Esau Pritchett caught the acting bug in the late 1990s while taking an introductory theatre course at Oakland University, his alma mater. After a friend reportedly dared him to audition for a show, the Saginaw native was cast in several campus productions, including “All My Sons,” “Twelfth Night,” and “Othello,” for which he was named one of only two national winners of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship.
After graduating from Oakland with a B.A. in Performing Arts, Pritchett moved to New York to carve out a career on stage and screen. He has starred in “A Free Man of Color” at Lincoln Center in New York, and his film and television credits include long-running shows like “Law & Order” and “One Life to Live.”
His most recent film, “The Haunted Secret,” features awarding-winning actor Richard Chamberlain.
Earlier this year, Pritchett was hailed in a New York Times theater review for his work in a production of August Wilson’s “Fences” at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, New Jersey. It was directed by Three-time Emmy nominee Phylicia Rashad, who gained fame playing Clair Huxtable on the popular sitcom “The Cosby Show.”
In “Fences,” Pritchett played the role of Troy Maxson, delivering what the Times called “a potent and fearsome portrayal.” According to the article, Pritchett’s portrayal “contains multitudes — a principled laborer, a former criminal, an enamored husband, a womanizer — and makes those contradictions not just believable but undeniable. It’s a thrilling performance in a production that’s more ready to explore an angry man’s power than to serve a play’s poetry.”
Michael Gillespie, emeritus professor of theatre, worked with Pritchett at OU and describes him as “a very powerful actor with tremendous stage presence.” He referred to Pritchett’s character in “Fences” as “the engine that drives the play.”
|Actor||The Conjure Man Dies||2000-01 Season|