The moment we’ve been waiting for has arrived, partially. The first cast announcement for the Broadway revival of Once On This Island has been made by producers Ken Davenport and Hunter Arnold. We’re excited to announce Tony Award nominee Phillip Boykin (Porgy and Bess) as Tonton Julian, Alysha Deslorieux (Hamilton) as Andrea, Kenita R. Miller (The Color Purple) as Mama Euralie, and Isaac Powell as Daniel will lead the cast.
Also, joining the cast as Storytellers are Darlesia Cearcy, Rodrick Covington, Cassondra James, David Jennings, Grasan Kingsberry, Tyler Hardwick, Loren Lott, T. Oliver Reid, and Aurelia Williams.
Once On This Island is the Broadway musical celebration that sweeps us across the sea to a small village—where, in the aftermath of a great storm, a joyous new life begins. It is the tale of Ti Moune, a fearless peasant girl who falls in love with a wealthy boy from the other side of the island. When their divided cultures threaten to keep them apart, Ti Moune, guided by the island gods, sets out on a remarkable quest to reunite with the man who has captured her heart.
The revival will play in the Circle in the Square Theatre (235 W. 50th Street, NYC) this fall, directed by Tony nominee Michael Arden, and choreographed by the critically acclaimed Camille A. Brown. Tony Award winner Nikki M. James is set as the Assistant Director. Production is set to begin preview performances on Thursday, November 9, 2017, and officially open on Sunday, December 3.
Additional casting will be announced at a later date. Ti Moune, Papa Ge, & more are yet to be announced.
The creative team also includes Dane Laffrey (Scenic Design), Clint Ramos (Costume Design), Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer (Lighting Designers), Peter Hylenski (Sound Designer), Chris Fenwick (Music Supervisor), Alvin Hough, Jr (Music Director), David Perlow (Associate Director), and Telsey + Co / Craig Burns, CSA (Casting Agent).
Once On This Island premiered at Playwrights Horizons in May of 1990. The Broadway production opened in October of that year and ran for 469 performances garnering eight Tony nominations including Best Featured Actress (LaChanze), Best Original Score, Best Book of a Musical and Best Musical. The 1994 West End production won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical.
For more information on the Broadway revival including tickets and specific dates visit www.OnceOnThisIsland.com
Cast Announced for The First Deep Breath by Lee Edward Colston II at National Black Theatre
Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre [NBT] announces the cast of the first workshop production for this year’s cohort of I Am Soul Playwriting Residency by playwright Lee Edward Colston II. Colston’s workshop production of The First Deep Breath will be February 13 – 17, 2019 and will be directed by Malika Oyetimein.
As part of NBT’s Soul Series L.A.B. [Liberating Artistic Bravery], The First Deep Breath will conclude an 18-month residency for Lee Edward Colston II as the institution celebrating NBT’s 50th season which is themed “Liberation: A Journey Beyond Walls.”
The full cast for this workshop production will be: Paris Campbell (Albert), Paris Crayton III (Leslie), SJ Hannah (Abdul Malik), Vanessa A. Jones (Ruth), Drew Shade (Tyree), Cole Taylor (AJ), Chelsea Lee Williams (Dee Dee), C. Kelly Wright (Pearl). NBT is also excited to have on the creative team: Izmir Ickbal (Set/Lights), Elia Chuaqui (Sound), Beylnda Hardin (PSM).
About The First Deep Breath: Pastor Albert Jones plans a special church service to honor his late daughter Diane on the sixth anniversary of her death. But when his eldest son, Abdul-Malik, returns home from prison, the First family of Mother Bethel Baptist Church is forced to confront a hornet’s nest of long-buried secrets. With each member of the Jones clan desperately fighting to stay afloat, sometimes a family that stays together drowns together.
Launched in 2012, I AM SOUL – Playwright Residency Program is the only program in the country that is dedicated to Black playwrights, whose work demonstrates exceptional artistic merit and excellence in the theatrical field, with a commitment to production. Coined as a dream MFA program this eighteen (18) month residency also seeks to unleash the soul of a playwright on the page so that they can develop, hone and explore new ways of artistic expression in a safe, supported and transformative environment. With I AM SOUL, NBT seeks to deepen the artistic relationship between Black theatrical institutions and Black playwrights in order to re-establish Black theatrical institutions as the foremost supporters and producers of new works created by Black playwrights.
Past residents: Mfoniso Udofia, Aurin Squire, Angelica Chéri, Derek Lee McPhatter, Nambi E. Kelley, Dennis A. Allen II
Current residents: Eric Micha Holmes, Lee Edward Colston II, Tracey Conyer Lee & Darrel Holnes.
Tickets for The First Deep Breath are now on sale. www.nationalblacktheatre.org
Chicago Paramount Theater to Produce All Black Jesus Christ Superstar
The classic rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar will be produced at Chicago’s Paramount theater in its Broadway season finale. This 1970s musical explores the last seven days and the internal struggles of none other than Jesus Christ. The classic has been put on in 31 countries with many talented ensembles, however, Chicago is surely going to be memorable. Paramount Theater will feature an all Black cast lead by theater veteran Destan Owens as Jesus of Nazareth. Owens has been seen by Broadway audiences in productions such as Chicago (Billy Flynn), Rent (Tom Collins), Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Adrian) but also some movie and small screen appearances in “Across the Universe” and TV’s “30 Rock”.
Owens is joined by Mykal Kilgore as Judas Iscariot, Felicia Boswell (Mary Magdalene), Rufus Bonds Jr. (Pontius Pilate), Avionce Hoyles (King Herod/Annas) and Lorenzo Rush jr. (Caiaphas).
Not only will the show have an amazing cast but director and producer Ron Kellum is making his Paramount theater debut. Kellum has a wide range of credits under his directing belt including Rent, The Color Purple, Dreamgirls, and Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Kellum also staged the NFL 2017 Pro Bowl half time show. The show will also feature Paramount familiars, Tom Vendafreddo and Kory Danielson as co-music directors leading a 14 piece rock band.
According to Showbiz Chicago, Kellum said,
“Why an all-Black Superstar? ‘Why not’ Our responsibility as storytellers is to find ways to represent truth in ways that translate to every audience no matter of color, creed, orientation or status This will be a soul stirring experience!”
The ensemble features Stephen “Blu” Allen, Jos N. Banks, Ciera Dawn, Gilbert Domally, Candace C. Edwards, Jared D.M. Grant, Keirsten Hodgens, Mark J.P. Hood, Reneisha Jenkins, Micheal Lovette, Evan Tyrone Martin, Gabriel Mudd, Brian Nelson Jr., Renelle Nicole, Jaymes Osborne, Kafi Pierre, Jon Pierce, Travis Porchia, Camille Robinson, Alexis J. Roston and Jessica Brooke Seals.
Catch the show April 19th – through May 28 at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd. in Aurora.