The documentary musical, Witness Uganda, by Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews will make its west coast premiere at The Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts. After a successful Off-Broadway run as Invisible Thread, this new and revised production with direction by Matthews and music direction by Gould will run Tuesday, February 5 – Sunday, February 24, 2019, in The Wallis’s Lovelace Studio Theater.
Taking it back to the original title, Witness Uganda will star twelve-time Grammy nominee, Ledisi as Rain Lady/Church Lady, Hamilton alum & Off Book Podcast co-host Amber Iman as Joy, and original cast member of Invisible Thread Jamar Williams now takes on the role of Griffin.
“This production gets back to the roots of Witness Uganda,” says Gould, and Matthews adds, “We’re excited to share this raw, real story about the complexity of helping others. It feels more relevant now than ever.
The cast also features Emma Hunton (Ryan), Kameron Richardson (Jacob), Naärai (Grace), Sha’leah Nikole (Eden), Dexter Darden (Ibrahim), Jordan Barrow (Ronny), Jai’len Josey (Vocalist/Understudy for Rain Lady/Church Lady) and Antwone Barnes, Kennan D Washington and Thurzday holding down the ensemble.
Ledisi will not perform on the evening of Friday, February 15 and for both shows on Sunday, February 17. In her absence, Jai’len Josey will play the roles of Rain Lady/Church Lady.
Witness Uganda will be choreographed by Abdur-Rahim Jackson, with music supervision by Remy Kurs, set design by Connor MacPhee, lighting design by David Hernandez, costumes by Carlton Jones and sound design by Martin Carillo. Assistant Director is Mark Jacob Chaitin, and Stage Manager is Sara Sahin.
Based on a true story, Witness Uganda follows Griffin, a New York City-based American volunteer, as he arrives in Uganda to help build a village school and escape his church’s condemnation of his sexuality. When he falls into a complicated relationship with a group of destitute, orphaned teenagers, he finds himself driven by a mission that will change his and their lives forever. From the rolling hills of the Ugandan countryside to a stifling apartment in New York City, from a joyous celebration of African youth to a terrifying abduction 8,000 miles away, Witness Uganda explores the question, “is changing the world even possible?”
Witness Uganda has been performed in concert by Gould and Matthews around the country and around the world since 2008. It had its world premiere at Harvard University’s American Repertory Theater in 2014 and premiered off-Broadway at New York City’s Second Stage Theater under the name Invisible Thread, both under the direction of Tony winner Diane Paulus. Witness Uganda has helped to raise over $275,000 for UgandaProject, an organization founded by Matthews and co-directed by Gould that sponsors the education of a group of students living in Kampala, Uganda. Both Matthews and Gould have each spent time living and working in Africa. Gould was a Peace Corps volunteer in The Islamic Republic of Mauritania from 2001 to 2003, and Griffin first went to Uganda in 2005 on an aid trip. For more than a decade since, the two have visited Uganda. They created Witness Uganda based on interviews with UgandaProject staff and students, weaving music through the words of the people.
Sydnee Winters returns to The Lion King on Broadway
Sydnee Winters is back in the Shadowland at the Minskoff Theatre. Winters is returning to The Lion King in the role in which she made her Broadway debut. Taking over the role of Nala, from Adrienne Walker, who left the production to appear in the forthcoming Kiss Me, Kate revival.
Winters’ other Broadway credits include Pippin, Motown The Musical, and Hamilton. She’s back in the role after five years away from it. Having had this time to grow and have other experiences beyond the show, she’s back and she’s better! You can catch her on Broadway right now!
Included in the current cast is are Bradley Gibson as Simba, L. Steven Taylor as Mufasa, Tshidi Manye as Rafiki, Ben Jeffrey as Pumbaa, Fred Berman as Timon, Stephen Carlile as Scar, Bonita J. Hamilton as Shenzi, Mikee Castillo and Demi Singleton as Young Nala, Kenneth Aikens and Joshua Dubose as Young Simba,
Noah J. Ricketts Takes Over The Role of Kristoff in Frozen On Broadway
The Disney movie turned Broadway musical Frozen welcomes ensemble cast member Noah J. Ricketts into the role of Kristoff. Having understudied the role, he will now take over full-time after Jelani Alladin who originated the role.
He will begin performances Tuesday, February 19, 2019.
Ricketts also currently understudies the role of Pabbie. He joined the cast of Frozen directly from the Broadway and touring productions of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.
Favorite regional credits include Terk, Tarzan® (WWT); C.C., Dreamgirls (North Shore Music Theatre); Jacob, La Cage (Summer Lyric); Hello, Dolly! (St. Louis MUNY); Macbeth (IAA Shakespeare Festival). A proud graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy and the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music (CCM)
Check out the video below of Noah singing his heart out with “Corner of the Sky” from the musical Pippin
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