It's SUMMER Time! Meet the Cast of SUMMER: THE DONNA SUMMER MUSICAL- Now in Previews!
The calendar may say Spring (has anyone told the weather?) but things are heating up on Broadway! Performances begin tonight for Summer: The Donna Summer Musical at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway. SUMMER will officially open on April 23, 2018.
The three actresses who will play the role of musical icon Donna Summer will be Tony Award winner LaChanze (The Color Purple, Once on This Island) as "Diva Donna," Ariana DeBose (A Bronx Tale, Hamilton) as "Disco Donna" and Storm Lever (Freaky Friday) as "Duckling Donna."
The cast of SUMMER also includes Aaron Krohn (Cabaret) as "Neil Bogart," Ken Robinson (The Color Purple) as "Andrew Gaines," and Jared Zirilli (Lysistrata Jones) as "Bruce Sudano." The ensemble is comprised of Angelica Beliard (On Your Feet), Mackenzie Bell (Sunset Boulevard), Kaleigh Cronin (A Bronx Tale), Kimberly Dodson (Duress film), Anissa Felix (Sunset Boulevard), Drew Wildman Foster (Sunset Boulevard), Kendal Hartse (Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella), Afra Hines (Shuffle Along), Jenny Laroche("Smash"), Wonu Ogunfowora (A Bronx Tale), Rebecca Riker (An American in Paris), Christina Acosta Robinson ("Dexter"), Jessica Rush (Jersey Boys), and Harris M. Turner. Swings include Aurelia Michael (Legally Blonde) and Jody Reynard(Chicago tour).
SUMMER features a book by Colman Domingo, Robert Cary and Des McAnuff, with songs by Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder, Paul Jabara and others and will be directed by Des McAnuff and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo, with music supervised by Ron Melrose and scenic design by Robert Brill, costumes by Paul Tazewell, lighting by Howell Binkley, sound by Gareth Owen and projections by Sean Nieuwenhuis. SUMMER is produced by Tommy Mottola and the Dodgers.
Get to know the cast below as they begin Broadway performances!
LaChanze (Diva Donna, Mary Gaines): won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 2006 for The Color Purple. Other Broadway credits: Once on This Island (Tony nomination), If/Then, Ragtime, Company and Uptown It's Hot. Off-Broadway: Dessa Rose (Obie and Drama Desk nominations), The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (Drama Desk nomination), Ink Baby. Film credits: The Help, Side Effects, Breaking Upwards, Disney's Hercules and Leap of Faith. Television credits: "Handel's Messiah Rocks" (Emmy Award), HBO's "The Night Of," "Person of Interest," "Lucy" (CBS TV movie), "Law & Order: SVU" and "Sex and the City." MsLaChanze.com; IG/Twitter @lachanze.
Ariana DeBose (Disco Donna): recently wrapped up her run as Jane in Chazz Palminteri's A Bronx Tale directed by Jerry Zaks and Robert De Niro. Her other credits include Hamilton (Off-Broadway and original Broadway cast), Leading Player in the Tony Winning revival of Pippin, Mary Wilson of The Supremes (Diana Ross cover) in Motown, Nautica in Andy Blankenbuehler's Bring It On the Musical and Sondheim's Company with the NY Philharmonic. Her TV credits include: "Blue Bloods" (CBS), "The Breaks" (VH1), "SYTYCD" top 20 season 6 (Fox) & "OLTL" Star Crossed Lovers Series. Instagram & Twitter @arianadebose
Storm Lever (Duckling Donna, Mimi): is excited to be making her Broadway debut in the role she created at La Jolla Playhouse! Off-Broadway: Dorothy in The Wringer (City Center). Regional: Freaky Friday (Signature Theater, Alley Theater, Cleveland Playhouse, La Jolla); Emotional Creature (Berkeley Rep); Kansas City Choir Boy (Arsht Center, Miami). New York theatre: Fashion Academy (Vital Theater); Good Swimmer (Prototype Festival): Love to my B.F.A.mily University of Michigan and BRS/Gage @_stormieweather
Aaron Krohn (Neil Bogart, Gunther): Broadway: Cabaret, Macbeth, The Farnsworth Invention, The Coast of Utopia, Julius Caesar, Henry IV, and The Invention of Love. Stratford Shakespeare Festival: The Homecoming, Twelfth Night, Henry in Henry V. Sam Mendes's Bridge Project. Off-Broadway: Coriolanus (Red Bull); Clive (New Group); The Glass Cage and Echoes of the War (Mint Theater). Numerous Regional appearances. Some Television too. MFA/The Old Globe.
Ken Robinson (Andrew Gaines): Broadway: The Color Purple (Revival), Memphis, Baby It's You! Regional: Caroline, Or Change (Tantrum); Between Riverside and Crazy (Cleveland Playhouse); The First Noel (Classical Theatre of Harlem); Choir Boy (Marin Theatre); The Colored Museum (Huntington); The Piano Lesson (Syracuse Stage, Seattle Rep); My Fair Lady (Oregon Shakespeare Festival). M.F.A. Yale School of Drama. Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson!
Jared Zirilli (Bruce Sudano): Broadway: Lysistrata Jones. Tours: Wicked, We Will Rock You. Off-Broadway: Romance Language (Ars Nova), Pretty Filthy (The Civilians), Fat Camp (Dodgers). Readings: The Cher Show, Vanity Fair and Pride & Prejudice (Bedlam). Television: Law And Order: SVU (guest star). Costars on Blindspot, Blue Bloods and Pan Am. Love mom, Ray, dad, Justin. All for Whitney and Bomba. www.JaredZirilli.com @JaredZirilli.
Angelica Beliard (Ensemble): is thrilled to be part of Summer! Broadway: On Your Feet! Thanks cast and creatives for inviting me in with love and trust; Tom, Charlene, Martin, Cecilia for being pillars in my journey. All glory to God, this one is for you, Mom.
Mackenzie Bell (Ensemble): Broadway: Sunset Boulevard, Pippin. First National Tours: Jersey Boys, Flashdance. NYC/Workshops: Carrie, Moonshine, Chasing Rainbows, Fat Camp, Diner. Regional: La Jolla Playhouse, MUNY, DTC. BFA Elon. Huge thanks to the incredible SUMMER team, HCKR, TRC, and my family. For my first dance teacher, Mom. mackenziebell.com, @mackthebell.
Kaleigh Cronin (Ensemble): Broadway: A Bronx Tale (Marie u/s Rosina), Cabaret (Lulu u/s Sally). National Tour: Jersey Boys (Lorraine). Sacramento Music Circus' Cabaret (Sally), MTW's Sunset Boulevard (Betty Schaefer). Alum of Carnegie Mellon and Television's "ZOOM." Love and thanks to all involved! @kaleigh_cronin, kaleighcronin.com
Kimberly Dodson (Ensemble): Broadway Debut! Regional: Summer: The Donna Summer Musical (La Jolla Playhouse), A Bronx Tale (Paper Mill Playhouse). Thanks to Tara Rubin and the Krasny Office. Love and eternal gratitude to my family and my angels. Momma, we did it. @kdotsdotcom
Anissa Felix (Ensemble): is stoked to return to Broadway with Summer! Bway: Sunset Boulevard, Motown the Musical. Regional: Summer at La Jolla Playhouse. Film: Detroit. Graduate of the University of Mary Washington. Thanks to the Felix's, The Dodgers, and The Mine! IG: anissafelix
Drew Wildman Foster (Ensemble, Fight Captain): Broadway/Nat'l Tour: Doctor Zhivago, Sunset Boulevard, West Side Story. Regional: Asolo Rep, Dallas Theater Center, Hollywood Bowl, La Jolla Playhouse, Old Globe, Orlando Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Shakespeare Theater DC. Education: Juilliard Drama (Houseman Award).
Kendal Harste (Ensemble): Broadway/National Tour: Cinderella, On a Clear Day..., Cabaret. Other favorites: Hedwig...(Yitzhak), Cabaret (Sally Bowles), Taming of the Shrew (Lucentio/Baptista), Pericles (Thaisa). BFA Boston Conservatory, student of Michael Howard. Thank you Tara Rubin and The Roster! Love to Austin. For Grammie. kendalhartse.com
Afra Hines (Ensemble): Broadway: Shuffle Along (Astaire Award for Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show), Motown, Soul Doctor, Ghost, In The Heights (ACCA Award for Outstanding Broadway Chorus), and Wicked. National Tours: Hamilton. Television: "Boardwalk Empire." Other: The Radio City Christmas Spectacular(Rockette). www.afrahines.com
Jenny Laroche (Ensemble, Dance Captain): Broadway Debut. Television: "SMASH" (recurring) Film: Very Murray Christmas, Annie. Readings: Pal Joey Off-Broadway: Bombshell; concert (Minskoff) Paint Your Wagon; ENCORES (Suzanne Duval) Guys and Dolls (Carnegie Hall), Christmas Spectacular (Rockette) The Merry Widow (MetOpera) Thank you Mom & Papi! www.thelarocheapproach.com
Aurelia Michael (Swing, Asst. Dance Captain): is unbelievably excited to be making her Broadway Debut! Regional Credits: Ghost: The Musical (Clara), Legally Blonde: The Musical (Judge/Ensemble). Thank you to Bloc Agency, her family, and true tribe members! @AureliaMichael
Wonu Ogunfowora (Ensemble): Broadway: A Bronx Tale. Tour: Sister Act. Regional: Smokey Joe's Cafe, All Shook Up, Hairspray, among others. Readings/Workshops: The Harder They Come(Public Theater), Independence (La Jolla Playhouse). Many thanks to KMR, Dodgers, family & friends.
Jody Reynard (Swing): Broadway/Tours: Legally Blonde, Taboo, Saturday Night Fever, Fosse, Chicago, Memphis, Kiss Me Kate. Regional: Spelling Bee, Smokey Joe's Café, Take Me Out TV/Film: "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "One Life to Live" & Show Business: The Road to Broadway.
Rebecca Riker (Ensemble): Broadway: An American In Paris, Rock Of Ages. National Tours: Flashdance, The Addams Family, A Chorus Line, The Wedding Singer. Off-Broadway: The Sphinx Winx, The Tenth Floor, The Blue Angel, Autumn Moon. Love to my husband and my sweet baby boy Benjamin! Proud AEA member!
Christina Acotsa Robinson (Ensemble): Broadway: Debut. Regional: La Jolla Playhouse, The Guthrie, Hartford Stage, Yale Repertory Theatre, Two River Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Tantrum Theatre, Syracuse Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Barrington Stage, Pittsburgh Playhouse. MFA Yale School of Drama. Here's to you, Mr. Robinson!
Jessica Rush (Ensemble): Broadway: Jersey Boys, Guys & Dolls, Gypsy. Nat'l Tours: Mamma Mia!, Cinderella. Regional: Gypsy (Joseph Jefferson Award), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Miss Saigon, The Last Five Years. TV: "Billions," "White Collar" and the award-winning webseries "Then We Got Help." Wife of Eric Anderson, mom to Elliot. www.jessicarush.com
Harris M. Turner (Ensemble): is thrilled to be making his Broadway debut! Regional: Mamma Mia!, Capitol Repertory Theater. International: Vegas! The Show. A huge thank you to Sergio, Tara Rubin, Lucille, family, friends, and the entire Summer team! @big.bits.turner
Check out tracks from "Summer: The Original Hits"