Cast Complete for New Temptations Musical AIN'T TOO PROUD at Berkeley Rep
Berkeley Repertory Theatre today announced the full casting and creative team for the world premiere of AIN'T TOO PROUD-THE TEMPTATIONS MUSICAL. The musical stage production will be directed by Tony Award winner Des McAnuff. Berkeley Rep presents the show by special arrangement with Ira Pittelman and Tom Hulce (American Idiot, Spring Awakening).
An electrifying new musical about the life and times of The Temptations, the greatest R&B group of all time (Billboard Magazine 2017). They were five young guys on the streets of Detroit when they were discovered by Berry Gordy, who signed them to his legendary new label. After 24 attempts, they finally had a hit and the rest is history-how they met, how they rose, the groundbreaking heights they hit, and how personal and political conflicts threatened to tear the group apart as the nation fell into civil unrest. Kennedy Prize-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau, Olivier Award-winning choreographer Sergio Trujillo, and two-time Tony Award-winning director Des McAnuff bring you this thrilling story of brotherhood, family, loyalty, and betrayal. Iconic hits like "My Girl," "Just My Imagination," and "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" and the signature dance moves that made the "Classic Five" Temptations part of our cultural history forever.
Previews begin Friday, August 31, 2017 and the show runs through Sunday, October 8, 2017. Press night for AIN'T TOO PROUD-THE TEMPTATIONS MUSICAL will be Thursday, September 14, 2017. Individual tickets will go on sale beginning Wednesday, July 19. Tickets are priced starting at $35, and can be purchased online at berkeleyrep.org and by phone at 510 647-2949 (Tue-Sun, noon-7pm).
AIN'T TOO PROUD-THE TEMPTATIONS MUSICAL features a book by Dominique Morisseau, music and lyrics from The Legendary Motown Catalogue, music by arrangement with Sony/ATV Music Publishing, orchestrations by Harold Wheeler, musical direction/supervision & arrangements by Kenny Seymour, choreography by Sergio Trujillo, scenic design by Robert Brill, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Steve Canyon Kennedy, projection design by Peter Nigrini.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Dominique Morisseau (Book) Dominique is the author of The Detroit Project (A 3-Play Cycle), which includes the following plays: Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company), Paradise Blue (Williamstown Theatre Festival), and Detroit '67 (Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem, and National Black Theatre). Additional plays include Sunset Baby (LAByrinth Theater Company), Blood at the Root (National Black Theatre), and Follow Me to Nellie's (Premiere Stages). Her work has been commissioned by the Hip Hop Theater Festival, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Women's Project Theater, South Coast Rep, People's Light and Theatre, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival/Penumbra Theatre. She currently serves as co-producer on the Showtime series Shameless. She has received the Stavis Playwriting Award, an NAACP Image Award, a Spirit of Detroit Award, the Weissberger Award, a PoNY Fellowship, the Sky Cooper New American Play Prize, a TEER Spirit Trailblazer Award, the Steinberg New Play Award, the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama (Detroit '67), an Audelco award, and an Obie Award (Skeleton Crew).
Des McAnuff (Director) Des is a two-time Tony Award-winning director and former artistic director of the Stratford Festival. He is also director emeritus of La Jolla Playhouse, where during his tenure he directed more than 30 productions. His Broadway credits include Doctor Zhivago, Jesus Christ Superstar, Guys and Dolls, Aaron Sorkin's The Farnsworth Invention, Jersey Boys (Tony and Olivier Awards: Best Musical), Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays (Tony Award: Best Special Theatrical Event), Dracula the Musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Who's Tommy (Tony and Olivier Awards: Best Director), A Walk in the Woods, and Big River (Tony Awards: Best Director, Best Musical). His Stratford highlights include A Word or Two, Caesar and Cleopatra, and The Tempest (all with Christopher Plummer). Opera: Faust (Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera). Film: Cousin Bette (director), Iron Giant (producer, BAFTA Award), and Quills (executive producer). In 2012, Des was awarded Canada's esteemed Governor General's National Arts Center Award and the Order of Canada.
Sergio Trujillo (Choreographer) Broadway credits include On Your Feet (Tony Award nominee, Outer Critics Circle/Astaire Awards), Memphis (Olivier/OCC Award, Drama Desk/Astaire Award nominations), Jersey Boys (Drama Desk/OCC/Greenroom/Dora nominations), A Bronx Tale (Chita Award nomination), Addams Family, Next to Normal, Hands on a Hardbody (Drama Desk nomination), Leap of Faith (Drama Desk nomination), Guys and Dolls (Astaire Award nomination), and All Shook Up. Other theatre: Arrabal (ART), Invisible Thread (Second Stage), Carmen: An Afro-Cuban Musical (Olney Theatre - Helen Hayes Award nomination), Freaky Friday (Signature Theatre), Flashdance (national tour), and The Wiz (La Jolla Playhouse). International: Tarzan (Disney), Peggy Sue Got Married (West End), The Sound of Music and West Side Story (Stratford Festival).
Kenny Seymour (Musical Direction/Supervision & Arrangements) Kenny's Broadway and off-Broadway credits include Tony Award winner for Best Musical Memphis (music director/conductor), Amazing Grace: An Epic Musical (orchestrator), Half-Time: A New Musical (dance music arranger/electronic music producer), Marley: A World Premiere Musical (music supervisor/arranger/orchestrator), Tallest Tree in the Forrest (music director/arranger/incidental music), Scary Musical (orchestrator), Big Maybelle: Soul of the Blues (music supervisor/orchestrator), and The Wiz at La Jolla Playhouse (dance music arranger). His film and TV credits include Yemoja: Rise of the Orishas (composer), Oya: Rise of The Suporishas (composer), Talking with the Taxman About Poetry (composer, 2013 Global Music Award for Best Original Score), and music arranger/orchestrator for shows on Fox, BET, and NBC including the Inaugural Ball for President Barack Obama. Kenny has performed around the world, from the Legendary Apollo Theatre and Carnegie Hall to the Montreux Jazz Festival. Education: Music & Art, Manhattan School of Music and Berklee College of Music. Visit kennyseymour.com.
Harold Wheeler (Orchestrations) Harold is a composer, arranger, orchestrator, musical director, musical supervisor, and musician. Perhaps best known for his 17 seasons as musical director of the ABC show Dancing with the Stars, he has enjoyed many years of success over several mediums. Broadway credits include Side Show, Hugh Jackman-Back on Broadway, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Tony Award nomination), Never Gonna Dance, Hairspray (Tony Award nomination, Drama Desk Award), The Full Monty (Tony Award nomination), Swing! (Tony Award nomination), Little Me (Tony Award nomination), The Life (Tony Award nomination), Dreamgirls, The Wiz, The Tap Dance Kid, and Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music. He has served as conductor of the Academy Awards three times (most recently during the 89th Academy Awards), only the second African-American conductor in the Academy's history. He also was one of two conductors during the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics. In 2008, Harold received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the NAACP Theatre Awards. He is married to television and Broadway performer Hattie Winston.
Robert Brill (Scenic Designer) Robert is thrilled to return to Berkeley Rep, having previously designed The Laramie Project. Broadway credits include Assassins (Tony Award nomination), as well as the set and club design for the critically acclaimed revival of Cabaret, Jesus Christ Superstar, Guys and Dolls (Tony Award nomination), Buried Child, Design for Living, A Streetcar Named Desire, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and others. His credits include Disney's Frozen, as well as numerous opera world-premieres, including Moby-Dick, Everest, Cold Mountain, and It's a Wonderful Life. He has designed for the Whitney Museum of American Art, BAM, Stratford Shakespeare Festival, the Guthrie Theater, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and American Conservatory Theater. Upcoming: Summer, The Donna Summer Musical, directed by Des McAnuff. Robert is a founding member of Sledgehammer Theatre, a recipient of the Michael Merritt Award for Excellence in Design and Collaboration, and professor of Scenic Design for the University of California, San Diego.
Paul Tazewell (Costume Designer) made his Broadway debut with Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk. New York credits include Blade to the Heat, and Venus (The Public Theater), and Playboy of the West Indies at Lincoln Center Theater. He has also designed for Arena Stage, the Guthrie Theater, Goodman Theatre, Center Stage, Hartford Stage, and Milwaukee Rep. He is a graduate of North Carolina School of the Arts and New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
Howell Binkley (Lighting Designer) Broadway credits include Come From Away (Tony Award nomination), Hamilton (Tony Award), A Bronx Tale, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Jersey Boys (Tony Award), In the Heights, Gypsy, Xanadu, Cry-Baby, LoveMusik, Bridge & Tunnel, Steel Magnolias, Avenue Q, Golda's Balcony, Hollywood Arms, Gore Vidal's The Best Man, Minnelli on Minnelli, The Full Monty, Parade, Kiss of the Spider Woman, High Society, and Grease. Off-Broadway credits include Landscape of the Body, Sinatra, Batboy, and Radiant Baby.
Steve Canyon Kennedy (Sound Designer) His Broadway credits as production sound engineer include Cats, Starlight Express, Song and Dance, The Phantom of the Opera, Aspects of Love, and Carrie. Broadway sound design credits include On Your Feet, Dr. Zhivago, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill (Tony Award), Hands on a Hardbody (Drama Desk Award), Jesus Christ Superstar, Catch Me If You Can (Tony Award nomination), Guys and Dolls, Mary Poppins, The Lion King, Jersey Boys (Drama Desk Award), 700 Sundays, Hairspray, The Producers, Aida, Titanic, Big, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Carousel, and The Who's Tommy (Drama Desk Award).
Peter Nigrini (Projection Designer) Peter most recently worked on the world premiere of Monsoon Wedding at Berkeley Rep. Broadway credits include A Doll's House, Part 2, Amelie, A New Musical, Dear Evan Hansen, An Act of God, Heidi Chronicles, The Best Man, Fela, and 9 to 5. His other New York credits include Grounded and Here Lies Love (The Public Theater), Wakey, Wakey (Signature Theatre), The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Second Stage Theatre), Notes from Underground (Yale Repertory Theatre), The Grace Jones Hurricane Tour, Rent (New World Stages), Real Enemies (Bam Next Wave Festival, and Blind Date (Bill T. Jones). For Nature Theater of Oklahoma, No Dice and Life & Times (Burgtheater, Vienna). His upcoming projects are Lucia di Lammermoor (Santa Fe Opera) and The SpongeBob Musical (Broadway 2017-18).
Esther Antoine (Swing) Esther is excited to make her Berkeley Rep debut. Her national tour credits include Matilda The Musical, Catch Me If You Can, and Memphis. Her New York City credits include Candide and Los Elementos (New York City Opera). Her regional credits include The Wiz (Arkansas Repertory Theatre), The Wizard of Oz (Westchester Broadway Theatre), and Dreamgirls (North Shore Music Theatre). Some of her other credits include performances at the Blue Note, the Apollo Theater, and Madison Square Garden.
Derrick Baskin (Otis Williams) Derrick is making his Berkeley Rep debut. He was last seen on The New York stage in Whorl Inside a Loop. He originated roles in two Tony Award-winning musicals, Memphis and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Drama Desk Award). Other Broadway credits include The Little Mermaid. He is best known for his role in the critically acclaimed Hulu sitcom Difficult People, and his recurring role on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Other film credits include the remake of Annie, and Anesthesia. Derrick's concert experience includes performances with Wynton Marsalis, Michael Bublé, Wiz Khalifa, Mariah Carey, and he has written songs on former Beyoncé musical director, Divinity Roxx's, debut album I'm Possible.
Shawn Bowers (Lamont) Shawn is thrilled to be making his Berkeley Rep debut! Originally from St. Louis, he now resides in New York City. Earlier this year, he participated in the developmental production of the new original musical, Back Home Again, which had a limited run in Walnut Creek at the Lesher Center for the Arts. He travelled the high seas in the Broadway production of the big band jazz-age musical After Midnight. Regional credits include Beauty and the Beast, Grease, and The Addams Family at the Muny. Favorite roles: Rent (Benny), Parade (Newt Lee/Riley), The Little Mermaid (Sebastian), and Mary Poppins (Robertson Ay).
Jeremy Cohen (Shelley Berger) Jeremy is making his Berkeley Rep debut. On Broadway, he appeared opposite Tyne Daly in Manhattan Theatre Club's Tony Award-nominated production of Master Class. He later reprised his role for the London transfer. Other New York credits include On Your Toes (City Center Encores), Once Upon a Time in New Jersey (Prospect Theatre Company), Alain Boublil's Manhattan Parisienne (59E59), and the long-running off-Broadway hit Old Jews Telling Jokes. Regional credits include work at the Kennedy Center, ALLIANCE THEATRE, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Delaware Theatre Company, and Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre. Television and film credits include Blue Bloods (CBS), Shades of Blue (NBC), and Supporting Characters (Tribeca Film Festival). Jeremy composed the music for The Bowery Boys (Marriott Theatre), which received a Chicago Jeff Award nomination for Best New Musical. He is a proud Northwestern graduate.
E. Clayton Cornelious (Richard Street) Clayton is making his debut at Berkeley Rep. He is a Pittsburgh native who has been working on Broadway for nearly 20 years. Broadway credits include Wonderland, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, The Scottsboro Boys, A Chorus Line, The Music Man, Kat & the Kings, and The Lion King. National Tours include Kinky Boots, Sister Act, Jersey Boys, Dirty Dancing, Hairspray, The Lion King, A Chorus Line, The Goodbye Girl, and The Wiz. TV/Film credits include One Life to Live and Meet Dave with Eddie Murphy.
James Harkness (Paul Williams) James is making his Berkeley Rep debut. His Broadway credits include The Color Purple and Aida. His regional credits include Dreamgirls, Applause, Purlie, Can-Can, Mama I Want to Sing (AMAS; Minister of Music).
Rodney Earl Jackson, Jr. (Swing) Rodney is honored to be making his Berkeley Rep debut. A San Francisco native who was discovered in his public elementary school at age 9, Rodney continued his theatre and performance education at Rec and Park's Young People's Teen Musical Theatre Company, and graduated from the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts' theatre department. He made his Broadway debut in The Book of Mormon after graduating with a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama. He was last seen traveling North America in the first national tour of Motown: The Musical. He is now the artistic director and co-founder of the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company (Batco), a nonprofit theatre company whose mission is to culturally diversify the theatre scene of the Bay Area by producing live theatre that is reflective of the authentic perspectives and history of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Taylor Symone Jackson (Johnnie Mae) Taylor is excited to be making her Berkeley Rep debut. Her regional credits include The Wiz and Oklahoma (Oregon Shakespeare Festival) and Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery (Spelman College). Her New York credits include Becoming David (Playwrights Horizons), Find (Nuyorican Poets Cafe), and Viva Las Vegas (AMDA). Her TV credits include My Parents, My Sister & Me; The Game; and Girl, Get Your Mind Right. She is also trained in various styles of dance from the Atlanta Ballet and acting at the Freeman Studio. She is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, and now lives in New York.
Jared Joseph (Melvin Franklin) Jared is a New York-based actor making his Berkeley Rep debut. He was last seen in the Bay Area in American Conservatory Theater's production of The Scottsboro Boys (Mr. Bones). His regional theatre credits include Hair: Retrospection (Kansas City Repertory Theatre) and The Parchman Hour (the Guthrie Theater). New York/Broadway credits include Holler If Ya Hear Me, The Book of Mormon, Encores! Cabin in the Sky, and Radio City Christmas Spectacular. National tour includes Dreamgirls and The Book of Mormon (Latter Day Tour). Film/TV: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Black Nativity. Jared holds a BFA from New York University.
Jahi Kearse (Berry Gordy) Jahi, an Atlanta, Georgia, native living in New York, is making his debut at Berkeley Rep. His Broadway credits include Holler If Ya Hear Me (the Palace Theater) and Baby It's You! (the Broadhurst Theatre). Off-Broadway credits include The Total Bent; The Fortress of Solitude (The Public Theater), and select regional credits include Lungs, Satchmo at the Waldorf, and Bars & Measures (B Street Theatre); Indian Joe (Goodspeed Musicals); Maurice Hines' Yo Alice (Radio City Music Hall); Debbie Allen's Souls Possessed; Seussical The Musical (the ALLIANCE THEATRE); Passing Strange, Motherf**ker with the Hat, and Topdog/Underdog (the Studio Theatre); Gut Bucket Blues, Sty of the Blind Pig, and Two Trains Running (True Colors Theatre). Jahi is a proud alumni of the Freddie Hendricks Youth Ensemble of Atlanta and Tri- Cities High School for the Visual & Performing Arts.
Jarvis B. Manning, Jr. (Al) Jarvis, a native of Houston, Texas, is extremely proud to be making his Berkeley Rep debut. His favorite performance credits are Jackie Wilson, Eddie Holland, Billy Gordon, and Rick James. He portrayed these musical legends in the first national tour of Motown: The Musical, and on Broadway at the Nederlander Theatre. He received his educational foundation from the legendary High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) and the American Music and Dramatic Academy (AMDA NY).
Jeremy Pope (Eddie Kendricks) Jeremy is making his Berkeley Rep debut. He was a Drama League nominee alongside Denzel Washington and James Franco for his lead role as Pharus in Choir Boy (Manhattan Theatre Club) written by Tarell Alvin McCraney. Off-Broadway credits include Invisible Thread directed by Diane Paulus and The View Upstairs.
Devin L. Roberts (Swing) Devin is making his Berkeley Rep debut. He appeared on Broadway in The Lion King. He also appeared in Cabin in the Sky and Do I Hear a Waltz? (City Center Encores). Off-Broadway roles include Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, Venice (The Public Theater), and Soul Doctor (New York Theatre Workshop). Regional credits include Stagger Lee (Dallas Theater Center), Chicago (North Shore Music Theatre), Smokey Joe's Cafe (Theatre Under the Stars), and Hairspray (Walnut Street Theatre). TV credits include Smash, Tony Awards 2012, and America's Got Talent.
Rashidra Scott (Josephine) Rashidra is making her Berkeley Rep debut. Favorite regional credits include Reno in Anything Goes (Goodspeed Opera House), Deloris in the regional premiere of Sister Act (Ogunquit Playhouse and Gateway Playhouse), Lorrell in Dreamgirls (Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire), Hairspray (Paper Mill Playhouse), Little Shop of Horrors (Stages St. Louis, Kevin Kline nomination), and Dionne in Hair (Arizona Theatre Company). Her Broadway credits include Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (original Broadway company, Grammy Award), Sister Act (original Broadway company, U/S Deloris; first national tour, Deloris), Hair (U/S Abe Lincoln), Finian's Rainbow (U/S Dolores), and Avenue Q (Gary Coleman). Other favorite credits include Nala in the opening cast of Hong Kong Disneyland's Festival of the Lion King and appearing on Rescue Me (Sony/FX) as Violet the singing nursE. Rashidra has a BM in Music Business/Management from Boston's Berklee College of Music.
Caliaf St. Aubyn (Dennis) Calif is making his Berkeley Rep debut. He most recently appeared on Broadway in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Theatre credits include the 20th anniversary of Smokey Joe's Cafe, and Dreamgirls (Gallery Players Theater). This resulted in his nomination for the 2013 Audelco Outstanding Performance in a Musical Award and the 2013 New York Innovative Theatre Outstanding Actor in a Featured Role Award. Film credits include Bojangles and Admissions.
Ephraim Sykes (David Ruffin) Ephraim is making his Berkeley Rep debut. A native of St. Petersburg, Florida, Ephraim made his Broadway debut in The Little Mermaid and was in the original cast of Hamilton. Other Broadway appearances include Memphis, Newsies, and Motown: The Musical. He was last seen as Seaweed J. Stubbs on NBC's Hairspray Live!. Ephraim graduated from the Alvin Ailey/Fordham University BFA program with departmental honors and toured with the Ailey II company for two years. His TV/film credits include Vinyl, Woody Allen's Crisis in Six Scenes, Luke Cage, Leave It on the Floor, Dance Flick, NYC 22, Smash, 30 Rock, and Kathryn Bigelow's new feature film Detroit, now in theatres.
Nasia Thomas (Mama Rose) Nasia is making her Berkeley Rep debut. She was recently seen as Little Eva in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway. Her other credits include the national tour of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (swing). Regional credits include Hairspray (the Muny) and The Buddy Holly Story. Other credits The Wiz (Dorothy), Les Misérables (U/S Fantine), and Dreamgirls (U/S Effie). Nasia is a graduate from Elon University where she received her BFA in Music Theatre, 2015.
Christian Thompson (Smokey Robinson) Christian is thrilled to be making his debut Berkeley Rep debut. He recently appeared in the 20th anniversary tour of Rent. Other recent credits include Blood at the Root (National Black Theatre of Harlem) and After Midnight (Norwegian Escape). Christian received his BFA in Musical Theatre from the Pennsylvania State University, Crew '15.
Candice Marie Woods (Diana Ross) Candice is making her Berkeley Rep debut. A native of Texas, she has performed all over the United States and Canada. Most recently, she appeared as Deena Jones in the Worklight Production/OD Company Korean tour of Dreamgirls. Her Broadway credits include Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Nice Work If You Can Get It, and The Book of Mormon. National tours include Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage and Legally Blonde. She is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association.
Berkeley Repertory Theatre has grown from a storefront stage to an international leader in innovative theatre. Known for its core values of imagination and excellence, as well as its educated and adventurous audience, the nonprofit has provided a welcoming home for emerging and established artists since 1968. In four decades, four million people have enjoyed nearly 400 shows at Berkeley Rep. These shows have gone on to win five Tony Awards, seven Obie Awards, nine Drama Desk Awards, one Grammy Award, and many other honors. In recognition of its place on the national stage, Berkeley Rep received the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 1997. Its bustling facilities - which include the 400-seat Peet's Theatre, the 600-seat Roda Theatre, the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, and a spacious campus in West Berkeley - are helping revitalize a renowned city. Learn more at berkeleyrep.org.
Photo by Joel Dockendorf