Andre De Shields & Adam Chanler-Berat to Lead Public Theater & DTC's THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE in Dallas; Full Cast & Creative Team Announced
Dallas Theater Center announced today the award-winning cast and creative team for the world premiere new musical The Fortress of Solitude, a co-production with The Public Theater in New York City. The Fortress of Solitude is based on the nationally best-selling novel of the same name by 2005 MacArthur Fellow Jonathan Lethem. The musical is conceived and directed by Daniel Aukin, with a book by Itamar Moses, and music and lyrics by Michael Friedman. The Fortress of Solitude opens with previews on March 7 and runs through April 6. Tickets to this stunning new musical, The Fortress of Solitude, are on sale now at www.DallasTheaterCenter.org and by phone at (214) 880-0202.
Aukin has previously directed critically acclaimed productions at New York's Roundabout Theatre Company, Lincoln Center and Manhattan Theatre Club.
"The notion of adapting this gorgeous novel into a musical was terrifying and thrilling and, finally, inescapable," says Aukin. "I met with Jonathan Lethem and, in a shockingly wonderful show of faith and generosity, he granted permission to give this idea a go."
Friedman, the composer and lyricist of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, was also drawn to the story. "It's always tricky to find material that really wants to be musicalized," he says. "Jonathan's novel is full of music, both imagined and remembered."
Friedman and Moses adapted the novel together. "It has always been a kind of recursive process of responding to each other, supporting each other, following each other in whatever direction feels most useful and effective," says Moses.
The result is a heartbreakingly beautiful tale of the childhood friendship between Dylan Ebdus and Mingus Rude, set against the backdrop of the musical landscape of the end of the twentieth century. It is a story of 1970s Brooklyn and beyond - of black and white, soul and rap, block parties and blackouts, friendship and betrayal, comic books and 45s.
Adam Chanler-Berat, who originated the role of Henry in Broadway's Next to Normal and of Peter in Broadway's Peter and the Starcatcher, plays the role of Dylan Ebdus. Kyle Beltran, who recently starred in Tarell McCraney's Choirboy at Manhattan Theatre Club, and who also appeared in the Broadway production of In the Heights, is Mingus Rude. The boys, both abandoned by their mothers and left in the care of difficult fathers, bond over comic books, LPs, and graffiti.
Emmy Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated actor Andre De Shields comes to Dallas Theater Center for the first time ever as Barrett Rude Senior, Mingus' grandfather. Deshields has appeared in countless Broadway productions including The Wiz, Ain't Misbehavin' and The Full Monty. Kevin Mambo, who appeared as the title character in the Broadway production of Fela! and in the national tour of The Book of Mormon as Mafala, plays Barrett Rude, Jr., Mingus' father and the lead singer of the soul group the Subtle Distinctions.
DTC Brierley Resident Acting Company member Alex Organ, recently in Fly By Night and A Christmas Carol, plays Dylan's father Abraham. Local musical theater star Patty Breckenridge plays the roles of Rachel, Dylan's mom, and Mrs. Lomb. Etai Benshlomo from the Broadway production of Wicked appears as Arthur; Nick Christopher from the Broadway production Motown as the neighborhood bully Robert; Jeremy Dumont from DTC's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and A Christmas Carol as Gabe; Carla Duren from the Broadway production of 110 in the Shade, and Dallas Theater Center's Give it Up!, is Lala and Abby; local actress Alison Hodgson, who has appeared on stage at Circle Theatre and Jubilee Theatre, plays Liza; Helen Hayes Award nominee Jahi Kearse appears as Henry and Raf; and local actress Traci Lee, who appeared in DTC's production of Cabaret, plays Marilla. Britton Smith, who has appeared at Lincoln Center; Akron Watson, who has appeared locally at Dallas Theater Center, Theatre Three and WaterTower Theatre; and Juson Williams, from Encore's The Wiz round out the cast as the members of the Subtle Distinctions.