Jubilant Sykes, Kecia Lewis-Evans and More Join Hartford Stage's BREATH & IMAGINATION, Now thru 2/9


Hartford Stage, under the leadership of Artistic Director Darko Tresnjak and Managing Director Michael Stotts, today announced the full cast and creative team for the world premiere of Breath & Imagination, play and original songs by Daniel Beaty, directed by Darko Tresnjak, on stage from tonight, January 10 through February 9.

Before Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson, there was Roland Hayes - the first world-renowned African-American classical vocalist. Born the son of a slave, Roland discovered his voice as a young boy singing spirituals in church. A world premiere, Breath & Imagination, chronicles his amazing journey from a plantation in Georgia, to singing before kings and queens in Europe. At the heart of the story is Roland's loving, yet complex relationship with his mother - his Angel Mo'. Breath & Imagination explores the life of an American pioneer through traditional spirituals and classical music, as well as original songs by Daniel Beaty.

A classically-trained American baritone, Jubilant Sykes (Sacred Music USA's Vocalist of the Year) will portray Roland Hayes. Kecia Lewis-Evans (Broadway's Leap of Faith, Chicago and Once on This Island) will portray Roland Hayes' mother, Angel Mo'. Tom Frey (2 Pianos/4 Hands) will complete the cast as The Accompanist/Officer/Pa/Preacher/Mr. Calhoun/Miss Robinson/ Frenchman/King George V/The Horse.

The creative team features set design by David P. Gordon (Goodspeed's A Little Night Music and City of Angels); costume design by Fabio Toblini (Hartford Stage's The Tempest, Bell, Book and Candle and Hedda Gabler); lighting design by York Kennedy (upcoming Broadway premiere of A Time to Kill); music direction by Mike Ruckles (Associate Musical Director for Hartford Stage's A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder); and sound design by Jane Shaw (The Merchant of Venice, directed by Darko Tresnjak).

Director Darko Tresnjak joinEd Hartford Stage in 2011 as Artistic Director and directed Bell, Book and Candle, The Tempest and A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder at Hartford Stage in 2012. He was the Artistic Director of The Old Globe Shakespeare Festival in San Diego from 2004-2009. His directing credits at The Old Globe include The Women, The Pleasure of His Company, Bell, Book and Candle, Cyrano de Bergerac, Coriolanus, All's Well That Ends Well, Hamlet, Titus Adronicus, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Winter's Tale, A Comedy of Errors, Antony and Cleopatra, The Two Noble Kinsmen, and Pericles. Recent directing credits include the national tour of The Merchant of Venice, starring F. Murray Abraham; City of Angels at Goodspeed Musicals; and Titus Adronicus at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

Breath & Imagination is produced in association with City Theatre in Pittsburgh.

Press Night: 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 16.
Opening Night: 8 p.m. on Friday, January 18.

Recommended for ages 12 and up.

The production runs January 11 through February 9. Evening performances are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; and a special Stay/Play performance at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 30. Matinee performances are Sundays, and select Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m. For a more specific schedule of performances or to buy tickets for Breath & Imagination, call the Hartford Stage box office at 860-527-5151 or visit www.hartfordstage.org.

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