Having played varied roles in his own life, Andrae Goodnight is now playing the lead role in Tolton: From Slave to Priest. Originally from Arizona, he graduated from the Booker T. Washington High School for the Visual and Performing Arts in Dallas, Texas. He then pursued a career in ministry, graduating from Carver Bible College and earning a Master’s in Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. While working in youth ministry, he became involved in politics and was elected to Chattanooga City Council in 2009. He was the youngest person ever to hold local office in that city. In 2010, he also became the first the first African American full-time talk show radio host of “Live and Local.”
Drawn by a love for the Eucharist and a lifelong admiration for Catholic writers, Andrae converted to the Catholic faith in 2010. After being cast in an independent feature film, he and his family moved to California. Returning to his roots as a performer, Andrae never looked back, and he quickly earned roles in both film and live theater. He also won Best Director at the Chattanooga Film Festival for his short film “Baby Steps.” After attending one of Saint Luke Productions’ shows at Christ Cathedral in Orange County, California, Andrae saw the casting call for Tolton. He was gripped by Father Tolton’s knowing eyes and by a desire to play the heroic priest.
With his enduring love for Christ and desire to effect social change, Andrae is thrilled by this opportunity. He prays that Tolton breaks down racial barriers and raises awareness of the Black Catholic story in the United States. “I hope this play pushes forward the conversation about what it means to be a truly welcoming Catholic community,” he says.
Andrae and his wife Cheryl have six children: Imani, Zion, Elijah, Isaiah, Eden, and Ephrem.