Ray Charles Musical Debuts at Pasadena Playhouse in Nov.

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Ray Charles Live! -- A New Musical, a musical biography of soul legend Ray Charles, will receive its world premiere at the Pasadena Playhouse on November 9th for a run through December 9th, according to Variety.

The show is loosely based on the recent hit film Ray and its producing team is also involved in the new stage musical. Stuart Benjamin, Howard and Karen Baldwin and Steve Markoff, along with Ray Charles' longtime manager Joe Adams, will help to present Ray Charles Live! - A New Musical.  Jamie Foxx won an Oscar for his performance in the title role of the 2004 film.

The stage musical will feature songs by the late Charles (who passed away in 2004) and a book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog).  Pasadena Playhouse artistic director Sheldon Epps directs.

According to the article, the "musical is set in a concert hall where Charles is recording his final live album. He reviews his life, and characters from his past appear onstage. There is a central Charles figure, plus an actor portraying Charles as a young boy and another playing him in his late teens and early 20s."  The stage musical will cover his entire life.

"We didn't want to lift the movie and put it on a stage.  And we don't shy away from things, the womanizing, the drug use. But the play focuses more on the music. It's more personal," stated Benjamin.

The show will feature a cast of 20 (casting to be announced), with a band of between 8 and 12 musicians.  The show will include choreography by Ken Roberson, sets by Riccardo Hernandez, costumes by Paul Tazewell, lighting by Donald Holder and orchestrations by Harold Wheeler.

Visit www.pasadenaplayhouse.org for more information.

Photo - Ray Charles

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