Encores! CABIN IN THE SKY, Starring Chuck Cooper, LaChanze, Norm Lewis & More, Begins Tonight
Harvey Blanks, Chuck Cooper, Marva Hicks, Carly Hughes, LaChanze, Norm Lewis, Forrest McClendon, and J.D. Webster star in Vernon Duke and John Latouche's jazz-filled fable Cabin in the Sky, running for seven performances for Encores! at New York City Center, tonight, February 10, through February 14. The 1940 musical is directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson with choreography by Camille A. Brown.
Originally produced in 1940, Cabin in the Sky followed Porgy and Bess in celebrating African-American music and dance traditions. The musical tells the story of "Little Joe" Jackson, a charming ne'er-do-well who dies in a saloon brawl and is given six months on earth to prove his worth to the Lord's General (Norm Lewis) and his long-suffering wife Petunia (LaChanze), while resisting the temptations of the Devil's Head Man (Chuck Cooper).
Duke's score, featuring the jazz hit "Taking a Chance on Love," will be restored to its original glory for Encores!, thanks to the generous support of The Joseph S. and Diane H. Steinberg Broadway Musical Restoration Fund. The original orchestrations for Cabin in the Sky no longer exist and will be recreated by Tony Award winner Jonathan Tunick.
The Encores! season will continue with a multi-ethnic production of Sherman Edwards' Tony Award-winning classic 1776 (Mar 30-Apr 3), directed by Garry Hynes, with guest music direction by Ben Whiteley and choreography by Chris Bailey. The final production of the season, Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim's 1965 musical Do I Hear a Waltz? (May 11-15), will be directed by Evan Cabnet, with musical direction by Encores! Music Director Rob Berman and choreography by Chase Brock.
Chuck Cooper (The Head Man) has been featured in 13 Broadway shows in every theatrical genre from Shakespeare to musical comedy. He has received a Tony Award, a Lucille Lortel Award, and two Drama Desk Award nominations. TV appearances include House of Cards, Madam Secretary, Nurse Jackie, and Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight.
LaChanze (Petunia Jackson) Broadway: If/Then, The Color Purple (Tony Award), Once on This Island (Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations), Ragtime, Company, and Uptown It's Hot. Off? Broadway: Dessa Rose (Obie Award, Drama Desk Award nomination), The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (Drama Desk Award nomination), Inked Baby, Baby, From the Mississippi Delta, and Spunk. Encores!: The Wizard and Out of This World. Film: The Help, Side Effects, Breaking Upwards, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Disney's Hercules, For Love or Money, and Leap of Faith. Television: Handel's Messiah Rocks (Emmy Award), Lucy, Law & Order: SVU, Sex and the City, New York Undercover, The Cosby Show, Person of Interest, and the HBO miniseries Crime. Her concert "Feeling Good" will tour the US in 2016 and 2017.
Norm Lewis (The Lord's General) made history in 2014 as the first African?American Phantom in Broadway's The Phantom of the Opera, and was recently seen on PBS in "Live from Lincoln Center: Show Boat" with Vanessa Williams. His Broadway credits include The Gershwins' Porgy & Bess (Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations), Sondheim on Sondheim, The Little Mermaid, Les Mise?rables, Chicago, Amour, The Wild Party, Side Show, Miss Saigon, and The Who's Tommy. Off?Broadway: Dessa Rose (Drama Desk Award nomination), The Tempest, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Captains Courageous, and A New Brain. Mr. Lewis' film and TV credits include Winter's Tale, Sex and the City 2, Magnum Opus (upcoming), "Chicago Med," "Gotham," "The Blacklist," and his recurring role as Senator Edison Davis on "Scandal." Solo album: This is the Life.
Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Director) recently directed the world premieres of Paradise Blue at Williamstown Theater Festival and his own Your Blues Ain't Sweet Like Mine at Two River Theater. Other directing credits include The Piano Lesson (Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards); The Happiest Song Plays Last at Second Stage; and My Children! My Africa!, Seven Guitars, and The First Breeze of Summer, all at Signature. His screenplay adaptation of his autobiographical play Lackawanna Blues received Emmy, Golden Globe, and WGA Award nominations. As an actor, Mr. Santiago-Hudson is the recipient of a Tony Award and an Obie Award, among others. This season he will direct the world premiere of Dominique Morriseau's Skeleton Crew at the Atlantic Theater Company. He spent several seasons on the TV series "Castle" and currently costars on TNT's Public Morals.
Camille A. Brown (Choreography) Broadway: A Streetcar Named Desire. Off-Broadway: The Fortress of Solitude (DTC and The Public Theater) and tick, tick...BOOM! (Encores! Off-Center). Regional: Stagger Lee (DTC) and Marcus Gardley's THE BOX: A Black Comedy. Commissions: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Memphis, Hubbard Street II, and Complexions. Fashion: New York Fashion Week (2008). Company: Camille A. Brown & Dancers. Awards: 2015 USA Fellow, 2015 Doris Duke Artist Award, 2015 TED Fellow, 2014 City Center Choreography Fellow, 2014 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production, and Princess Grace Award for Choreography.