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Photo Flash: The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts Presents New Musical, YES!

The Rose Nagelberg Theatre at The Baruch Performing Arts Center was SRO for the special presentation of Earl Wilson Jr.'s "topical, rousing & inspiring new musical YES!, directed, choreographed & staged by the brilliant Mercedes Ellington. The musical presented by The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts imagines a meeting between Barack Obama & DR. Martin Luther King in a mille-second of space time, in 2004 at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. It envisions how Dr. King helps Mr. Obama embrace the journey to the White House and his place in history as the first Black President of the United States. Book, Music & Lyrics are by Earl Wilson, Jr.; Music arranger & director is Eugene Gwozdz; Music consultant is J. Leonard Oxley and YES! Choir director is Anthony Evans.

Check out the photos below!

"Throughout the show, there were stunning and effective numbers by T. Oliver Reid as Dr. King, Erick Pinnick as Barack Obama, Allyson Tucker as Michelle Obama, Brittany Nicholas as Sasha Obama, Joanne Javien as Malia Obama and Adreinne Fishe as Rosa Parks backed by a powerful choir led by Anthony Evans. Soloist N'Kenge positively shined throughout. The 12 musical numbers ranging from the chilling "The Far Side of Hell" to the tender, romantic duet "She Makes Me laugh" to the rousing closing "Say YES! " thrilled the audience as Obama's journey unfolded on stage. Punctuating the songs were evocative dances choreographed by Ms. Ellington and performed beautifully by Michael Choi, Vanda Polaskova & Sarika Hudson. Ms. Ellington served as the evening's narrator.

"Hats off to the multi-ethnic YES! Choir that included N'Kenge, Adreinne Fishe, Brittany Nicholas, Joanne Javien, Jessica Foster, Samantha Blain, Richie Abanes, Ray Bendana, Megan Corcoran, Joshua Dela Cruz, Renee Veronica Freeman, Francheska Gomez, Javier E. Gomez, Kimberly Hamby, Brianna Horne, Cameron Bernard Jones, Francesca MacArron, Jaygee Macapugay, Tyrone Roberson, Cara Scherker, Kevin Paul Smith, Whitney, Anthony Wills, Jr. and Yaniv Zarif.

"The performance was sandwiched between pre- and post receptions where hundreds of Ellington's fans gathered in support including Brian Stokes Mitchell, Drama Desk President Isa Goldberg, Nanette Shaw, Kent Drake, producer Robert Blume, choreographer Alessandro Pellicani, playwright & director Kenyetta Lethridge whose Innocent Flesh bows next week along with her producers Diana C. Zollicoffer and Michael Mann in from Los Angeles and fashion and design legend Audrey Smaltz."

Additional credits for YES! include Production Stage Manager, Howard Jones, Sound Designer, Bernard Fox, Company Manager, Marilyn Lester and Production Consultant, Kent Drake

Photo Flash: The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts Presents New Musical, YES!

Photo Flash: The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts Presents New Musical, YES!
Kenyetta Lethridge and Lucia Kaiser

Photo Flash: The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts Presents New Musical, YES!
Erick Pinnick and T. Oliver Reid

Photo Flash: The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts Presents New Musical, YES!
Diana Zollicoffer, Erick Pinnick and T. Oliver Reid

Photo Flash: The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts Presents New Musical, YES!
Diana Zollicoffer, Audrey Smaltz, Kenyetta Lethridge

Photo Flash: The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts Presents New Musical, YES!
Kenyetta Lethridge, Mercedes Ellington, and Diana Zollicoffer

Photo Flash: The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts Presents New Musical, YES!
Kathleen Giordano, Diana Zollicoffer, and Kenyetta Lethridge

Photo Flash: The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts Presents New Musical, YES!
Michael Mann , Diana Zollicoffer, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Kenyetta Lethridge

Photo Flash: The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts Presents New Musical, YES!
Anthony Evans

Photo Flash: The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts Presents New Musical, YES!
Allyson Tucker

Photo Flash: The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts Presents New Musical, YES!
Francesca MacArron and Michael Margolis

Photo Flash: The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts Presents New Musical, YES!
Brittany Nicholas and Joanne Javien

Photo Flash: The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts Presents New Musical, YES!
Brian Stokes Mitchell and Mercedes Ellington

Photo Flash: The Duke Ellington Center for the Arts Presents New Musical, YES!

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Sally Henry Sally Henry is a BroadwayWorld contributor based in Georgia who manages the News Desk on the weekends, including the weekly #SIP roundups. She also writes weekly features ranging from historically-based reflections to interviews with all the cool kids in the industry. She takes pride in her ginger hair and in being *that* friend who actually loves The Scarlet Pimpernel musical.

Read more from Sally on Twitter: @BwayGinger, Blogger: SingularSensationBway.blogspot.com, and Facebook: www.Facebook.com/SingularSensationbway


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