BWW Interview: Joshua Henry Talks COTTON CLUB PARADE!
Amber Riley (“Glee”) Joshua Henry, Jared Grimes and Adriane Lenox will soon star in New York City Center’s acclaimed production of Duke Ellington’s Cotton Club Parade, returning to City Center for seven performances from November 14–18, 2012. Conceived by Jack Viertel and presented under the auspices of City Center’s Tony Award–winning Encores! series, Cotton Club Parade will once again be directed and choreographed by Warren Carlyle, with music direction by Jazz at Lincoln Center Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis. The show will feature the Jazz at Lincoln Center All Stars under the direction of Daryl Waters.
Just yesterday, the cast and creative team spoke with BroadwayWorld's Richard Ridge at a special press preview- but a key player was missing. Tony nominee Joshua Henry, who is currently abroad on his honeymoon, chatted with us separately on the project.
Congratulations on your marriage! You’ve been working on so many projects recently that it must be quite a change to have some time away. Are you enjoying the honeymoon?
Thank you so much! It is the most foreign feeling to not be working on anything, but Cathryn and I are loving every second of it.
Between, IN THE HEIGHTS, AMERICAN IDIOT, PORGY AND BESS, and THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS you’ve had an amazing past couple of years. What have been some personal highlights?
I really feel so blessed that if it was all over now, I couldn't have one complaint. But my unforgettables are as follows: When IN THE HEIGHTS won best musical in 2008, getting nominated for a Tony Award for THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS in 2011, performing at the Grammys in 2010 with Green Day for AMERICAN IDIOT, and PORGY AND BESS winning the Tony for best revival earlier this year are always on repeat in my mind. But Then there are the moments that burn a beautiful brand into your soul- the first READ THROUGH of IN THE HEIGHTS at 42nd Street Studios and most recently saying I do to my wife Cathryn who was there before I had a career.
You recently got to work more behind the scenes with AMIGO DUENDE. What was that experience like for you?
It was truly a dream come true. I grew so much as an actor throughout the process- having to inhabit several different character's story lines. I appreciate the art of auditioning as an actor even more having been on the other side of the table.
My love and desire to understand music has tripled- and I didn't think that was possible.
Finally, as a composer and arranger during rehearsal, sleep doesn't happen. Nope.
Do you anticipate doing more writing in the future?
You get to work with an amazing group of people on this project: Warren Carlyle, Amber Riley, Jared Grimes, Adriane Lenox- what’s it like being included in such an all-star team?
It's an honor. Everyone one in this cast and creative team is freakishly talented. I've worked with several of them before so it'll be like a family reunion where everyone brings a dish - except unlike my family reunions, you know EVERY dish is going to leave you wanting more.
You get to sing a lot of Duke Ellington big band music in this production. Are you looking forward to delving into this genre?
I love the big band sound, and I am overwhelmed with excitement to lay into it.
Have you been a fan of this style of music previously?
Oh yes! I won't take up two whole pages to explain, but absolutely a big fan of this genre and I'm more and more fascinated by the era from which it came.
What are you most excited about with the whole COTTON CLUB experience?
Im excited to show the glory of the Harlem Renaissance - it's joy, it's beauty. But working with Wynton Marsalis will take the cake. I've been learning from him during PBS specials since I was knee high.
Cotton Club Parade is a Broadway-style revue celebrating Ellington’s years at the famed Harlem nightclub in the 1920s and ‘30s, when the joint was jumping with revues featuring big band swing and blues. As in the original shows, Cotton Club Parade will feature singers, dancers and variety acts, with songs by the greatest jazz composers of the time, including Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields (“I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” and “Digga Digga Doo”), a young Harold Arlen (“Stormy Weather,” “I’ve Got the World on a String,” “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,”), and of course, Duke Ellington (“Rockin’ in Rhythm,” “Cotton Club Stomp,” “Black and Tan Fantasy,” and “Creole Love Call”).
Cotton Club Parade will run for seven performances, November 14–18, 2012, according to the following schedule: Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $29 and will be available starting August 13 at the New York City Center Box Office (West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues), through CityTix® at 212-581-1212, or online at NYCityCenter.org. Further information is available at NYCityCenter.org and jalc.org.