of people don’t understand the roots they came from when it comes to black theater — I want to give people the opportunity to see that.”
One of the first questions I asked Marlandus in our one-on-one interview, is why now? Why launch a business — production company now during the height of a pandemic, where more people are more incline to stay home, avoiding crowds and social gatherings? The answer was quite simple, why not now? With everything going on; black culture, history, and arts, still needs to be preserved and passed on, regardless of a pandemic. The black arts is something Marlandus has always wanted to do for a very long time, whether it be on stage or now virtually online, Marlandus believes that this time is still a great time to showcase black culture.
I asked Marlandus the most important question of all, why black theater? Why is it so important to have a black-owned and black focused theater company in today’s world? Without hesitation Marlandus replied, “this community lacks a lot of African American culture.” Marlandus goes on to further explain how he feels like the black community has lost its roots and its culture when it comes to black theater. He wants to give people the opportunity to see the history, roots, and the trailblazing performers who made it possible for black theater to become the powerhouse and entity it is today.
“African Americans have really broke a lot of odds in the arts, they didn’t want to settle for less.”
I lastly asked Marlandus what he hopes the future looks like for his own theater production company, and what black theater arts may looks like as a whole, he replied that he hopes that black theater will continue to grow and progress, and that we need to realize that we as community — as African Americans do not need to settle for less. We don’t need to settle or be boxed into play a stereotypical black role. Marlandus believes that in the future, African American culture will be something that people will really cherish and take great pride in. And with a black-owned and black focus production company like Marlandus’s; that not only educates, but continues on the legacy of great African American theater, Marlandus hopes he can continue on giving back to black culture and inspire others in the process.
“Be proud of who you are, and where you came from. Be that individual that stands out, that say’s you know what I’m not going to settle for less.”