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Deborah Cox To Return To Broadway As Josephine Baker in JOSEPHINE


The award-winning, multi-platinum recording artist Deborah Cox, who made her Broadway debut taking over the title role in AIDA, is set to return to Broadway as Josephine Baker -- the exotic Parisian star of the famed Folies Bergère -- in the new musical JOSEPHINE, featuring music by three-time Grammy-nominee Steve Dorff, lyrics by Oscar and Golden Globe-nominee John Bettis, and book by Ellen Weston and Mark Hampton. Joey McKneely is set to direct and choreograph.

JOSEPHINE, which producer Ken Waissman developed from scratch after being inspired by the legendary African-American ex-patriot, is planned for the 2010-2011 Broadway season.

The story of JOSEPHINE, which Mr. Waissman describes as a "coming-of-age tale," is inspired by actual events, and takes place in Paris between 1939 and 1945: Josephine Baker is queen of the Paris music halls, involved in a liaison with Crown Prince Gustav VI of Sweden and secretly serving her adopted country in the French Resistance. Her heroic work during the war brings her the self-worth she so vainly sought in fame, money and the arms of royalty.

Throughout her career, the award-winning singer, actress and multi-platinum recording artist Deborah Cox has created some of the most timeless and enduring music. Discovered by Arista Records president Clive Davis, her debut album achieved platinum status. Her single, "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here," topped the R&B charts for 14 weeks. Other hits include "We Can't Be Friends," "Absolutely Not," a #1 cover of Phil Collins' "Something Happened on the Way to Heaven," and her latest singles "Beautiful U R" and "Saying Goodbye" from her CD "The Promise."

Director and Choreographer Joey McKneely is best known for his choreography of THE BOY FROM OZ starring Hugh Jackman, Michael John LaChiusa's THE WILD PARTY, THE LIFE, and the long-running hit SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE. Most recently, he reproduced Jerome Robbins' original choreography for the acclaimed revival of WEST SIDE STORY currently on Broadway.

Composer Steven Dorff is a three-time Grammy nominee and a fixture on the nation's music charts, honored with 40 BMI and 11 Billboard #1 Awards. His numerous credits include nine #1 film songs and 15 Top 10 hits including the Kenny Rogers' classic "Through the Years," and Anne Murray's #1 song of the Year "I Just Fall in Love Again." His songs have been recorded by some of the greatest artist of our time: Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, George Strait, Vanessa Williams, and others. An Emmy nominee, he has composed themes for some of TV's most popular shows, including "Murphy Brown" and "Murder, She Wrote." In addition to JOSEPHINE, his musical theatre credits include the music revue LUNCH and the upcoming PURE COUNTRY.

Lyricist John Bettis has provided the lyrics for numerous hit songs for some of the world's top recording artists: The Carpenters ("Top of the World"), Madonna ("Crazy for You"), Michael Jackson ("Human Nature"), The Pointer Sisters ("Slow Hand"), Diana Ross ("When You Tell Me That You Love Me"), Whitney Houston ("One Moment in Time"), Peabo Bryson ("Can You Stop the Rain") and many others, receiving Grammy nominations for "One Moment in Time" and "Can You Stop the Rain." He received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for "Promise Me You'll Remember," theme from "Godfather III." In addition to JOSEPHINE, he has written lyrics for the musicals LUNCH, SVENGALI, THE LAST SESSION (LA Drama Critics Award, Best Musical Score, 2003), and the upcoming PURE COUNTRY.

Co-author Mark Hampton wrote the Off-Broadway play FULL GALLOP based on the legendary Vogue Magazine editor Diana Vreeland. Co-author Ellen Weston's writing credits include the ABC movie "As the Beat Goes On: The Sonny and Cher Story."

A veteran producer, Mr. Waissman is best known for developing and producing the original Broadway production of GREASE.

Venue, dates and additional credits for JOSEPHINE on Broadway are to be announced.

Photo credit Walter McBride

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