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Jessica Frances Dukes to Lead the Cast of By The Way, Meet Vera Stark

Drew Shade

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Jessica Frances Dukes Photo via Signature Theatre

Acting powerhouse Jessica Frances Dukes, who recently slayed Alisha Harris’ Is God Is Off-Broadway, has been tapped as the title role of Lynn Nottage‘s By The Way, Meet Vera Stark at The Signature Theatre. Directed by Kamilah Forbes the revival production runs January 29, 2019, through March 3 with a February 19 opening night.

You may remember the Off-Broadway premiere of this show at Second Stage Theater in 2011 as it starred Sanaa Lathan.

It’s the Golden Age of Hollywood, and aspiring starlet Vera Stark works as a maid to Gloria Mitchell, an aging star grasping at her fading career. Worlds collide when Vera lands a trailblazing role in an antebellum epic starring…her boss. While Vera’s portrayal of a slave turns out to be groundbreaking, decades later scholars and film buffs still grapple with the actress’ legacy in Hollywood and the impact that race had on her controversial career. Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage’s fast-paced, sly satire, directed by Kamilah Forbes, will take you on a seventy-year journey through Vera’s life and the cultural climate that originally shaped her and continues today.

The cast also features Jenni Barber as Gloria, Manoel Felciano as Max/Peter, Warner Miller as Leroy/Herb, Carra Patterson as Anna Mae/Afua, Heather Alicia Simms as Lottie/Carmen, and David Turner as Brad/Slavick.

The creative team includes of Clint Ramos (scenic design), Dede M. Ayite (costume design), Matt Frey (lighting design), Mikaal Sulaiman (sound design), Katherine Freer (projection design) and Daniel Kluger (composition).

 

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Cast List

Adrienne Warren Will Star In Tina The Tina Turner Musical On Broadway

Drew Shade

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Adrienne Warren as Tina Turner in the West End cast of TINA Photo by Manuel Harlan

Adrienne Warren Photo by Ted Ely

As previously reportedTina the musical about the iconic entertainer Tina Turner will be headed to Broadway this fall. Announced today, Adrienne Warren who currently stars in the production on The West End through April 13, 2019, will reprise her role for the upcoming Broadway production.

Also released today, the first single from the upcoming Tina – The Tina Turner Musical cast album, featuring Adrienne Warren performing the iconic song “River Deep – Mountain High”. Warren is featured on an accompanying music video of the single also released today. Watch the video below.

“Working on this show has been a life-changing experience for me. Tina’s unshakable courage, grace, and determination have been our constant inspiration, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to be part of this telling of her story. It has been an amazing year in London, working with the incredible Phyllida Lloyd, Katori Hall, and the creative team, in a city that has welcomed me with open arms. Returning home to Broadway, in this role and in this show, is a dream come true”. – Adrienne Warren

Tina Turner in the rehearsal room for TINA Photo by Hugo Glendinning

“I’m so proud of everything that Adrienne has achieved over the last year in the West End. She has given it everything she’s got, she has poured her soul into it, and she deserves every success. I am thrilled she will be reprising her role in New York, and I cannot wait to see her on that Broadway stage on Opening Night.” – Tina Turner

Dates, venue, and additional casting for Broadway will be announced at a later date

The musical features the original discography of Turner with a book written by Katori Hall (The Mountaintop) with Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins and directed by Phyllida Lloyd

The creative team also includes choreography by Anthony van Laast, with set and costume designs by Mark Thompson, musical supervision, additional music and arrangements by Nicholas Skilbeck, lighting by Bruno Poet, sound by Nevin Steinberg, projection design by Jeff Sugg and orchestrations by Ethan Popp.

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Cast List

The Secret Life of Bees Is Now a Musical; Will Star LaChanze, Saycon Sengbloh, & More Off-Broadway

Drew Shade

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LaChanze Photo via Facebook

The New York Times bestselling novel and the critically acclaimed feature film is now becoming a musical! The Sue Monk Kidd classic is coming to the Atlantic Theater Company. Saycon Sengbloh (Eclipsed, Wicked) will star as Rosaleen, a Black caretaker who runs away with Lily, played by Elizabeth Teeter (The Audience, The Crucible), to uncover the mysteries surrounding Lily’s mother’s death.

LaChanze (The Color PurpleSummer: The Donna Summer Musical) will play beekeeper August Boatwright, with Eisa Davis (Kings) as June, Manoel Felciano as T-Ray, Lily’s abusive father, Brett Gray (On My Block) as Zach, and Anastacia McCleskey (Waitress) as May.

South Carolina, 1964. Lily Owens, a restless white teenager, struggles with her merciless father and the haunting memory of her mother’s death. When Rosaleen, her black caregiver, is beaten and jailed for asserting her right to vote, Lily’s rebellious spirit is ignited. She and Rosaleen escape on an adventure where they are taken in by a trio of black beekeeping sisters. While Lily tries to unlock the secrets of her past, she and Rosaleen find solace in the mesmerizing world of bees and spirituality in this extraordinary tale of awakening, fellowship, and healing.

The ensemble will include Jai’Len Christine Li Josey (Spongebob, Witness Uganda). Romelda Teron Benjamin, Joe Cassidy, Vita E. Cleveland, and Matt DeAngelis.

Set to begin previews May 12, 2019, with an official opening Off-Broadway June 13th, and eyes on a Broadway transfer, The Secret Life of Bees features music by Duncan Sheik, Lyrics by Susan Birkenhead, and a book by Lynn Nottage and will be directed by Sam Gold. Performances are scheduled to run through July 7.

The Secret Life of Bees was a 2008 American drama film directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and produced by Lauren Shuler Donner and Will Smith, with his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, as executive producer. The cast included Dakota Fanning as Lily Owens, Jennifer Hudson as Rosaleen, Queen Latifah as August Boatwright, Alicia Keys as June Boatwright, and Tony Award winner Sophie Okonedo as May Boatwright

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