Joe Sykes

Joe Sykes as Jonathan in Bret Wood’s film Those Who Deserve to Die (2019), “a thriller that subverts the formula of the revenge film.”  Filming wasn’t easy. Read what Joe and director Bret Wood have to say about risk taking on set.

Now… Joe is Eeyore! 

The Alliance Theatre, Atlanta, is opening its 50th Anniversary Season with a delightful romp through the Hundred Acre Wood. And Joe is the beloved Eeyore! The family musical Winnie-the-Pooh, directed by Leora Morris, is based on the A.A. Milne books and runs June 7 – July 8 at the Rich Theatre in the Woodruff Arts Center.

Joe Sykes and Mabel Tyler (Piglet) in Winnie-the-Pooh. Photo by Greg Mooney
Joe Sykes, Mabel Tyler, Maria Rodriguez-Sager, Isake Akanke, Caleb Baumann, Grant Chapman in the Alliance Theatre’s production of Winnie-the-Pooh. Photo by Greg Mooney

The ensemble cast of Angels in America at Atlanta’s Actor’s Express: Robert Bryan Davis (left), Carolyn Cook, Grant Chapman, Parris Sarter, Louis Greggory, Cara Mantella, Joe Sykes and Thandiwe Deshazor. Directed by Freddie Ashley and Martin Damien Wilkins. Image by Ashley Earles-Bennett.

Angels in America—2018

2018 is the year of Angels in America. Revivals of Tony Kushner’s play—from Broadway to LA—have introduced the ground-breaking play to new audiences.  In Atlanta, the Actor’s Express production, directed by Freddie Ashley and Martin Damien Wilkins, earned accolades for its audacity and depth.  Joe Sykes brought a new level of humanity and soul to the part of Joe Pitt, a closeted gay man—Mormon, married, and an ethical nightmare.

A resourceful ensemble of eight actors, each playing several roles, excels….  (Joe Sykes is) … outstanding. Besides truly registering as the tortured Joe, Sykes offers fleeting kicks, too, as the incarnation of a prior Prior Walter, and even a mechanical diorama mannequin.”Bert Osborne, Atlanta Journal Constitution

But why do the play in 2018? Why is understanding Joe Pitt so important now? And how does an actor prepare for a daunting two-play production in just five weeks? In a wide-ranging interview, Joe talks politics, character and craft.

About Joe Sykes

In Joe’s rookie year, Atlanta’s entertainment weeklies put readers on notice: Joe Sykes was “an actor to watch.” They were right. Fifteen years of committed work with innovative directors and writers has revealed an exceptional talent—on stage and in film. Joe has the veracity and comic timing of a seasoned character actor and the addicting presence of a powerful lead.

Melissa Foulger, Actor's Express
Joe Sykes in Blackberry Winter at Actor’s Express. Image by Christopher Bartelski

“One of Joe’s greatest strengths is his versatility. He attacks with equal skill very masculine alpha characters along with more sensitive and vulnerable characters. His range never ceases to surprise me.”     —Freddie Ashley, artistic director, Actor’s Express.

I’ve seen Joe range from caregiver to predator in the course of one show. He’s an incredibly versatile performer. His work is exceptional.” —Lara Smith, managing director, Dad’s Garage. Read more about what directors say… 

Versatile. Oh yeah. Joe has pingponged from edgy, unsettling dramas like Wolves and Pluto  to The Geller Girls, an Alliance Theatre showpiece about Atlanta’s plucky young women. In film, Joe famously sacrificed vital body parts in the cult horror favorite V/H/S (Amateur Night) and later seduced a much-loved character in the popular BET series Being Mary Jane.


There’s a humanity about Joe that can’t be faked. He’s comfortable with the unsettling ambiguities of life. When audiences see parts of themselves in the bigot Karl in Clybourne Park or look to Death for comfort in Steve Yockey’s disturbing play Pluto, that’s Joe. That’s Joe making it ok for us to look into the raw, damaged places. Maybe it’s even funny. Joe can do that. Of course, if he’s playing a psychopath, it’s unnerving.