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In Rehearsals

Sneak Peek: In Rehearsals With Ain’t No’ Mo at The Public Theater

Playwright Jordan E. Cooper and director Stevie Walker-Webb in rehearsal for Ain’t No Mo’ Photo credit: Jenny Anderson
Drew Shade



Get into the rehearsal photos for Ain’t No Mo’  by Jordan E. Cooper going up at The Public Theater directed by and directed by Stevie Walker-Webb. performances begin Tuesday, March 12 with an official opening on Wednesday, March 27 and runs through Sunday, April 21.

The cast of  features Jordan E. Cooper(Peaches), Marchánt Davis (Passenger 2), Fedna Jacquet (Passenger 1), Crystal Lucas-Perry (Passenger 5), Ebony Marshall-Oliver (Passenger 4), and Simone Recasner (Passenger 3). Hermon Whaley Jr. will be the standby for “Peaches” and will be performing on all Sunday matinees.

AIN’T NO MO’ is a vibrant satirical odyssey portraying the great exodus of black Americans out of a country plagued with injustice. In a kaleidoscope of scenes of the moments before, during, and after this outrageous departure, Jordan E. Cooper’s extraordinary new work explores the value of black lives in a country hurtling away from the promise of a black president.

The world premiere play features scenic design by Kimie Nishikawa; costume design by Montana Levi Blanco; lighting design by Adam Honoré; sound design by Emily Auciello; and hair, wig and make-up design by Cookie Jordan.

Founder/Editor-In-Chief of | Actor | Artist | 1/3 of @OffBookPodcast | Theatre connoisseur | All Audra Everything | Caroline over Change | I'm Not Charl Brown | Norm Lewis is my play cousin | Producing an all-black production of Mame starring Jenifer Lewis in my head

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Kyle Taylor Parker, Dionne D. Figgins, & More Begin Smokey Joe’s Cafe Rehearsals!

Drew Shade



Smokey Joe's Cafe Cast Photo: Joseph Moran
Smokey Joe's Cafe Cast Photo: Joseph Moran

The Grammy award-winning & Tony-nominated musical revue Smokey Joe’s Cafe: The Songs of Leiber & Stoller is set for a revival and rehearsals to begin today. Well, you can’t rehearse without a cast and we’re thrilled to announce those vibrant young cast members who will take over Stage 42 (422 West 42nd Street) this summer.

The revival cast features Dwayne Cooper (Motown, Hairspray), Emma Degerstedt (Desperate Measures Off-Broadway), John Edwards (Jersey Boys), Dionne D. Figgins (Hot Feet, Memphis), Nicole Vanessa Ortiz (Spamilton Off-Broadway), Kyle Taylor Parker (Kinky Boots, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Jelani Remy (Disney’s The Lion King), Max Sangerman (Blue Man Group Off-Broadway), and Alysha Umphress (On The Town, American Idiot).

The 9 member ensemble will be led by director & choreographer Joshua Bergasse breathing new life into more than 30 classic songs including “Stand by Me,” “I’m a Woman,” “Hound Dog,” “Fools Fall In Love,” & “On Broadway.”

Performances begin on July 6. Rehearsals begin today and opening night is set for July 22.

The original production of Smokey Joe’s opened on March 2, 1995, and closed on Jan 16, 2000, becoming the longest-running revue to play on Broadway.



Tickets are now on sale; the box office will open on June 25. Prior to the New York production, the show will play at The Ogunquit Playhouse from May 16 – June 9.

The creative team features scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Alejo Vietti, lighting design by Jeff Croiter, sound design by Peter Fitzgerald, original vocal arrangements by Chapman Roberts, and orchestrations by Steve Margoshes and Sonny Paladino. Music Supervision and new arrangements are also by Mr. Paladino. Casting is by Tara Rubin Casting.

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Coming Soon

André De Shields, Nikki Renée Daniels Join Diverse Production of 1776

Broadway Black



Nikki Renée Daniels and André De Shields will star in City Center Encores! highly anticipated production of the revolution based musical 1776

Originally written in 1969 and revived in 1998, the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award-winning show is based on the events surrounding the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Book of Mormon star Daniels will be taking on the role of Thomas Jefferson’s wife, “Martha Jefferson,” while The Wiz icon, De Shields, will be playing independence advocate “Stephen Hopkins.” Additional casting includes Jubilant Sykes, Terence Archie, John-Michael Lyles, Wayne Pretlow and Nicholas Ward.

The Encores! production of 1776 is just another example of the wave of diversity sweeping through New York’s theater community over the last year.  Interestingly, Lin-Manuel Miranda acknowledged being heavily inspired by, and even quoted the classic musical in the non-traditional phenomenon that has become Hamilton.  Now, Miranda’s inclination for multi-ethnic casting is providing inspiration of its own.

“We chose to do 1776 in part because of the success of Hamilton,” said Encores! Artistic Director Jack Viertel. “…Every show that we do at Encores! is set in three periods, really — the present, the era it was written in, and the era it is set in. To do justice to the first, it only seemed logical to celebrate one of the things that has finally taken Broadway by storm, thanks in great part to Hamilton — making the event on stage as diverse as the America we live in.”

Martha Jefferson as a black woman.  Thomas definitely never saw that coming.  But he probably never considered himself a curly-fro’d rapper either.


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