Often recognized as the woman on WGN who draws the numbers for the Illinois Lottery, Tamberla Perry says strangers sometimes follow her down the street, blaming her for their financial woes. “I have fans, too,” she says. “They send thank-you letters—but never any money!” A former executive recruiter, Perry traded the corporate world for acting, which she calls “the greatest job on earth.” Recent jobs have ranged from last year’s well-received The Brother/Sister Plays at Steppenwolf to a just-ended run of a Liberian Civil War drama called Eclipsed at Northlight Theatre in Skokie. Perry is also a member of Mpaact, an African American company based out of Victory Gardens Greenhouse Theater Center. “It was my introduction to black theatre in Chicago,” she says. “It’s a wonderful thing to have a place to call your artistic home.” A Bears fan and notoriously picky eater (“My friends hate going to restaurants with me”), Perry is now planning her next big production: a spring wedding to fellow actor Kevin Douglas in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Photograph: Maria Ponce